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NEWARK SPEAKS
04-03-2006, 02:10 PM
Mr. Booker:

On behalf of the 482 members of Newark Speaks I would like to welcome you to our online community. Newark Speaks is a community created by Newark citizens for Newark citizens to talk, debate and give their opinions about all that is Newark.

In this age of on-line technology, Newark Speaks has opened up a segment of Newark’s electorate/citizenry to access that they otherwise might not have. It also gives our elected officials a chance to communicate directly with us, tell us their intentions, find out what we want from them and ask us for our advise without ever having to physically meet with us.

As a candidate for the Office of Mayor we felt compelled to extend an invitation to you to address some of our concerns and questions regarding your intentions for our city. With 99% of the posts on Newark Speaks concerning the political representation of Newark and how this representation effects us, it is only fitting that we would want anyone looking to represent us to come here.

The questions we will have for you today are directly from Newark Speaks members who are all Newark residents. The answer to these questions will help some of us decide whom to vote for on May 9th.

Thanks again for agreeing to meet with us and answer our questions.


Webmaster

Cory Booker
04-03-2006, 02:11 PM
Mr. Booker:

On behalf of the 482 members of Newark Speaks I would like to welcome you to our online community. Newark Speaks is a community created by Newark citizens for Newark citizens to talk, debate and give their opinions about all that is Newark.

In this age of on-line technology, Newark Speaks has opened up a segment of Newark’s electorate/citizenry to access that they otherwise might not have. It also gives our elected officials a chance to communicate directly with us, tell us their intentions, find out what we want from them and ask us for our advise without ever having to physically meet with us.

As a candidate for the Office of Mayor we felt compelled to extend an invitation to you to address some of our concerns and questions regarding your intentions for our city. With 99% of the posts on Newark Speaks concerning the political representation of Newark and how this representation effects us, it is only fitting that we would want anyone looking to represent us to come here.

The questions we will have for you today are directly from Newark Speaks members who are all Newark residents. The answer to these questions will help some of us decide whom to vote for on May 9th.

Thanks again for agreeing to meet with us and answer our questions.


Webmaster

Hello Newark Speaks. this is cory booker

NEWARK SPEAKS
04-03-2006, 02:13 PM
I know time is short so here we go.

AKAladyjustice asks:

What initiatives are you looking to develop your first 90 days as Mayor, and why?

Cory Booker
04-03-2006, 02:17 PM
I know time is short so here we go.

AKAladyjustice asks:

What initiatives are you looking to develop your first 90 days as Mayor, and why?

all of our early initiatives will revolve around our four key policy points in this campaign. We are seeking to achive measurable gains in four areas:

1. The safety of our city
2. Making the local economy work for Newark residents
3. Empowering our children and seniors
4. Making city hall run right: at a high level of excellence, integrity and efficiency.

so our first 90 days will reflect these goals. You will see more police on the streets, an enforcement of all our laws. You will see us begin a disperate impact study that will open up the door for pushing more contracts to local minorities. You will see us unviel a comprehensive apprenticeship program for young newarkers. You will see me push for ethics laws and introduce a new system of city hall managment based on performace and customer service.

NEWARK SPEAKS
04-03-2006, 02:18 PM
1. What are your plans (thoughts) on how we can combat the growing litter/trash problem?

2. Talk to me about improving the quality of streets. What are your plans (thoughts)? Roughly how many "miles" or road can you reasonably expect to replace each year?

NEWARK SPEAKS
04-03-2006, 02:19 PM
1. Why Oscar James instead of Arnold Karim Tharien for South Ward after all his hard work with you during the last election, btw, my only problem with your "team" ; and

2. The streets in the West Ward are in desperate need of repair. Its good to hear about education, and every person counting however as an ever-increasing taxpayer, can't I at lease drive without tearing up my vehicle?

NEWARK SPEAKS
04-03-2006, 02:20 PM
How are you going to plug the projected budget gap?

2. How do you purportedly plan to fix the schools that are state-run, which yields you little power and influence outside of the annual municipal fiscal contribution?

NEWARK SPEAKS
04-03-2006, 02:22 PM
1. Will Newark still move forward with the arena?
2. Do you plan to move (I’m embarrassed to say my mayor lives in a run down
apt. building.) and if so what ward do he plan to move to?

