Booker’s lack of face time in the city has residents grumbling

David Giambusso: The absentee mayor? Cory Booker’s endless travel schedule pulls him away from Newark

Arguably the most prolific tweeter in American politics, Booker has mastered the art of having a presence without being present. And while his detractors take issue with Oprah Winfrey’s characterization of Booker as a “rock star mayor,” based on his touring schedule she might be right.

Great in-depth piece on the psychological impact to Booker’s national agenda in Newark. Less face time in the community means less trust, and it brings to mind early criticisms of the Mayor’s being an “outsider.”

Proposed Hess plant construction vote faces opposition, terms of deal may be revisited

Paul Milo: Newark Energy Center Vote Postponed; $23 Million in Limbo

The national debate about pollution and climate change played out in microcosm during a special meeting of the Newark Municipal Council Wednesday night, when environmentalists squared off against citizens favoring more development and the jobs it would bring.

“In my opinion, the goodies they’re giving mask the effects of the plant. It’s 30 pieces of silver,” said West Ward Councilman Ron Rice.

Construction of the plant is already approved by the council; this is an implementation detail.

Detractors are attempting to use it as leverage against Hess for further concessions, but it’s not a very long lever: Hess will reroute lines through Kearny if the council declines to approve this measure.

Hatchet Job

Joseph Del Grasso, president of the Newark Teachers Union, June 15, 2008.

There is not supposed to be politics involved in public schools.

Maybe a Teachers’ Union staffer wasn’t reading the paper on Sunday before this hatchet job was mailed out to Newark residents on Monday:

The attack by Newark’s political bosses and Booker on Congressman Donald Payne, State Senator Ronald Rice and Assemblyman Wilfredo Carabello are unconscionable…Carabello, Payne and Rice have been working for Newarkers all their lives.

Where was Booker during the Civil Rights struggle? Congressman Payne has supported womens’ and minority rights in congress.

Carabello, Payne and Rice have fought for injured health benefits and the raising of the minimum wage plus safety concerns and the improvement of Workers Compensation for working men and women and labor unions. Newarkers have benefited from their representation.

Who is the mayor to kick them out of office? Where does he have the right? Newarkers have to stand up. Newark should not be for sale.

The True Character of Newark’s Mayor was made known when he claimed that Judy Digg’s took a bribe. [sic] She couldn’t defend herself because she had passed away. So much for a Rhodes Scholar.

Click here to check out the full NTU flier (PDF).

Politicker NJ: Rice Bill to Ensure Greater Accountability in Local Contracts Approved

Rice Bill to Ensure Greater Accountability in Local Contracts Approved
Ron Rice delivers a swift, crushing blow to the Mayor’s office. That is, if by “swift” you mean “eleven months later” and by “crushing” you mean “instantly forgettable.”

Senator Ron Rice, one-time rival to Mayor Cory Booker, has penned a bill to “ensure greater accountability for local contracts” — which was created in response to what I referred to back in June as “a slightly dodgy effort by Booker to push through a resolution to award a legal contract to a politically connected law firm.”

“As a former City Councilman in Newark, I take great exception to the fact that Mayor Booker believed he could push a contract increase through without getting the approval of a majority of Newark’s council,” said Senator Rice. “In the United States of America, we do not have royalty, and no local official should have the right to commit taxpayer dollars without approval of the people’s representatives – the municipal council. This bill clarifies the intent of existing rules, and ensures that moving forward, all contract discussions are done in a fair and accountable process.”

The clarification is necessary and helpful, but the pretense that Booker was ramrodding the increase through the council is disingenuous: Booker called for a new vote on the contract and it was subsequently approved by a majority the entire council.

That whole argument aside: did it really take eleven months to get that bill written? Maybe I’m too used to how capitalism operates, but that seems like a long time to write a law just to clarify what “majority rule” means.