This article was forwarded by Ana Baptista, Director of Environmental and Planning programs for the Ironbound Community Corporation (ICC). She reports that last night’s Newark Mayoral forum, organized and sponsored by The Coalition for Healthy Ports, was very successful.
Congratulations to everyone who helped organize it!
Source: The Star-Ledger
Jeffries and Baraka square off at Newark mayoral debate
South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka and former assistant state Attorney General Shavar Jeffries spoke to an audience of about 350 at Essex County College during a forum hosted by The Coalition for Healthy Ports, a group of environmental and community organizations.
Baraka oft touted his ability to work with the community to make residents’ voices heard in the city’s decision-making process, using his record on the council to buttress the point.
“When I become mayor, we all become mayor,” he said towards the end of the forum’ eliciting applause from the audience.
Jeffries emphasized his record in the Attorney General’s Office throughout the debate, saying he would be tough on crime and enforcing business regulations.
“While some other people want to apologize for … (criminals) we locked them up.”
The candidates were asked to respond in two minute answers to prepared questions about the environment, health, accountability and the economy.
On bringing green businesses and jobs to the city, Baraka said it was important to ask businesses to install solar panels and create more parks and playgrounds.
Jeffries said it was important to stabilize violence to attract businesses and offer training to residents in growing fields.
“We have to retrain Newarkers for the jobs for tomorrow,” he said.
Forum organizers asked about data showing Newarkers are more likely to suffer from the effects of pollution and other environmental issues.
Jeffries said such issues were a symptom of “environmental racism” and it is necessary to make sure companies are held responsible.
“You are gonna need a mayor … who is going to be very aggressive,” he said.
Baraka said the issue affects a diverse group of people and it’s important to take advantage of state and federal resources to tackle it.
On on enforcing environmental codes for developers, Baraka said, “I could say we are going to hire more code enforcers because that’s the political answer, but to do that “we need to raise more revenue.”
Jeffries countered by saying “we need to manage our budget.”
“We pay our council members $85,000,” he said. “We can’t afford that.”