The Interview: Newark Mayoral candidate Ras Baraka - 'We're going to raise the money'

By Mark Bonamo | November 20th, 2013


ATLANTIC CITY – Newark mayoral candidate Ras Baraka knows that at the annual New Jersey League of Municipalities conference, good government seminars go on during the day. But the wheels of government get greased at night. 

“We have some very important fundraising events coming up, and people are beginning to come around and donate money to our campaign,” Baraka, the South Ward councilman, said in an interview Wednesday inside the Atlantic City Convention Center in between meetings. “We’re going to raise the money that we need to win.”

So far Baraka has financially lagged behind the other major contenders in the Newark mayoral race to be decided in May 2014. As of this summer, Ramos, Newark's North Ward councilman, had raised approximately $373,000. Jeffries, a professor at Seton Hall University’s law school and attorney at the Gibbons law firm in Newark, has raised $365,000. Baraka had raised about $117,000. 

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Op-Ed: New Census Data Confirms Real Poverty is Rampant in New Jersey

Raymond Castro | November 20, 2013


Despite being the second-wealthiest state in the nation, New Jersey has a higher real poverty rate than 35 other states, with about 1.35 million -- or one in seven -- residents living in poverty, according to the recent Supplemental Poverty Measure released by the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s 44 percent more than the 930,000 that are living under the official federal poverty level.

The number of additional families falling into poverty using the more accurate measure is frightening: While the official poverty rate for poverty in New Jersey averaged 10.7 percent between 2010 and 2012, the supplemental rate was 15.5 percent. This is the second-largest difference of any of the 50 states (after California); nationally the difference was just one percentage point.

The main reason for the high level of real poverty is New Jersey’s high cost of living, particularly for housing. The new census findings confirm other research from our colleagues at Legal Services of New Jersey and the United Way of Northwest New Jersey, which has consistently shown that real poverty in New Jersey is much higher than what is reported in the official poverty statistics.

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Shootings leave two dead in Newark, cop injured in crash en route to scene


An Essex County Prosecutor's Office vehicle flipped over en route to the scene of a Newark homicide Monday night, Nov. 18, leaving one officer and three civilians injured. The collision occurred at the corner of Broad Street and West Kinney Street in Newark. (Andre Malok/The Star-Ledger)

NEWARK — A spate of shootings in the state’s largest city left two people dead, at least two others injured and a Newark detective and two others hurt tonight after the officer was involved in a car crash en route to one of the homicide scenes, authorities said.

The shootings marked Newark’s fifth and sixth homicides in the past seven days, and brought the city’s yearly homicide total to 92.

The violence began around 6 p.m., when an unidentified 20-year-old man was shot and killed on Broome Street, according to Anthony Ambrose, chief of detectives for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office. Roughly 90 minutes later, a second person was gunned down on North 6th Street between Sussex Avenue and Dickerson Street, Ambrose said.

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Pintor Marin takes the oath of office in the Assembly

By Max Pizarro | November 18th, 2013


TRENTON - Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver this afternoon swore in Eliana Pintor Marin of Newark's Ironbound section to the New Jersey General Assembly.

Pintor Marin represents the 29th District along with state Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz (D-29) and Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer (D-29).

“I’m happy to welcome Eliana to the New Jersey Legislature,” said Oliver. “She has been an advocate for children in Newark and has made education a priority through her work in the district. I’m certain her advocacy in the community will translate well to the Legislature, which will benefit not just Essex County residents, but all New Jersey residents.”

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Is Political Squabble Behind Essex County's Double-Digit Judicial Vacancies?

Caren Chesler | November 18, 2013


Essex County Courthouse.


Earlier this year, Gov. Chris Christie was having breakfast at McLoone’s Boathouse in West Orange with Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, the same place at which the Essex County Bar Association was having a meeting. With a record number of judicial vacancies in Essex County at the time, a member of the bar association asked the governor to stop by and comment on why the positions weren’t being filled.

