Baraka says no problem with lawmakers seeking Newark casino

By Naomi Nix | NJ Advance Media for
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on December 05, 2014

NEWARK — Newark mayor Ras Baraka said he had no problem with New Jersey leaders who are seeking to throw Newark's hat in ring as a potential site for a casino.

Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo sent a letter to Gov. Chris Christie, state Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester), and state Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson) this week arguing that Newark's highways, public transportation and Newark Liberty International Airport make it an ideal location for a casino.

“The development of a casino most definitely will put people back to work,” DiVincenzo wrote. “Despite the economic recovery on Wall Street, Newark and Essex County continue to have among the highest rates of unemployment. A project of this magnitude most definitely will create numerous construction jobs, but it will also create hundreds of permanent jobs.”

Baraka said he took no issue with the lawmakers who sent the letter to Christie. DiVincenzo mentioned that he sent the letter again during a meeting on Thursday but Baraka already knew about because of media reports, the mayor said.

"I don't have a problem with him saying that at all. I think his position is as along as they (are going to) be voting on casinos up north that Newark shouldn't be left out," Baraka said during a brief interview on Thursday.

"So I don't have an issue with that. That's why I didn't make a comment on it. There is nothing wrong with what he said."

Newark city leaders offered mixed reactions to bringing a casino within the city's borders.

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