Mayor Cory A. Booker - 2011 State of the City Address

Uploaded by CityofNewarkNJ on 09.03.2011

is a profound and obvious agreement in our city.
From parents, principals,
community activists, union heads,
mostly all of us, we share the same conviction:
We must do better for our children’s education.
With all of our pride in our city, we all know in our hearts,
that there will never truly be a great Newark unless there is a great PUBLIC education system.
The fact that we don’t have this does not mean it is time to point fingers and it certainly
is not the time to vilify teachers, principals,
parents, governors past or present and definitely not
the time to attack our kids. Now is the time to come together and get to
We must give a fair recognition to our collective history.
When it comes to school improvement we have heard it before.
Our recent history in Newark is littered with false promises,
failed efforts, and lots of cheap talk.
There is not a parent in Newark who doesn’t have a right to be deeply skeptical of anyone
who has the audacity to stand up and say, “Hey everybody let’s reform our schools.”
Anyone who was around to hear the cavalier bravado, as well as the sincere good intentions
put forth back in 1995 when our schools were taken over by the state has a right to be
skeptical and even frustrated and discouraged.
But skepticism cannot turn into a cynical surrender to our status quo or a reflexive
resistance to change efforts. We must learn from our past and never waver
in the conviction that our schools can and will effectively serve all of our children.
Further, our collective experience and common conviction must be a unifying force in our
To this end, there is hope here in Newark and around our nation.
From countless meetings in our community, it is also obvious that we agree on many of
the things that need to be done to help our children excel in school.
Further, in our there is a convergence happening around
best practices that are working in many urban districts.
Many of these best practices are already working here in Newark and giving some of our children
Blue Ribbon educational experiences.
We don’t have to feel our way in the dark. We don’t have to do guess work.
What we must do though is have the courage to boldly act.
The road to reform is not an easy one or everyone would be on it.
Bold action and change are difficult and take great sacrifice, but we must move forward
for our children. As obvious as many strategies will seem to
some, there will not always be consensus, but we must move forward for our children.
Mistakes will be made by me and others, but we must move forward for our children,
and unfortunately there will always be some people who put their interests ahead of our
children, but we must move forward for our children.
And so each of us must make a
choice: If you are happy with the status quo and think
our schools are getting the job done, then be a defender of what is.
But if you think Newark's children need better, if you think they deserve better,
if you think the future of Newark depends on our children doing better,
then NOW is the time to fight for real, bold change to transform our schools.
Then it is time to join with others in a larger more unified Newark effort to make change
happen NOW.
But before I go any further in discussing best practices and the pathway forward,
I owe the community something. Because of our history of false starts and
failed initiatives, I have an obligation to address those skeptics,
those people of good conscious who rightfully have concerns.
So let me make things clear in two categories.
1st about philanthropy: Over the last 4 years–
before Mark Zuckerberg’s grant, Newark has amazingly attracted an unprecedented
amount of philanthropy to our city. This uptake in philanthropic support of over
90 million dollars in the last four years has helped us build new parks all over our
city, put in public safety cameras in almost every
neighborhood, it is helping to fund our prisoner re-entry
programs for adults and our youth, it’s funding programs for seniors,
summer enrichment for our kids, homeless shelters,
green initiatives, school based health centers,
and helping to build affordable housing throughout our city.
I make no apology for my efforts to raise private dollars to support city initiatives–
especially in the brutal economy in which we find ourselves.
In fact, later this month,
I am hosting an event for the benefit of The Newark Public Library.
But our parents and the community as a whole should know as much as possible about the
private dollars that are being raised for our children’s benefit.
So here is what we are doing.
1. We have set up a local foundation to govern the national funds that are being raised.
The mission of the organization is simple, to do whatever is possible to support Newark
children in raising academic achievement working under the guidance of the superintendent of
Newark Public Schools.
2. Every donor to the fund– called the Foundation for Newark’s Future-
will be disclosed. From the start, we have been sharing that
information and we will continue to do so.
