Nets Arena May Not Be Finished Until 2011, Ratner Says

Nets Arena May Not Be Finished Until 2011, Ratner Says
This in from a tipster: the New Jersey Nets arena planned for Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards will not be completed now until 2011 — three long years from now.

Seriously, Nets? Newark can get this done for you by next season. The arena is here and ready for you. Do New Jersey proud and stay here, do something good for a city that will welcome you here, and maintain your current fans.

Newark is a win-win for everyone except Forest City Ratner, who is just totally screwing with you guys.

The planned new Brooklyn basketball arena for the Nets now may not be ready until 2011, according to developer Forest City Ratner, as the company acknowledges that the time to build the structure may take it past its current completion goal of calendar year 2010.

Got a tip for the Daily Newarker?

Cold Coffee

Cold Coffee
The New York Times editorializes the closing of the Starbucks at Market and Broad, citing its opening eight years ago as “a herald of the city’s resurgence.”

…Joe Hallinan, regional vice president, says the branch has actually been losing money. Now that the company has hit tough times, he says, there is no alternative but to include the outlet among the 600 that the company will close.

Perhaps. But the area shows strong signs of growth. A luxury apartment building is almost filled, and construction is about to begin on a new residential loft building. The recently opened arena, the Prudential Center, is bringing people in on nights and weekends.

No Tears for Sharpe

Sharpe James will serve 27 months in federal prison for directing real estate deals to his mistress, Tamika Riley — conduct considered unbecoming a public servant by a jury of his peers.
Reactions around the web to yesterday’s sentencing have ranged from anger to mild indifference. Ultimately, no one was satisfied by the outcome of the case.

Rest assured, though: Sharpe’s political enemies will get their perp walk. U.S. Attorney Chris Christie will get another notch in his pristine record. The city will see $127,000 returned to its coffers in the form of fines.

But, the sentence handed down by District Court Judge William J. Martini was not justice — and that has little to do with the length of James’ sentence.

Sharpe James was once a hero in this town, a man who fought for Newark when it seemed that New Jersey, through its highway and housing policies, was bent on destroying it. After the racially-charged 1967 riots, James was the second black mayor to arrive in office, calling for reform and admonishing an administration fraught with corruption.

Newarkers, however, had heard it before. Kenneth Gibson, James’ predecessor, took office in 1970 as a reformer, and was later indicted on fraud and bribery charges. He had replaced Hugh Addonizo, who won the Mayor’s office in 1962, accusing his predecessor of running a corrupt political machine. Addonizio was also brought up on with corruption charges for bowing to the will of organized crime.

Because of this — three disgraced mayors and forty-four years of corruption in City Hall — Newark suffers from a poverty of hope. An obstinate cynicism permeates this city to the degree that many “man on the street” interviews revealed Newarkers asking sympathetically, “why wouldn’t Sharpe take care of his own?”

We are only just beginning to see this dogged attitude chip away, two years into what appears to be a substantive renaissance in the nation’s third-oldest city — truly one of our great American stories.

But the Sharpe James sentence, too short to account for the years of undue influence, and too long to shake Newarkers’ perceptions that the establishment is trying to undermine the city’s progress — offers nothing but a sad reminder of our torrid history of corruption.

The Undoing of Sharpe James

The Undoing of Sharpe James
My piece from April, written the day after the Sharpe James conviction.

Sharpe James saw Newark through some tough times, and was a tireless cheerleader for the city, but government was never meant to be run this way. Newark is undergoing a transformative change, seeing a drastic drop in crime and renewed economic interest. It’s time to put away old ways of apologizing for cronyism, evolve our political discussion away from racialism, call for accountability from our leaders, and stop thinking of potential partners in the city’s success as “outsiders.”

James’ approach to governing the city created a culture of secrecy, suspicion and fear that was more about him than the city. It was that very cult of personality that led to his larger-than-life attitude and his ultimate undoing. Perhaps the real legacy of Sharpe James will be a warning of what can happen if we don’t demand more from our elected officials.

Smearing a city isn’t entertaining

Smearing a city isn’t entertaining
Brief editorial on Esquire’s July feature of Newark. The most heinous crimes of Scott Raab’s piece are the assumption that Booker is the only person in Newark trying to make a difference, and the dehumanization of the entire citizenry as “zombies”.

And let’s be clear that Raab’s piece leaves no room for nuance. In his opinion, if you’re crazy enough to live in Newark, that makes you a zombie: artists, addicts, professionals, families, ex-cons, children, teachers, bloggers, lawyers, poets, social workers.

Readers of The Daily Newarker will recognize that we share a slightly different view of the city. I encounter heroes all over this city in my work at the Daily Newarker. Businessmen and -women who want to provide their services to Newark’s underserved community; non-profit directors and employees who have this nutty idea that how they live their lives might actually make a difference in someone else’s; educators who believe that their Newark-based institutions can set national standards.

Sure, the city has more than it’s fair share of needs — and we’ve even seen monsters operate here with impunity. To equate flesh-eating zombies with their stories might seem clever to Esquire editors, but to this Newarker, it just lazy reporting.

