Local Talk Endorses Ras Baraka for Newark Mayor
I have been watching Newark's development since the inception of Local Talk Newspaper in November 2000. I am not happy with the way development has been going on. Only some people are benefiting from the system, while the majority of citizens are not. In the last decade, Newark has had a cosmetic growth rather than quality of life growth. Only the Central Ward - basically a business corridor - has seen real growth. I think for the first time, there is a leader who can improve the quality of life for the people. That is Ras Baraka.
Before I commit to anyone, I have analyzed both of the candidates and made my decision accordingly.
First, let's talk about organizational skills and experience. High school is like a smaller city, if we compare Central High School to Newark. The principal is like the mayor, dealing with diverse students (like citizens), some bad ones and some good ones. Like me, Baraka believes in first trying to work with them, and if there is no change in attitude, then use the final tactic, which is laying down the law. Teachers are like employees of the city, some disgruntled and some cooperative. Baraka has dealt with that situation almost every day. The Board of Ed is like the council, and the principal and the Board have to work together. If the principal does not like a proposal, then the principal can oppose it, but act with a good conscience and make sure that the job gets done, which is educating the students. Baraka has done this exceptionally well.
In this category, Ras Baraka has transformed Central High School from a dangerous school to a competitive school in the city of Newark. In this regard, Shavar Jeffries does not have any experience. He has been on the school board, but he has not seen the process day to day like Baraka has.
Crime is a vital issue concerning the development of Newark. Baraka wants to tackle crime, understanding the bad groups and helping change their attitude and how they go about their business. All of the residents are part of a large family. If a family member does something wrong, we immediately do not kick them out. We first try to convince him with a calm tactic. If that does not work, than we try to punish them. If that fails, then we use full force. I think Jeffries believes in using the force first, via his experience as an assistant attorney general.
In terms of working with the community, Baraka has a clear edge over Jeffries in my opinion. Baraka has a heart for the people, and he has shown that day in and out.
Working with political powerbrokers, Jeffries has a clear edge over Baraka, and by that, Jeffries can draw more money to the city. Also, I think Jeffries is a slight better orator than Baraka.
Jeffries can bring in big businesses, like Cory Booker did. However, in terms of giving contracts to local small businesses, Baraka can work with community clearly, and help them get more business, including with city hall in my opinion.
In terms of attitude, Jeffries has a little edge over Baraka, as Baraka sometimes loses his softness. However, sometimes a hard attitude works, as Baraka will have to work with many diverse people and get the job done.
When taking photos, Baraka stays true to what he is. He doesn't try to pretend to be something he is not.
Ras Baraka also has experience as a councilman and deputy mayor, in addition to working with the city council. While it is unlikely that a mayor and council will agree on everything, it's always good to have someone who knows how things are done. This will expedite matters, regardless of who is right or wrong. The people of Newark do not win if the mayor and council fight over the same thing for months, like with the MUA.
Most importantly, there is the issue of a monopoly of power. Jeffries has worked with the party bosses and powerbrokers. He has raised ample money for this election. The party bosses thinks that Newarkers are naïve, and are spreading around money to basically buy votes and put whoever they want in power. This has been happening for a long time.
I have not seen growth for Newarkers since the inception of Local Talk, but the politicians and their supporters grew big time. New buildings and big businesses aren't "Newarkers." I mean the actual people. Baraka has given me hope that he will work for the people. He's a fighter. He has fought for people's rights in the past. His father worked against all odds, and drew controversy when he wrote a poem about 9/11 when he was a poet laureate. He had to resign, but he stood behind his belief.
I think this time, Newarkers will not be fooled. To stop the monopoly of power, the people must elect Ras Baraka for Mayor. It is vital that all the citizens who believe in Newark, rather than praising the power only, should go to the polls and cast their precious vote.
I am not trying to force you to vote for Baraka, but I am trying to give your material for you to think about and make a sound decision. I want every Newarker to think twice, and no matter what, go to the booth and vote without fail. You owe this to yourself. If not, you will be in the same position after another four years, or forty years for that matter.
I, Dhiren Shah, publisher of Local Talk Newspaper, endorse Ras Baraka for Mayor of Newark.