Interview With Council Candidate John Sharpe James

Friday, 25 October 2013 20:01 Local Talk News Editor


Dhiren Shah: Why are you running for a seat on the Newark City Council?

John Sharpe James: Early in 2006, there was a group who decided that they wanted to take over Newark. People in the community wanted some voices they respected, with a good background, and running against people from out of town. Unfortunately, I lost in 2006. My background is military primarily. It's all wrapped up in politics and community service. In 2006, I was drafted by the people and ran against Booker team, new politicians who did not necessarily have the communities in mind or best intentions in hand.

DS: In your opinion what are the main problems of Newark today?

JSJ: Right now, crime, and we have a leaderless city hall. Concerning the Mayor's position, his mind has elsewhere sometimes, and because of that we have deterioration in every department. Sanitation is a mess, the recreation department is a mess, and funding shortages cost the police department. Not only do we have 167 police officers laid off, but we haven't had a new police class in over 7 years. It definitely has a detrimental effect on the streets. The community is not safe, and criminals feel comfortable. We don't have enough police officers walking on the street. We have 900 police officers right now from a high of 1,500. Housing prices are going down, taxes are going up. People do not have that warm feeling anymore and, we are losing hope.

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Newark mayoral candidates spar in education forum

By David Giambusso/The Star-Ledger 

Newark Mayoral Candidates left to right: Ras Baraka, Anibal Ramos, Jr., Darrin Sharif and Shavar Jeffries participate in an education debate at Science Park High School. (Saed Hindash/The Star-Ledger)

NEWARK — It was touted as a civil exchange of ideas over education, but it didn’t take long for Newark mayoral candidates to get into a political brawl that ranged from the budget to taxes to police.

The crowd of roughly 400 residents, parents, teachers and students made their presence known during the two-hour forum, cheering for their candidates and often booing those they did not support in the May 2014 election.

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Newark mayoral candidates to debate education issues tonight

By David Giambusso/The Star-Ledger 

NEWARK — They won't have any authority over the city's schools, but the four men vying to become the next mayor of Newark have a lot of ideas on education.

South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka is principal of Central High School. Shavar Jeffries and North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos are former school board members. Along with Central Ward Councilman Darrin Sharif, the four mayoral candidates will discuss their ideas on Newark's public schools during a debate that begins at 6 tonight at Science Park High School.

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Year After Hurricane Sandy, Victims Contest Christie’s Status as a Savior

The New York Times

Gov. Chris Christie comforting Bonnie Miller in Brick, N.J., as he toured the coastline last fall.


Hurricane Sandy turned Chris Christie into something akin to America’s governor, as the nation watched him express his state’s pain on the devastated shoreline the morning after the storm, then triumphantly cut the ribbons on reopened boardwalks on Memorial Day. “We’re stronger than the storm,” he proclaimed in television commercials that ran in other states all summer.

But in the affected parts of New Jersey, Governor Christie’s storm campaign has not sold as well. With at least 26,000 people still out of their homes a year later, he has become the focus of ire for many storm survivors who say that the recovery does not look as impressive to them as it does to the rest of the country.

Homeowners promised money from Mr. Christie’s rebuilding program say they have yet to see it; those who have been denied aid vent about the bureaucracy. Some criticize him for encouraging residents to build to new flood zone standards to speed recovery; homeowners now say they are being penalized, because anyone who started rebuilding is ineligible for a grant.

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The Jeffries Plan for Safe Streets and Neighborhoods intends to tackle city's crime dilemma; former AG Anne Milgram calls Jeffries Plan, "Innovative...bold."



View the Jeffries Plan here.

October 23, 2013 - Newark, NJ - Former Assistant Attorney General Shavar Jeffries, was joined by residents and some members of his campaign's public safety committee who are experts in the field of criminal justice to unveil his plan to combat crime and improve public safety in the city of Newark.  

"My safety plan reflects some of the best thinking in the country," said Jeffries. "Newark's public safety problems, simply put, cannot be fixed by tinkering at the edges of its policing model and police department.

"Our focus is on public safety - which includes crime, disorder, and fear­-of­-crime - not just crime. We can only fix problems if we understand them." 

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Cory Booker: Quintana will be Newark's next mayor

By David Giambusso/The Star-Ledger
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on October 22, 2013

Cory Booker is meeting with all of his department directors and senior administration officials to discuss his imminent departure. Friday October 18, 2013. Newark, NJ, USA.


NEWARK — After seven years as head of the state’s largest city, Mayor Cory Booker will have two jobs in the weeks ahead: setting up his U.S. Senate office and gathering a staff in Washington, and working through a difficult transition in Newark’s splintered government.

"There are three urgent areas (where) there has to be a seamless transition," Booker said in an interview at his campaign office today.

In rapid-fire order he listed crime, development and the city budget as areas in which his successor "can’t miss a beat."

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The Property Tax Debate: It’s Time to Put Every Idea on the Table


Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Property taxes in our state have been out of control for decades. There is no quick fix, no silver bullet that would turn the situation around overnight. It took decades to get this bad and it is going to take a while to get it right. That’s why all ideas for property-tax relief should be seriously considered.

Among recent proposals is one by the New Jersey League of Municipalities that proponents say would allow for a 35 percent reduction on up to a $20,000 tax bill on your principal home. According to the League’s analysis, this approach would reduce property taxes on the average home by $2,700.

At the heart of the proposal is a plan to change the state’s income tax structure so that more of the tax burden would be based on an individual’s ability to pay.

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Sharif in charge at Jeffries for Mayor and other Newark News

By PolitickerNJ Staff | October 22nd, 2013

Veteran Newark Political Operative Carl Sharif is officially working now in his capacity as the political brain of the Shavar Jeffries for Mayor campaign.

Craig Kirby is gone as campaign manager but the stealth-like Sharif won't wear the moniker of "manager," according to a source close to the campaign.

Strategist will do, said a source.

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As Gays Wed in New Jersey, Christie Ends Court Fight

The New York Times

Stewart Fishbein, left, and Peter Aupperle showed off the rings signifying their marriage at Hoboken City Hall on Monday.


As couples across New Jersey began marrying on Monday after the stroke of midnight, Gov. Chris Christie abandoned his long fight against same-sex marriage, concluding that signals from the court and the march of history were against him.

His decision not to appeal a judge’s ruling that allowed the weddings removed the last hurdle to legalized same-sex marriage in New Jersey, making it the 14th state, along with the District of Columbia, to allow gay couples to wed.

Mr. Christie’s advisers said it became clear late on Friday that the fight had to end after the State Supreme Court announced it would not grant the governor’s request to block same-sex marriages while he appealed.

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The Star-Ledger endorsement: Christie for governor

By Star-Ledger Editorial Board
on October 20, 2013


Gov. Chris Christie is the most remarkable political talent America has seen since Bill Clinton. If you haven’t witnessed his performance at a town hall meeting yet, make a point of it. You will come away convinced there is a sensible middle ground in America after all.

Equally impressive is his skill at playing Trenton’s inside game. Faced with Democrats in solid control of the Legislature, he’s managed to split them down the middle by seducing a handful of pliant party bosses whose self-interest compelled them to hitch their wagons to his.

The surprise is that his achievements have been only modest. He signed an important reform to contain pension and health costs, but it was mostly done before he arrived. He signed a useful tenure reform last year, but it is a weak version that still protects bad teachers with seniority. His reorganization of the higher education system is promising, but untested.

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