Tag Archive: Ron C. Rice

CD10: Democracy for America (DFA) Endorses Ron C. Rice for Congress

Jeff Gardner and I, representing DFA-NJ, are so proud, inspired and energized by Ron, who was in 2006 the first candidate from NJ that DFA ever endorsed nationally. What a joy to be able to participate with Jim Dean now in Ron Rice’s national DFA endorsement for Congress. – promoted by Rosi

Ron Rice Web Photos
There’s an old saying in politics that goes something like this: “Politics isn’t hard, it’s just hard work.” I know many people that would disagree with that statement with the way Congress has been behaving lately.  But no one can say it’s only hard work when it comes to Newark City Councilman Ron C. Rice who is running for Congress in New Jersey’s 10th district. Take it from me, this guy has lived, breathed and fought for his constituents since he’s held public office. Democracy For America

There is no doubt in my mind of the challenges Ron has had to face or the challenges that will follow but Ron isn’t afraid. Ron isn’t afraid to take responsibility when things get difficult. He isn’t afraid when things get tough. Instead of walking away, you better believe he’s digging in and finding solutions.  There are many reasons why it’s such a privilege for Democracy for America to endorse Ron for Congress. But most importantly the US House of Representatives needs someone like Ron. With him, New Jersey has a strong candidate of leadership, integrity and work ethic – exactly what New Jersey wants and needs in a candidate to represent them in D.C..

As Ron has learned from and been inspired by community activism, we have seen him help, train and inspire progressive activists and candidates, including alongside us in DFA trainings. He also helps progressive candidates and community organizations raise money.  

DFA is proud to endorse Ron for Congress. Frankly, it was a no-brainer on our part the minute we found out that he was running for NJ-10. This is an opportunity for all of us to get a “get-it-done” Representative in Congress.

Are you upset about health care? Mad about Citizens United? Angered to see D.C. leaders who told us they were progressive selling out their communities in the halls of Congress? Ron has seen all of this and more.  But instead of giving up he’s continued to fight for what’s right and defend the people who need it most – his constituents in New Jersey. Please check out his campaign and please support what Ron C. Rice is doing so that all of us around the country – and especially in New Jersey – can believe again.  

A new face in NJ-10?

Donald Payne is one of my favorite Congresspersons. He has an excellent voting record, and heres an example why:

Donald Payne voted with Republicans in 2010 against the Disclose Act. (Hr 5175)

To amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to prohibit foreign influence in Federal elections, to prohibit government contractors from making expenditures with respect to such elections, and to establish additional disclosure requirements with respect to spending in such elections


So many amendments had weakened the original bill- worst were the exemptions to disclosure, (Like Green Peace and NRA), that Donald Payne felt he couldn’t vote for it.

SEIU, UAW and the AFL-CIO have rated Donald Payne 100%.


I’ve asked Freeholder Carol Clarke if she had considered running for Donald Paynes seat, a few times… but I think she loves Essex County to much.

One of the many people I’ve met thru DFA, is Newark Councilman Ron C Rice, before he ran for council. Hes impressive in his due diligence in representing the people of Newark’s West Ward, in a quite conversation on housing and the effect of the Bayonne Boxes that developers were erecting in Newark, he spoke of something better than that. Knowing that knocking down old row housing and building new row housing was not a long term net plus solution.

Ron spoke at a Tom Wyka fundraiser in Montclair in 2008, before the end of the afternoon, I joked with Ron, “So Ron when are you running for Congress?’. And in 2010 at a Rice fundraiser at the Spot Lounge in Newark I asked Ron again, when are you going to run for Congress. Its become a running gag between us.

But seriously dude, when are you going to run for Congress?

Why I wrote the letter backing ACLU’s petition for federal investigation of the Newark Police Dept.

I authored and mailed a letter to Thomas E. Perez, Esq., the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights supporting the recent petition by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of NJ for a federal investigation into the Newark Police Department (NPD). I was pleased to be supported in that action by five of my colleagues on the Newark City Council, a majority.

