Behind the Racial Uproar at One of the World’s Best Jazz Stations

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Published Jan. 29, 2020

 

Keanna Faircloth, the new host of “Afternoon Jazz” at WBGO.Credit...

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For almost 40 years, Dorthaan Kirk, the widow of the great jazz saxophonist Rahsaan Roland Kirk, was a fixture at WBGO, Newark’s public jazz station.

Considered the city’s “first lady of jazz,” Ms. Kirk organized jazz brunches and persuaded famous musicians like Regina Carter to perform at children’s concerts. Her parties at the station celebrating the art exhibitions she curated, like one featuring vintage boomboxes, were always open to the public.

In 2018, Ms. Kirk retired, just shy of her 80th birthday.

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Former GOP N.J. governor blasts fellow Republicans over impeachment vote

Posted Feb 02, 2020

Former Gov. Christie Todd Whitman this weekend assailed her fellow Republicans in the Senate for blocking a call for more witnesses in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

Whitman, a moderate Republican who served as governor of the Garden State from 1994 until 2001, said on Twitter it was “mind boggling” that the Senate would vote, nearly along party lines, to disallow witnesses from testifying in the proceedings.

Trump was impeached by the House last month on charges that he abused power and obstructed Congress as he tried to pressure Ukraine to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden, using military aid as leverage as the ally fought Russia. He is charged with then blocking the congressional probe of his actions.

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New Jersey’s Dark-Money Law Remains Up in the Air

COLLEEN O'DEA | FEBRUARY 3, 2020

NJ Spotlight

The Election Law Enforcement Commission reports these nonprofits spent close to $100 million for or against candidates in the 2017 and 2018 elections.

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So-called dark-money groups are expected to spend record amounts in this year’s federal elections, particularly in the battlegrounds where Democrats flipped seats two years ago. But New Jersey’s sweeping law to force such organizations to reveal their donors remains in limbo.

A federal judge last October stopped the law from taking effect, saying it is likely unconstitutional, handing at least a temporary victory to the conservative Americans for Prosperity (AFP), which filed suit in federal court just eight days after Gov. Phil Murphy signed the transparency requirements into law.

There was talk of lawmakers voting for a “cleanup” bill to address constitutional concerns both after Murphy signed the bill, under threat of a legislative override of his conditional veto of an earlier version of the same bill, and after U.S. District Court Judge Brian Martinotti issued the preliminary injunction, but the legislative session ended without a fix.

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Mayor cuts ties with longtime ally as city reels from ex-vendor’s arrest, fed investigation

Posted Jan 31, 2020

Less than a week after news surfaced that a no-show contractor will go to jail for his role in a wide-ranging kickback scheme in Orange, the mayor appears to have broken ties with a longtime political ally who was named a person of interest in the FBI probe into the scheme.

Tyshammie Cooper, a Democrat and Essex County Freeholder who has worked as Mayor Dwayne Warren’s chief of staff in Orange since 2012, was seen leaving city hall Thursday carting boxes out of her office, witnesses told NJ Advance Media. Her abrupt exit came after heated conversations in city hall, they said. Cooper will no longer be actively serving in the chief of staff role, a source confirmed.

Cooper did not respond to a call and email seeking comment.

A spokesman for the mayor declined to comment on Cooper’s employment status, citing employee privacy.

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Catholic fund has paid $11M to N.J. priest sex abuse victims. Friday is the last day to apply.

Posted Jan 30, 2020

More than 500 people have applied to receive cash settlements from a new Catholic Church fund created to compensate victims of clergy sexual abuse in New Jersey, said the program’s managers who plan to accept the last new applications Friday.

The fund -- called the New Jersey Independent Victim Compensation Program -- was created last year by the state’s five Catholic dioceses for priest sexual abuse victims who want to settle their cases privately without going to court.

As of this week, the program had paid out or authorized to pay more than $11 million in settlements to 69 New Jersey victims whose cases were resolved, said Camille Biros, co-administrator of the fund.

