Wally Edge: If Booker gets less than 60%, is his star quality tarnished?

Wally Edge: If Booker gets less than 60%, is his star quality tarnished?

Newark Mayor Cory Booker has two opponents in the May 11 election: 67-year-old former judge and prosecutor Clifford Minor, and the expectations game.

The charismatic Booker, with a 17-1 fundraising advantage, is likely to win re-election to as second term against the quiet and reserved Minor, who has the backing of what is left of Sharpe James’ old machine. The problem for Booker is that he won with 75% of the vote four years ago (against a formidable opponent, State Sen. Ronald Rice) and then went on to become a national media sensation.

The defeat of Gov. Jon Corzine last fall makes Booker a leading candidate for the 2013 Democratic nomination for governor, if he wants it. But a lackluster victory against a bland, relatively unknown, underfinanced opponent – perhaps anything under 60% — might create the impression that local voters don’t think Booker is as good as his friends in Washington, Chicago and Hollywood think he is. That might make his front runner status in the next gubernatorial primary less automatic.

But this is Newark

But this is Newark
The insightful Carl Sharif provides the insider angle on the nearly successful sabotage of Janey’s relationship with the city administration.

The idea of the story was to feed an ongoing strategy to isolate Booker. By pitting him in a struggle with Governor Corzine over the selection of Janey as superintendent, Booker was to be portrayed as against the best interests of Newark school children. It also sought to fan contention between Mayor Booker and Steve Adubato, with whom Booker has had a series of recent dust-ups. Adubato is quoted in the Ledger piece as making a statement that has not been verified and is not likely to be verifiable. Nonetheless, the planted Booker/Corzine/anti-Janey feud story is being peddled all over town and Steve Adubato is now being blamed for it.

According to the story, Booker favored Ross Danis for the job. Steve is quoted as saying of the mayor, “Everybody knows he was with Danis … I don’t think it’s right to have a position and keep it a secret.” Now analyze Steve’s comment. It states a falsehood, accuses the mayor of wrongful behavior and condemns him for harboring a secret. This is pretty powerful stuff. And were it accurate, it might be damning. But it’s just dead wrong.

Gov. Jon Corzine introduces Clifford Janey as Newark’s next schools superintendent

Gov. Jon Corzine introduces Clifford Janey as Newark’s next schools superintendent
It’s official, ex-Washington D.C. school superintendent will run the $1 billion Newark public school operation.

“I believe in high performing schools that have universal access to individuals, families and communities” he said. “I believe in teaching and learning environments that are safe and enabling. I believe in results that are based on proven practices, not gimmicks. I believe in working with engaged communities.”

Janey was introduced during an afternoon press conference at the nearly completed new Central High School building. State Education Commissioner Lucille Davy, outgoing Superintendent Marion Bolden, Mayor Cory Booker and other state and local officials attended the event.

Corzine expected to pick former D.C. schools head for Newark post

Corzine expected to pick former D.C. schools head for Newark post

Before calling Janey with the offer, Corzine will have a final meeting Friday at Drumthwacket with Newark Mayor Cory Booker to discuss the decision, the sources said. A formal announcement is planned for early next week, they said.

The nomination would next go to the state Board of Education for final approval, possibly at its next scheduled meeting on June 18. The 41,000-student district has been under state operation since 1995, giving the state power to hire and fire its superintendent.

Politicker NJ: Corzine presses for statewide schools construction funds in the Ironbound

Corzine presses for statewide schools construction funds in the Ironbound

Gov. Jon Corzine stood with Assemblyman Albert Coutinho (D-Newark), Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer (D-Newark) and other lawmakers in the East Ward today and promised to back legislation to pay for new urban schools construction.

“We need action before June 30th, so that we can fulfill our Constitutional obligation to provide our children with a thorough and efficient education,” said the governor, moments after taking a tour of the Oliver Street Elementary School.

“What we saw today were tremendously energetic teachers teaching a special education class in a closet,” said Coutinho, in an address to students and reporters in the school parking lot following the governor’s tour. “What we saw was a school that is 40% over the student population limit, which is the average in the East Ward.

Corzine said Coutinho’s legislation would carve $2.5 billion out of income tax receipts to replace schools such as the Oliver Street School.

“Let’s put the pressure on Trenton to fight to get these schools built,” Corzine said to applause.

Star Ledger: Corzine to review 3 finalists to head Newark schools

Corzine to review 3 finalists to head Newark schools
Its interesting — and a litle bewildering — that in the current political climate, there are three stakeholders in our public schools apart from the kids and their parents: the state, who appoints the superintendent; the city administration, who has no direct influence over the schools: and the teachers’ union, whose primary role appears to be to antagonize the city with outrageous billboard advertisements.

Three candidates will be considered by Gov. Jon Corzine to lead the state’s largest district, with more than 80 schools, 42,000 students and a nearly $1 billion budget.

Former Washington, D.C., Superintendent Clifford Janey, Providence Superintendent Donnie W. Evans, and Ross Danis, former Randolph assistant superintendent and program director of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, were selected from 45 candidates who applied for the job to replace Superintendent Marion Bolden.

The candidates were selected by a committee, appointed by Corzine, that has met regularly since the beginning of the year, said committee chair and Rutgers-Newark history professor Clement Price. “We were rigorous in our deliberations, exacting when researching references, and wanted candidates whose qualifications, values and experiences spoke directly to what we heard from the community and city stakeholders,” he said.

“I find it remarkable there are three candidates and there is not one Newarker involved,” said Newark Teachers Union president Joseph Del Grosso. “What does that say for the people who have labored in Newark?”

Amusing sidebar: unless he’s changed his home address, Del Grasso himself is not a “Newarker”. Does he actually mean with this quote people who live in Newark, people who work here, or both?

Corzine on the Line on Thirteen/WNET

Corzine on the Line on Thirteen/WNET
A reader from Thirteen/WNET wrote in to let me know about a new show debuting with Governor Corzine to discuss issues on the air with callers. Details below:

CORZINE ON THE LINE, the live interactive show airing on Thirteen/WNET May 22 at 8 p.m. in which Gov. Corzine answers questions submitted by New Jerseyans.

New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine will join Emmy Award-winning anchor Steve Adubato for a new edition of Corzine on the Line, a LIVE one-hour interactive program addressing a variety of telephone and e-mail questions posed by New Jersey citizens.

He is expected to address a range of issues including the state’s current budget crisis and his much-criticized fiscal restructuring proposals. He’ll also tackle issues related to the improvement and maintenance of our state’s highways, bridges and transportation systems, as well as the preservation of New Jersey’s natural resources.