City Opens Veterans Transition Center

The city has opened a new veterans center to provide services to Newarkers who have served in Afghanistan, Iraq as well as other conflicts throughout the world.  Check out the full press release after the jump.

The G.I. Go Veterans Transition Center of Newark is a non-profit office, which provides and coordinates a vast array of services and support to veterans of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Currently operating from a centralized location in Newark City Hall, The G.I. Go Veterans Transition Center provides veterans with support for VA enrollment, mental wellness, securing employment, education advancement, and financial support, among other things. The center’s opening is unique, as it is the first-ever partnership between a municipality and a non-governmental organization (NGO) to support veterans and address their issues in the nation’s history.

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Weequahic Tour, December 14th

If you’re interested in seeing one of Newark’s best looking and most historic neighborhoods, I invite you to come on my December 14th walking tour of Weequahic. We’re going to be starting at Divident Hill and moving on to sites representative of Weequahic’s farm days, the creation of the park, the development of the neighborhood, the Jewish heyday, and African-American present.
Weequahic may appear suburban, but if you know where to look, Weequahic has just as many layers of history as the Ironbound, the North Ward, and every other part of Newark.

The tour is free if you have already been on one of my tours before, $10 if it’s your first time adults, $5 for first timers under 18.

We will be meeting at 12:15 at Divident Hill (the intersection of Lyons and Elizabeth Avenues).

More information is available at my website.

Barter Up This Saturday

Barter Up This Saturday at NJIT: a demonstration of an alternate non-cash-based economy.  Bartering serves two real needs for our time: trading goods provides a green recycling alternative to throwing your old stuff away, and getting by on a slim budget in our brutal economy.

Check out the invite, which provides some details on the presentation and a sketch of how the Barter Economy works: 15 Nov 2008 – Barter Up Update.

A barter-based alternate economy demonstration in Newark personifies socio-economic feasibility of a Green Collar society.

Newark, NJ – November 14, 2008 – An old tradition becomes a modern philosophy on Saturday, November 15th from 11AM-3PM at NJIT when Newarkers engage in Let’s Barter Up, Brickerati Green’s demonstration of economic sustainability. As the recession continues to hit home and the holidays expediently approach, Newarkers are looking at ways to cut costs, stay local, and have fun. At NJIT’s “The Gallery” participants in the first Let’s Barter Up will join students, administrators, residents, and businesses, in welcoming a sustainable solution to a financial, consumer, and waste issue.

Let’s Barter Up is an initial step towards a Green lifestyle that is immediately relevant. As Newarkers bring in their like-new and gently-used items in exchange for stocking-stuffers, office favorites, and dorm must-haves, they will begin to participate in a major Green concept: recycling.

Brickerati Green’s Ninapilar Daniels is the concept designer behind Let’s Barter Up. Her vision was to create an event where all live-work-play Newarkers participate in a tangibly relevant Green initiative that relates to their immediate worries and needs, and acts as a starting point towards a sustainable mindset.

Ms. Daniels says, “The Green concept is so massive and sometimes results are not always immediately apparent to Newarkers. As the holidays approach pockets are tight; Newarkers are more concerned about how they are going to buy more stuff for their families. The Green opportunity here is to show how we can cut back on consumable spending, which inevitably will cut back on consumer waste, and reuse stuff that is still functionally new.”

In addition to goods, Let’s Barter Up encourages service swaps including tutoring, music lessons, and consultations. In order to keep all swaps equal, there are six trade “levels.” The value determined for the product received equates the number of “Green Bricks” the individual receives and then trades with. An individual’s investment in the barter economy determines the strength of the economy itself, thus contributing to the anticipation of this demonstration.

This event is free to attend. All participants, visitors, and media are strongly encouraged to bring an item to barter; seed the economy! No money will be accepted in exchange for a bartered item.

For media opportunities please contact Pamela Daniels at 862.220.2601.

NJ Mayors Meet to Discuss Urban Policy Issues

Booker meets with 20 mayors throughout NJ to discuss pressing policy issues and sending recommendations to President-Elect Obama’s Office of Urban Policy.

The transition and the new administration was a major discussion subject, as President-Elect Obama’s long-term vision for the nation will have direct impact on New Jersey’s cities. The mayors discussed the Obama plans to deal with urban crime, education, and health care, agreeing to come up with a document in one month’s time to present to the President-Elect and his transition team on the issues and challenges facing New Jersey cities.