I did so in full knowledge that the overwhelming majority of the men and women that serve in the NPD do so in an honorable and distinguished manner.  They put their lives on the line every day for me and the other 280,000 residents in our great city.  They are homeowners, coaches, and leaders of philanthropy in our metropolis. My colleagues and I are humbled by their service and their sacrifice.  

But, as a councilman, I also receive too many complaints about citizen abuse at the hands of the police, which our city cannot afford or tolerate.  I feel that the expertise and authority of an outside monitor to reform our department where needed will help to end the problems of police-community relations in Newark, which affects public safety and the quality of life on many levels. In short, we will never be able to continue to drive crime down beyond the admittedly record level of reductions over the last three years unless average citizens get more involved in reporting crime and joining the NPD as active eyes and ears to those that commit them. And they will not until they are assured that bad cops that abuse their authority are appropriately punished and/or drummed out of the ranks of the NPD when deserved and warranted.

This is not a new phenomenon in the city of Newark.  Indeed, I supported the re-nomination of Police Director Garry McCarthy due to his historic lowering of violent crime statistics in the last three years, but also due to his proposed courageous community relations/community engagement reforms that he has taken a year and a half to develop. He is the first Director to acknowledge the problems in the department AND to propose solutions. But this is an endemic problem that has lasted unabated, unchallenged and unaddressed for over 40 years through several mayors, city councils and police directors. And the city council that has oversight of the Administration does not have the power under our enabling statute, the Faulkner Act, to create what it would take to have effective oversight over these problems (a point I will address with our state legislative representatives before the year is out).  

Until such time that the state empowers the city council in Newark to create systems of accountability such as an Independent Monitor with a Citizen Review Board empowered with real subpoena and investigatory powers, I think a federal investigation that will propose institutional changes and correct old bad policies with real oversight is the way to go.

Alpha Phi Alpha boycotts Arizona

This week, the Phoenix Suns responded to their home state’s harsh new immigration law by playing basketball wearing jerseys reading: Los Suns.

Bravo. But we also got word of protest closer to home. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity – with more than 3,000 members in New Jersey – is boycotting, pulling their annual convention from Phoenix and giving their business to Las Vegas. This is the oldest collegiate African American fraternity in the country, and counts among NJ members Ron C. Rice, who stands for re-election Tuesday as Newark West Ward Councilman, Princeton’s Cornel West, and Randall Pinkett. Also Alphas: Martin Luther King, Jr. and Thurgood Marshall.  Here’s the  Alpha president:

Our late Alpha brother the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, in a letter he wrote while sitting in the Birmingham Jail, ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ Alpha Phi Alpha’s decision to boycott Arizona continues that same fight, fought during the Civil Rights era. We will not only speak with our voices and our feet, we will speak with our economic clout; and we will not spend our money in Arizona and urge other organizations and people who believe in equality under the law, to do the same.

This year’s convention includes a special Summit on the African-American Male, and is expected to draw up to 10,000 participants, revenue Arizona’s now going to lose.

And here’s a thing: if Alpha Phi Alpha keeps the same convention date for Las Vegas as they had in Phoenix, that puts them in Vegas the same time as Netroots Nation. And that’s going to make Las Vegas one hot, hot, hot town in July.  

Newark: Loss and Recovery in a Rising City

Trial begins in Newark murders
Photo: AP

We don’t cover crime stories here. Not street crime, not usually. But these murders, of three of Newark’s shiniest young people – Dashon Harvey and Iofemi Hightower (20) & Terrance Aeriel (18) – and the grave wounding of Natasha Aeriel (now 22), chilled us like every loss of a young person does. There have been too many losses. But when these three were taken, something shifted in Newark. Policy changed on the backs of three kids swiftly executed Aug. 4, 2007.

The first trial, for the first defendant, began Tuesday. The jury saw pictures. The prosecutor will talk about gang initiation. Natasha Aeriel, under heavy security, is on the stand today.

These kids had managed to avoid some of the risks of the streets. Three were home on a break from college in Delaware, and Iofemi Hightower was about to become a freshman there. That night, Harvey, Hightower and Terrance Aerial were lined up against a wall and killed by a single shot to the base of their skulls. Terrance’s sister barely survived the attempt to end her.

