The State of The City

Mayor Baraka reports how we are transforming Newark

Newark Students Are Beating The Odds

2016 Newark State of the City - Mayor Ras J. Baraka - "SUCCESS STORIES"
Mayor Baraka discusses how Newark schoolchildren are better at beating the odds than many cities around the nation. Take a listen as he talks about the notable graduation rate of students at schools such as Science High and Bard.

Record-Breaking Revenue Collection Closes The Budget Gap

2016 Newark State of the City - Mayor Ras J. Baraka - "Record Breaking Revenue"
In 2015, under Mayor Baraka’s leadership, the City of Newark set an all-time record for the collection of revenue. And that’s just the beginning! Click below to hear more about how Newark’s revenue generating efforts will assist with much-needed capital improvement projects.

Innovative Program Will Create More Jobs for Newarkers

2016 Newark State of the City - Mayor Ras J. Baraka - "INVESTING IN NEWARK"
Mayor Baraka is authoring legislation that will allow businesses who employ 51% or more of Newarkers in their organization to receive payroll tax abatement. Hear more about his vision for incentivizing the hiring of Newarkers.

Want More?

VIEW the entire State of the City Speech, READ the text of the full speech, or DOWNLOAD the Booklet of Newark Accomplishments here.

Mayor Baraka Says State Controlled School Administration Did Not Care Enough to Protect Newark Children from Lead

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Last week, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced the results of its review of water test results dating back to the 2012-13 school year. They revealed that from the present back to 2012, 10-12% of the water samples had lead higher than the federal action level of 15 parts per billion. The Newark Public Schools (NPS) also revealed that water in the schools has been tested for lead going back at least to 2004, and says that NPS is in the process of obtaining the older test results.

Mayor Baraka says, “If tests for lead have been conducted since 2004, it is obvious that the state-controlled NPS has known about the lead problem for at least twelve years if not more. Yet, during this period, the people of Newark, especially our parents and children, were not told that the problem exists. We don’t believe that the NPS deliberately hid the problem, but we think it was a poor decision not to inform the public. We are happy that the present superintendent had the sense to reveal the problem. But we know that the State did not care enough about the problem to take the real but expensive steps to permanently protect the lives and health of our children.

“It is hard to imagine that a serious threat to the health of our children would have continued for so long in secrecy under a school administration chosen by representatives of the people of Newark. Two decades of state control have allowed this problem to fester. It is time for the state to return control of our schools to the people and pay for a solution that is effective and long-term.”

Read more on this story here.

More than 50 years ago, people were fighting for a Civilian Review Board. It took Mayor Baraka to make it happen.

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Long before he was elected Mayor, Ras Baraka strongly advocated the creation of a civilian complaint review board. Citizens who suffered police misconduct knew that their complaints to the police department were routinely ignored. The U.S. Department of Justice also found that complaints of police misconduct were seldom taken seriously by the Newark Police.

Times are changing. Last week, The Newark Municipal Council approved Mayor Baraka's plan for creation of a Civilian Complaint Review Board for the Police Department. The Board will have the power to investigate complaints against members of the Newark Police Department. None of its members, excluding the Inspector General, will be current or former employees of the Newark Police Department. Members will be appointed by the Mayor, chosen by the Council, and represent community organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union.

Read more on this story here.

Newark Residents Invited to Rate Police Behavior

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Newark residents will now be able to give their feedback on how the Newark Police Department does its job, through phone surveys of 1,500 randomly selected citizens. The phone survey will ask citizens to rate individual officers and the department on such measures as demeanor and response time, with the results to be used in training and as a guide in corrective action. Follow-up surveys will be carried out to assess progress.

The new initiative was developed by Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose. These surveys are another important step towards giving the people of Newark input in the decisions that are being made with regards to public safety and will help improve cooperation between citizens and the police.

Read more on this story here.

Mayor Baraka Speaks Out for a $15 Minimum Wage

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Mayor Baraka joined the Black Mayors Association, the Urban Mayors Association, and the “Fight for $15 in New Jersey” advocates for workers in urging the State Legislature to raise the state Minimum Wage to $15 an hour, at a press conference last week. He also called for the legislators to raise wages for tipped workers, and to fight wage theft.

