Shavar Jeffries

Not finding $25 million in transitional aid, Caputo says Baraka 'should be congratulated not punished'

Not finding $25 million in transitional aid, Caputo says Baraka 'should be congratulated not punished'

TRENTON – A lawmaker who represents Newark is pained by the early iterations of a budget that does not give the state’s biggest embattled city the boost he says it needs.

Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D-28) and other members of the Essex County delegation sought $25 million in transitional aid for Newark.

That allocation is not in the $34.1 billion budget that both houses will consider today.

“We’re looking for that transitional aid,’ said the veteran Caputo (pictured, above right, with Essex County Democratic Chairman Leroy Jones). “We’re going to fight for that money. They have the responsibility to help this city. Ras Baraka should be congratulated instead of punished. If it’s all about getting even, what does that say to the citizens of Newark?”

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The Odd Man Out: Lesniak uses local northern political battles to try to regain an edge

The Odd Man Out: Lesniak uses local northern political battles to try to regain an edge

When the Democratic power brokers decided to restructure the party in 2009, South Jersey boss George Norcross III huddled up with Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo and state Sen. Ray Lesniak (D-20) and executed a battle plan.

The plan included making labor leader Steve Sweeney the senate president (the Norcross piece); Sheila Oliver speaker and Teresa Ruiz chair of the Senate Education Committee (the DiVincenzo piece); and Nick Scutari the Senate Judiciary Chairman and Joe Cryan Assembly Majority Leader (the Lesniak piece).

Not long thereafter, Lesniak, once a statewide party chair and Bill Clinton golfing chum, found himself losing traction within the triumvirate, increasingly engaged in a brutal (people ended up in jail, but that’s another story) local war with the Elizabeth Board of Education, as Norcross and DiVincenzo only too happily supplanted him with their new statewide pal: someone named Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

While DiVincenzo was coming out of the budget session a winner, and Norcross laying the groundwork for victories in higher education consolidation, Lesniak was coming off double knee replacement surgery.

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In Newark, Crump confident she's got the votes to stay City Council President

In Newark, Crump confident she's got the votes to stay City Council President

NEWARK - In the middle of the chaotic and cathartic post-election Unity Party organized by Newark's political players on Thursday night, Newark Councilwoman-at-Large Mildred Crump made it clear what she believes her place in the city's political pecking order will be when Newark Mayor-elect Ras Baraka takes over City Hall in six weeks. 

"Right now, it looks like I've got the votes to be Council President, and that's five votes" Crump told PolitickerNJ.com, referring to the majority vote needed on the nine-member Newark City Council. "The deal is never done until the vote is taken, but I feel strong. [Baraka] supports it."

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The Tuesday implications for Fulop in JC

The Tuesday implications for Fulop in JC

He wants this, the young politically hyperkinetic mayor of Jersey City.

Steve Fulop generated stunned reactions when he crossed the river and backed Ras Baraka in Newark over the Essex County Democratic Party-establishment backed Shavar Jeffries in the May 13th race for mayor.

Now Fulop in his home county has partnered with the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) to dislodge former establishment brand name incumbent Freeholder Jeff Dublin in order to put his own stamp on the board in the person of Laborer Gerard Balmir.

The contest has clear-cut 2015 implications.

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Newark council runoff races: Central Ward Councilman Sharif challenges Chaneyfield Jenkins to debate, calls out Baraka

Newark council runoff races: Central Ward Councilman Sharif challenges Chaneyfield Jenkins to debate, calls out Baraka

NEWARK - Newark Central Ward Councilman Darrin Sharif rhetorically teed off on his June 10 council election runoff rival, former city councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins, on Wednesday, demanding a debate and calling her out on her previous public service record.

"I am very disturbed that in this runoff there will be no debate between me and Ms. Chaneyfield," said Sharif, sitting in his City Hall office. "Constituents are coming up to me and saying that this is unfair. Our residents want to see us face off against each other."

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In aftermath of Newark mayor's race, Booker on James' role in city politics: "Sharpe never left"

In aftermath of Newark mayor's race, Booker on James' role in city politics: "Sharpe never left"

NEWARK - During last week's New Jersey Democratic State Committee conference in Atlantic City, the table laid out in the halls of the Sheraton Hotel for the re-election campaign of U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) was stacked high with copies of a singular 2005 documentary, Street Fight, the story of Booker's foiled struggle against then-incumbent Newark Mayor Sharpe James in the 2002 mayoral race.

