CAMDEN - The protests in Ferguson, MO, may have dissipated as national outrage over the killing of an unarmed black teen slowly fades to a whisper, but that hasn't stopped justice-seeking activist in New Jersey from continuing to embrace the cause: justice for Michael Brown.
"I stop by today to tell you that there is hope in hopeless times," said Pastor Rosalyn Parker, of Taste of Heavens Ministries, and one of several residents, faith and labor leaders, and civil rights activists who gathered here today to call on state and federal authorities to bring justice to the situation in Ferguson. "These things are happening year after year after year. We have to ask ourselves -- what must be done?"Read More >
NEWARK - The images of exploding Molotov cocktails lighting up the brutal, after-dark duel between protesters and police in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri earlier this month served to spur memories of the days that ripped apart Newark's soul in 1967.
In Ferguson, after an unarmed 18-year-old African-American male was fatally shot by a white Ferguson police officer on August 9, the streets of the Saint Louis suburb erupted. After almost two weeks of furious demonstrations and the introduction of the National Guard, Ferguson has simmered down as federal investigations ensue.
In Newark, the July 1967 arrest of a Newark taxi driver by two white police officers opened up the gates of Hell. Six days of shooting, looting, death and destruction left 26 people dead, a situation many observers and historians say was made worse by the presence of the National Guard. Federal and state investigations tried to the get to the core of the problems that led to what some called a riot, others a rebellion. Meanwhile, Newark went into an economic and population tail spin from which it took decades to significantly recover.
One dark thread of discord unites Newark in 1967 and Ferguson in 2014 - the under-representation of minorities in the city government and police department. Seven members out of the nine-member Newark City Council were white when the 1967 civil disturbances began, and few of the faces on the police force were black, at the moment when the majority of the city's population had shifted in favor of African-Americans.Read More >
NEWARK - The school year is set to start next week in the state's largest city, but many Newark residents feel schooled by what they see as a confusing school enrollment plan put in place by the controversial One Newark school reorganization plan.
"I can't find the right school for my kids," said Yahira Mallol of Newark's North Ward on Tuesday afternoon, standing outside of Newark Vocational High School on West Kinney Street moments after she enrolled her daughters, Yarlissa, 15, and Noelia, 11. At this point, Yarlissa has been placed in a North Ward high school, while Noelia could be placed in a South Ward grammar school. "In Georgia, where we used to live, if you come from out of state, you don't have to wait. You just sign up, and you go to school."Read More >
JERSEY CITY – U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics compiled during the first year of the administration of Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop show New Jersey's second-largest city has outpaced both the nation and state in reducing the unemployment rate, with a decline that doubles the national average, according to a press release issued by the Jersey City government. At 7.8 percent, Jersey City also has the lowest unemployment rate of any large city in New Jersey.
Figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor indicate that from June 2013 through June 2014, Jersey City’s unemployment rate dropped from 10.6 percent to 7.8 percent, representing a 2.8 percent decline, while New Jersey’s only dropped 1.8 percent during the same period and the nation’s unemployment rate fell 1.4 percent.
Jersey City has also closed the gap with neighboring New York City, as New York City had a 7.7 percent unemployment rate as of June 2014.Read More >
CAMDEN - Two weeks after the mayors of New Jersey's three largest cities announced they are going to partner together to fight crime, the mayor of South Jersey's largest city said that she was willing to work with the northern alliance to fight the same scourge.
"I'm willing to share my experiences with some of the things we've done, not just to work with the state, but along with federal partners," said Camden Mayor Dana Redd, who presides over New Jersey's 12th largest city, on Monday following the announcement of a $1.1 million federal grant for a Camden youth education and training center.
Redd's response to the North Jersey anti-crime initiative comes after a July 28 announcement by Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and Paterson Mayor Jose "Joey" Torres that the urban mayoral triumvirate would team up to stem a wave of violent crime. A combined police push will include information-sharing between departments and a more closely unified, cross-jurisdictional crime-fighting effort.Read More >
CAMDEN - With recent polls showing a closer-than-expected battle with Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Bell, incumbent Democrat U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) laced into Bell on Monday, implying that Bell is part of the problem, not the solution, to partisan gridlock in Washington, D.C..
"I told voters in the last election that I was going to go down there not to be a partisan - I was going down there to build bridges so we could actually get things done for the people in state of New Jersey," said Booker, who defeated GOP conservative Steve Lonegan by 11 percentage points in the special U.S. Senate election in October 2013 to replace the late U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg. "In a very short period of time, I've already got legislation moving with a number of Republicans. From working with U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) on apprenticeship programs, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) on expanding resources for public schools to expand their school year and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), a potential presidential candidate, on expanding access to spectrum [Internet] broadband penetration for disadvantaged folk - this is really the norm.