Cory Booker
04-03-2006, 02:23 PM
1. What are your plans (thoughts) on how we can combat the growing litter/trash problem?

2. Talk to me about improving the quality of streets. What are your plans (thoughts)? Roughly how many "miles" or road can you reasonably expect to replace each year?

I have very strong feelings on litter and illegal dumping in our city. I personally see it every day in our streets - folks rolling down windows and throwing out trash; people in front of bodegas, opening candy bars and throwing down trash etc. I think the way you change behavior is by encouraging proper behavior with public service announcements etc and other types of outreach - educating folks on what their individual actions do (the cost to the city both financially and spiritually) but then that MUST BE BACKED UP BY ENFOCEMENT. don't vote for me if you want the status quo, I will be instructing law enforcement officialls to put cops out there to give tickets to people who trash our city. We will set up sting operations against illegal dumpers and use cameras and other technology to catch these people and prosecute them.

As far as paving. . . . I can't say I will know until i get in there. . . What I do know is that we can do better than is being done now. How do I know this. 1. we have no system for holding our contracters accountable for the work they do. 2. Our bidding process is flawed if not corrupt. We will make sure that we get the best contractors to do the job and we will hold them accountable. also, we will light a fire under the county and hold them accountable for their roads in our city. We pay them a heck of a lot in taxes and they should be accountable to all of us and our leadership.

NEWARK SPEAKS
04-03-2006, 02:25 PM
Mr. Booker, (trying to be professional)...

Let me just start by congratulating you for stepping forward and not being afraid...God knows the city is in serious need for new leaders!

My questions are:

1. When you win... we (Police officers) know that you will "clean house" in the department. How are you planning to do that? Is this your first priority?

2. As an educate man you are well aware that our current director does not posses "any" degrees, only past experience of 20+ years in the department. Are you going to appoint or look for someone with a little more education and/or experience to run our department?

3. What are your plans to increase our "morale"? Officers are afraid of doing their jobs because when "the going gets tough" we are left standing alone. Many of us want to do "real police work".

Thanks for taking the time to address these questions.

NEWARK SPEAKS
04-03-2006, 02:26 PM
Thewifeofapopo asks:

1. In your campaign ad on WBLS, you stated that our children should not have to be afraid in school and that "the only shots they should be concerned with is the shots from the 3 Point line" Will you hire more cops? And will you provide adequate training to the new and seasoned cops? Will these cops be assigned inside the schools?

2. Sharpe mentioned in his letter that there is a 400mil surplus geared to job creation and housing development. What kinds of jobs do you foresee and who would benefit from these jobs? What types of affordable housing will be built? Personally, the seniors building should only be for seniors- not disabled or crack heads.

NEWARK SPEAKS
04-03-2006, 02:29 PM
Make Newark Clean asks:

1. What is your position on term limits for the mayor and council? If you support them, what is your strategy to bring them about?

2. Are there any new/novel ways you have explored to refurbish buildings like Brick Towers (and other disused structures in the city) in order to allow the marketplace aid in their rehabilitation as either low- or for-profit enterprises?

3. A recent NY Times article recently reported about the sorry state of black America, especially Black American males. Recently, television personality Tavis Smiley has held a State of the Black Union conference and has written the foreword to a book called The Covenant with Black America. I understand that these issues are larger than the city's government. However in keeping with your motto of "every person counts," what can be done from the municipal level to help alleviate this crisis?


4. Do you agree with school choice? Could vouchers be a part of that program?
Can you appreciate that any parent who really cares about his/her kid is duty-bound to get their children the best education they know how even if it involves surreptitiously sending their children to an adjoining, better performing school district? Of course, this is illegal. What alternatives can be provided for poor parents to provide the best educational opportunity for their children legally?

A broader question based on the last. I believe that inasmuch as people will refer to a "broken windows" theory: that lawfulness is discouraged due to overwhelming feelings of neighborhoods being out of control (powerlessness) that there is a flipside as well. That flipside is that human nature also likes to "keep up with the Joneses" when it's realistically feasible and presented as a viable possibility. How do we incubate positive vision and hope in environs often devoid of those things? (I see school choice initiatives as one of those "keep up with the Joneses" scenarios because it allows people who may otherwise feel disempowered to have hope to control their destiny.) What can be done immediately (of course, other than voting for you and your team ) that you feel would have the immediate effect of revitalizing (and making "infectious) the human can-do spirit in Newark?

