Newark mayor's race: Baraka awash in labor union endorsements

By David Giambusso/The Star-Ledger
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on March 04, 2014

Milly Silva, executive vice presdeint of 1199SEIU endorses Ras Baraka for mayor of Newark

 

NEWARK — As principal of Central High School, Ras Baraka was technically in management. But in his run to be the next mayor of Newark, the South Ward Councilman is decidedly a union man.

Baraka declared himself the progressive candidate early in his campaign against former assistant state Attorney General Shavar Jeffries, and at least 11 labor groups have lined up to bolster that claim.

Today, Milly Silva, former candidate for lieutenant governor and the executive vice president of 1199 SEIU United Health Care Workers, joined the chorus of labor leaders to back Baraka in the May 13 election.

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Former Newark Mayor Sharpe James: "I'm not going to sit on the fence" in Newark mayoral race

By Mark Bonamo | March 4th, 2014

 

NEWARK - Former Newark Mayor Sharpe James emerged from the crowd at Monday night's Newark mayoral candidate forum to say that soon, he would not be standing alone. 

"I'm not going to sit on the fence. A candidate is communicating with me now. I'm involved with a candidate. Only one," James, 78, Newark's mayor from 1986 to 2006, told PolitickerNJ.com. "At the appropriate time, at his call, I will stand forth and give an endorsement and the reasons why." 

James would not say which of the two main mayoral candidates, South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka or former Assistant Attorney General Shavar Jeffries, he has been engaged in talks with in recent weeks. But if fashion is any indication of political proclivities, on a frigid weekday night, James was wearing the same style of wool hat with a prominent pom-pom on top worn by many Baraka supporters. 

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Newark mayor's race: Jeffries slams Jersey City Mayor Fulop, demands rival Baraka "repudiate" Fulop's support

By Mark Bonamo | March 4th, 2014

 

NEWARK - Newark mayoral candidate Shavar Jeffries launched a verbal attack on Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop on Tuesday, questioning the reasons behind Fulop's endorsement of rival candidate Ras Baraka last month and demanding that Baraka reject the support of the mayor of New Jersey's second largest city.   

The question of whether Newark will remain the Garden State's largest city was at the heart of Jeffries' mayoral campaign offensive. Jeffries specifically pointed to Fulop's comments during his State of the City address last Thursday.  

"Jersey City will be the largest city in New Jersey by the end of 2016," Fulop said during his address last week.

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Leader’s Words Don’t Tell the Real Story

The New York Times

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Jeffries and Baraka square off at Newark mayoral debate

By Naomi Nix/The Star-Ledger
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on March 03, 2014

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

 

NEWARK — Newark’s two main contenders for mayor touted their different platforms tonight during a candidate forum as they tried to convince voters that they are the right person to steer the city’s environmental and economic future.

South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka and former assistant state Attorney General Shavar Jeffries spoke to an audience of about 350 at Essex County College during a forum hosted by The Coalition for Healthy Ports, a group of environmental and community organizations.

Baraka oft touted his ability to work with the community to make residents’ voices heard in the city’s decision-making process, using his record on the council to buttress the point.

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Chris Christie and the latest Port Authority scam: Editorial

By Star-Ledger Editorial Board
on March 03, 2014

Gov. Chris Christie, left, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo now are alleged to have engineered a phony toll hike drama in 2011 by ordering oversized toll and fare increases that allowed the cooperating politicians to score political points with commuters by order the increases be scaled back. (New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, left, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, right, at the 9/11 Memorial during ceremony marking the 12th Anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013. David Handschuh/New York Daily News)

 

Gov. Chris Christie has another Port Authority scam to explain, this time over the killer toll hikes at the Hudson River crossings that he approved in the summer of 2011.

At the time, the governor expressed shock that the Port Authority would dare to propose roughly doubling the tolls over a few years.

Now we learn it was all an act. According to six people who worked at the Port Authority that summer, Christie knew about the toll hikes in advance. In a tawdry bit of political theater, he and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo got the Port Authority to inflate its initial request so they could trim it down to size and appear to be champions of hard-pressed commuters.

