Just too good to pass up

Apparently, Mayor Sharpe James has been feeling a bit of the criticism levied at him in recent months, questioning his governance over Newark these past 20 years. In a hastily worded and rambling letter sent to the press, clergy and business leaders in Newark, he blows off some steam. NorthJersey.com: Professor in need of an editor (via NewarkSpeaks).

“I read your personal, jealous and hate the Newark Arena and hate Sharpe James May 16, 2006 article in ‘The Record’ encompassing a twenty-year tenured exemplary professor returning to a teaching/administrative position he held prior to becoming Mayor.”

Huh?

Trust me, an actual verb is buried among that jumble of words, grammatical malfunctions and rambling adjectives that collide without punctuation like cars piling into each other on a foggy road.

But should anyone who expresses himself like that be paid $150,000 a year to teach anyone?

Booker Threatened

Newsday: City to provide mayor-elect security after gang threat. Still a month away from the start of his term, Cory Booker receives a credible threat from a Newark gang.

City police were providing around-the clock security for Mayor-elect Cory Booker after authorities said a gang made threats against him.

Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura said a gang-related threat came from an informant at the county jail.

“It came from the Bloods. They’re relatively young punks who like to boast and talk out loud,” he said. “They’re not to be taken lightly.”

The Battle for Newark blog has more on the story: Newark police take over Booker’s security.

Booker, meanwhile, used the alleged threats today to stress his crime-fighting agenda. During an appearance to mark the start of Pride Week for gays and lesbians, Booker promised a crackdown on gangs and asked for help from the courts, clergy and social service agencies for programs that will keep kids from joining gangs in the first place.

“The mission here is not to protect the mayor, but to protect every resident,” Booker said on the steps of the Essex County Courthouse. “I’ll make security the number one issue in the city of Newark. It’s not just law enforcement’s job. We need resources to offer opportunity and hope.”

Update: The New York Times has also picked up the story: Threat to Newark’s Mayor-Elect Leads to 24-Hour Police Guard.

While such threats are hardly novel, the authorities said that the information that they received from an informant in the county jail here about a gang plot to kill Mr. Booker was so specific that they were compelled to act on them.

“There is some credibility to this,” said Armando B. Fontoura, the Essex County sheriff, whose office worked with the prosecutor’s office and the state police to assign shifts of officers to protect Mr. Booker. “Whether it’s maximum credibility or minimum credibility, it was prudent to take the action we took.”

Subway Extension Almost Complete

Newark Star Ledger: Newark light rail gains steam. The Newark light rail extension will branch off the current Newark City Subway and run up through the heart of downtown, connecting Newark Penn Station and Newark Broad Street Staion. The train will stop at major city attractions such as:

  • The Newark Bears Baseball Stadium
  • The Newark Museum
  • NJPAC

It looks like this project is actually set to launch on time! Kudos to the developers.

Newark’s light-rail city subway extension is almost ready to roll.

With equipment testing and crew training under way, the first passengers should be riding along the one-mile light-rail line from Newark Penn Station to NJ Transit’s Broad Street Station by early summer, said Dan Stessel, a spokesman for NJ Transit, which will operate the line. He could not pinpoint the start of service any more precisely.

Flickr Friday: Industrial Sunset

We’re starting up a new feature here at Everything Newark entitled Flickr Friday. You may have noticed that there are little thumbnails of our fair city in the sidebar at right (you may have to scroll a bit to see them). These aren’t photos that we’re taking — rather, they’re photos that are being pulled in automatically from community photo-sharing site Flickr. When somebody “tags” a photo with the word “Newark”, we display it here in the sidebar.*
On a weekly basis, we’ll be choosing a photo to feature city from Flickr and, if possible, provide a bit of context as to where it was shot. Some things may surprise you! If you’ve got a photo you’d like to see featured here, post it on Flickr with the tag “newark”, or give us a shout.

Today’s photo comes from Flickr user t3h_sw3d3, who takes some colorful industrial shots. Below, is a shot of a sunset over the city of Newark. The bridge in the photo is the Pulaski Skyway, which was built over the Hackensack River in 1932 and links Newark and Jersey City.

Industrial Sunset

^*^This system isn’t perfect: we occiasionally get a photo from Newark, Ohio, Newark, Deleware, and Newark on Trent!

Booker may put a stop to the Devil’s Arena?

WCBS-TV: Devils Newark Arena Might Be In Doubt. More discussion on Newark Speaks. This article is either late to the news, or just reactionary: Booker had mentioned in the run up to the election that he might put a stop to the arena if it’s a losing proposition for the city. Given that the arena is being built right now, I hope the new mayor can come to an amicable deal with the Devils.

Booker, who will be sworn in on July 1, said he is reconsidering the deal and is conducting a cost-benefit analysis because he is concerned the city will spend more than the $210 million it has already committed.

“If the project will hemorrhage money for decades, we’re gonna stop it,” he said in an interview Friday with The Associated Press.

Booker said he questions whether spending millions for a new hockey arena is the best use of money in Newark, which also faces problems of crime, gang violence and poverty. The city and the Devils broke ground in October on the 18,000-seat arena. The team is paying $100 million.

“I’m not wedded to a deal that over the next decade could cause more damage to the city if we don’t stop the bleeding right now,” he said. “Obviously my hope would be to make the project successful.”