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Former Edison Councilwoman Sapana Shah. (Photo: Sapana Shah.)

Ex-Edison councilwoman enters race for mayor

By David Wildstein, February 17 2021 8:36 pm

Former Edison Councilwoman Sapana Shah formally entered the race today for the Demcoratic nomination for mayor of Edison.

“I am ready to rise to this challenge,” Shah said. “My priorities as mayor will be to enacting efficient ways to stabilize taxes, improve quality-of-life and attract new commercial investments that create more jobs and generate more tax revenue without burdening our municipal services.”

The incumbent, Thomas Lankey, is planning to seek re-election – either off the line in the Democratic primary or as an independent — preferring to eschew a bid for support of heavily-splintered Edison Democratic Committee.

Edison Democratic Municipal Chairman Mahesh Bhagia, the clear front runner to win the local party endorsement, has close ties to the Edison Eight, a group implicated last year in a conspiracy scandal involving an allegedly fake racist flyer aimed at inciting the township’s Asian American community in a 2017 school board race.  His brother, Raj Bhagia, is one of the Edison Eight.

The Edison Eight: Councilman Ayjay Patil; Board of Education President Jerry Shi; Wilentz law firm partner and Biden delegate Satish Poondi; former Democratic Municipal Chairman Shariq Ahmad; apparent school board member-elect Mohin Patel; Aloysius Dsouza; Joseph Dsouza; Bhagia and Shi – face a possible criminal investigation after they allegedly circulated a racist mailer.

The mailer – “Make Edison Great Again” – urged voters to “Stop Jerry Shi and Falguni Patel from taking over our school board.”

“The Chinese and Indians are taking over our Town!  Chinese School! Indian School! Cricket Fields,” the flyer said. “Enough is Enough.”

Shah is a former school board member and now a part-time Jersey City Corporation Counsel.

“As a council and school board member, I voted my conscience. I opposed unreasonable tax increases; led the fight to protect homeowners from serial home invasions; tried to safeguard our residents from prejudicial Trump-era anti-immigrant policies; and make our public schools safer for children and affordable for parents,” Shah said. “Edison’s ethnic and cultural diversity make this a wonderful community,” said Shah. “I will be a mayor who can bridge the cultural divide; who understands and will serve the needs of all residents. I will do it with professionalism and honor.”

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