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Majority of New Jerseyans support sending Booker to Senate for full term, poll finds

By PolitickerNJ Staff | March 3rd, 2014

 

A new poll finds a majority of Garden State residents are in favor of giving freshman N.J. Sen. Cory Booker (D) a full term in Washington D.C.

According to a recent Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll, Booker enjoys a 47 percent approval rating from New Jersey residents compared to just 20 percent who disapprove. Fifty-five percent of voters say Booker should be re-elected in November, according to the poll.

New Jersey voters are just getting to know Cory Booker as their Senator and generally giving him positive reviews,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.  “They feel they have seen enough to say he deserves a full term.”

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U.S. Rep. Payne Jr. ponders backing Jeffries in Newark mayoral race, sources say

By Mark Bonamo | March 3rd, 2014

 

NEWARK - As the Newark mayoral race comes closer to the May 13 municipal election, the voice of U.S. Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-10), the scion of one of Newark's most powerful political families, has yet to be officially heard. Yet several Democratic sources have told PolitickerNJ.com that has had serious discussions with the campaign of former state Assistant Attorney General Shavar Jeffries about a potential endorsement, a move that would have repercussions for this year's election and beyond.

"It's a power thing. Why should [Payne Jr.] give [Baraka] more power?" said an Essex County Democratic political operative who requested anonymity. "If you want to centralize control in the South Ward, why would you want to have to fight with Baraka as mayor, when you can have a closer ally with Jeffries, who would not be coming after your base?"  

Payne Jr.'s decision, if he ultimately decides to jump into the 2014 mayoral race, should be seen in the context of Newark's political history. In the aftermath of the 1967 riot, African-Americans achieved political dominance in Newark with the victory of Ken Gibson in the 1970 mayoral election. During the following decades, the Payne family, led by the late U.S. Rep. Donald Payne Sr., built a strong political base in Newark's South Ward. At the same time, the Baraka family, led by the late poet and activist Amiri Baraka, constructed an overlapping foundation of grass-roots political and cultural support based in the same neighborhood.

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Newark mayor's race: William Payne considering city council race if it helps Jeffries

By David Giambusso/The Star-Ledger
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on February 27, 2014

William Payne, pictured in this file photo, is considering a run for city council

 

NEWARK — In another potential game-changer for the Newark city election, William Payne, patriarch of the longstanding Newark political dynasty, said tonight he would consider running for city council on Shavar Jeffries' ticket if it would help the mayoral candidate win in May.

"If being part of his team would (help Jeffries) then absolutely," Payne, 81, told The Star-Ledger when asked if he was considering a run. "I'm working to make sure that Shavar Jeffries gets elected as mayor and whatever I can do to help that I'm going to do. I really believe very deeply in his campaign and what he's about. He's uniquely qualified for the job."

Payne's brother, Rep. Donald Payne Sr., served Newark for decades in Congress before he died in 2012. But William Payne is a Newark legend in his own right, having served as the first black district leader in Newark's North Ward, a state assemblyman, and his brother's closest confidante.

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Fired Sandy-Aid Contractor Collected $32.7 Million – and Demands $18.4M More

Colleen O'Dea | February 27, 2014

NJSpotlight

 

The Superstorm Sandy housing grant manager quietly terminated by New Jersey last December billed the state for $51 million -- 75 percent of the total contract amount -- in just the first seven months of its work, according to new documents released yesterday.

Contractor Hammerman and Gainer Inc., which the state had hired to manage programs to provide nearly $800 million in federal grants to people with homes damaged by Sandy, is seeking another $18.4 million in payments plus interest from the state and has filed for arbitration to get it, according to public documents obtained from the state Department of Treasury and released by Fair Share Housing Center of Cherry Hill. So far, the documents indicate that the state has paid HGI about $32.7 million of the $51.2 million it billed beginning last May.

And that's just for work done through Dec. 6, when the parties agreed to terminate the three-year, $67.7 million contract. Because the state allowed HGI to keep working through Jan. 20, the company wrote in its request for arbitration that it "reserves the right to amend its demand to include claims for amounts" incurred during those six weeks. At the time of the termination, the state had agreed to pay HGI $10.5 million toward its unpaid balance for work already done and toward the work that would be done during the transition period.

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