NEWARK SPEAKS
04-03-2006, 02:32 PM
Probooker asks:

Mr. Booker. You know how corrupt the Newark Housing Authority is - Harold Lucas plasma TV, improper layoffs, land deals, etc. What are your thoughts about rectifying this and bringing a new image to the agency. Thank you.

NEWARK SPEAKS
04-03-2006, 02:33 PM
NwkUnited asks:

1. Mr. Booker given your tv ads the Newark Public Schools is on your agenda. The school board election is on April 18th are you endorsing or supporting any candidates? If yes who? And if No, Why?

2. What are your thoughts concerning the current budget cuts proposed by Governor Corzine? How do you think these cuts will affect the citizens of Newark? What plans do you have to address property tax increases, cuts to higher education, etc.?

3. Assuming you will hire additional police to address the increase in crime; Do you have a strategic plan in place for these forces?

4. If elected, would you continue to hold meetings throughout the wards with residents to allow them the opportunity to interact directly with you to pose questions, register complaints, etc.?

Thank you Mr. Booker.

NEWARK SPEAKS
04-03-2006, 02:34 PM
Make Newark Clean asks:

1. What is your position on term limits for the mayor and council? If you support them, what is your strategy to bring them about?

2. Are there any new/novel ways you have explored to refurbish buildings like Brick Towers (and other disused structures in the city) in order to allow the marketplace aid in their rehabilitation as either low- or for-profit enterprises?

3. A recent NY Times article recently reported about the sorry state of black America, especially Black American males. Recently, television personality Tavis Smiley has held a State of the Black Union conference and has written the foreword to a book called The Covenant with Black America. I understand that these issues are larger than the city's government. However in keeping with your motto of "every person counts," what can be done from the municipal level to help alleviate this crisis?

4. Do you agree with school choice? Could vouchers be a part of that program?
Can you appreciate that any parent who really cares about his/her kid is duty-bound to get their children the best education they know how even if it involves surreptitiously sending their children to an adjoining, better performing school district? Of course, this is illegal. What alternatives can be provided for poor parents to provide the best educational opportunity for their children legally?

NEWARK SPEAKS
04-03-2006, 02:35 PM
Klap Bak asks:

If you will, please share your thoughts with the board on transition. There has been a lot of talk lately, which seems to be creating nervousness with some City Hall workers. Folks are afraid of being unemployed.

Again thanks for coming on.

Peace
Klap

Cory Booker
04-03-2006, 02:43 PM
Thewifeofapopo asks:

1. In your campaign ad on WBLS, you stated that our children should not have to be afraid in school and that "the only shots they should be concerned with is the shots from the 3 Point line" Will you hire more cops? And will you provide adequate training to the new and seasoned cops? Will these cops be assigned inside the schools?

2. Sharpe mentioned in his letter that there is a 400mil surplus geared to job creation and housing development. What kinds of jobs do you foresee and who would benefit from these jobs? What types of affordable housing will be built? Personally, the seniors building should only be for seniors- not disabled or crack heads.


I am worried that I just typed out a long response on police and I hope that you all out there are reading it. My folks here can't see it. But in specific response to your question:

1. We will immediately put more cops on the street in my first month on the job by pulling the hundred plus cops out of jobs that have nothing to do with policing and the cushy political positions that many cops are in and put them on the street focused on enforcing laws and reducing crime.

2. we will do a major budget analysis and begin to pull together the resouces necessary to get a new class in the academy right away.

As I said in my response that I am not sure got posted: MY NUMBER ONE GOAL AS MAYOR AND THE ONE THING THAT I WANT TO BE HELD MOST FIRMLY ACCOUNTABLE FOR IS THE REDUCTION OF CRIME IN OUR CITY.