3. This fund will have a community advisory board made up of notable Newarkers who will
not only have access to the important information of the fund’s governance, but it will serve
as a group who will help with grant makings strategies and oversight.
4. Finally, the Fund’s grant recipients will be made
public as well as its general strategy and reasoning for making grants.
We have another 57 million dollars to raise to fulfill the Zuckerberg challenge grant
to our public schools. It is important that we are successful in
accomplishing this mission. In a time of diminishing dollars for education
in this country, where city after city is making tragic choices
and cutting invaluable programs,
I am grateful that Newark, New Jersey is able to attract philanthropy
driven by the belief that Newark, by doing the difficult work and taking bold
steps, can become a national model of educational
success demonstrated by one central accomplishment: consistently high student achievement.
The second issue that every parent and community member deserves is for our State Education
Commissioner, the Next Superintendent,
other education leaders including and especially myself–
is that all leadership around these issues be as inclusive as possible of the community
and draw leadership and direction from those especially invested in our system:
parents and educators.
Bold action– even if they are best practices–
can’t come out of a black box where there is no community inclusion or input.
This doesn’t mean getting unanimous popular votes on every action.
It doesn’t mean that tough and even unpopular decisions will have to be made, but there
must be a compelling rational for everything that we do.
People can disagree, people can even denounce, but everyone should
at least know that the decisions being made have no hidden agenda and that decisions are
made with our children’s best interests in mind.
So to that end here is what we are going to do.
1. This week I am forming The Newark Public Education Task Force.
We have invited a group of leaders representing every sector of Newark–
parents, educators,
clergy, community activists,
and other notable leaders from our community to join.
This group will meet regularly with the commissioner, myself and other NPS leaders.
Their 1st mission is to help interview superintendent candidates and advise on the selection of
our superintendent. Further, they will start immediately and continue
to be in place over the coming months to serve with the function of giving review,
input, guidance and critique of major policy initiatives
in the district.
2. Our school advisory board members are our elected education leaders and should also
be a part of every major aspect of our efforts. To that end we have had mixed results thus
far. But we have now tasked the NPS staff to meet
with their leadership more regularly, to inform them of policy decisions before
they are fully formed and seek their input and guidance on major education actions.
The advisory board will also continue to play a critical role in the interviewing and selecting
of the Superintendent– Advisory board members have already taken
part in interviews, have put forth qualified candidates and they,
along with numerous other members of the community, have been interviewed by our search firm and
have developed a valuable framework by which to make a decision.
3. Finally, Until,
and I am sure even after, the Superintendent is chosen the Commissioner,
Deputy Commissioner Rochelle Hendricks, Interim Superintendent Deborah Terrell,
NPS staff and I will be out in the community. Already over the past few weeks we have had
numerous meetings with stakeholders and community groups building on the dozens of community
meetings and forums that were held at the end of last year.
But now, as we move forward with specific reform efforts,
it is even more critical that NPS leaders, our State Commissioner and myself continue
our community engagement efforts.
Engagement, inclusion,
transparency are necessary, but not sufficient. If we are to be successful,
we must move forward with bold reform efforts now,
especially if we are going to get many of them in place for the start of our next school
year in September. And again,
for the steps we must take, there will be many compelling interests-
from concerns about jobs and contracts to respecting history and tradition.
But we must all agree that when any of those interests conflict with what is in the best
interest of our children, our children’s interests must always come first.
This must be our agenda, to not compromise anything when it comes to
what is best for our kids.
So, drawing from best practices around our city and nation, here are some things that
I am committed to discussing over the coming weeks and driving over the coming years.
The first involves rigor. Our children must work harder if we are to
get better results. As I was told growing up,
if you want the results that others don’t get,
you must be willing to do the work that others don’t do.
Over the coming weeks, we will be bringing people together to put forth a plan for extending
the school day. My hope is that next year we will launch longer
academic days in 5 to 10 schools.
Second, we must put principals in charge again. In public education,
principals are too often being reduced from education leaders to compliance bureaucrats.
In Newark, our principals are inundated with paper work.
