Former Assemblyman Payne endorses Jeffries in Newark mayoral race

By Mark Bonamo | February 24th, 2014

 

NEWARK - Essex County Deputy Chief of Staff and former Assemblyman William Payne endorsed Newark mayoral candidate Shavar Jeffries on Monday and has agreed to serve as campaign co-chairperson.

"Shavar Jeffries is a man of extraordinary integrity who is a dedicated and qualified public servant," said Payne in a prepared statement issued by the Jeffries campaign. "He has a genuine commitment to serve the city of Newark and our people."

Payne, the uncle of U.S. Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-10) and a member of one of Newark's most prominent political families, cited Jeffries' background and experience as reasons for backing Jeffries instead of the other major mayoral candidate, South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka.

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Newark mayoral candidate Jeffries rolls out education plan, bashes Baraka and Anderson

By Mark Bonamo | February 22nd, 2014

 

NEWARK - Newark mayoral candidate Shavar Jeffries unveiled his education plan on Saturday, hoping to gain traction on a critical campaign issue in his battle with South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka.

One central theme of Jeffries' seven-point plan to improve the state's largest public school system was a call for a return to local control, which was combined with criticism for state-appointed Newark School Superintendent Cami Anderson.

"Our superintendent, unfortunately, has in recent times run roughshod over our community's fundamental interests," Jeffries said to a crowd of more than 100 supporters assembled at his Central Ward headquarters. "She has not shown enough respect for community values, and in so doing has caused so many in our community to feel as if their voice does not count. I say this as a father of two: no one is ever going to do anything that's going to affect my babies without coming to talk to me."

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The Jeffries/Sharif School

By PolitickerNJ Staff | February 21st, 2014

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Newark insider regarded what he said was mayoral candidate Shavar Jeffries’ rough week and made an observation about the contest.

It’s tough to win citywide in Newark without having first run citywide at least once, the source said.

A former candidate for mayor, Baraka (endorsements this week by the Laborers and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop) has done that, and as such has a leg up on the competition, insisted the source.

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The Laborers Union will back South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka in the Newark Mayor's race

By Mark Bonamo | February 20th, 2014

 

NEWARK - Newark mayoral candidate Ras Baraka was endorsed by the New Jersey Laborers Union, the 20,000-member affiliate of the Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA), on Thursday, increasing his level of labor support in the race to run New Jersey's largest city.

"Ras Baraka has the right skills to move Newark forward and the right principles to leave no one behind in the process," said Raymond M. Pocino, LIUNA Vice President and Eastern Regional Manager. "We feel confident that Ras Baraka is right for Newark and right for our membership.

"We are honored to have the endorsement of the New Jersey Laborers Union and I look forward to their continued support and growing relationship," said Baraka, Newark's South Ward councilman.

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Christie administration gave more Sandy funds to controversial Belleville project

By Matt Friedman/The Star-Ledger
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on February 20, 2014

Gov. Chris Christie smiles as he listens to Belleville Mayor Raymond Kimble during a campaign stop in town in August. Christie pushed to give the town millions in federal Hurricane Sandy recovery funds to build a senior complex, even though the town was largely spared by the storm.

 

TRENTON — A controversial housing complex for the elderly planned for Belleville, an Essex County town that was largely spared from Hurricane Sandy, was approved for a second round of federal recovery funds as its projected costs ballooned.

The project, which was pushed by Gov. Chris Christie, had been approved for $6 million in May from a federally financed, state-administered program intended to replenish affordable housing damaged or destroyed in the storm. But according to figures provided by the Department of Community Affairs last week, that figure has increased, to $10.2 million.

A department website still says Belleville got $6 million, which is what The Star-Ledger cited in a January article on the project — even though the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency increased funding to $10.2 million in December as the anticipated cost rose from $18 million to $22.8 million.

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As Newark mayor's race tightens, familiar tropes may not apply

By David Giambusso/The Star-Ledger
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on February 19, 2014

Shavar Jeffries, left, is now essentially in a two-way race with South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka to be the next mayor of Newark.