As far as a surplus: THERE IS NONE! This is a fiction and any honest anlysis of our budget shows that we have been borrowing just to fill that surplus. J. Whitlow brought sharpe to task for this in the last column. In fact, if our current counsel continues to try to give away 80 million from our budget than we could be facing a tremendous budget crisis in the coming years. They can not be allowed to continue along this path. I invite anyone to our coffee clatches for a more indepth budget analysis.

Affordable Housing: this is my formal training and I was at work in this area as a lawyer before I got into politics. I have a real concern right now that the city is pursuing a policy where we are blowing up thousands of more units than we are replacing and that the options for seniors and others are becoming more constrained and limited. We will work immediately to change Newark's policy. This city can't come back by removing low income folks out. We must make this a city for everyone. Our policy will be centered around three things:

1. The preservation and rehab of existing units: hello brick towers
2. Holding all people who manage and own low income housing to the highest standards - enforcing codes etc: Hello housing authority and slum lords
3. The construction of low income housing and more mixed income projects.

Cory Booker
04-03-2006, 02:50 PM
1. Will Newark still move forward with the arena?
2. Do you plan to move (I’m embarrassed to say my mayor lives in a run down
apt. building.) and if so what ward do he plan to move to?

I am deeply disappointed with the arena project. It is a poor use of over 300 million dollars by the city. Especially when we have such urgent needs in our neighborhoods. The best example of this is the baseball stadium. I was on the council and supported that project the first time it came before us but didn't vote for it the second because it was spiralling out of control. It was over 100% over budget and the jobs and opportunity promised evaporated very quickly. It is loosing money and the debt service we pay to cover the losses rivals what our recreation budget is for the entire city. And to add insult it doesn't employ many Newark residets if any beyond minimum wage part time jobs.

I will be locked into contractual obligations by this current administration with regard to the arena. And I will honor them. BUT I will make sure that I hold their feet to the fire as to their commitments. They have already been backing off things that were origianlly in the plan. And I will be more creative than this administration in taking the steps to make sure it is successful once it is built. Finally, I will do a far better job making sure Newark residents get the training and support necessary to qualify for the jobs that are being created in the construction of this project and beyond.

Cory Booker
04-03-2006, 02:56 PM
1. Will Newark still move forward with the arena?
2. Do you plan to move (I’m embarrassed to say my mayor lives in a run down
apt. building.) and if so what ward do he plan to move to?
Oh, I forgot about brick towers:

Get used to it. I made a pre-politics commitment to the folks that live in that community - most specifcally including Ms. V. Jones. I told her I would stay there until the job is done. I will remain in that building until we can secure it and then secure the funding to rehab the building. In fact, we had already done that and we had secured millions of dollars in rehab but the city blocked us. This is a great building and a viable one. It should be saved and restored to its 1969 level of greatness. There are people in other city's that would kill for such large spacious apartments. We can make that a model of mixed income redevelopment right near the heart of our down town.

But as far as where I live. . . I am not concerned about what people say. It is my personal choice. And I tell you this, you may be surprised where I choose to live next. This city has communities that are in a state of crisis. And for the next four years I am committed to making every neighborhood safe. I am willing to go to any personal lengths necessary to accomplish that as my past living choices have shown: from a moble home to a tent at garden spires. So if i win, your mayor might "embarrass" you again, but I think in the end you will be proud that I got the job done in our city.

Cory Booker
04-03-2006, 03:06 PM
1. Why Oscar James instead of Arnold Karim Tharien for South Ward after all his hard work with you during the last election, btw, my only problem with your "team" ; and

2. The streets in the West Ward are in desperate need of repair. Its good to hear about education, and every person counting however as an ever-increasing taxpayer, can't I at lease drive without tearing up my vehicle?

