Cabrera, Chukwuocha join Wilmington City Council, fill vacancies

By Tom Lehman 1:05am, November 16, 2012 - Updated 11:44am, November 16, 2012
Video from last night's Wilmington City Council meeting
Two new members of Wilmington City Council are sworn in on the same night that a law requiring more regulation for event promoters and large gatherings.

Nnamdi Chukwuocha and Maria Cabrera have been sworn in to fill in vacant spots on the council.

Chukwuocha will represent the 1st District after Councilman Charles Potter was elected as North Wilmington's State Representative. The incoming councilman says he's looking forward to working with a new mayor alongside a council that will have six new members next year.

"There's possibility, there's hope, so I really believe it's gonna have a great outcome for our city," he says.

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He says his experience with non-profit work will help him as the 1st District Councilman.

"Understanding the issues that involve every day people in our city. And I believe bringing that to council will really help to push our city forward," he says.

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Cabrera is the first Hispanic woman to serve on council and represents an at-large district. She takes over for Bud Freel who is leaving his at-large seat to fill the vacant seat in the 8th district.

She says her major focus will be on public safety, but also wants to work on constituent involvement and youth enrichment.

"I find that there's a lot of issues and I feel that our community feels disconnected, that we need to start communicating better," she says.

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Councilman Darius Brown also took part in his first meeting. He was sworn in Tuesday.

Brown says he hopes to help address the city's poverty issue and promote opportunities for employment to those who are disadvantaged due to financial status or prior incarceration.

"Before we can grow our middle class, we have to make sure we can bring up those that are in our poor into that middle class. We can't grow it by bringing those who have larger incomes into that middle class," he says.

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The council is experiencing significant turnover as the group will have six new members, including a new president next year. The remaining three council members will be sworn in early January.

The council passed a law during the meeting that requires business owners and event promoters to apply for a permit when hosting large gatherings of one hundred people or more.

The law makes it easier for the city to keep track of large events and supporters believe it will increase safety because hosts' will be reminded that they need to hire security or an off-duty police officer to manage the event by the city.

Councilman Paul Ignudo says violators will break the nuisance property law, earning points against them and repeat offenders could face serious consequences.

"After a certain period they are called in to the city to discuss their issues, to have their issues resolved and eventually, ultimately if enough points are accrued, their business license could be revoked," Ignudo says.

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The law will go into effect in 90 days.

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