ELIMINATE LEAD IN OUR SCHOOL WATER

MAYOR BARAKA OFFERS SOLUTIONS TO MAKE WATER IN SCHOOLS SAFE

MAYOR BARAKA TESTIFIES IN TRENTON FOR LEGISLATION TO REMEDIATE LEAD IN THE DRINKING WATER AT SCHOOLS

Mayor Baraka testifies in Trenton about lead in Newark and Bill A2281
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NEWARK OVERHAULS 4311 NON-EMERGENCY CALL CENTER

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Newark, NJ –- April 13, 2016 — Mayor Ras J. Baraka, Chief Information Officer Seth Wainer, and Non-Emergency Call Center Manager James Bennett announced the overhaul of the City’s 4311 Non-emergency Call Center system at a City Hall news conference today.


The City is responding to complaints of slow responses and unanswered phone calls to the 4311 line by bringing in 21st-century technology, additional staff, and expanding the center’s hours, which are now 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Friday. Newarkers will learn about the new Newark 4311 through a media campaign with the slogan “One Call to City Hall.” employing social media, press, the city’s website and e-newsletter, flyers, signs and bus stop shelter posters.


“Our focus is on customer service, accuracy, timeliness and completeness. The updated 4311 is a giant step toward achieving ‘Newark 3.0,’ a city and its government in the forefront of using the newest, best, and fastest technology to connect residents and businesses, get results, and transform Newark into a world leader in the new economy,” said Mayor Baraka.

Newark has totally reorganized and updated 4311 to make it work as intended and add new functionality. The revamped system provides city employees in the field with new technology to receive and interact directly with the dispatch center. It now identifies the city employees responsible for fixing a problem and holds them accountable for the speed and quality of their response.


When a caller dials (973) 733-4311 during the hours of operation, a service agent will answer the call. The call will be assigned a service request identification number to be used for subsequent calls and to let the caller know the status of the request upon call back. The caller has the option of remaining anonymous.


In September 2008, Newark launched a consolidated call center to provide residents with one telephone number for quick, reliable, non-emergency access to city services, but the 4311 service has never reached its full potential.


The system also responds to alternate inputs including email, twitter, Next Door and the My Newark app. And more staff has been added to meet the demands of residents. The staff now includes not only generalists but also specialists on the city’s different departments and divisions. Electronic workflow across all services will speed and track response to requests for service. Some requests require a response by multiple departments and the new system facilitates collaboration between different offices.

Residents can request all city services including but not limited to: garbage and bulk trash pickups, housing inspections, street repairing, snow plowing, and vacant lot cleanups.


They can report concerns such as housing code violations, illegal dumping, potholes, and problems with street lights, suspicious or annoying behavior by individuals or groups. The system can also provide general information – calls that do not require a service request or city personnel to perform an action. It also provides directory information – calls that ask for a phone number or transfer to a specific department.

“By leveraging technology to get the job done, we can work smarter and provide a faster response to issues throughout the City,” said Mr. Wainer. “The Mayor is creating a more accountable and more responsive organization.”

PROGRESS REPORT ON THE 45 DAY PLAN TO REDUCE CRIME AND VIOLENCE

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Initiatives in the plan for the first 45 days and what has been done to achieve them:

  1. OPERATE FROM ONE CENTRAL COMMAND AND PUT MORE OFFICERS ON THE STREETS.

  • 50 officers were reassigned to patrol and street functions from administrative positions. 36 officers were added and placed on foot patrols resulting from Police Academy class graduated in March.
  • 49 additional officers will graduate before August with 40 graduating in May. We are in the process of fulfilling mayor’s mandate of hiring 150 additional officers this year.
  • Command staffs and police, fire, and OEM have been consolidated in 480 Clinton Avenue.



  1. STRENGTHEN AND EXPAND THE MAJOR CRIMES UNIT.

· Increased the number of detectives from eight to 24. Increased arrests and improved clearance rates, reducing retaliatory shootings and getting shooters off the street so they won’t become victims.

· Clearance rates have improved:

o 4th quarter 2015 = 24% vs 1st Quarter 2016 = 63%: 39% improvement

o 1st quarter 2015 = 44% vs 1st Quarter 2016 = 63%: 19% improvement

  1. GATHER INTELLIGENCE ON GANGS AND VIOLENCE.

· We now require that all prisoners be debriefed. This helped to gather intelligence about gangs and drugs. Better Intelligence has led to suspects identified and resulted in arrests. We are working with law enforcement partners for greater use of RTCC.