I want to address the Karim Arnold question real quick. I have nothing but love for Karim and feel he is and continues to be a great servant for the city. He helped me in the last campaign and I am grateful for that as I am for all people who help in this mission. But lets get something straight, and this campaign we have learned to say this much louder. Help me not because of a personal reason: a job, a favor, a grant, city contract etc, but help me because you believe it is the best thing for Newark. We have to end the days where people help a politician and expect something from them beyond them every day doing what they believe is best for the city. I am hopefully about to enter a job where every day I will have tough decisions to make sometimes there will be no right answer but weighing between competing good answers. This was one of those cases. I couldn't let this decision be made out of affection or emotion but out of a clear and delibritive process where the value that wins out has to be what is best for the city and what can best empower my entire team to win the election. Karim is a fantastic person and good candidate, should he win he will do a good job for the city. But I made a decision based upon what I feel is best for the larger picture and picked a candidate who will do the South Ward proud should they win. I definitely had issues with Oscar James from the last campaign, but I put my personal feelings aside and evaluated him on a higher criteria. On that criteria he blew me away. I am going to do everything in my power to make sure that young man wins and then I know within 6 months the South Ward will be bragging about their councilman. He is talented, committed, brilliant, passionate, a work-a-holic, and unyielding in his pursuit of the goals our team shares in common.

Cory Booker
04-03-2006, 03:11 PM
Klap Bak asks:

If you will, please share your thoughts with the board on transition. There has been a lot of talk lately, which seems to be creating nervousness with some City Hall workers. Folks are afraid of being unemployed.

Again thanks for coming on.

Peace
Klap

People in city hall have little to be concerned with. If I should win, the politics of revenge will be over in Newark. I am not about perpetuating a machine style politics in Newark. I am going to move our city hall to a new level of professionalism. We will set standards, clear and transparent ways of measuring employees progress towards clear expectations and we will hold people accountable for their performance. There is so much fear in city hall. But it is not created by the prospect of me coming in as mayor. I've seen it for the past five years: people afraid of being seen with me, people afraid of expressing their opinions, people affraid of bringing light to problems in their department - all people fearing retribution. THis is no way to manage an institution. Moreover, people in city hall are frustrated that some folks who have connections are invincible no matter how they perform. They watch folks who are not as qualified get permotions over them because of the politics they play. All of these things must come to an end for the greater good of our instition and for our city as a whole.

I will end this should I become mayor.

Cory Booker
04-03-2006, 03:15 PM
I hope to talk to you all again. I appreciate the candid questions and I give honor to this forum. I also invite folks to the many forums we have in the community. I give a thorough presentation of our four points and answer a host of questions from the detailed to the sometimes hillarious. But most of all I want to thank you for all of your committment to and passion for Newark.

NEWARK SPEAKS
04-03-2006, 03:20 PM
I hope to talk to you all again. I appreciate the candid questions and I give honor to this forum. I also invite folks to the many forums we have in the community. I give a thorough presentation of our four points and answer a host of questions from the detailed to the sometimes hillarious. But most of all I want to thank you for all of your committment to and passion for Newark.You spent a little longer than was agreed upon. We truly appreciate your time with us and hope that you will come back again when you have time.

Oh and by the way, Thanks to Ms. Sakina Cole for setting this up. She's great.

Thanks again,

Webmaster

NEWARK SPEAKS
04-04-2006, 05:28 AM
BraveHeart asks:

Your stance on school system reform in Newark is admirable in its theory and I hope to say the same for its application. Considering the large part of crime in Newark is committed by people in their teens and early twenties and that the majority of these same people are products of the James administration schools systems which have now been taken over by the state, my question is this:

1. Would you consider expanding the department's community affairs division so that we as officers can begin to help mold these young minds into something other than potential gang members?

2. I believe in the creation of new recreational facilities that are open late on the weekends and over the summer where these kids can go, or be picked up, and not be hanging out on street corners either as victims or victimizers. In collaboration with the school system and the P.A.L. a very productive program could be implemented where these kids can learn to respect the police and not fear and resent them. I would rather escort a young man to a rec center that I encounter on patrol than arrest him for a curfew violation. This can also be a place where parents can come for counseling and direction for those kids that may have already started down the wrong path.

NEWARK SPEAKS
04-04-2006, 05:29 AM
Newarismyhome asks:

Cory,
New Jersey is one of only 2 states that do not have Needle Exchange and Essex County has one of the highest HIV rates on the East Coast. Over half of the new HIV cases are from intravenous drug use/needle sharing.

Would you support a Needle Exchange program to reduce HIV transmission rates?

NEWARK SPEAKS
04-04-2006, 05:30 AM
The Observer asks:

I have seen one of Mr. Booker's commercials which gives the impression he is running for school board member rather than for mayor by suggesting he could make education better for Newark's children. How does he propose to do this since the Mayor or Council do not have any direct impact on the Newark School District which is still under state control and has a school board that is not appointed by the mayor?

