Ras Baraka

Of friends, enemies, transactions and transportation: the evolving political relationship of Bob Menendez and Steve Fulop

Of friends, enemies, transactions and transportation: the evolving political relationship of Bob Menendez and Steve Fulop

The image yesterday in Washington D.C. of powerful U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) walking the hallways with Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop sent a signal of Menendez’s willingness to get behind Fulop and help build the Hudson County mayor. 

These two men have a history, which didn’t begin well – and they have divergent styles, one characterized by a reliance on old school loyalty and punishing attention to detail, the other transactional - which may or may not lead them to a sustained statewide partnership in the name of their home county if Fulop runs for governor.

“As the trend of urbanization continues, our economic prosperity will come to depend even more heavily on our ability to move large numbers of people in and out of urban centers quickly,” Fulop told the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development, chaired by Menendez. “This means direct federal investment in transportation infrastructure, and empowering the local communities to make those investments.”

Menendez listened dutifully, approvingly from his throne of federal power.

A lot of back brawling on the streets of Jersey City led up to that blandly governmental presentation by the D.C. touring mayor.

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U.S. Attorney Fishman: Federal monitor on way as feds reveal findings of constitutional violations in Newark Police Department

U.S. Attorney Fishman: Federal monitor on way as feds reveal findings of constitutional violations in Newark Police Department

NEWARK - Following the announcement of the results of a three-year federal investigation that revealed significant civil rights violations by the Newark Police Department, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman announced that New Jersey's largest police department will be placed under federal oversight. 

"We are announcing that we have signed an agreement in principle with the city and the police department to make the changes that will give the people of Newark the first-class police department that they deserve," said Fishman at his agency's offices in downtown Newark on Tuesday. "The agreement specifically states that we will now turn to finalize a consent agreement that will be filed and enforceable in federal court. That document will require the enforcement of a monitor to follow and report on the progress that the city and the police department are making."  

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Newark Mayor Baraka: in aftermath of Jersey City cop killing, death penalty not a deterrent

Newark Mayor Baraka: in aftermath of Jersey City cop killing, death penalty not a deterrent

NEWARK - Although one state legislator has called for New Jersey to reinstate the death penalty following the shooting death of a Jersey City police officer, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka voiced another opinion on what some advocate as the ultimate way to fight crime. 

"My personal opinion is that I don't believe the death penalty is a deterrent to crime here in the city of Newark," said Baraka at a Tuesday news conference at the downtown office of U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman which announced the results of a federal investigation into the Newark Police Department. "What happened in Jersey City was horrible, completely senseless and the actors should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Ultimately, what we're talking about here in Newark is revitalizing the system that has obviously been broken for some time." 

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Torres raises $220K at Paterson fundraiser

Paterson Mayor Jose "Joey" Torres raised more than $220,000 to pay for his recent inaugural festivities at a fundraiser event in Paterson Wednesday night, according to a Democratic source who was present at the party. 

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Baraka on Anderson after revelation of Newark school district spending thousands on take-out: time to "push the reset button"

Baraka on Anderson after revelation of Newark school district spending thousands on take-out: time to "push the reset button"

NEWARK - On the day when revelations of the Newark school district approving tens of thousands of dollars a month in spending on take-out food and catering were released, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka spoke out about his continued desire to see state-appointed Newark School Superintendent Cami Anderson leave her position as soon as possible. 

"We don't have a statutory responsibility, but we have a moral one," said Baraka, referencing the fact that Newark's schools have been under state control since 1995. "Our responsibility to make sure the schools work in Newark supersedes any law that separates us from the school system.Your circulatory system works inside of a larger system. When one of those systems breaks down, you become sick, which is the same with what's happening in our city. When the school system is not functioning, the whole city becomes sick. Our job is to fix that, because at the end of day it affects economic growth, it affects workforce investment, it affects crime. We want to look at it as a part of everything." 

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Baraka to Christie on Newark's fiscal crisis: "We're going to wear him down with love"

Baraka to Christie on Newark's fiscal crisis: "We're going to wear him down with love"

NEWARK - Newark Mayor Ras Baraka referred to one of America's greatest civil rights heroes when asked how he would negotiate with Gov. Chris Christie for additional state aid. 

"We're going to do a little Martin Luther King [Jr.] - we're going to wear him down with love," said Baraka to a crowd of about 100 people on Wednesday, while at the Newark Public Library to discuss the administration's transition team report outlining Baraka's first 100-day plan for Newark. "We're going to wear him down with that. At the end of the day, we're just trying to improve the city. There is nothing political about what we're trying to do here."

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Baraka's new Newark, built with labor's help, facing tough choices that could affect union support

Baraka's new Newark, built with labor's help, facing tough choices that could affect union support

NEWARK - In the midst of the blazing heat outside of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) on Tuesday's inauguration day in Newark, newly-installed Mayor Ras Baraka could look out from the stage and see members of an important political force that helped him win: organized labor.