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I was fired for calling out ‘blatant racism’ at N.J. radio station, ex-employee says

Posted Jan 30, 2020

A former employee of a longstanding New Jersey radio station says she was fired for speaking out about race-related issues.

Josie Gonsalves, a development officer at WBGO (88.3 FM) in Newark, told NJ Advance Media Wednesday that some employees at the station — which for decades has presided not only as the New York metro area’s premier jazz platform but as a place for community-focused discourse — felt it was straying too far from its original mission as an amplifier for minority voices in the Brick City and beyond.

“When I first arrived (in April 2019), and I noticed that the executive team was filled only by white people, I raised concerns to the CEO about having a person of color on the executive team. And she said to me that there was not a training program or such," Gonsalves, a Black woman, said. “I said this was blatant racism.”

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‘Well, let’s get to your questions...’ NJ’s senators use social media to rise above the din of the Trump trial.

Posted Jan 29, 2020

By Robin Wilson-Glover | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

President Trump’s impeachment trial has been long, tedious and confusing. To help their constituents sort through the massive amounts of information, New Jersey’s Sens. Robert Menendez and Cory Booker have taken to Facebook and YouTube to explain the machinations of the televised partisan Senate contest.

As the impeachment managers sparred on the Senate floor Wednesday about whether testimony from former National Security Adviser John Bolton was essential, the Democratic senators spent some time explaining why witnesses should testify. Republican senators have questioned both the need to have witnesses and Bolton’s credibility, and have pushed for the hearing to be finished by the end of the week, and before the State of the Union on Tuesday.

“You cannot have a trial without witnesses,” Booker says in the nearly 18 minute YouTube video. “There have been 15 impeachment trials in the history of our country - presidents, but mostly judges. Every single one had numerous witnesses.”

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Need For Election Transparency Remains Critical On Tenth Anniversary Of Citizens United

By Jeffrey Brindle | January 29, 2020,

Insider NJ

 

What is good about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v FEC is that it strongly upheld the right of Congress and the states to require disclosure of the names of political donors who pay for issue-oriented ads used to attack or promote candidates for public office.

Currently, no such disclosure is required in New Jersey.

What is bad about the January 21, 2010 Citizens United ruling is that it also aided in the growth of so-called dark money spending and, in New Jersey, hastened the decline in the political party system.

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Trump’s N.J. Rally: Frigid Wait Is Worth It for President’s Fans

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THE NEW YORK TIMES

Jan. 28, 2020

Many hotels in Wildwood that normally close for the winter have reopened in anticipation of Mr. Trump’s arrival.Credit...

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WILDWOOD, N.J. — The crowds in this oceanfront town swelled well beyond their usual winter size on Tuesday, filled with thousands of President Trump’s supporters who had braved bitter cold, lack of sleep and long lines for a chance to hear him speak.

It was the president’s first rally in New Jersey since he took office, and he was greeted enthusiastically by a sea of people adorned in Trump paraphernalia.

Those at the front of the line had arrived at around 2 p.m. on Sunday and had spent two days bundled in blankets, comforters, “Keep America Great” banners and woolen “Trump 2020” hats.

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Severance Pay Law, First in US, Protects Workers in Mass Layoffs

JOHN REITMEYER | JANUARY 29, 2020 

NJ Spotlight

The legislation was first introduced in 2018 in the wake of the mass closure of Toys ‘R’ Us stores throughout the state.

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New Jersey is set to become the first state in the country to require companies with a large number of employees to pay their workers severance whenever there is a mass layoff.

The new severance requirement for companies with more than 100 workers will go into effect across the state in less than six months under a new law Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy enacted last week.

Advocates for workers have hailed the mandatory severance requirement and other provisions of the new law as necessary protections in an era when large companies can undergo major cutbacks and even bankruptcies that decimate employee rolls, while pay and bonuses for executives are preserved.

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