  1. TARGET HIGH CRIME AREAS FOR COORDINATED RESPONSE BY PUBLIC SAFETY, HEALTH, SANITATION, CODE ENFORCEMENT AND OTHER AGENCIES.

· Closed stores on Clinton Avenue in the Clinton Avenue and Strafford Area. Closed stores in the area of Broadway and Grafton Avenue. Employing this strategy to target locations with negative impact on Quality of Life.

  1. ASSESS POLICE AND FIRE COMMUNICATIONS TO REDUCE RESPONSE TIMES.

· Conducted an audit of operation.

· Re-instituted queue goals.

· Using overtime to reduce the 17,000 calls that were handled last year by Jersey City. That number was more than 325 calls per week. The number is now less than 20.

· Three call-takers found not answering calls were suspended.

  1. REORGANIZE INTERNAL AFFAIRS UNIT TO ENSURE THAT MISCONDUCT WON’T BE SWEPT UNDER THE RUG.

· Internal Affairs is being relocated to a building not owned by the city – less intimidating to residents.

· We hired an attorney to oversee the trial board and internal affairs. This attorney will oversee consent decree compliance.

· Audit of Internal Affairs is being completed by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.

  1. HOLD COMMUNITY COMSTAT MEETING TO BETTER INFORM CITIZENS ABOUT REDUCING CRIME AND VIOLENCE IN THEIR NEIGHBORHOODS.

· Held the first community COMSTAT at Central High School on March 22nd. More than 100 attended with overall positive feedback. Additional locations are being identified.

· Distributed citizen surveys at COMSTAT. 55 responded. Positive responses involved treatment, how calls are handled and courtesy. Negatives were slow response time, lack of police, police didn’t show up, general dissatisfaction with service.

  1. CONDUCT CITIZEN SURVEYS ON POLICE PERFORMANCE TO IMPROVE EFFECTIVENESS.

· Received 479 responses, a total of approximately 32%.(slightly more than 1,500 reports)

· Randomly selected approximately 5% of reports, for review

a. Surveys being analyzed by members of the Rutgers Police Institute

b. Surprisingly, results were largely positive some areas of improvement were identified.

c. One-half experienced excessive wait times when walked into police precinct or other facilities.

d. Two-thirds were told when they initially made report they would receive follow-up on 41 got follow-up or update.

e. Demeanor indicators surprisingly positive ranging from 68 to 87% for most evaluator.

f. Results analyzed and implement training and other changes based on the survey’s results.

g. Will conduct follow-up survey in the future to measure progress and changes.

  1. HOLD PUBLIC SAFETY ACADEMY TO TRAIN RESIDENTS ON HOW TO GET INVOLVED IN MAKING THEIR NEIGHBORHOODS SAFER.

· Started the nine-week training on March 29th. Provided overview of the Department of Public Safety, Police, Fire, and OEM. Included demonstrations, instructions, practical exercises and tours.

Initiatives in the plan for the next 90 days:

  • Deploy additional walking posts:

o 36 probationary officers currently assigned to walking post at problematic locations throughout the city.

o Joined by additional 40 who graduate in May with additional nine in July.

  • Screening candidates for new Police Academy class with goal to hire 150 by next year.

  • Reorganize the Internal Affairs units of Arson and Fire Divisions in cooperative effort.

  • Combine the Community Affairs components of Police, Fire, and OEM sections results in less police personnel assigned to the unit and strengthen community ties.

  • Combine the Finances of Police, Fire, and OEM. Greater purchasing power at reduced prices. Benefits in streamlining, expediting, reduces duplication, shares resources.

  • Consent Decree Management: Attorney and support staff to ensure compliance with consent decree mandates.

  • Website re-launch will include statistical data about crime. Also information about internal affairs complaints and dispositions. Taped COMSTAT available online.

  • Purchase of body cams proposed roll-out (date TBA)

o Increased accountability, protects both officers and public, assists with consent decree compliance and internal affairs investigations (Office of Professional Responsibility).

  • Purchased 25 each marked and unmarked patrol cars.

  • Equipped with technological advancements such as Infocop and Automated vehicle locator:

o Gives officers greater access to information at the touch of a finger and AVL tracks vehicles whereabouts decreases inefficiency and help locate officers in emergencies.