Booker would triumph four years later, although James declined to give him the opportunity to wage a second war to even the score. James would be convicted on federal fraud charges in 2008 and subsequently would serve 18 months in prison. Booker was re-elected as Newark's mayor in 2010, and went on to win a special election to the U.S. Senate in 2013 following the demise of U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). 

But in the ever-shifting world of New Jersey politics, any politician who is shot down in one moment could be riding high the next. 

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Source: meeting between Christie, DiVincenzo and Baraka "very, very positive"

Source: meeting between Christie, DiVincenzo and Baraka "very, very positive"

NEWARK - A source with direct knowledge of Tuesday's meeting between Governor Chris Christie, Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo and Newark Mayor-elect Ras Baraka told PolitickerNJ.com that the first meeting between the three powerful politicos was "very positive."

"It was a great first meeting. The governor was very supportive, and he said that [he had] invested a lot in Newark and wants to see Newark go forward. [Christie] wants to work with the new mayor," the source told PolitickerNJ.com on condition of anonymity on Wednesday. "I think it went really well."

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Christie, DiVincenzo, Baraka to meet today in Trenton to discuss Newark's future

Christie, DiVincenzo, Baraka to meet today in Trenton to discuss Newark's future

TRENTON - At a press conference in Trenton on Tuesday, Gov. Chris Christie told PolitickerNJ.com that he would meet later in the day with Newark Mayor-elect Ras Baraka. 

"I'll be seeing the Mayor-elect after we're done with this press conference," Christie said when asked if he had spoken with Baraka after his victory in last Tuesday's Newark mayoral election over rival candidate Shavar Jeffries. 

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Payne "not waiting to see what happens" following Baraka victory in Newark mayor's race

Payne "not waiting to see what happens" following Baraka victory in Newark mayor's race

NEWARK - One of the critical moments of the recently concluded Newark mayoral race occurred in March, when U.S. Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-10) endorsed former state Assistant Attorney General Shavar Jeffries over rival Ras Baraka. 

Payne's endorsement was seen through the prism of old-time Newark politics. The Payne family has had a decades-long rivalry with the Baraka family. The Paynes and Barakas, two Newark political dynasties that share the same South Ward fiefdom, were in direct conflict following Payne's endorsement of Jeffries. 

At the time of his endorsement, Payne noted that he had communications with famed poet and activist Amiri Baraka, the politician's father, during the poet's fatal illness, and admired Ras Baraka personally. But Payne stood by his decision to back Jeffries instead of Baraka in the May municipal election.

"This is about issues," Payne said. "This is not about personalities."

And as Payne said those words, Amiri "Middy" Baraka Jr., Ras Baraka's brother and campaign manager, stood on the sidelines of the press conference, silent, his eyes transfixing the congressman. 

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Booker mum about support for 2015 Spencer re-election bid

Booker mum about support for 2015 Spencer re-election bid

NEWARK - U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) did not offer a definitive response when asked on Monday if he would support the re-election bid of state Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer next year.

Spencer, the Chief Prosecutor of the City of Newark, who joined the Assembly in 2008, achieved power with the help of the political troika of Booker, the late U.S. Rep. Donald Payne (D-10) and the North Ward Democratic Organization. 

Sources have told PolitickerNJ.com that former state Assistant Attorney General and Seton Hall Law professor Shavar Jeffries, just defeated by Newark Mayor-elect Ras Baraka on Tuesday, could make another run for elected office. 

One potential target in Jeffries' political future is Spencer's Assembly seat, according to at least one Democratic Party source. 

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: August 1st

Christie makes his pitch on bail reform TRENTON -In a win-win moment for Gov. Chris Christie as he seeks tough guy points ahead of the 2016 GOP presidential primary, both houses of the legislature packed into the assembly chamber and listened as Christie pleaded for a constitutional amendment on...

Op-Ed

The health of New Jersey's women is not Chris Christie's priority

By Linda Stender At his most recent town hall, Gov. Chris Christie accused his predecessors of "monkeying with the math" when it comes to their handling of our state's economy. But as the old saying goes, when the governor points a finger, he... Read More >

Contributors

(7-30-14) Who Is Best Equipped to Decide the Fate of the Common Core? - The latest Christie controversy surrounds his Executive Order to revamp the state’s academic... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... 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

"Potentially, we can get this done, because it's important. We get it. We understand it. But there are issues. There's the speedy trial component. How are we going to pay for this? How is the risk-assessment piece of it going to be done?" - Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32), on bail reform.

- The Asbury Park Press

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