Mayor Baraka – Please Stop Running Newark Like Cami Anderson is Still in Town

Mayor Baraka ran successfully for Mayor by focusing on the issue of education. As the Star Ledger recently noted, “In the mayoral race, he [Baraka] scored points by demonizing charter schools.”

Don’t get us wrong, it was a smart, practical, political strategy.

During that specific moment in time Cami Anderson was Newark’s state-appointed Superintendent.

Anderson did not fully understand Newark, and many believed she wasn’t terribly interest in learning about Newark either.  Some even believed her behavior, temperament and ego created an environment in Newark – which caused some families to suffer.

Baraka and his advisors, smartly, hinged Anderson’s perceived missteps to his political campaign for Mayor.

If you recall, during the campaign, angry and frustrated parents attended debates and school board meetings asking for Anderson’s head on a platter.

I remember even seeing at political rallies activists carrying posters with Anderson’s likeness with the word “Liar” written and dripping down her forehead like it was blood.

A bit extreme for The Newark Report, but what we witnessed under the Anderson was a truly  challenging environment – and it helped propel Baraka to Mayor.

When Baraka ran for Mayor, he used Anderson to anger and rally the community.  It was a divide and conquer.  And the strategy worked!

Now, as the Newark Report has pointed out aggressively, the Mayor’s recent tactics have continued the politics of division.

Whether it be his December Surprise, staff visits to leafy Montclair, his enforcers, his sneaky letters…The Mayor has been moving forward as if Anderson was still here in Newark.

Since Anderson’s resigned there has been a collective sigh of relief from the whole City, even by those who run public charter schools in Newark.

If you privately talk to either charter or district parents, staff and elected leaders in City Hall and even people in 2 Cedar, many are relieved.

Since Anderson’s departure, many new Newark parents are now engaged on the issue of education — whether in Trenton, SAB meetings, Letters to the Editor and even Newark parents sharing their stories in various columns.

Most recently, to the Mayor’s credit, we have even seen the announcement of a shared united slate for the upcoming SAB election.

We believe these are signs of a new day in Newark.

Perhaps this shows an end to divisiveness.

The Anderson era is over – rather than see the division of the Mayor’s campaign continue…Rather than seeing- things like the December Surprise, staff visits to leafy Montclair, his enforcers hurting people and sneaky letters…we hope we can see more things like the SAB unity slate.

Anderson is no longer in town – and we see a reengaged Newark community.

We hope the Mayor can see the true difference and act like it.  We would all be better off.

Rather than being a political Mayor and constant candidate, use this SAB slate as a reminder–be a Unity Mayor.

This is a new moment for Newark. We need more governing and less politics.