On Blog, an Ex-Christie Ally Showed Approach to Politics

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Sources: Baraka consolidating power creates statewide power projection problems for Essex

By Max Pizarro | February 6th, 2014


Political insiders closely watching the Newark mayor's race see grim statewide prospects for the political organization of Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, who last year endorsed Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

Especially jeopardized by a weakened Essex County Democratic organization is the potential of state Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz (D-29) to ascend to the senate presidency once Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) moves out of the position.

Sweeney will use his power as senate president to leverage northern support toward a run for governor.

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Jeffries whacks Baraka's record before shuttered South Ward supermarket

By Mark Bonamo | February 6th, 2014


NEWARK - Call it the battle of the Brick City supermarkets.

Former Governor and current State Senator Richard Codey endorsed South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka in the Newark mayoral race at an Ironbound supermarket on Thursday. Minutes later, Shavar Jeffries, another candidate for Newark's top spot, rolled up on a South Ward supermarket with its gates rolled down and laced into Baraka's record.

"We stand here today, with the closed Key Food supermarket behind us, to highlight the stark choice facing the people of Newark in this election," Jeffries said. "The people of Newark have two fundamentally different paths ahead of them - they can decide to go back 50 years or go forward 50 years. Campaigns are about contrast, and the contrast between me and my opponent Councilman Ras Baraka could not be more stark."

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Ramos picks up two more labor union endorsements in Newark mayoral race

By Mark Bonamo | February 5th, 2014


NEWARK - Newark mayoral candidate and North Ward councilman Anibal Ramos, Jr. received the endorsement of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) and United Food and Commercial Workers Region 1 (UFCW) on Wednesday.

"Councilman Ramos is the best choice for Newark's next mayor," said RWDSU Local 108 President Charles N. Hall, Jr. in a prepared statement. "Councilman Ramos recognizes and respects collective bargaining and the right to organize. As a former manager in [Essex County] government, Ramos developed positive relationships with municipal unions. As a councilman, Ramos has put forward a comprehensive plan to increase economic development in Newark, not only in the central business district, but in the neighborhoods in all
five wards of the city and that will encourage the creation of private-sector jobs with living wages for Newark residents, including jobs in Newark's growing manufacturing sector. We believe that Councilman Ramos has the experience, the vision and the will to fight for all of Newark's working families.

"[Ramos'] sponsorship of prevailing wage and paid sick leave legislation for employees working in the City of Newark clearly demonstrates his commitment. He supported the establishment of apprenticeship programs in collaboration with local unions," added Hall. "Last year, Ramos was a leading advocate of a statewide referendum raising the state's hourly minimum wage to $8.25 an hour with an annual cost of living adjustment. Councilman Ramos will be a champion for all of us, and the RWDSU and UFCW making this endorsement is proud to stand with him."

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Booker gubernatorial bid could transcend Democratic Party gridlock, sources say

By Matthew Arco | February 5th, 2014


At least two New Jersey Democratic Party officials appear poised to be laying the foundation for a future gubernatorial run.

Senate President Steve Sweeney and Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop have slowly begun setting up the needed infrastructure to lay the preliminary groundwork, they’ve been building relationships, and the war of words between the Steves has been fairly well documented (click here, here or here).

However, the friction, to some, suggests the North-South divide could clear the path for another candidate to bridge a possible disconnect within the Democratic Party.

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Codey set to endorse Baraka in Newark mayoral race

By Mark Bonamo | February 5th, 2014


NEWARK - Former Governor and current State Senator Richard Codey (D-27) will endorse South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka on Thursday in the Newark mayoral race, according to sources from the Baraka campaign.

Codey's nod to Baraka in the race to run the state's largest city is not a complete surprise. Codey appeared at a December campaign event for Baraka at the Robert Treat Hotel in downtown Newark. Former Mayor Ken Gibson, Newark's first African-American mayor, endorsed Baraka at the same event.

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Education Law Center

February 5, 2014

New Jersey consistently ranks as having among the nation’s fairest systems of public school funding. However, the latest results in Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card show an alarming slippage on this key indicator of State education performance.

The National Report Card (NRC) examines the condition of the 50 state school finance systems on four key “fairness” measures: funding level, funding distribution, state fiscal effort, and public school coverage. A fair funding system is one that provides a sufficient level of funding distributed to account for the additional needs generated by student poverty, an essential foundation for ensuring all children the opportunity for educational success.

The 3rd Edition of the NRC analyzes data from 2007 through 2011.

In the first and second editions of the NRC, New Jersey received high marks in all four areas. But the results from 2010 and 2011 show a significant decline in the all-important measure of funding distribution relative to student poverty.

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Baraka campaign drops 11,000 petitions on Newark city clerk's office

By Mark Bonamo | February 4th, 2014


NEWARK - A human armada descended on Newark City Hall Tuesday morning as more than 100 supporters bearing approximately 11,000 ballot petitions for mayoral candidate and South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka arrived in force.

Baraka entered City Hall surrounded by a coterie of supporters as a campaign school bus parked in front of Newark's main municipal building and several cars marked with campaign signs double parked along Broad Street.

Baraka saw the petition effort as a sign of enhanced organizational strength for the campaign.

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Analysis: U.S. Attorney’s Trail Shows Hoboken Charges More Serious

Mark J. Magyar | February 5, 2014



With subpoenaed documents trickling in to investigators and a third Christie appointee taking the Fifth Amendment, legal experts are debating which charges Christie appointees are likely to face, how evidence of a coverup could bolster a corruption prosecution, and whether a RICO conspiracy charge could be used to tie together the alleged Christie administration scandals.

From a legal standpoint, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s allegation that Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno transmitted a threat from Gov. Chris Christie to withhold Sandy aid from her city unless she pushed through a high-rise development represented by the law firm of David Samson, the governor’s former campaign counsel and current Port Authority chairman, is more serious than the Bridgegate allegations.

“The Bridgegate allegations could potentially be prosecuted under state law as official misconduct, but there are still a lot of dots to be connected for there to be serious liability under federal law,” said Christopher Adams, a Colts Neck lawyer who serves as vice president of the Criminal Defense Lawyers Association of New Jersey. “The Hoboken allegations are more serious. You heard nothing from the U.S. Attorney’s Office until Hoboken happened.

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Cory Booker dedicates first Senate floor speech to unemployment insurance

By David Giambusso/The Star-Ledger
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on February 03, 2014

Before making his maiden speech on the U.S. Senate floor on Capitol Hill on Monday, Feb. 3, 2014, Sen. Cory Booker goes over his speech, which is about extending unemployment insurance, with members of his staff in his office.


WASHINGTON — For many, it was a crucial lifeline.

But long-term unemployment benefits ended for 1.6 million Americans last month after the U.S. Senate failed to vote on an extension.

Tonight, in his first floor speech, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) urged his colleagues on Capitol Hill to pass an extension of unemployment insurance or risk forcing millions of Americans out of their homes, onto the public dole or into catastrophic debt.

"All of us, despite our political differences, share a common heritage and share a common desire to solve problems," Booker said. "I have not surrendered to cynicism."

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