Go Home

daily dish

May  10

Introducing Mayor Booker

Booker1 Cory Booker won the Newark mayoral election yesterday in a landslide, gathering about 72 percent of the vote.

That's just slightly less good than his showing in our poll, which showed that mostly white, mostly affluent, mostly educated suburbanites preferred the 37-year-old Rhodes scholar to the symbol of entrenched cronyism by almost 9 to 1.

So now that that race is over with, it's time to start daydreaming about Senator Booker, or even President Booker, as the Barack Obama comparisons abound. From the AP:

His golden resume - degrees from Stanford University and Yale Law School and a Rhodes scholarship - has pushed that image.

"He's one of the best educated political leaders in the United States," said Clement Alexander Price, a professor of history at the Newark campus of Rutgers University.

His credentials and idealism have impressed national figures, making his campaign donation list read like a celebrity gossip column: Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Chris Rock, Bill Clinton, Uma Thurman.

Not to mention our local grossip column celebrity Bobbi Brown.

So, Cory, congratulations on your victory, good luck. And, from our vantage point, as soon as you can do something about violent crime in your city, we'll be happy out here.

May 10, 2006 in Buzz | Permalink


The guy presents well and gives a good speech. Let's see what he can actually do to get Newark on the road to prosperity and some measure of safety for its citizens.

Posted by: montclair_is_crazy | May 10, 2006 9:07:32 AM

Before he is anointed as the "chosen one" of the Democratic party by the media, it might be wise to, uh, wait a few years to see what he actually does in Newark as a big city mayor. Both cemeteries and vacant lots all across this country are littered with the bones of once-touted urban mayors and the dashed hopes of their administrations. John Lindsay, Kurt Schmoke, Ray Nagin, Ken Gibson, David Dinkins......it's a long list.

And then you'll have to run him by lasermikey for vetting, too. That's the real hard part.

Posted by: cathar | May 10, 2006 9:20:40 AM

slightly less good?

Posted by: State Street Pete | May 10, 2006 9:42:14 AM

Bobbi Brown is a "local grossip column celebrity?" Nah, she's not that bad. Someone like Paris Hilton is more likely the subject of "grossip."

Posted by: cathar | May 10, 2006 9:46:08 AM

Congratulations Mr.Booker,
You did an outstanding job in your race to become the new mayor of Newark.
This is the dawn of a new age for the city of Newark.

"Believe me it's going be good... real good."
And you know what maybe we'll be seeing good things in the city and not more bad news, violence & stupid stuff etc.

Things are going to get much better with Booker in office,
all we can do now is hope and pray for a new future for which we can all live for.


Posted by: Rastafar King | May 10, 2006 10:20:26 AM

Harlem was supposed to be on an upswing when Clinton moved in. How's that going?

Posted by: Jim | May 10, 2006 10:31:15 AM

Harlem housing prices are through the roof and unaffordable for long-time residents. Don't know about the crime, education and poverty statistics, but people with choices are buying in Harlem, which has to say something. I wouldn't attribute it to Bill Clinton, but I also wouldn't characterize Harlem's new-milennium renaissance as an abject failure.

Posted by: Veronica | May 10, 2006 10:46:09 AM


How's the environment in Harlem? As is it as polluted and filthy as Alaska?

Posted by: Right of Center™ | May 10, 2006 10:49:05 AM

Sharpe James had what, twenty years in office? Let's be fair in judging Mayor Booker after four years. He is, afterall, inheriting a mess. Renaissance or no renaissance, Newark has a long way to go before recapturing the sheen it once had as a thriving urban center. NJPAC and the stadium are wonderful but both are essentially fortresses. You don't have to walk too many city streets, or any, to enjoy what they have to offer. That's no way to "rebuild" a city.

Posted by: glee | May 10, 2006 10:50:13 AM

Bill Clinton is not the "Mayor" of Harlem! Why the cheap shot? Last time I looked Harlem was part of NYC and the Mayor of NYC is Republican Mike Bloomberg.

Posted by: Mars in Montclair | May 10, 2006 10:51:05 AM

Harlem probably is about as clean as any other part of the city that does not have its own "improvement district" street sweepers, as we do on Wall Street. And, of course, there is the incinerator thing -- those always seem to end up sited in minority communities (or is it just that, in those cases, that aspect loudly becomes a part of the protest? well, I count on ROC or someone to do the digging and find facts).

So, perhaps less pristine as polluted Alaska according to some measure. Maybe even less so than Delaware; who knows?

Posted by: Veronica | May 10, 2006 11:13:22 AM

"Harlem was supposed to be on an upswing when Clinton moved in. How's that going?"

Uh, pretty well, judging from the fact that they are now selling $1M plus condos to folks up there. One of my colleagues is putting down $1.2M for a 2 bedroom condo in a renovated Harlem historical building.