“We are small CEOs around the state, who are dealing with rising pressures like the rising cost of health care, demands for public safety, and education, to figure out how to deal with the nation’s fiscal crisis and its impact on New Jersey municipalities,” said West New York Mayor Sal Vega.

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The Boys & Girls Club of Newark invites you to the 22nd Wine Tasting Benefit

The Boys & Girls Club of Newark invites you to the 22nd Wine Tasting Benefit
This benefit wine-tasting will take place at the Dryden Mansion in Lincoln Park next week on Nov 20.  Proceeds will go to benefit the Boys & Girls Club, a youth development Newark non-profit which this year is celebrating its 70-year anniversary.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Newark (BGCN) will host its 22nd Annual Wine Tasting Benefit on Thursday, November 20 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm at the Dryden Mansion – Newark, NJ’s hottest, most stylish event space. The Dryden Mansion is located at 59 Lincoln Park, between Broad and Washington (closer to Wash) in the Lincoln Park Arts District.

Guests attending this festive event will be treated to a night of fine eclectic wines, complemented by exquisite hors d’oeuvres, live entertainment, and an exciting silent auction of rare items and unique experiences. Non-alcoholic beverages will also be available. All proceeds raised from this event will benefit the after-school and summer enrichment programs at BGCN’s three club sites and two school satellite extensions.

DATE: Thursday, November 20, 2008
TIME: 6:00pm – 9:00pm (updated from invite)
LOCATION: The Dryden Mansion, 59 Lincoln Park
Newark’s hottest new event space
DONATION: $85 pp, incl wine, hors d’oeuvres and valet parking
PURCHASE TICKETS: Call 973.242.1200 or order online

Newark by Kevin Mumford

Newark, by Kevin Mumford

NYU Press has published a new book about Newark that explores the racial dynamics of Newark from its founding right up through the 1967 riots that tore the city apart. Check out the full introduction the book here (PDF).

Newark’s volatile past is infamous. The city has become synonymous with the Black Power movement and urban crisis. Its history reveals a vibrant and contentious political culture punctuated by traditional civic pride and an understudied tradition of protest in the black community.

Newark charts this important city’s place in the nation, from its founding in 1666 by a dissident Puritan as a refuge from intolerance, through the days of Jim Crow and World War II civil rights activism, to the height of postwar integration and the election of its first black mayor.


Bill Maher Interviews Booker

Bill Maher Interviews Cory Booker

Much as I can’t stand Bill Maher, he was particularly flattering to the Mayor in his appearance on Real Time last Friday. Maher even suggested Booker could be in the running for President himself in coming elections.

Update: ugh, the video was pulled from YouTube. Here’s an interview Maher conducted with Booker back at the DNC:

Pizarro on Newark in the Obama Years

Obama, Newark, and the expectations
Max Pizarro covers the Central Ward election, the effect of an Obama presidency on cities like Newark, and whether Mayor Booker will stick around for another four years after his first term (short answer: he will).

Booker says he’s stuck “like a Texas tick in Newark,” and to a person, his Newark and Essex County colleagues say he’s committed to running for a second term as mayor – now with the added boost of a personal relationship with Obama.

“An Obama presidency means that Newark becomes the laboratory for urban renewal,” said state Sen. Kevin O’Toole (R-Essex).

Coutinho agreed.

“I believe Cory Booker is committed to being mayor and will probably run for governor in 2013,” the assemblyman said. “If vacancies open up in the U.S. Senate, that could change his plans. But short of a vacancy, he’ll run for another term.”

Obama to Establish Department of Urban Policy

The Urban (Policy) President?
Matthew Hersh at Rooflines (the National Housing Institute blog) points out a Washington Post blog entry that suggest President-Elect Obama will establish a Department of Urban Policy. 

Despite the many national problems confronting the new administration, she continued, Obama remains committed to earlier pledges to establish such an office. “Because he began as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago, he understands at the local level is really where you can impact change and that local government can play a vital role as we try to jump start our economy,” she said. “So having somebody in the White House, because there are so many different agencies that really can impact urban America and to have one person whose job it is to really pull all of that together, is really a critical position. And there are plenty of terrific candidates for that spot.”