Solid, honest reporting, not entertainment considerations, should be at the heart of good fea ture writing. Wouldn’t Esquire prefer to be known for attracting readers to exceptional journalism, not sensational, yellow journalism? No wonder the public is increasingly skeptical of the media. Some publications will print anything to make a buck.

Booker Responds to Esquire’s The Battle of Newark

This in from City Hall. Mayor Booker has written an enraged, five-page response to an article that has gone to press in Esquire Magazine entitled, “The Battle of Newark.” (To see the full article in PDF format, click here)

ENOUGH! Esquire Magazine’s July article “The Battle of Newark” by Scott Raab offers another narrow, clichéd, and grossly insulting misrepresentation of Newark — its people, neighborhoods, successes and progress. It painfully ignores the true Newark and instead casts our home as a destitute, depraved city.

Instead of writing a nuanced descriptive (and balanced) view of what is Newark, he chose instead to focus solely on persistent challenges as if nothing else existed in our city and then dressed up those challenges in the most insulting of ways.

Click through to see the mayor’s full response.

Continue reading “Booker Responds to Esquire’s The Battle of Newark”

Parental Advisory

I’m back first and foremost I apologize for my absence and got married and had a baby.

Now to the nitty-gritty.

Since my last post I have notice no changes in my beloved city. I know Sharpe James is going to prison Marion Bolden is leaving but nothing positive. Our education system is still lacking. Crime is still a blight on our fair people and poverty and ignorance is at an all time high. I pondered this as a new parent what is the problem? Then it struck me EUREEKA.

Parenting the parents don’t parent anymore and I wanted to exam some reasons.

Reason 1. Ignorance- I know ignorance can be blamed on any issue but this is a different kind of ignorance. This is the kind of ignorance when you doubt the power you have over society. Every parent who reads this has the ability to change the world at home. Your child that person who Loves you most, worships you, watches your every move like a hawk, and hangs on your every word. I know your think “Junebug don’t never listen to me” correction. You assume they don’t listen but they stop when you stop. When you stop caring they stop listening and even then it’s hard for them. When you stop speaking to them and start speaking at them they stop listening. Your children need you, love you and only have you. Why not exploit that to the fullest. There are no dumb children just unconcerned parents. As a parent take pride in your children as a person take pride in yourself. I know people say well how do I do that. “I have no job I’m a single parent on welfare living i the projects”. To that I say you only go as far as you want to go. I know there is a stigma and a mantra if you will against us. Listen here parents don’t wait for your child to get you out the hood get them out first. It’s hard to find a job that can do that when you lack education. We have to use the resources at our disposal they take section 8 in Hillside just like they do in Newark. Just remember that hard work you put into getting your child to a better situation is contagious. If you want your son(s) or daughter(s) to get a better life lay the foundation. It is not as hard as it sounds.

Reason 2. Successful Blindness- Another problem we face as parents when it comes to motivating our children is, that  not only have they not seen people make it from our neighborhoods neither have we.It has been along time since Cochise from Cooley High and Ricky from Boys in the Hood were killed. The unfortunate thing is it happens so often. So many of our classmates and top people in our classes as a child turn back to their “cracky ways” it’s pathetic. This is why we must show the light and children are cruel. You didn’t graduate high school why should I? It’s at this point ere the child needs to be reminded of how hard life and your fist are(allegedly) . We have so few positive role models who do we turn to is often the question. We must instill that here is nothing wrong with being a teacher or Guidance Counselor. I would just think of how confusing and hard school was for me and want to help someone through this situation.As parents we’re human so they’re may be a chuckle at someone for doing a job perceived to be demeaning. Yet as long as that person can support themselves and is happy with there lives they should be applauded and not lauded.

Yet, I do not have all the answers. I just want to conclude I’m glad to be writing again at the Daily Newarker. Also remember parents no matter what the song said the first is not a holiday. You want to strive for a life where the first is when your kids know the bills are due. No child should have to worry about eating or having food on the 22nd of a month. I know it is easier said then done but, if you need assistance then allow it to assist you to your next plateau.Trust me when I say with out it I probably wouldn’t have survived those thousands of hungry nights as a child.

“ Th Pursuit Of Perfection Is Ignorance The Pursuit Of Destiny Is Inevitable.”

Destination Newark

It’s always tough fighting discouragement about a city that, despite all the good news, perpetually seems to have an awful story brewing just under the surface. I want to believe in a rejuvenated Newark where I and others can raise families in confidence of the future.
With summer here, the crime rate has begun its cyclical climb. Sirens blare at night across the dark city and rumors circulate about brazen crimes committed in the light of day.

My wife and I attended the Bidder Sweets fund raiser at Trinity Reformed last week and listened to the stories shared by Danny Iverson and his fellow staff members. They told of the challenges in their work of reaching at-risk youth in what Jonah Gensler from the ICC called the “forgotten” Ironbound. But the rewards of seeing a life turned from darkness are just so worthwhile that they continue on.

It struck me that we’re all really on the same journey to this Destination Newark: a place we all dare to hope in even when our friends and families insist that we’re crazy. We long for healing communities and a redeemed city, but we’re not there yet. There’s still much work to do.