Posted by: montclair_is_crazy | May 10, 2006 11:38:41 AM

"Harlem was supposed to be on an upswing when Clinton moved in. How's that going?"

Uh, pretty well, judging from the fact that they are now selling $1M plus condos to folks up there. One of my colleagues is putting down $1.2M for a 2 bedroom condo in a renovated Harlem historical building.

Posted by: montclair_is_crazy | May 10, 2006 11:39:32 AM

Jim: Facts are always a good thing to become vaguely familiar with before posting wiseass, snarky comments. I trust you've never stepped foot in Harlem in your life. I would suggest venturing out of Bloomfield a little more often.

From Feb. 2006 New York Times

Don Hogan Charles/The New York Times
Bill Rohlfing, a developer, is converting this brownstone into a large one-family home with a small rental on the ground floor.

There was Cathy McGlynn, a graphic designer, and her husband, David, a photographer and artist, who were looking for an affordable alternative to their Upper West Side neighborhood, where they were putting their condominium on the market to take some profit and lower their costs.
Right behind them was Lubbie Harper, a lawyer and vice president of Mizuho Capital Markets, who rents a brownstone apartment in Harlem and wants to find a home close to Lenox Avenue, where his grandfather lived for many decades after moving up from the South.
And then there was Ray Franks, a stay-at-home dad, who lives a block or so away in a house he bought six years ago under a city program, and was both thrilled and alarmed at the pace of change in the brownstone neighborhoods of central Harlem. He was just looking for the fun of it.
Just a year or two ago, Mr. Shiu, a former Wall Street trader and novice developer, would have almost certainly rented out his building, or sold it to a family that would live there and rent out several apartments to help pay the mortgage.
But in an abrupt shift in the winds of the housing market, Mr. Shiu and many other developers like him are converting brownstones, shells of destroyed buildings and narrow vacant lots into condominium apartments as fast as they can build them and get their plans approved by the state attorney general's office.
For home buyers, this new wave of condo conversion in Harlem provides an opportunity to live in a neighborhood with small-scale buildings without having to buy the entire structure.
These apartments, typically floor-throughs and duplexes and ranging from $500,000 to $1.6 million, provide the grandeur of town house amenities, like terraces, gardens and fireplaces, and uncommonly good light for Manhattan, at prices far below those in other parts of Manhattan and even the condos with doormen and other amenities now going up on Harlem's avenues.

Posted by: montclair_is_crazy | May 10, 2006 11:51:08 AM

You're probably not going to see great improvements in Newark. I think a good start for Booker would be to audit civil government. I'm afraid the societal issue's that grip Newark are a bit larger than the Mayor's office.

I wonder if anyone knows of a good paper, article, or book that describes the current state of Newark?

Posted by: lasermike026 | May 10, 2006 12:21:04 PM

"That's just slightly less good than his showing in our poll, which showed that mostly white, mostly affluent, mostly educated suburbanites preferred the 37-year-old Rhodes scholar to the symbol of entrenched cronyism by almost 9 to 1."

If white, educated, affluent folks don't like a symbol of entrenched cronyism, how did Bush get two terms? Oh, I forgot, he's white too! I get it now; white folks adore entrenched cronyism when they do it. When anyone else does it, it's negative.

Newark's problems, in the past, presently and in the future, belong to all of us. I say this and I have lived in this neck of the woods for only 6 months. The intolerance spewed on this site from each side is proof positive that there's enough blame to go around. While it remains to be seen just what Booker will do, right now is not the time to throw him under the bus. The resident geniuses who have hijacked this well meaning portal will make their pronouncements, but the proof will be in the goings on in the next few years. I, for one, hope and pray Booker figures it out. Newark is very important to New Jersey's future. We need Newark!

Posted by: Lee Blair | May 10, 2006 12:26:36 PM

I agree Lee.

Posted by: lasermike026 | May 10, 2006 12:32:54 PM

"Newark's problems, in the past, presently and in the future, belong to all of us."

Well I don't know if I agree with ALL that, but our taxes certainly belong to them, don't they!

Good luck Mr. Booker. You have a big challenge on your hands but it's better than another four years of a man who was in office much too long to begin with, who didn't do a whole lot for the people of Newark.

Posted by: justeL | May 10, 2006 12:51:49 PM

I hope he stops the Devils arena deal. As if all our taxes aren't high enough - but having taxpayers chip in 250 million?

I'm a hockey fan but I don't see that project as a priority.

I bet 250 million buys a few bear tranquilizers and homeless shelters.

Posted by: hrhppg | May 10, 2006 12:56:24 PM

In this picture doesn't he look like a young Geoffrey Holder?