 

NEWARK — He is a well-educated attorney running a reform campaign to bring New Jersey’s largest city into the 21st century.

His opponent is a fiery, charismatic city pol railing against the so-called "outsider."

Sound familiar?

No, it’s not 2002. This is not Cory Booker vs. Sharpe James. But for many city voters, it may feel that way.

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Newark watershed: A timeline of troubles

By David Giambusso/The Star-Ledger
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on February 19, 2014

View of the Charlotteburg Dam in Kinnelon, part the Newark Watershed in Kinnelon.

 

NEWARK — A report released today by the state comptroller's office gives a scathing review of the Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corporation, marking the latest development in a litany of accusations against the non-profit agency that controlled Newark's entire water infrastructure.

The Newark Water Group, a team of residents and activists, were the first to question profligate spending at the agency with their January 2012 report, "Hog Wild" (Read it here: hogwild.pdf) The city council at the time demanded an investigation into watershed spending.

That was followed by a Star-Ledger investigation of agency receipts and invoices in 2012. Among other things, the newspaper's inquiries found the agency was handing out several questionable contracts.

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Baraka, Jeffries comment about state report's claims of fiscal waste and abuse at Newark Watershed

By Mark Bonamo | February 19th, 2014

NEWARK - Newark mayor candidates Ras Baraka and Shavar Jeffries offered comments about the contents of a State Comptroller's office investigate report released on Wednesday that claims a lack of oversight at the now-shuttered Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corporation (NWCDC) led to a fiscally irresponsible atmosphere and the waste of public money.

"I was one of the main people vocal against the Watershed. Those folks were down there taking care of their family and their friends. I'm not surprised by any of it, and it could have been stopped a long time ago," said Baraka, who was elected as Newark's South Ward councilman in 2010. "All of our services should be brought back into the city. I've [been a principal] a school, and the culture of the organization under your watch emanates from you. The culture of the city is what's important. The minute or you see or smell impropriety, you've got to act on it immediately."

"The comptroller's report has further illustrated what has already been known for more than a decade. The blatant waste and mismanagement of the watershed authority mirrors what exists at the municipal level in the City of Newark," said Jeffries spokesperson Lupe Todd. "Take Councilman Ras Baraka. He has padded his payroll with relatives and
collected more than $250,000 from multiple public jobs. Meanwhile, streets haven't been plowed, services are lackluster, and there have been fewer police officers on the street. This is another glaring example of why our city needs and deserves to move in a new direction."

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Booker looks to Senate re-election run instead of potential gubernatorial bid, praises Holt

By Mark Bonamo | February 18th, 2014

 

NEWARK - U.S. Sen. Cory Booker said he is "not looking" now at a potential New Jersey gubernatorial run, but at his nascent Congressional career.

"I've got an election coming up in November for United States Senate, and that's where my focus all is," Booker, who was elected to the Senate in October 2013, told PolitickerNJ.com on Tuesday. "There is so much we can do to make a difference there."

Booker's comments, made outside a Black History Month awards ceremony at Essex County's Leroy Smith Public Safety Building in Newark, came on the same day that U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (D-12) announced that he would not seek re-election with his term is up.

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Fulop-Baraka alliance, built on shared interests, changes Newark mayoral race

By Mark Bonamo | February 18th, 2014

 

NEWARK - Sitting across from Newark mayoral candidate Ras Baraka in the back of his parents' immigration services and income tax preparation operation on Broad Street, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop explained why the leader of New Jersey's second largest city jumped directly into the race to run the state's largest city with his endorsement of Baraka on Tuesday.

"We're endorsing. We're going to be involved financially, we're going to be involved with volunteers, we're going to be involved on a lot of fronts," Fulop said. "I don't think today that I can deliver one vote for Ras, but I think I give some credibility [to Baraka] in a lot of different environments where they try to portray him as something that he's not."

Fulop elaborated on how he feels he can help Baraka on both microeconomic and macroeconomic levels.

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