NEWARK SPEAKS
04-04-2006, 05:30 AM
WassupNewark asks:

1. Safety is our City's primary issue ... Once you take over July 1st, how long do you expect tangible results to be evident on the streets?

2. What recreational plans do you have for our children?

3. How will you address corruption in City Hall?

4. The North Ward is becoming messy for your Mayoral Campaign ... what will you do now that Councilman Corchado has signs up attempting to convince residents he is part of Team Booker?

5. What is your opinion of the Councilman's (Hector Corchado) presumptuous behavior?

Comment ... 30 minutes is far too little time to engage Newark Speaks. I hope you reconsider and join us another time or extend your April 3rd visit. In 2006, the electronic age is just as important to a campaign as the pony express was delivering messages in 1860. Unlike the pony express, the Internet is a huge success and messages are delivered immediately! Wishing you all the best and hoping you is the greatest mayor in the history of the City of Newark.

NEWARK SPEAKS
04-04-2006, 05:31 AM
Blkphoenix asks:

1. The retail businesses of Downtown Newark lack diversity. Too many $0.99 stores, beauty salons, jewelry stores.....etc. which many feel helps attract a negative element to the area. What are your plans to encourage retail diversity and attract "better" retailers (ex. Target, Barnes & Noble...etc.) to Downtown?

2. What are your plans to improve Homeland Security in Newark?

NEWARK SPEAKS
04-04-2006, 05:33 AM
Prosouth asks:

Mr. Booker:

Growing up in the 70s in Newark we had after school recreation. There were football, basketball and baseball leagues. Those days were very impressionable and important in my childhood development. It should be understood that when kids are playing sports they are not hanging out and doing things they shouldn't be doing. We can take back many of these kids from the gangs by offering them a real alternative.

My question is, if you become Mayor and the state continues to retain control over the schools what are you prepared to do independent of the BOE to bring afterschool recreation and sports back to the City of Newark?

NEWARK SPEAKS
04-04-2006, 06:46 AM
Newark Black Business Alliance asks:

You are heavily supported by many businesses in the Ironbound. Business leaders in the Ironbound like Seabra and others have used their business influence there to rally support for your candidacy over the last few years. No one can deny your overwhelming popularity there.

However, Seabra is not building supermarkets in the Black communities of Newark, nor are any of the Ironbound's Banks (Ironbound Bank, Penn Federal, Crown, BCP, Lusitania, ect.) building branches in the Black communities of Newark. The money generated from these businesses go to feed and support their community. In addition Mr. Booker, the businesses of the Ironbound do not hire African-Americans to work for their businesses. Most of them won't even patronize African-American businesses. Their money goes to their people to feed their families and to help their community grow, prosper and to economically enrich them.

Understanding this, what will you do as an African-American to encourage the creation and support of African-American (not just minority) owned business in Newark? It is understood that you must be the Mayor of all of Newark however you also must recognize the "special" dilemmas African-American entrepreneurs have had in their struggles to create wealth, employment and economic growth for our (African-American) community.

NEWARK SPEAKS
04-04-2006, 06:51 AM
Northnewarker asks:

Mr. Booker,

You present yourself and your team as reformers for Newark, yet you wish to remain neutral in the north ward race, saying you have many friends on both sides of the electorate. Isn't this true of most issues? Is this not what leaders do is lead?? Corchado has:

1. Slashed and ripped Ramos signs throughout the ward

2. Fronted a another Ramos candidate with fraudulent petitions in an attempt to confuse the electorate

3. Intimidated and threatened homeowners with Ramos signs.

4. At a public municipal council meeting Corchado called the North Ward Center a plantation and its executive director Steve Adubato a slave master.

Yet with all this information you wish to remain neutral? Corchado voted in favor of every major initiative Mayor James put forth, from the Arena to the 80 million slush fund. With all this information in front of you, you wish to remain neutral? that is not leadership Mr. Booker. If you think it is, someone wasted a lot of money on that Stanford education. Please explain your position on this!! The "I have friends in both camps" does not pass the laugh test.