  • Introduction of Conducted Energy Devices (TASERS) to assist in getting compliance from noncompliant or hostile suspects. Causes temporary incapacitation less lethal alternative.

  • Started the process of updating shot-spotter and city surveillance cameras.

  • Each Precinct will have a Compliance Officer who will investigate citizen complaints involving demeanor and other inappropriate non-criminal behavior.

  • Purchased State of (FATS) firearm training system, state of the art “shoot-don’t shoot,” use of force scenario-based training.

AIRBNB GROWING IN NEWARK AND WILL ADD REVENUE TO CITY GOVERNMENT

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Mayor Ras J. Baraka announced today that the City of Newark and Airbnb have reached an agreement for the City to regulate Airbnb and tax the company at the same rate as hotels.


Until now, Airbnb has not been regulated and it has been very difficult to collect hotel taxes in small amounts from the many residents who offer their homes to visitors. Now, that will change. The agreement will have the company pay Newark’s hotel tax and be regulated by the city. It is estimated that this initiative will add $750,000 in revenue to the city the first year, an amount that will grow as Airbnb expands in Newark.


The agreement requires that residents renting their homes through Airbnb would no longer be responsible for dealing with tax issues. Instead, Airbnb will now become responsible for collecting the tax and sending it to the city. In addition to allowing residents to rent homes for less than 30 days, the measure will prohibit homeowners and renters from changing the character of their neighborhoods. It would also limit the number of properties that one user could rent to five to prevent the creation of informal Airbnb hotels.


Airbnb brings much needed tourism capacity to the city’s hotels and has the potential to draw tourism dollars to parts of the city that are rarely visited by tourists. According to the company, 74 percent of Airbnb users stay outside of the main hotel district – and 40 percent of their dollars are spent in the neighborhood where they stay.


“The people of Newark need to be able to benefit from the companies that do business in our city. Bringing Airbnb under regulation is only fair to other lodging businesses. I am very pleased that Airbnb was so cooperative in negotiating the agreement,” said Mayor Baraka.


Airbnb praised the agreement with Newark as a fair “smart, fair approach” to online home rentals.


“In cities that are interested in smart, progressive laws on home-sharing and collecting taxes on us, we want to work them,” said Max Pomeranc, the company’s regional head of public policy.

MAYOR BARAKA'S STOREFRONT INITIATIVE PREPARES ENTREPRENEURS FOR SUCCESS

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Mayor Ras J. Baraka, West Ward Council Member Joseph McCallum, Deputy Mayor of Economic and Housing Development Baye Adofo-Wilson, Newark Community Economic Development Corporation Acting President and CEO Scott A. Blow, and Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership CEO Jill Johnson will cut the ribbon to open Newark’s second Community Storefront Incubator on Monday, April 25, at 11:30 a.m., at 989 South Orange Avenue, in Newark’s West Ward commercial corridor.


The Community Storefront Program (CSP) was launched in 2015 in furtherance of the Mayor’s mission to see economic development activity touch all five wards. The initiative was designed to enable Newark entrepreneurs, who have a retail business idea, to experience the full business lifecycle, concept to market. This program opportunity gives participants the practical training and experience necessary to learn to market their self-produced products. Participants undergo a 16-week entrepreneurial development course covering an array of topics from financial literacy, bookkeeping, corporate infrastructure, insurance, leases, contracts, and more.


Upon program completion, participants move into an actual “real-world” shared retail storefront (the business incubator) that is set up “flea market style” allowing each to sell their goods/services to the general public.


In June 2015, Mayor Baraka and the City received a $75,000 award for the initiative on behalf of Newark CEDC as a part of the 2015 CommunityWINS/Working/Investing in Neighborhood Stabilization Grant Program, administered by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and funded through the Wells Fargo Foundation.


As an additional component of this program, Newark Community Economic Development Corporation and the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership will connect local businesses with professional, and field specific mentors.


For more information, or for interviews with Newark Community Economic Development Corporation, please contact Cheryl McCants at cmccants@impactconsulting.com or 646-872-2377.

JUDGE VICTORIA PRATT: CHANGING THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM ONE ESSAY AT A TIME

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CITY OF NEWARK PROFILE: ATTORNEY PETER HARVEY

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A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A COMMUNITY SCHOOL

Thursday, April 28th, 9pm

1 Belgrove Drive

Kearny, NJ

RSVPS NOT REQUIRED FOR THIS EVENT.
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OCCUPY THE BLOCK! TAKING BACK OUR STREETS

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