Nationally, the Fight for $15 began as a movement of fast food workers fighting for higher wages and the right to organize, and has since transformed into a nationwide movement that has won a series of victories in Seattle, San Francisco, and New York. The Fight for $15 in New Jersey was launched nearly a year ago with a massive rally on the Newark City Hall steps. Since then, local and county-level endorsements have prompted state legislative leaders to propose a ballot initiative gradually raising the minimum wage from its current $8.38 to $15.

Read more on this story here.

Join Us for A Free Preview Screening of The Black Panthers

Wednesday, March 23rd, 6-9pm

360 Springfield Avenue

Newark, NJ

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Learn What's Happening in our Schools at Mayor Baraka's Education Forum

Monday, March 28th, 6:30-8:30pm

246 18th Avenue

Newark, NJ

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Occupy The Block! Taking Back Our Streets

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In May 2015, following the shooting death of a young Black male on Mother’s Day, Mayor Baraka launched an anti-violence movement, “Occupy the Block”, which builds on a community-engagement model that seeks to disrupt harmful social constructs through positive activities. Each week, the Mayor, City leaders and workers and community organizers, would come together for several days a week on different city blocks that had been besieged by crime and violence and bring out music, chess sets, and other games. Occupy the Block allowed residents to walk their streets without fear and Newarkers embraced and supported the Mayor’s efforts.

The movement took time off during the harshest winter months but Mayor Baraka announced that Occupy the Block will resume beginning Wednesday, March 23 at 5:30. We hope that you will join us and invite your neighbors, co-workers and friends to do the same. The change we seek begins with us! #WeAreNewark

Occupy Newark Dates:

Wednesday, March 23 – South 6th Street, between 15th and 16th Avenues, 5:30 pm;

Thursday, March 24 – Riverview Court in the Terrell Homes, 5:30 pm

Women’s History Month: Shane Harris

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Vice-President, The Prudential Foundation

Shané Harris serves as the Vice President of The Prudential Foundation, where she is responsible for management of Foundation staff and program strategy and overseeing the distribution of $25 million in annual Foundation grants. Ms. Harris oversees education policy for Prudential’s Community Resources Department and advises senior management on their support of education initiatives. Shané’s leadership and support has been integral to Mayor Baraka’s vision for Newark’s growth.

Prior to joining Prudential in 2004, Ms. Harris was the Director of the New Jersey Nets and Devils Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the New Jersey Nets Professional Basketball Team and the New Jersey Devils Professional Hockey Team. Before that, she was a Program Director for Communities In Schools of Newark, where she was responsible for brokering community resources to key schools in the Newark Public School district.

Ms. Harris serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for Grantmakers for Education, a national network for education philanthropists and is President of the Board of Trustees for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Newark, one of the largest youth development agencies in the City of Newark. She also Chair of the Newark Trust for Education, an independent non-profit dedicated to coordinating and focusing, ideas, people, and resources, with a focus on making sure all of Newark’ pre K- 12 students have access to a great public school education.

Ms. Harris has a B.A. degree in biology from Columbia University and also holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from New York University Wagner School of Public Service.

A Level Playing Field for Uber and Other Ride Sharing Services

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Newark's attempts to have ride sharing services comply with the city's laws regulating the taxi industry have been met with an expensive public relations campaign by UBER that featured personal attacks on Mayor Baraka. UBER told its drivers to ignore the law and promised financial aid to fight tickets and other enforcement.

In a move to clarify the legal responsibilities of ride sharing services, Mayor Baraka presented a draft ordinance to the Municipal Council on Wednesday, March 16. The ordinance was written with the intent of regulating drivers of ridesharing services in a way that is similar to regulations for yellow cabs. Mayor Baraka wants to see a level playing field in which uniform regulations apply to UBER as well as taxis. "It is completely unfair to taxi drivers who are also workers trying to support their families to allow UBER to circumvent the law,” said the Mayor. “Taxis must apply and pay for permits to operate. UBER drivers do not. Taxis are waiting two hours to pick up fares while UBER skips the lines. They also do not pay the city any additional revenue as taxi cabs do to pick up from the Airport and Penn Station. This legislation would require ride sharing drivers to pay a licensing fee, submit to drug testing and backgrounds checks as well as pass a vehicle inspection every two years.

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“Ultimately, the State of New Jersey needs to step in to create legislation and policy to regulate this industry,” the Mayor added. New Jersey should have modern, statewide regulations for ridesharing as soon as possible.”

Read more on this story here.