They have little to no control over the money spent in their buildings, nor can they adequately
form or shape their staffs, not to mention facing huge time demands which take them away
from doing teacher evaluations and playing the critical role of educational leader.
This must change. We will more aggressively move forward with
pushing resources back into our school system and giving our principals the ability to lead,
make decisions and drive their schools towards results.
With greater principal autonomy, comes greater principal accountability.
They must produce results for our kids, but you can’t judge principals on results
unless you give them more control in driving toward success.
Third, studies show that the most important determinant for a child’s success in a school
is the teacher. We must do more within our system to attract,
retain, support,
and reward our teachers. And where there is a poorly performing teacher,
we must do more to remove them from our classrooms. I have been having great meetings and discussions
with Joe Del Grasso our Newark Teacher’s Union President.
If he and I can come together and find common ground and a shared conviction for our kids
then anyone can. He and I won’t always agree, but I will
tell you this, he joins me in stating that tenure for our
teachers cannot continue to be a default position, that we must work on a 21st century system
of fairly evaluating teachers and better holding them accountable for results,
that we must overhaul professional development in our district and better include teachers
in the process of building high performing educational communities–
because if there is anything I’ve learned from listening to teachers in the last six
months is that they can tell you who the low performing
teachers are in any building and their professional pride wants to see them out of their schools
as much as anyone. Our kids deserve excellent educators in every
classroom and we must drive our schools towards this end.
Fourth is accountability. I have used that word with principals and
teachers already, but schools and parents too must be held accountable.
We cannot continue to allow schools that are persistently failing our kids to continue
with little or no change. City after city in America has come to grips
with the fact that changing a school that has a culture of failure is a very hard thing
to do. Sometimes after years of persistent failure,
you have to hit the reset button. We have heard this now from President Obama
and his education secretary Arnie Duncan and seen powerfully successful school turnarounds
in cities up and down the east coast when they have had the courage to start new schools
to replace failing ones.
We have in Newark too many schools that have been persistently failing our children for
five to 10 years. We must have the courage to try new school
models, to bring proven leaders and educational programs
to replace those that are not working. This is a strategy that has been talked about
in Newark for years, but we have done little in the way of execution.
Well that must stop in September. We will have more community dialogue on this,
but I will not stand idly by for another academic year and allow failing schools to just continue.
And recognize this, there are charter schools in our city that
are failing just as much, if not more than some of our worst performing traditional district
schools. And while I don’t get to make the ultimate
call, if I have my way,
the first schools that should be facing a “reset” should be failing charter schools.
Charter schools were designed to be schools of full accountability. They were to succeed
or end and while we rightfully hail those great charter models,
we should equally point out those that fail our children.
We have to stop pitting school models against each other in our city:
magnet schools, themed schools,
district schools, charter schools.
It is not about the school model, it is instead about our kids–
all of our kids. Charter schools vs.
district schools should not be our predominant focus.
It should be on what schools are serving our kids and which ones are failing them.
I have loved hearing from traditional public school principals about their views on charters.
Most of them have told me that they don’t mind charters.
They just want the playing field to be leveled because they believe they can more than compete.
I’ve heard it plain and clear: give me more control over how the money is
spent in my school like charters have, let me and my teachers have more say over
who is hired in our schools like charters do,
let us make the decisions on teacher and staff firing be based on performance and not how
many years a person has been in the system. Well this is what we intend to do and the
end result is that we want to empower parents with real quality school choices for their
We can no longer strip parents of power by giving them only one school option for their
child- especially when that option is underperforming.
It is unacceptable to force a parent to keep their child in a failing school–
a school no elected leader in our city would send their child to–
and we have nothing more to offer the, but the false promise that change will come for
their kids some day. Our children don’t have the luxury of waiting.
So whether it is a traditional district school, single sex school,
magnet schools, themed academy,
charter school or whatever, we must make our school system into a portfolio
of high performing options for our parents to choose from–
options that serve the needs of all– not just some–
but all of our kids. The idea of defacto forced placement of our
children in failing schools must stop.
