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?”Read More >
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.Read More >
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."Read More >
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.Read More >
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."Read More >
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.Read More >
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."Read More >
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.Read More >
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.Read More >
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.Read More >
PolitickerNJ extends condolences to Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37) and her family on the death of her brother.Read More >
One night in Clifton: Pascrell town hall crystallizes New Jersey's side of Arab-Jewish divide CLIFTON – It was the typical crowd with black yarmulkes and leopard-patterned hijab sprinkled among uncovered bald heads – Ukrainian, Turkish, Polish – Spanish Flamenco-style hair pulled back and framed by loop earrings and at...
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 >
“Israelis don’t want peace more than the Palestinians, Palestinians don’t want peace more than the Israelis, but I do know one thing: Hamas is a terrorist organization.” - U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9), Paterson.- PolitickerNJ
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