Thursday, April 17, 2008


OK lets get this thing started, I use to live in Newark, New Jersey just over the Hudson River and have had family and friends there as well. I even worked there for a short time so my experience with the city is personal and professional. As a citizen of the city I made it my responsibility to KNOW the city, its history, its economics, the politics and its people. Much like New York City, it is composed with many ethnic and cultural groups but UNLIKE New York, it is an extremely segregated city. My experience there not only had a major impact on my life but its current make up not only prompted me to turn away from becoming a part of the World of Politics but on the other side of reporting it and or exposing the underbelly of it. The atrocities in Newark, New Jersey also was institutional in gaining me recognition as a Poet in winning my first Writing Award for a piece called OPPORTUNITY, detailing in verse, how the City of Newark had destroyed generations of its youth over the years. If Denzel Washington portraying an American Gangster, Sharpe James is America's Pimp.

Blacks over there, Latinos of here, Whites on the outskirts way over there, the poor in the center in the Projects and Portuguese, Asians and Italians beyond the underpass past the trains and the west Indians on the boarders on the extreme opposite side of town, Newark is a social experiment on How To Not Run An Ethically Diverse City. With it’s Lightning Rod History and Controversy, Newark still maintains a “fear” mongering form of policing where patrols on the boarders of the city keep those people that might be from the city, from crossing over into their own. What I always experienced while living and working there was as close as Newark was to New York City, specifically Manhattan; it was more Southern in style than Northeastern. Newark, New Jersey; the major hub for transportation, shipping, manufacturing, economic advancement, education and music was more like Chicago IL., Baltimore Md., Charlotte NC., Atlanta Ga. than a Brooklyn NY, Boston Mass., or Hartford Ct. Even with Newark’s history as being a city built by Immigrants, it also has had a long account of being corrupt in its politics. What always amazed me was that in its downtown area, at any given time, you could not find a movie theater (unless you wanted to choose between two Porn Theaters), no Ice Cream Shops or Bakeries, no places to get simple Computer supplies or Electronics, no Bookstores, very few Restaurants, no Hardware and Home Supplies shops and I can go on with a listing of "have-nots" that any small town would have but not the largest city in the state of New Jersey. This lack of Private and Public investment for the past 40 years is what tittered Newark on the brink of being a ghost town way before the Bush Administration's Big Score. The state of the city existed in this type of limbo through several presidents; Ford, Cater, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush and only until recently has the cycle broken with the aid of Newark’s present Mayor Cory Booker. For all accounts, Newark was a Ghetto City and that was what it existed as under the combined leadership of two mayors and 40 years.

So why was this? There are many reasons which date back since the later 1960's. Some would argue the White Flight into the suburbs, others would argue the lack of know how by Black Leadership that filled in the void of those that left. Still others would argue the unstable economy that had befallen the City but residents of the City of Newark will tell you that the perpetuation of the city’s misery to be with two men selling and carving out the spoils than an entire Federal and State economy; former mayors Kenneth Gibson and Sharpe James. I would blame it on Black Loyalty at its worst.

I had recently posted on my blog the concerns I had about Black Loyalty (THE FATE OF BLACK LOYALTY). In this posting I discussed the pitfalls of Black Americans voting for political candidates just because they look like them and or use all the words of Hope and Change layered in Sermon and Gospel while wearing the Cloth of a Politician. As part of this analysis I used the current state of Newark as a grand example as to what happens when Black Politicians go BAD and Newark, New Jersey has had some BAD Politicians.

Concentrating on the TOP thrones of political responsibility, the mayor is always the figurehead that ultimately gets the hardest look. Looking at almost 20 years of non-transparent management under Sharpe James’ rule, the state of the city had grind down to almost a complete halt with its high crime statistics, corruptions, government abuse, misappropriation of funds, personal and family favors, money laundering, document and witness tampering and the list continue. What more, as the city continued to descend into near bankruptcy, the city was facilitating no-bid contracts, property sales, tax abatements and pushing Imminent Domain upon the city home owners while raising taxes to offset the cheap land that Developers where receiving without challenge. You had Councilmen and women with budgets that would just disappear into thin air without question. Newark was the place to learn, live, profit and love “Dirty Politics”.

