Essex County officials fire back amid calls for federal probe into charity fund

By James Queally/The Star-Ledger
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on October 07, 2013

NEWARK — A Newark councilman called for a federal probe today into allegations an Essex County agency steered federal stimulus money to people who didn’t qualify for aid, but county officials fired back, saying the woman who made the accusations is now denying she ever did so.

Councilman Ras Baraka’s demand for an investigation followed a Sunday Star-Ledger story which quoted the director of the East Orange Community Development Corporation alleging county officials instructed her to dispense federal aid to people who made too much money to qualify.

The story also quoted two anonymous employees who confirmed her account and cited dozens of applications for aid which raised questions about the agency’s standards.

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FDU Poll: Christie beating Buono 58-25%

By Max Pizarro | October 8th, 2013

 

On the day of their first scheduled debate, incumbent Gov. Chris Christie leads Democratic challenger state Sen. Barbara Buono 58 to 25%, according to this morning's Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind Poll.

The 33% spread is even greater than when PublicMind posed the same question in August, when Christie led Buono 50 to 26 percent.

Unlike her Republican foe, Buono continues to struggle to garner the support of Democrats. Although 44 percent of Democrats support Buono, more than a third (38%) say they will vote for Christie. The governor, on the other hand, has the support of nine-in-ten Republicans, and 53 percent of independents.

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Baraka seeks investigation of Essex County agency

By PolitickerNJ Staff | October 7th, 2013

 

Ras Baraka has asked the U.S. Attorney to investigate claims that an Essex County agency improperly doled out federal funds to unqualified applicants for aid.

The request arises from allegations contained in a Star Ledger report that ran Sunday containing claims that pressure was applied by Essex County officials to provide aid to reisdents whose income far exceeded program limits.

"I hereby request that your office conduct an investigation to determine if a crime has been committed," Baraka said in the email to U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman.  "If so, who is responsible for the misuse of federal funds."

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U.S. Senate Contest: Booker insists he's competing for every vote against scrappier Lonegan

By Max Pizarro | October 7th, 2013

by headlines depicting him as a tweeter not a fighter, a somewhat amused Newark Mayor Cory Booker this morning answered to the charge that he’s dispassionately sleepwalking, or at least night jogging, toward Election Day next Wednesday.

“We’re not taking anything for granted,” insisted the Democratic nominee competing in next Wednesday’s special election for U.S. Senate. “We have to earn every single vote.”

Up by 12 over Lonegan in the last public poll with the Republican challenger trending in the right direction, Booker has run a campaign that has gone heavy on sweat suits with adoring fitness freaks.

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Anxious Allies Aiding Booker in Senate Bid

The New York Times

October 7, 2013

 

Cory A. Booker, a Democrat, campaigned in East Orange, N.J., on Saturday.

 

Cory A. Booker is an undisputed star of a new generation of African-American leaders, electrifying liberal audiences with his oratory and charming the social media set with his digital savvy.

But the Senate campaign Mr. Booker, a Democrat, is running in New Jersey — at times sputtering, unfocused and entangled in seemingly frivolous skirmishes over Twitter messages involving a stripper — has unnerved his supporters, who thought that a robust and unblemished victory over his Republican opponent, Steve Lonegan, would catapult him onto the national stage.

As his allies move to shore up what was supposed to be a painless path to Congress, the biggest and wealthiest of them, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, will start spending more than $1 million on Monday to broadcast television commercials on Mr. Booker’s behalf, a vast sum to pour into a single candidacy.

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Lonegan vs. Booker: Polar Opposites in a Polarized Nation

Mark J. Magyar | October 7, 2013

NJ Spotlight

 

It’s the kind of race Phyllis Schlafly envisioned in 1964 when she wrote “A Choice, Not An Echo” in support of Barry Goldwater’s successful effort to wrest the GOP away from the “Rockefeller Republicans” and unsuccessful effort to wrest the country away from liberal Democrats and the “Great Society” they wanted to build.

Schlafly, now 89 years old and still president of the Eagle Forum, was one of the first national Republican leaders to enthusiastically endorse Steve Lonegan’s campaign for the U.S. Senate, declaring that his victory in the October 16 special election would be “proof that straight talk, not watered-down messages, are what Republicans need to win back elections.”

Lonegan has not disappointed conservative backers like Schlafly by toning down his rhetoric in any way, even though he is running for the first time with the support of the state’s Republican Party.

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Questions arise over Essex County's distribution of aid to the needy

By David Giambusso/The Star-Ledger
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on October 06, 2013

Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, pictured in this file photo, denied there was anything inappropriate about the way aid was delivered to the needy.

 

NEWARK — For years, the East Orange Community Development Corp. has been a last line of defense for needy residents of Essex County.

The agency receives funding from such sources as the United Way, the state Department of Youth and Family Services and community development block grants. It distributes those dollars to people who need help paying the rent, a utility bill or an emergency expense. To qualify for help, each of the hundreds of clients that come through the agency doors every year has to prove they are in need.

At least that is the way it worked until 2009, when Essex County’s Division of Community Action — or DCA — set up a mysterious account to help distribute new federal and state money that was pouring into county coffers to help people in the wake of the financial crisis.

 

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Booker grabs Ledger, Inky, Courier Post and APP endorsements

By Darryl R. Isherwood | October 6th, 2013

 

Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who polls show up by about 13 points in his bid for U.S. Senate, today grabed the endorsements of four major newspapers covering the state.

The Star Ledger, Philadelphia Inquirer, Courier Post and Asbury Park Press all gave the nod to Booker over Republican challenger Steve Lonegan in the upcoming election for U.S. Senate.

"So if you want to reinforce the partisan divisions that are crippling this great nation, Lonegan is your man," the Ledger wrote after outlining Lonegan's Libertarian principles and what the editorial board said was his unwillingness to compromise.

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Ramos steps out with public safety plan

By Max Pizarro | October 3rd, 2013

 

NEWARK – The main players connected to that political powerhouse known as the North Ward Center gathered at the unveiling of a statue downtown, while  mayoral candidate Anibal Ramos went to the heart of the crime-riddled South Ward this afternoon to unveil his public safety plan.

There was probably a message there on the same week fellow North Ward brand name Luis Quintana grabbed a microphone at City Hall and repeatedly identified himself as unbossed, then later cheerily pointed out that Essex County Executive Joe DiVIncenzo hadn’t attended his swearing-in ceremony.

As the organization that originated him struggles to package DiVincenzo’s endorsement of Republican Gov. Chris Christie locally and contends with a shifting political streetscape, Ramos surfacing in the South Ward looked like a man intent on working his own will as a contrast to his fellow globbed-together esteemed dignitaries.

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The scene in Essex County

By Max Pizarro | October 3rd, 2013

 

NEWARK – Joe D. doesn’t endorse Democrats for governor. He just builds statues in their honor.

Specifically, the powerful county executive may not back Barbara Buono, but he wants the political world to know that won’t stop him from lionizing the beloved Brendan T. Byrne.

The executive’s choice for governor, Republican Chris Christie, stood at DiVincenzo’s side today, a month before Election Day, and so did former Governors Jim Florio, James McGreevey and the man of the hour, Byrne.

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