"I'm demonstrating to voters that I don't want to be a part of the partisan gridlock," Booker added. "I'm going to break through that."Read More >
PolitickerNJ reporter Mark Bonamo will appear on a weekend public interest television program.Read More >
NEWARK - U.S. Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-10) stood wharfside on Thursday in Port Newark, holding a press conference to discuss his efforts against what he believes are the damaging effects of employee misclassification on workers and therefore the regional economy.
In a conversation with PolitickerNJ, Payne, Jr. made sure that his intentions regarding two of the most important upcoming elections in New Jersey were not misclassified - the 2017 governor's race and the 2016 Democratic presidential primary contest.
"I'm not thinking about that. I'm trying to learn to be a Congressman," said Payne, Jr., elected in 2012, when asked if he wanted his name to be thrown into the potential 2017 Democratic primary contest ring along with possible candidates Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop and state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3). "I have an obligation to do the job they elected me to.
"People have come to me to say that they think that I had something to offer, but I really wanted to serve in the city of Newark," added Payne, Jr., 55, a former Newark city council president, Essex County freeholder and the son of the late U.S. Rep. Donald Payne (D-10). "Newark was something that was in my heart. I'm living on the same street as three generations of Paynes. I'm not going anywhere. I'll probably die on that street."Read More >
MONTCLAIR - A grassroots coalition of activists and workers delivered thousands of petitions to five New Jersey municipal governments on Tuesday in an attempt to boost the drive to place local ordinances that would guarantee the right of the municipalities’ private sector workers to earn paid sick days on the ballot.
The petition drive specifically targeted the municipalities of Irvington, Montclair, Passaic, Paterson, and Trenton. Newark and Jersey City have already enacted earned sick days laws. On Monday, East Orange introduced similar legislation. If enacted, the ordinances would cover 74,000 workers who are unable to earn paid sick days to care for themselves or their families in the event of an illness. Combined with Newark and Jersey City, a full 144,000 workers will have received the right to earn sick days through local ordinances.
“Today New Jerseyans around the state have delivered an unmistakable message to their elected leaders: earned sick days should be a basic workplace right,” said Analilia Mejia, executive director of New Jersey Working Families. “Voters understand that no workers should ever be forced to choose between their paycheck and their health. We all get sick, so we all need the time to care for ourselves and our families when illness strikes.”Read More >
TRENTON - State Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32) announced on Wednesday that the Assembly will begin considering earned sick leave legislation in September, beginning the push to require earned sick leave for workers in the state.
State Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt (D-6) has introduced earned sick leave legislation (A-2354) that would allow workers to accrue one hour of earned sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Prieto said the bill will be considered by the Assembly Labor Committee.
Jersey City and Newark have recently adopted earned sick leave ordinances, along with New York City and Portland, Oregon. Several other New Jersey municipalities are considering the concept. If the proposed legislation is passed, New Jersey would follow Connecticut, which in 2011 became the first state to pass legislation requiring employers to allow workers to earn paid sick leave.
“New Jersey’s middle-class and working poor have waited far too long for this basic step forward in worker rights,” said Prieto in a written statement. “I support every local effort to adopt this pro-worker policy, but I also feel strongly that this must be a statewide policy that helps all workers. This would especially benefit workers in the health, education, social services, hospitality and retail industries and provide needed assistance to part-timers, all while improving morale and reducing the spread of illness in the workplace. Earned sick leave is a modern and sensible workplace policy that is good for business and will prove crucial to New Jersey’s economic future, stability and strength.”Read More >
A polling memo prepared by a company with ties to Gov. Chris Christie shows public support for red light cameras.Read More >
Belmar mayor's race: a wave of post-Sandy project politics stirs up seaside Monmouth borough BELMAR - When Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty rolled out his re-election campaign in February, he did so still basking in the glow of what many residents of the 6,000-person Monmouth County seaside borough saw...
By MICHAEL W. KLEIN In his weekly radio address on August 16, President Obama challenged colleges “to do their part to bring down costs” and lighten the tuition burden on students. The state colleges and universities in New Jersey have... Read More >
"Christie’s method for coping with scandal has been more complicated. In January, the seemingly-local issue of lane closings on the George Washington Bridge, which created a massive traffic jam in the Hudson River town of Fort Lee, became one of national interest when it was revealed that one of Christie’s closest staffers had ordered them—for what looked like political retribution against a Democratic mayor. The scandal was quickly dubbed 'Bridgegate,' and unfortunately for Christie, it played into his reputation as a bully. Christie's response was to act unlike himself: humble." - Olivia Nuzzi- The Daily Beast
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