A few months ago, I was driving around Newark with Ron C. Rice. We slowed the car as we passed by the playground where it happened. In his Ward, the West Ward. And he told me he goes by there every day, makes a point of it.

It’s impossible to know whether Newark’s Mayor and Council, elected in the first clean sweep in the city’s history (and most up for re-election in May) were galvanized by those murders or whether the city laid down its marker, with a community collectively deciding enough was enough, and politicians unready to get tough on crime could run elsewhere. That’s when anti-crime measures were ramped up. Cameras on the streets. Billboards paid for by the Newark teachers’ union: HELP WANTED: Stop the Killings in Newark Now! Penalties for gun owners failing to report lost or stolen weapons. Gun-shot detection systems. New access to a national gun-tracking database.

By the end of 2008, Newark’s murder rate had dropped by nearly 40%, though it bumped last year from 68 to 79. Last month, with the city holding its breath, Newark had its first month without homicide in 40 years.

But it isn’t so simple. Both Cory Booker and Police Director Garry McCarthy have to answer for a loss in public trust after charges of excessive force. And hassling innocent people. And inadeqate professional guidelines for the police force. Reform is crucial, if innocent people – especially young people – feel their rights violated.

Outside of Newark, we talk sometimes about the meaning of a Newark Renaissance. We all have a stake in it, live there or not. And plenty of people don’t see one … yet. The City has to do this right. And Mayor Booker, Councilman Rice, every police officer and elected leader should live or die not only on crime statistics but on protecting the civil rights of every person living in New Jersey’s rising City. Especially the young Dashons, Iofemis, Terrances, and Natashas whose names we don’t know yet, and who are just now dreaming of their futures.  

We mix comedy & politics Thursday night for Ron C. Rice

Thursday night I’m going to be in Newark, watching some great comedians – political & otherwise – help send my friend Ron C. Rice back to work for a 2nd term at the Newark Council, where he reps the West Ward. The last comedian, Baratunde Thurston, just clicked into place, and some amazing people are giving their time to power Ron’s campaign.

Ron Rice

This is all very inside for me. See, I help run Democracy for America – NJ, and Ron was the very first NJ candidate nationally endorsed by DFA. Ron’s a founding member of Essex DFA; he was their candidate. He’s solid grassroots. And Ron’s a member of the Blue Jersey community.

It’s also inside for me because a lot of this show was put together at my house. Joey Novick put it together with Vin Gopal, for Ron. And Joey’s hosting. Show’s almost sold out, and it’s a wallet-friendly $25 for Ron’s campaign, so in case you can still score a ticket, here’s who’s coming:

Baratunde Thurston is the Politics & Web Editor at The Onion, and a blogger/founder of Jack & Jill Politics (he’s Jack). He also writes for Huffington Post and does, frankly, too many cool things to list.

Leighann Lord was named Most Thought-Provoking Black Female Comic and got an NYC Black Comedy Award for that. Like the rest of this show, she’s scary-smart and has performed in clubs around the world, and for our troops in the Middle East.

Scott Blakeman is a political comedian who founded Standup for Peace: the 2 Comedian Solution to Middle East Peace, with Palestinian-American comedian Dean Obeidallah, and he gets people thinking as hard as they’re laughing. He’s also a regular on NPR.

Joey Novick is hosting, and he teaches improv, writes here sometimes and politickernj all the time.

Listen, Ron is a progressive. A class act. Pro-equality, including marriage equality. Community activist before he ever wore a suit. Used his Newark Council  seat to organize the pro-active West Ward Collective. Veteran of night patrols & efforts helping residents take control of their neighborhoods.

Show is Thursday night in Newark, 7pm. Here’s the facebook page, all the details. Look for me; I’ll be hanging with the comedians.

More on Ron, and how to volunteer for him.  

Rice hits the Spot

The Spot was packed last night for Ron C. Rice, Newark’s West Ward Councilman.  Richard Codey and Tom Giblin both praised this dynamic young man for his accomplishments and dedication to the people of the West Ward.  The praise for Rice was not limited just to Essex County.  Representatives from across the state came out to support this rising star.  People were energized, many could be heard discussing how to bring grassroots change to New Jersey. It was another very successful Vin Gopal event.  How the heck does he do it?