"The reason nothing’s happening, the reason we’re not appointing 12, 15 judges tomorrow in Essex County is because of Sen. Codey," Christie told bar association members, referring to Essex County Democrat Richard Codey.

That was in April, when there were 15 vacancies. Since then, the problem has only gotten worse. The number of vacancies is now 21.

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The power of power: Rice grouses about DiVincenzo but backs Jones for chair in Essex

By Max Pizarro | November 16th, 2013


WEST ORANGE – State Sen. Ronald Rice (D-28) paced in the wings of the West Orange High School cafeteria with pen in hand, jotting 11th hour words on a scrap of paper, amid rumors of a coming Joe DiVincenzo-dress down.

He was a few speakers removed from his moment at the microphone.

The most memorable political productions attributed to Steve Adubato, Sr. over the years have a ring of grandeur and symbolic suggestion somewhere on the order of the best Broadway renditions of Titus Andronicus.

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Joe D. backlash? Don’t bet on it, sources say

By Matthew Arco | November 14th, 2013


2013 statewide elections all but over, one of the few remaining questions within Democratic circles is how the party will respond to their own who crossed the political line by endorsing Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

The governor sailed to re-election last week helped in part by the backing of more than 60 elected Democrats in the state who announced their support for the popular incumbent during the campaign. Among the list of Democratic supporters was Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, who faces his own re-election in the coming year where there’s discontent among some party insiders over the level of support the Democratic powerbroker gave Christie.

“What he did was over the line,” said Lionel Leach, president of the Communications Workers of America Local 1039, the union which put significant capital behind the mayoral campaign of Orange’s Dwayne Warren, who ousted the incumbent mayor more than a year ago.

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N.J. Looks into Implementing Full-Day Kindergarten Statewide

Thursday, 14 November 2013


TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senate Education Chair M. Teresa Ruiz that would create a task force to study issues related to full-day kindergarten, including the feasibility of implementing full-day programs in schools statewide, was approved today by the committee.

“We know that early education is critically important to preparing children for success. A quality full-day kindergarten program provides students with extraordinary benefits, including stronger academic skills, improved socialization and a better educational foundation as they begin their schooling,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “This task force will examine all of the factors related to implementing full-day kindergarten and recommend how best to move our state toward providing a day-long program for all students in the state.”

Currently, students in the state’s 31 highest poverty districts attend full-day kindergarten. The implementation of the program stems from the requirement of the Abbott v. Burke school funding decision that all children in the districts receive a high-quality education. The full-day kindergarten program, however, does not extend to all of the state’s school districts.

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Rice keynote speaker at National Black Caucus event

By PolitickerNJ Staff | November 12th, 2013  

Sen. Ronald L. Rice, chairman of the New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus, will be the keynote speaker at the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials luncheon and awards ceremony Thursday at the Congress of Cities in Seattle.

“I am honored to have been invited to be the keynote speaker at the NBC-LEO Luncheon in Seattle,”   Rice, (D-28), Newark. “As a former board member of NBC-LEO and chairman of the National League of Cities’ subcommittee on energy during my tenure as a Newark City Council member, this is like a homecoming to me.”

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Interactive Map: Christie’s ‘Landslide’ Deceptive Due to Record-Low Turnout

Colleen O'Dea | November 8, 2013



Much has been said and written since Tuesday’s election about Gov. Chris Christie being re-elected in a “landslide” and voters giving him a “mandate” to govern.

But fewer than four out of 10 registered adults voted and not quite 38 percent cast a ballot in the governor’s race – some even skipped it, and voted only for other offices or ballot questions. Of the state’s total adult population of more than 6.8 million, little more than three in 10 chose a candidate for governor.

The estimated turnout of 38.8 percent was the lowest turnout for any November general election in which a statewide office – governor or U.S. senator – topped the ballot, according to Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

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