Newark mayor's race: Payne endorsement boosts Jeffries' local legitimacy, while Baraka-Payne feud fueled

By Mark Bonamo | March 18th, 2014

 

NEWARK - The Newark mayoral race took what could be a decisive turn on Tuesday when U.S. Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-10) endorsed former state Assistant Attorney General Shavar Jeffries in the Newark mayoral race. 

"After months of consideration, discussions and thinking about the future of the city of Newark, I'm here today to endorse Shavar Jeffries for Mayor," said Payne Jr. "Being born and raised in the City of Newark, I have to follow my conscience. This is not about politics. This is about what I think is best for the City of Newark at this time. As a former city council member, council president, Essex County freeholder and now a member of Congress, I have a deep understanding of what kind of leader Newark needs and its residents deserve."

Payne expounded on Jeffries' deep roots in Newark, including his family's five generations living in the city, as well the tragedy of the murder of Jeffries' mother when he was a boy. He also lauded Jeffries' law enforcement work with the state Attorney General's office, overseeing a team that produced a 26 percent reduction in recidivism of ex-offenders, as well as his work as a member of Newark's School Advisory Board.

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Baraka's new Newark order

By Mark Bonamo | March 17th, 2014

 

NEWARK - Ras Baraka's speeches in the 2014 Newark mayoral race can sound incendiary at times, giving off a kind of heat that is strangely familiar. 

"We love Newark, and we believe in Newark, and we're not going to let anybody from the outside take your city," Baraka said earlier this month to a crowd of more than 300 people screaming their support. "We're not going to let them take our city! We're not going to let them have it! No! They can't have it!" 

Baraka's revolutionary rhetoric is similar to that used by his father, the famed, late poet Amiri Baraka, in 1967. In that year, Newark was forever changed by a riot, or a rebellion, depending on your point of view. 

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Newark 2014: The Game beyond the Game

By Max Pizarro | March 17th, 2014

 

Mark Bonamo’s piece today posits the possibility of anti-establishment candidate Ras Baraka winning the Newark Mayor’s race, and underscores what would be Baraka’s – or anyone’s - challenge in governing the crime-ridden, financially caved-in city.

But, in the event that he wins, what would a Baraka political universe look like if he and the county and state powers – including powerful Executive Joe DiVincenzo and his allies in Trenton – fail to forge a mode of good governance?

Newark is in such disrepair, Baraka will have to work with the county and governor’s office just to keep from plunging Newark into deeper ruin, Bonamo reports.

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Teachers, Administrators Give Mixed Reviews to New Evaluations after Test Run

John Mooney | March 18, 2014

NJSpotlight

 

For all the debate going on outside classroom walls, New Jersey schoolteachers who actually have been through the new state-mandated evaluation system have not found it to be as nerve-wracking as everyone thinks.

In a survey conducted by a team of Rutgers researchers, teachers and administrators who took part in the two-year pilot rollout of the evaluation system had mixed reactions to the new rules and the potential consequences for their careers.

On one hand, there was a wide range of opinion regarding whether the system was entirely fair and accurate, with administrators expressing much more faith than teachers -- by a more than 2-to-1 margin.

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Newark Mayor's race: Jeffries tells South Ward crowd "This is home"

By Mark Bonamo | March 15th, 2014

 

NEWARK - Wilfredo Caraballo, one of the at-large candidates on Newark mayoral candidate Shavar Jeffries' slate, is not new to Newark's political rodeo. But when he expressed his frustration about accusations from the camp of rival mayoral candidate Ras Baraka that Jeffries somehow lacks Brick City authenticity, Caraballo went back to the farm.

"If you read the papers...Shavar, we should quit right now because the other side has won. I don't understand something. If you put lipstick on a pig, what happens? It's still a pig," Caraballo, a former state assemblyman, said on Saturday, mockingly referring to Baraka. "Don't keep trying to tell me, or anybody, that Shavar Jeffries isn't real Newark."

Caraballo continued this riff to a crowd of about 75 Jeffries supporters inside of the candidate's South Ward headquarters on Bergen Street, referring to Baraka's late father, the famous poet Amiri Baraka. 

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Newark mayoral candidates weigh in on potential state takeover

By David Giambusso/The Star-Ledger
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on March 13, 2014

Shavar Jeffries, left, and Ras Baraka weighed in on the potential state takeover of Newark's budget.

 

NEWARK — The two men who would be directly affected by a state takeover of Newark's budget weighed in today on recent statements by state officials accusing the city of skirting state budget laws.

But mayoral candidates Ras Baraka and Shavar Jeffries struck markedly different tones in their reactions to the state's threat to take over Newark's finances.

Baraka, the South Ward Councilman who for years has railed against state control of Newark's schools, said he would oppose a takeover, but admitted Newark's budget needed critical attention.

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FOP endorsement of Baraka in Newark mayor's race confirmed

By Mark Bonamo | March 13th, 2014

 

NEWARK  - The president of the Newark chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police today confirmed that the law enforcement organization has endorsed South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka in the Newark mayoral race. 

"We endorsed Mr. Baraka," said James Stewart, president of Newark FOP Lodge #12. 

Baraka and his main rival in the race to run New Jersey's largest city, former state Assistant Attorney General Shavar Jeffries, met with the FOP leadership on Wednesday night to seek the law enforcement organization's endorsement. PolitickerNJ.com reported earlier today that several sources reported that the FOP chose to endorse Baraka. 

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In Newark mayoral race, Kenny's presence further evidence of Hudson-Newark alliance

By Mark Bonamo | March 13th, 2014

 

NEWARK - One face in the crowd at a fundraiser for Newark mayoral candidate Ras Baraka on Wednesday night provoked a political remembrance of things past.

Former State Senator Bernard Kenny (D - Hoboken) stood amidst a crowd of mostly Newark-based supporters who were snacking on garlic shrimp, not far from fellow Hudson politico West New York Felix Roque. 

Kenny, 67, is the former state Senate Majority Leader and the former Hudson County Democratic Organization chair. He is now a partner with the Hoboken-based law firm of Florio & Kenny, which stood behind Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop during his successful election campaign last year. 

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Newark mayor's race: Baraka, Jeffries spar over regionalization

By Mark Bonamo | March 11th, 2014

 

NEWARK - Newark mayoral candidate Shavar Jeffries lashed out at rival Ras Baraka for what he claims is a wrong-headed stand on an idea that has become a political buzzword: regionalization. 

Regionalization is a policy initiative that has gained traction in New Jersey, the state with the highest property taxes in the nation. Advocates for regionalization hope that more shared services and the potential consolidation of the state's 565 municipalities could lead to taxpayer relief. Last month, Gov. Chris Christie proposed $8.5 million be set aside in the state budget to reimburse local governments engaged in consolidation and shared services. 

During a event sponsored by the Newark Regional Business Partnership last week, both Jeffries and Baraka spoke before members of the city's business community. 

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Even Before Fort Lee Lane Closings, Port Authority Was a Christie Tool

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