Baraka criticisms a show of 'disrespect', Newark councilwoman says

By Dan Ivers | NJ Advance Media for
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on July 21, 2015

Chaneyfield Jenkins


NEWARK — Central Ward Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins has fired back at Mayor Ras Baraka after he accused the council of letting politics get in the way of the city's progress Tuesday morning.

Chaneyfield Jenkins was not present at Tuesday morning's special meeting due to an urgent doctor's appointment, but issued a statement hours later calling the comments disrespectful and untrue.

She also echoed complaints from other council members about the mayor's communication, saying the group is often given little notice of his initiatives before they are rolled out.

"I am disappointed the council is being accused of playing politics when we have all voted for the majority of the mayor's initiatives - even when they are given to us at the last minute," she said.

The statement from Chaneyfield Jenkins, who ran on Baraka's "Believe in Newark" election slate last year, was simar to remarks made by councilors in attendance at the meeting.

North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos said he felt as though he were being "chastised" and that the mayor was "trying to create divisions where they really don't exist."

Baraka blamed politics and other "distractions" for keeping the council from strongly backing many of his initiatives, including an ongoing battle with the Port Authority over jobs and a proposed shipping container fee, efforts to create a new city police academy and controversy over new fast-food restaurants planned for the Central Ward.

In her statement, Chaneyfield Jenkins said she had been a strong supporter of all the efforts, and was planning a resolution to ensure the new restaurants would not be allowed to operate 24 hours per day.

While relations between the mayor and council appear strained, she said she hoped they could continue a mutually respectful relationship.

"There is no attempt to sabotage the mayor or his agenda. Nobody on this council is putting politics before the people," she said.

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