Senator Cory Booker: Past, present & future – Part II

Cory Booker served as Mayor of Newark from July 1 2006 to October 31 2013. As an over-achiever, he chased down an armed robber in front of city hall, ran into a burning house to save a woman, shoveled snow for neighbors, answered citizen complaints on Twitter, and lived in a dangerous low-income federal housing apartment. He brought national attention to Newark and to himself. No wonder he was called “Super Mayor.” His story as mayor, however, is more complicated. 

During his campaign he made safety his top priority, promising to overhaul the Police Department. Facing serious budget shortfalls he immediately cut 100 police officers in an unpopular move. He did bring in a new Police Chief from NYC to start the reform, and he made improvements. However, a later Justice Department investigation that waded through thousands of reports between 2006 and 2011 led to a federal consent decree which imposed a court monitor on the department. He reduced crime rates significantly during his first term, but the murder rate increased in his final years. 

With this budgetary crisis he raised the largest property tax increases ever, reduced his salary by 8% and implemented pay for top-earning city managers. Through his efforts the city collected significant sums of money in private philanthropy. 

Although the city’s Education Department had been under State control since the late 1980’s, there remained serious problems including graduation rates in Newark schools. Booker spent much of his tenure promoting a specific vision for improving education which included charter schools and merit pay for teachers. The latter innovation, fought by unions, was gradually and grudgingly accepted. However, imposing charter schools which drew its funds from public school money was never popular. 

In 2010 Booker obtained a grant of $100 million from Facebook’s Zuckerberg which was announced in a flashy episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show with Zuckerberg, Booker and Governor Christie. The governor then appointed Chris Cerf who had a background in charter schools as Commissioner of Education and soon became unpopular. The funds were managed by a foundation in a secretive manner paying little attention to what residents wanted. With problems persisting Christie in 2011 appointed Cami Anderson as the next superintendent of schools. She proved to be arrogant and tone-deaf. After several student demonstrations and outrage from parents she was forced to resign. After seven years in office the high school graduation rate was still a woeful 67% but on the rise.

With a flight of the white Newark middle class to the suburbs and corrupt management in prior years, Booker inherited a city with significant disinvestment. He set about changing this by raising funds and entering into public-private partnerships. New grocery stores and shops opened, several corporations relocated its headquarters, and Prudential built a new building. In spite of being in the midst of the Great Recession, the city reported $1 billion in real estate development in 2011 and 2012 and another $2 billion in the pipeline for the next two years. Most of this activity however took place downtown and left other hardscrabble wards with boarded up houses, infested vacant lots, and bereft of needed services. 

Throughout his two terms he raised large sums of money for his election campaigns from corporations, which have their self-centered concerns, and private equity which seeks to create wealth, not employment. He realized that it takes a lot of money to win public office, like the U. S. Senate, which was on his radar. Some of his choices for donors have since become problematic.

Years later Booker argued that because of his efforts, “Newark turned the corner.” That is true. Newark had become a better place than it was when his successor Ras Baraka inherited it. 

Part I: his early years in Newark. Part II: his years as mayor. Next in Part III Booker as U.S. Senator.

Comments (4)

  1. Herb Tarbous

    Is part 3 going to expose how Booker has on several occassions campaigned against grassroots Progressive candidates in NJ?

    Reply
    1. Bill Orr (Post author)

      Can you give me some examples of this?

      Reply
      1. James Devine

        He endorsed Bob Menendez over Lisa McCormick. He endorsed Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. He sent robo-calls into Linden for the machine candidate over Mayor Derek Armstead. He sent robo-calls into the 20th Legislative District for the machine candidates over Democrats for Change in 2011. Booker endorsed Republican Mike Bloomberg (for an illegal third term) over Democrat Bill Thompson in 2009. Booker instigated a near riot when he illegally appointed Spreight to the Newark city council.

        Booker’s greatest substantive conflict with many progressives is on education policy. In case after case, Booker backed bad guys for school board, often in concert with the billionaire-funded Better Education for Kids. This list is too long to remember and I do not have it at my fingertips.

        Locally, he supported Joe D. for County Executive, while Essex collaborates with Trump to jail people for ICE.