What makes this act so shocking is that one would deem this to be the actions under a Republican Administration (President to Governor down to the Mayor) and yet these actions were all from a Black Democratic Mayor whom had won over a previous Black Democratic Mayor, Kenneth Gibson, who did the very some thing for nearly as longs as James. In essence, one mayor past the baton of corruption to the next to continue the raping, robbing and pillaging of the life force and livelihood of a city with the majority being the Black population. A city, which fought in the late 60’s to remove the gangster-type politics that segregated and oppressed a people to only replace it with another (with the help of corporate, special interest and ex-Newark officials whom had moved up in the Private and Public sectors and still had an investment in gutting out the new GAME that was to be Newark Politics). Think clearly then, you enter into a city where the evidence of riots still remain in public sight, where you allow fortune 500 corporations to exist at the center of your city and are allow to practice a "no-hire" practice for the residence within your city, where you allow (under the guise of Imminent Domain) State and County Universities and Colleges, Catholic Organizations, New Jersey Port Authority, State Hospitals and Manufacturing and Pharmaceuticals and Private Developers to expand into the city maintaining a "no-hire" status for its citizens while gifted with the prize of Pay No Taxes. And as each group gutted out the City of Newark, you heard the rallying call of Sharpe James calling these changes THE NEWARK RENAISSANCE.

I made this statement publicly and in writing, which had gotten me in some hot water, not because I was being a racial or radical, but because my words went out and also included Barak Obama:

"I am a skeptic in all things POLITICAL. For Obama, my concerns are his UNKNOWNS. There are many Blacks in politics that are doing great things and there are many that use their positions to line their pockets. Initially they (Black Politicians) all are inspirational and agents of CHANGE. As Black people, we end up on the loosing end when BLACK politicians go BAD or CAN'T do right by Black people due to political promises and pre-conditioned obligations.Shazza Nakim from the Blog: Field Negro

My words were not anti-Obama or anti-Black Democrat (as Obamaholics see the World, the statement read between the lines as being Pro-Clinton) the words spoke from a simple truth of past evidence and repeated examples of mismanaged government, not only of Black Politicians, but all Politicians globally. The politics of Newark, New Jersey isn’t unique to just that city but is does show a pattern in many predominately Black cities with Black Politicians at the helm. We can make claim to the same argument that those surrounding Mayor James and Gibson did this but reality the people's lack of the truth, their lack of ownership, false loyalty, lack of transparency, active participation, human nature and a Politician's bid to be like other political officials. The direction one needed to deal with Black Cities (and YES I will make the claim that a predominately populated city IS a BLACK CITY when the majority residents are BLACK) in a uniquely different way than non-Black Cities. Sharpe James has only done what other politicians have done and like those that were TOO greedy, felt they were TOO powerful and got TOO sloppy, he walks out in MUCH SHAME AND RIDICULE.

So what is the end result, does the City of Newark get back its Billions of lost revenue and government funding dedicated to rebuilding it back to its past luster? Do the children reclaim the loss of broken schools; poor education, undo their drop-out status, get off the streets and back into the classroom of the schools that were either closed or condemned, decrease the incarceration numbers because the after-school programs and summer work programs will be re-financed? Do people get to reclaim their homes lost in the vicious cycle of TAXATION? Do you mandate that those people who purposely set fire to their homes and businesses for Insurance in order to leave the city and add to the decay? Do you make accountable the Corporations that had systematically denied employment to Newark residents for generations thus keeping the unemployment rates consistent and steady? Do the city now balance the budget by cashing in all the Planes, Trains, Yachts, Cars, Private Mansions, Manors and Vacation Homes paid for by the tax payers? Do the people of Newark get back the KICK BACKS the Mayors signed off and granted to Developers for years? How about the subsidized resources given to businesses outside Newark with no return back from where it came from? A person can scream to Heaven, “MY GOD” with the type of abuse that had gone on unfettered all because of Black Loyalty in the City of Newark.

I do not like to wish Bad Luck and Ill Will on anyone and yet like Al Capone, the notorious Gangster of Chicago, if the best the FBI can get on Sharpe James is his hooking up his Side Piece on  with STEALING MONEY AND OPPORTUNITIES from the citizens of Newark, just like generations of other corrupt Black and Brown politicians were doing under his watch, THAN I AM SATISFIED WITH IT. My soul isn’t full with the justice but I think the people of Newark will have a sense that some HIGHER POWER is reminding them that "Not All Devils Go Unnoticed".

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