Brick City’s First Night: Change Is Hard, But Worth the Fight

The author is the West Ward Councilman, City of Newark, and a member of the Blue Jersey community. More info on Forest Whitaker’s 5-part documentary series Brick City here. Part Two airs tonight on Sundance Channel at 10pm. Ron’s diary will bring you up to date on the people the film is following, including his mayor, Cory Booker.  — Promoted from the diaries by Rosi

We were introduced to some of the main characters and initiatives of the city of Newark of 2008.  Many of you may not know, but Newark led the nation in violent crime reduction for a major city, a point most news and media tended to gloss over in 2008.  In fact, we had the least amount of murders last year since the late 1960s.  But even as one murder or shooting is too much, we in government with the community, our police department and yes, average citizens started fighting back in ways that will mirror how we will win this battle in the long run.  We are winning battles, but it is a war and this first night of Brick City shows how we have high highs in Newark and stark realities that bring us back to earth to fight yet again.

You met our phenomenal Mayor that personifies a public servant, not a politician.  A man that lives his politics and embodies the need for changing mindsets and mentalities as much as the need to change the economic realities of our city.  As the mayor celebrates another new affordable housing development deal, he gets news of a 10 year old being shot.

You met our Police Director Garry McCarthy, a tough cop from the NYPD who has been given the mission of changing a culture within the Newark Police department and to beat crime back, period.  Easier said than done as you will see later in the series, but Director McCarthy is unrelenting and stays even keel, thank God for us in the city.  He is singly focused to drive crime down to historic lows.

You met Jayda and Creep, two young people in Newark not unlike a lot of our young people.  She is a member of the Blood gang and he is a Crip that met and fell in love and even they cannot explain how or why.  Though “gang related,” they are both coming out of that negativity and trying to fight for a new life, but old charges might stop Jayda from realizing her dreams for her children and her new non profit she wants to start to help girls that were just like her so that they do not have to go through what she has to be the woman she has become.

More is coming and it is compelling and will make you think and rethink how you understand urban cities and the challenges we have.  But what I hope you take away from the first night is how tough change is to make in our metropolis where over 30% of our population lives below the poverty line, but how committed so many of us are in making sure that happens and why we, the Mayor, our Police Director, Jayda and Creep, the Street Doctor Earl Best and, yes, even guys like me who work late into every evening at City Hall and in our community, because we know that change is hard, but the struggle to achieve it is in so many of us and it is worth it.  We are the embodiment of the American Dream that says loudly as Langston Hughes said over 60 years ago “America was never America to me, but this I swear, America will be.”  

Pump your progressive campaign muscles at DFA Training Academy this weekend

Looking for something cool to do this weekend? There’s still time to RSVP for the national DFA Campaign Training Academy, rolling into the Garden State in a matter of hours.

Field strategy and targeting, volunteer recruitment, fundraising strategy, candidate call-time discipline, voter contact, GOTV, media, running phone banks & canvasses, internet strategy, issue organizing, precinct organizing, and voter file are all among things covered in the fast-paced, comprehensive and fun 2-day session, which starts tomorrow morning on the campus of Monmouth University.

It’s not too late to RSVP, right here.

Newark Councilman Ron C. Rice and DFA Chair Jim Dean will sit in on a session we’ll do just for the candidates in attendance Sunday morning (let us know if you’re running!). Rice was the first nationally-endorsed DFA-List candidate from the Garden State. He’s also a founding member of Essex DFA and governs from the West Ward (pop. 66,000) in the state’s largest city. Sponsor of one of the most sweeping ethics reform packages in the state’s history, developed with input from Center for Civic Responsibility, Rice, a delegate for Barack Obama, credits his success to a bedrock progressive outlook, and that’s what he wants to talk to candidates about.

As heard on Blue Jersey Radio last night, with DFA Training Director Matt Blizek guesting, DFA Chair Jim Dean will be around all weekend along with progressive organizers and candidates from all over the state – woo hoo!