        I am sure these are not ‘progressives’ BRENDAN GILL, JOSEPH N. DIVINCENZO FOR ESSEX COUNTY EXECUTIVE, FRIENDS OF MARY LANDRIEU, ANIBAL RAMOS JR, BRIAN P. STACK but here are donations Booker made through his FEC committee (He had other slush funds for donating cash to candidates):

        recipient_name disbursement_date disbursement_amount
        BLOOMFIELD DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE 8/12/2014 $3,000
        MONMOUTH COUNTY DEMOCRATS 3/18/2013 $500
        ELECTION FUND OF BRENDAN GILL 10/27/2014 $2,000
        CELESTE RILEY FOR ASSEMBLY 7/15/2014 $1,000
        UNION COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY 5/23/2014 $10,000
        ATLANTIC COUNTY DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE 3/18/2013 $500
        BHALLA FOR ASSEMBLY 4/15/2013 $1,000
        WHELAN FOR SENATE 7/14/2014 $1,000
        MONMOUTH COUNTY DEMOCRATS 9/18/2014 $10,000
        EAST ORANGE DEMOCRATS 6/19/2013 $2,600
        JOSEPH N. DIVINCENZO FOR ESSEX COUNTY EXECUTIVE 5/16/2013 $1,500
        ANIBAL RAMOS JR CIVIC ASSOCIATION 10/13/2014 $1,500
        MONMOUTH COUNTY DEMOCRATS 9/18/2014 $10,000
        CELESTE RILEY FOR ASSEMBLY 7/15/2014 $1,000
        ANIBAL RAMOS JR CIVIC ASSOCIATION 10/13/2014 $1,500
        BLOOMFIELD DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE 8/12/2014 $3,000
        SOUTH JERSEY YOUNG DEMOCRATS 4/17/2013 $250
        WHELAN FOR SENATE 7/14/2014 $1,000
        NEW JERSEY DEMOCRATIC STATE COMMITTEE 3/28/2013 $1,500
        JEFF GARDNER FOR PASSAIC COUNTY CLERK 9/29/2014 $1,000
        OCEAN COUNTY DEMOCRATIC ORGANIZATION 3/18/2013 $500
        DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE OF BERGEN COUNTY 3/18/2013 $1,000
        FRIENDS OF MAYOR DR. ALEX BLANCO 5/6/2013 $5,000
        FRIENDS OF MARY LANDRIEU 11/10/2014 $2,000
        JEFF GARDNER FOR PASSAIC COUNTY CLERK 9/29/2014 $1,000
        LUPE FUND INC 10/17/2014 $500
        LAUREN MURPHY FOR CLIFTON COUNCIL 10/29/2014 $1,000
        BRIAN P. STACK CIVIC ASSOCIATION 10/23/2017 $500
        NEW JERSEY COALITION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT 12/6/2017 $1,000
        PARTNERS FOR WOMEN AND JUSTICE 12/6/2017 $1,000
        CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS FOUNDATION 10/23/2017 $7,500
        THE RACHEL COALTION 12/6/2017 $1,000
        OASIS – A HAVEN FOR WOMEN AND CHILDREN 12/6/2017 $1,000
        PASSIAC COUNTY CENTER FOR WOMEN 12/6/2017 $1,000
        DUCH VAGIANOS ORDWAY 7/17/2017 $1,000
        NEW JERSEY COALITION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT 10/23/2017 $7,800
        NEW JERSEY BLACK ISSUES CONVENTION 9/11/2017 $2,500
        NEW JERSEY STATE BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION TRADES COUNCIL 9/5/2018 $1,000
        CBCF, INC. 8/27/2018 $7,500
        ROBERT TREAT ACADEMY CHARTER SCHOOL 8/20/2018 $1,500
        NAN NEWARK TECH WORLD 9/5/2018 $1,000
        CBCF, INC. 8/20/2018 $15,000
        TERRY DEMMING MEMORIAL FUND 7/23/2018 $250
        NEW JERSEY COLALITION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT 12/1/2017 $2,080
        OASIS – A HAVEN FOR WOMEN AND CHILDREN 12/1/2017 $2,080
        PASSIAC COUNTY CENTER FOR WOMEN 12/1/2017 $2,080
        THE RACHEL COALTION 12/1/2017 $2,080
        PARTNERS FOR WOMEN AND JUSTICE 12/1/2017 $2,080

        This is just a bit of information I have at my fingertips but I see nobody else answered on here.

        please email devine@usa.net to let me know you got this

        Reply
  2. James Devine

    He endorsed Bob Menendez over Lisa McCormick. He endorsed Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. He sent robo-calls into Linden for the machine candidate over Mayor Derek Armstead. He sent robo-calls into the 20th Legislative District for the machine candidates over Democrats for Change in 2011. Booker endorsed Republican Mike Bloomberg (for an illegal third term) over Democrat Bill Thompson in 2009. Booker instigated a near riot when he illegally appointed Spreight to the Newark city council.

    Booker’s greatest substantive conflict with many progressives is on education policy. In case after case, Booker backed bad guys for school board, often in concert with the billionaire-funded Better Education for Kids. This list is too long to remember and I do not have it at my fingertips.

