Essex County News

Newark Councilwoman Launches Bid to Become First Female Mayor

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Central Ward Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins takes out petitions to run for mayor today, launching her bid to unseat Mayor Ras Baraka.
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NEWARK, NJ — Newark Central Ward Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins began her campaign to become the first female mayor of New Jersey's largest city, attacking the record and character of Mayor Ras Baraka.

Chaneyfield Jenkins also framed her run within the struggle of women in Newark and across America to assert themselves as part the growing movement against sexual assault and harassment.

"I've never seen myself as just a Central Ward councilwoman. Every vote I cast impacts every ward of the city," said Chaneyfield Jenkins, 58. "I'll putting it all out there on the table. It's about the city, and we can do better. You have to be willing to challenge the system, especially when you know it's broken." 

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Baraka had previously announced his re-election on the steps of City Hall in June, surrounded by the eight other council members as well as a contingent of political supporters, including Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo and Gov. Phil Murphy.

“Elections are a democratic process in which anyone can participate," Baraka campaign spokeswoman Samantha Gordon said. "The mayor’s focus remains set on moving Newark forward.” 

While the road to victory is a long, steep climb, Chaneyfield Jenkins is no political neophyte.

She first served on the city council from 1995 to 2006, aligned with then-mayor Sharpe James. After being ousted in the clean sweep of now-U.S. Sen. Cory Booker's municipal slate in 2006, she regained her council seat in 2014, running on Baraka's successful ticket. 

While Baraka and Chaneyfield Jenkins worked together in 2014 to ensure her victory over then-Central Ward Councilman Darrin Sharif in a runoff election, relations between the two prominent Newark politicos have definitively soured.

Issues such as crime, education and redevelopment are critical talking points in any Newark municipal election. The battle between Baraka and Chaneyfield Jenkins will be no different: the mayoral race rivals have publicly taken different stances about these concerns.

The dynamic of the 2018 Newark mayoral race, however, will also be shaped by two unforeseen factors. 

A series of legal controversies have swarmed around Newark City Hall in recent months. These concerns include a whistleblower lawsuit filed by Willie Parker, the former corporation counsel, against Mayor Baraka, his brother and chief of staff, Amiri Baraka, Jr., and other city officials, tied to concerns stemming from a proposed deal to build a new Department of Public Works garage. Two close associates of the mayor have also recently plead guilty to federal tax evasion charges. 

Allegations of sexual assault and harassment have also recently been made against against Obalaji Baraka, the mayor's older brother, by a former city employee. 

Chaneyfield Jenkins said that she decided to run for mayor in part to stop what she alleges is an ongoing pattern of sexual assault and harassment that is the Baraka administration's "dirty little secret."

"Enough is enough," Chaneyfield Jenkins said. "This has got to stop. I will have zero tolerance for this type of behavior when I'm mayor. I've had it. I'm ready. I'm every woman. Let's go."

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West Essex

Local Children Invited to Register for Essex County Summer Camps

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WEST ORANGE, NJ – Children of all ages are invited to participate in spring and summer camp opportunities at the Essex County Turtle Back Zoo, Essex County Codey Arena and the Essex County Environmental Center.

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NJ Governor Signs Executive Order to Fly Flags at Half-Staff to Recognize Parkland Florida Victims

February 20, 2018

New Jersey Governor Phillip D. Murphy signed Executive Order No.1 on Monday ordering the flag of the United States of America and the Flag of the State of New Jersey to be flown at half-staff to recognize and mourn the passing of the victims in Parkland, FL.

The order is for all state offices, agencies and municipalities, including schools for Tuesday, Feb. 20.

Upcoming Events

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Sat, February 24, 10:00 AM

Rock “N” Joe Coffee Bar, Caldwell

Caldwell Coffee With a Cop

Police & Fire

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Sun, February 25, 2:00 PM

West Caldwell Public Library, West Caldwell

Concert with Stephen Fuller Quartet

Arts & Entertainment

Notice of Budget Meeting for Borough of North Caldwell

February 19, 2018

NORTH CALDWELL, NJ — The mayor and council of the Borough of North Caldwell will hold a Budget Meeting and Capital Budget Meeting on Tuesday, March 6, at 6 p.m. for discussion on the 2018 Municipal Budget and 2018 Capital Budget.  

This meeting will be held in the Municipal Building, 141 Gould Avenue in North Caldwell.  Action May Be Taken.

Let the Games Begin

I am truly awed by the Olympics.  Watching these superb young athletes on TV inspires me to renew my membership to the gym and pursue my lifelong dream of taking home the gold.  

 

The problem is that in my deluded head, I can see actually see myself standing atop the podium.  I am wrapped in a puffy designer ski coat with a huge piece of bling slung around my neck ...