There is less than a month until Newark elects a new mayor and New Jersey Capitol Report Co-Anchor Steve Adubato, Ph.D., told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that despite their differences, if either candidate wins the Newark mayoral race, they will need to work together to help the city.
Adubato said that it is clear that candidates Ras Baraka and Shavar Jefferies do not like each other and they do not trust each other. They both made appearances on “Newark at a Crossroads,” which Adubato co-anchored, and he said that on the issue of crime, Baraka said he has every right to engage gang members because they are critical to fighting crime in terms of having a relationship. According to Adubato, Jefferies questioned that tactic, saying how can you coddle the gang members when they are the bad guys?
Adubato said that the candidates also disagree on education. According to Adubato, Jefferies was open to different ideas in terms of charter schools for education but Baraka said Superintendent Cami Anderson has to go and state control must end.
Baraka is the the principal at Central High School in Newark and Jefferies questions what Baraka is proud of at the high school because the the students are failing, said Adubato, but Adubato said that a lot of kids in Newark are failing and the question is how bad the situation is at certain schools. Jefferies also said that there has been a 70 percent increase in the murder rate in the South Ward where Baraka is the councilman and Baraka questioned what Jefferies knows about the city of Newark because Jefferies was in the Attorney General’s Office, so he was not out on the streets, said Adubato.
“They don’t give each other much credit at all and whoever wins this race I think is going to have to work with the other person because Newark needs all the help it can get,” said Adubato.
Adubato said that in the post-Cory Booker era, the city is divided because Booker was a unifying force. Adubato said that even those people who did not like Booker knew that he was popular and that he had a lot of support around the country.
Adubato said that he thinks the voters in Newark think that Jefferies is more like Booker because they both went to ivy league schools, but their backgrounds are very different. He said that Baraka is saying that he is the anti-Booker and a lot of people who did not like Booker are saying that voting for Baraka is a way to go in a very different direction.
“This is not about Booker, but Booker’s presence is felt to some degree,” said Adubato.
When asked if the candidates achieved what they intended to when speaking on the show Adubato co-anchored, Adubato said that by bashing each other and by telling each other what they believe in terms of their philosophies, they did. He said that Newarkers are going to have to do more work if they want to find out more.
“This race is not just about Newark, even though it’s the mayor of Newark. I believe that it impacts the state of New Jersey and the nation because Newark is critical to all of our futures,” said Adubato.
The full show “Newark at a Crossroads” is available online.