Labor, especially public sector labor unions, provided critical divisions to Baraka's home-grown army during the campaign. A dynamic duo of volunteers and cash provided by public workers labor unions such as the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) hit Newark's streets hard on Election Day in May, helping to knock out Baraka's opposition.

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At inaugural ball, Newark Mayor Baraka calls outsiders home as the city gets "ready to experience a renaissance"

At inaugural ball, Newark Mayor Baraka calls outsiders home as the city gets "ready to experience a renaissance"

NEWARK - Standing before a crowd of 1,000 revelers at the Robert Treat Hotel at his inaugural ball, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka told his frenzied supporters to keep on partying down, but also to be prepared for the hard road ahead.

"I just want to thank everyone for coming out here this evening and celebrating the new transition of our city and being part of what I think is a historic moment in the city of Newark," said Baraka, minutes after appearances from famed artists Mary J. Blige, Faith Evans and Rah Digga on stage. "We're going to make some incredible changes here in Newark. If you're not from Newark, you wish you were today, I bet you. And if you moved out, we might let you come back."

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Newark mayor's new chief of staff Amiri Baraka, Jr.: "I've got my brother's back"

Newark mayor's new chief of staff Amiri Baraka, Jr.: "I've got my brother's back"

NEWARK - On the day that his brother was sworn in as Newark's 40th mayor, Amiri "Middy" Baraka, Jr., now chief of staff to Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, spoke out about how while politicos make important alliances, it is ultimately family ties that bind.

"No words could ever express how grateful I am to be in this position. We've been working for this for 20 years. Today was like redemption," said Baraka, standing on the red carpet draped through Military Park in downtown Newark on Tuesday night, guiding invitees to the evening's main inaugural ball across the street in the Robert Treat Hotel. "To know that my dad [the late poet and activist Amiri Baraka, who died in January] was rooting for us, and he's not here now, was hard. Going through this election, we didn't have a chance to grieve as a family. To finally look around, pinch myself, and see that my brother is the mayor of the biggest and greatest city in the state, is amazing."

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Mayor Baraka on Newark's future: first 100 days dedicated to leading "a city that everybody can be proud of again"

Mayor Baraka on Newark's future: first 100 days dedicated to leading "a city that everybody can be proud of again"

NEWARK - On an inauguration day in Newark whose soundtrack was a mix of Irish bagpipes, Puerto Rican salsa and African drums, as well as a fired-up speech by Ras Baraka, the new mayor's first remarks to the press were those of quiet reflection.

PolitickerNJ.com asked Baraka a two-part question moments after he finished his inaugural address on a steamy Tuesday in front of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC). Newark's 40th mayor was asked what was going through his heart and mind on the day he was sworn in, and how Baraka's thoughts and emotions would affect his policies during the first 100 days of his administration.

"I didn't really feel this whole mayor thing until I left my home this morning and saw all the police outside of my house. My neighbors on the porch, taking pictures and waving. I realized that they were doing that for me," Baraka said. "When I got into the car, put on my headphones, and listened to Nina Simone, that was probably the first time that I felt overwhelmed."

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The Back Room

As in Connecticut, Christie to visit Colorado 'often'

Travelling in Colorado today, Gov. Chris Christie, head of the Republican Governors Association, called Colorado's governor's race "winnable for Republicans" and pledged to visit the state often in support of GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: July 23rd

Between RGA gigs, Christie doesn't skip a beat bashing Trenton Dems at seaside LGI town hall LONG BEACH ISLAND – Gov. Chris Christie squeezed LBI between trips to IowaNew HampshireConnecticut and – tomorrow – Colorado – just long enough to puncture his favorite Trenton-based targets in front of a...

Op-Ed

Legislation needed to restore balance in election financing

By JEFF BRINDLE Much has been written about the magnitude of campaign spending by independent special interest groups.  But until now, there has been little discussion about the impact. During the 2012 Presidential and Congressional contests,... Read More >

Contributors

 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »
(7-23-14) Rabner Opinion Keeps “Christie for President” Alive - Gov. Chris Christie’s fight to prevent same-sex marriage in New Jersey ended with Chief Justice Stuart Rabner.... more »
The Perry-Paul Debate is Healthy for the GOP – and for America  The foreign policy debate in the media between prospective GOP Presidential candidates Texas Governor Rick Perry and... more »
(Washington DC)-- Two recent votes on Capitol Hill suggest an overdue and radical departure from our nation's Draconian and costly War on Drugs.  It's a long-overdue discussion (and not just... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

“We lived up to our end of the bargain. He didn’t live up to his end of the deal.” - Ed Connolly, president of the New Jersey Firemen’s Benevolent Association.

- The Bergen Record

Poll

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