Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Newark Mayor Cory Booker takes a stand where he lives

Newark Mayor Cory Booker and 24 hold outs were evicted from Brick Towers to make way for the bulldozers. He lived in the dilapidated building since 1998.
Photo: Richard Perry/The New York Times

In a powerful display of the adage "The personal is the political," Newark mayor Cory Booker moved from Brick Towers, a famously dilapidated building where he has lived since 1998 to another rough neighborhood where he vows to lead change. He and 24 hold-outs were evicted from the condemned high-rise to make way for, what the city promises, will be a much better housing facility. Taking up residence alongside trash, dealers and crime as a city council member brought Booker national recognition as a tough fighter of landlords and City Hall and made him the subject of an Oscar-nominated documentary. He is now moving into the top floor unit of a run-down three-story building in another tough part of Newark's south side, eager to, as he says, "become a part of a community." Amiri Baraka, who lives six blocks from the Mayor's new residence on Hawthorne Avenue, discounts Booker's choice of domicile as a politician's ploy and doubts that it was his real residency. However, neighbors report that he did spend most nights in the run-down high-rise. I, for one, am proud to see a Black leader putting his money where, in this case, his whole body is. Right on brotha Mayor Booker!

Review from theocarsite.com: Street Fight chronicles the bare-knuckles race for Mayor of Newark, N.J. between Cory Booker, a 32-year-old Rhodes Scholar/Yale Law School grad, and Sharpe James, the four-term incumbent and undisputed champion of New Jersey politics. Fought in Newark's neighborhoods and housing projects, the battle pits Booker against an old style political machine that uses any means necessary to crush its opponents: city workers who do not support the mayor are demoted; "disloyal" businesses are targeted by code enforcement; a campaigner is detained and accused of terrorism; and disks of voter data are burglarized in the night. Even the filmmaker is dragged into the slugfest, and by election day, the climate becomes so heated that the Federal government is forced to send in observers to watch for cheating and violence.

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