Baraka apologizes to snowed-in Newarkers

By Jessica Mazzola | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on January 25, 2016

NEWARK — City Mayor Ras Baraka apologized to residents who remained in their homes Monday, unable to leave because of unplowed streets, but stopped short of taking the blame for the city's response to the record-breaking storm at a press conference Monday afternoon.

"I apologize to those folks who were not able to get to work today or (who) had any other inconvenience because of the snow storm," he said during the conference, held at the city's office of emergency management.

"But, trust and believe that we are working hard around the clock to make sure that you're able to do what you're supposed to do."

Residents have been complaining loudly about side streets that have yet to be cleared, days after the storm dumped nearly 30 inches on the city.

Baraka cited residents being out during the storm and abandoning cars in the streets, competing with other municipalities for resources, and the intensity of the storm as some of the reasons for the long clearing process.

"We didn't get a snow storm, we actually got a blizzard, and we are responding to that with all of the forces that we have," he said.

Baraka also reiterated a message he gave NJ Advance Media earlier Monday that all roads in the city will be cleared of snow by Tuesday morning.

Though closed Monday because "we were not ready," city hall office buildings will be reopened Tuesday, Baraka said. District officials said Monday that schools would close once again Tuesday.

Locals have shown little understanding for the plowing delays, blaming them for missed work days, and traffic back-ups throughout Newark.

During the press conference, newly-appointed Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose asked for resident understanding as the process continues.

"I think that the residents have to be patient," he said. "I know it's hard. We're just as frustrated as the residents."

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