    Locally, he supported Joe D. for County Executive, while Essex collaborates with Trump to jail people for ICE.

    I am sure these are not ‘progressives’ BRENDAN GILL, JOSEPH N. DIVINCENZO FOR ESSEX COUNTY EXECUTIVE, FRIENDS OF MARY LANDRIEU, ANIBAL RAMOS JR, BRIAN P. STACK but here are donations Booker made through his FEC committee (He had other slush funds for donating cash to candidates):

    recipient_name disbursement_date disbursement_amount
    BLOOMFIELD DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE 8/12/2014 $3,000
    MONMOUTH COUNTY DEMOCRATS 3/18/2013 $500
    ELECTION FUND OF BRENDAN GILL 10/27/2014 $2,000
    CELESTE RILEY FOR ASSEMBLY 7/15/2014 $1,000
    UNION COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY 5/23/2014 $10,000
    ATLANTIC COUNTY DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE 3/18/2013 $500
    BHALLA FOR ASSEMBLY 4/15/2013 $1,000
    WHELAN FOR SENATE 7/14/2014 $1,000
    MONMOUTH COUNTY DEMOCRATS 9/18/2014 $10,000
    EAST ORANGE DEMOCRATS 6/19/2013 $2,600
    JOSEPH N. DIVINCENZO FOR ESSEX COUNTY EXECUTIVE 5/16/2013 $1,500
    ANIBAL RAMOS JR CIVIC ASSOCIATION 10/13/2014 $1,500
    MONMOUTH COUNTY DEMOCRATS 9/18/2014 $10,000
    CELESTE RILEY FOR ASSEMBLY 7/15/2014 $1,000
    ANIBAL RAMOS JR CIVIC ASSOCIATION 10/13/2014 $1,500
    BLOOMFIELD DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE 8/12/2014 $3,000
    SOUTH JERSEY YOUNG DEMOCRATS 4/17/2013 $250
    WHELAN FOR SENATE 7/14/2014 $1,000
    NEW JERSEY DEMOCRATIC STATE COMMITTEE 3/28/2013 $1,500
    JEFF GARDNER FOR PASSAIC COUNTY CLERK 9/29/2014 $1,000
    OCEAN COUNTY DEMOCRATIC ORGANIZATION 3/18/2013 $500
    DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE OF BERGEN COUNTY 3/18/2013 $1,000
    FRIENDS OF MAYOR DR. ALEX BLANCO 5/6/2013 $5,000
    FRIENDS OF MARY LANDRIEU 11/10/2014 $2,000
    JEFF GARDNER FOR PASSAIC COUNTY CLERK 9/29/2014 $1,000
    LUPE FUND INC 10/17/2014 $500
    LAUREN MURPHY FOR CLIFTON COUNCIL 10/29/2014 $1,000
    BRIAN P. STACK CIVIC ASSOCIATION 10/23/2017 $500
    NEW JERSEY COALITION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT 12/6/2017 $1,000
    PARTNERS FOR WOMEN AND JUSTICE 12/6/2017 $1,000
    CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS FOUNDATION 10/23/2017 $7,500
    THE RACHEL COALTION 12/6/2017 $1,000
    OASIS – A HAVEN FOR WOMEN AND CHILDREN 12/6/2017 $1,000
    PASSIAC COUNTY CENTER FOR WOMEN 12/6/2017 $1,000
    DUCH VAGIANOS ORDWAY 7/17/2017 $1,000
    NEW JERSEY COALITION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT 10/23/2017 $7,800
    NEW JERSEY BLACK ISSUES CONVENTION 9/11/2017 $2,500
    NEW JERSEY STATE BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION TRADES COUNCIL 9/5/2018 $1,000
    CBCF, INC. 8/27/2018 $7,500
    ROBERT TREAT ACADEMY CHARTER SCHOOL 8/20/2018 $1,500
    NAN NEWARK TECH WORLD 9/5/2018 $1,000
    CBCF, INC. 8/20/2018 $15,000
    TERRY DEMMING MEMORIAL FUND 7/23/2018 $250
    NEW JERSEY COLALITION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT 12/1/2017 $2,080
    OASIS – A HAVEN FOR WOMEN AND CHILDREN 12/1/2017 $2,080
    PASSIAC COUNTY CENTER FOR WOMEN 12/1/2017 $2,080
    THE RACHEL COALTION 12/1/2017 $2,080
    PARTNERS FOR WOMEN AND JUSTICE 12/1/2017 $2,080

    This is just a bit of information I have at my fingertips but I see nobody else answered on here.

    Reply

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