Posted by: Iceman | May 10, 2006 2:18:54 PM

Actually, Lee Blair, you and lasermikey may "need" Newark. (He would say something like that. Indeed, what else could he say?) But I doubt too many others will say they "need" this city unless their jobs are there. Even Spanish-Portugese restaurants, which used to be a commonly stated reason for going "down neck," are now common elsewhere.

Circa 1967, Newark had a population of around half a million. And two daily newspapers, plus another in adjacent Elizabeth. Even several major department stores. But at that time, it was basically also a kind of always-open till into which NJ's LCN families dipped as necessary for both no-show jobs and money.

Then, for a time, it threatened to become a kind of black nationalist experiment (remember "New Ark" and the Temple of Kawaida?), financed of course by honkies in Trenton and Washington. That just drained the city even more, along with the inevitable costs of so much other Baraka-Imperiale-related ethnic friction.

So it has a long road back, and a population of about 280,000. I wish Mayor-elect Booker well as he attempts to lead his city. It will take a lot of changes and a lot of convincing, however, for me to ever believe I will
"need" Newark. What has always been noted (and as recently as last year) by fellow journalists to whom I've given tours of the city is a) how many vacant lots remain; b) how little can actually be purchased in-city, thus how owning a car to get out of the city remains important for residents; c) how deserted the city mainly seems past around 6PM.

I realize these things are somewhat peripheral to Booker's most urgent tasks at hand. But they are not to the perception of Newark as a city with viable commerce and attractions, one with promise, which others might conceivably need to visit occasionally. Or at least accept gracefully as a beneficiary of tax monies.

Posted by: cathar | May 10, 2006 2:55:44 PM

I don't know how many actual Newark residents comment here, but let me just say that affluent, educated whites aren't the only ones giving Cory high marks. Educated black Newarkers like myself are thrilled for him too.

Like another poster said, Sharpe James (and his cronies) had 20 years - and some will still be around during the Booker administration.

Let's be fair and give Cory a chance to actually do something. It won't magically change on July 2nd.

Posted by: A Newark Resident | May 10, 2006 3:05:40 PM

Well, I'm very encouraged. I just heard on NPR that Cory Booker wants to professionalize the police department. Requiring a college degree of police department applicants is a great way to improve police department performance.

Posted by: lasermike026 | May 10, 2006 3:19:24 PM

The first thing Booker needs is to win more council seats in the runoff. If you think so goes Newark, so goes the county, then perhaps it would do you some good to get involved in the campaigns of Booker's runningmates, Crump, Rice Jr., Quintana and Oscar Sydney James. Without an allied and supportive council, Mayor Booker will not be able to accomplish anything at all.

It's not over 'til it's over.

Posted by: Veronica | May 10, 2006 3:59:20 PM

Realize though that Newark is better off today than when Sharpe James first took office. There has been lots of construction of buildings and new businesses being established in downtown Newark.

Posted by: Stan | May 10, 2006 4:28:08 PM

Click & Jump to our INSIDE PAGES:

· In Case You Don't Look at Our Announcement Box
· Window Painting
· Flatulent Friar
· Ballyowen -- The Best $140 a NJ Golfer Can Spend
· Corzine Budget Gets MSU Calling For Action
· Open Space Call For Action
· Closed For Renovations?
· Thrill Seekers
· Heroic Dudes
· Making Montclair's History Demo-Proof

May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004

A Friend Writes
April Fool's!
Bada Bing
Barista Does the Math
Barista's Sunday Poll
Betty Says
Brand New
Civic Virtue
Comings and Goings
Culture Club
Current Affairs
Cute as Hell
Don't Ask: Dating in Baristaville
Flu Shot Central
Food and Drink
From the Crazy Mixed-Up Files of Raymmmondo
Funniest Home Videos
Good Reads by Neil Baldwin
Growing pains
Help Your Barista!
In Your Dreams
Intersections We Hate
Karma Violation
Lights! Camera! Craft service!
Lights, Camera..... Roll Tape
Major Dudes
Marlboro Inn
Movie Mojo
Only in Montclair
Our Favorite Diversions
Paranoia Beat
Parties We Crashed
Party With Baristanet
Photo of the Week
Pop Culture
Postcards from the EB
Really Freaking Weird
Scooped by Phil Read, Again
Scot's Photo Journal
Seasonal Decorating Violation
Seen around town
Seen in Cyberspace
Shopping With Barista
Songs We Can't Get Out of Our Head
Suburban Archeologist
The Daily Chat
The Sunday Barista Poll
The View from Her Pickup
Those Crazy Kids
Time Capsule
We All Bow to Java
We Ask Random Strangers
Where For Art Thou?
Win Stuff
Yard Sale Treasure Map