And for our parents, more freedom of choice means more responsibility
and accountability too. In every forum we have held so far on education,
the loudest most agreed upon theme, made by parents,
teachers, principals and others is that our parents
must become more involved. You can’t just send your kid to school after
they have been up until 2 a.m. watching TV or worse hanging out in the streets.
You can’t turn your head to your child’s absences and tardiness and then blame the
school for not educating them– that won’t cut it.
If we are going to have extraordinary results in Newark then we all know we need extraordinary
change in our schools and extraordinary change at home.
We as leaders must come together and have this discussion,
make plans to better empower our parents and yes,
hold them accountable too.
There is much work to do over the coming months leading into September.
We will be pulling together, and working on a lot more areas of our public
education system that can and must change -from challenges our district faces in special
education to how we can build upon the gains realized over the past five years in those
critical early childhood years of education.
And we have severe challenges that will make our progress even more difficult because our
school system is not immune to the budget problems that are sweeping across our state
and forcing the toughest of choices in district after district.
We too will be forced to make difficult decisions in the months and years ahead.
But here is what I know: All eyes of our nation are watching and waiting
to see what Newark will do with the opportunity to bring real reform to our schools.
Our city, now more than ever represents not only the
hope of every single child in our district, but the hope of our country rides with what
we do– this nation needs our leadership.
The stakes are high.
But I also know we have a strong education foundation in Newark.
We have schools of excellence already in Newark that are leading the pack in our state and
I know
we have a history not too long ago, where schools like South Side,
Barringer and Weequhaic resonated across the nation as beacons of educational excellence.
And for our kids, I know that in the minds of everyone of our
children is a powerful intellect waiting to be developed,
a genius yearning to manifest and there is a heart and spirit in our city that knows
that true freedom in America can’t be achieved in any other way, but by liberating the power
of our children’s minds through great education.
Look, I know that,
given the challenges, the struggling urban districts all around
our country, that many people might say our bold ambitions for our public schools are
Well I know Newark. Our city has a more than 300 year history
that is a glorious and glowing testimony to the achievement of the impossible.
This is Newark, New Jersey
So let us take heart in a mantra from the generation of leadership before me.
For our democracy to ever truly work, American cities must create great public schools
for all children. And if that is where our country must go,
you can count on something- that Newark,
New Jersey– if we pull together,
work together, and put the interests of our kids first–
Newark will get there first.
2010 was a challenging year for our city’s financial well-being.
Through difficult choices and tremendous sacrifice as well as sound leadership among managers,
city council members and others, we reigned in our city’s historic structural
budget deficit– bringing it down from over a 150 million dollar
deficit, to a balanced budget–
I want to again thank county leaders, all of our freeholders and County Executive
for working with us to ensure the financial well-being of our city.
We have come a long way, but we are not out of the woods yet–
and understand that every year because of rising costs of goods and services,
pension and health care, the pressures on our budgets increase.
Newark is not alone in facing harsh budget challenges.
Cities from north to south in our state are being forced to make tremendous sacrifice
and difficult decisions. For us,
hard work remains.
But this year, we believe we can drive our budget deficit down and bring forward a balanced
budget to our council while still preserving our core priorities–
programs for our seniors and youth including our youth summer jobs and enrichment programs,
an end to further library cuts, as well as other programs that serve to preserve
the health safety and welfare of our city. Even though we started this year with a snow-tastrophy,
a snowmageddon, Snowpocalypse,
a virtual snow-a-palooza, whatever you want to call it,
it was a heck of a lot of snow, that busted our snow budget.
We will present a budget to our council that will ensure that we can provide the critical
services that our residents rely on and still reduce the remaining structural deficit.
Because of the tough budget decisions of last year and the continued concerns about crime,
there has been much attention on our police department.
Faced with the tough budget realities and a union unwilling to cooperate,
compromise or concede in any way, we were forced to reduce our ranks by 163
In response to these pressures our police leadership led by Garry McCarthy moved to
restructure our entire agency shifting police from desks to our precincts and streets.
We now have as many police officers working out of our precincts as we had before the
layoff. But between November and now, we have seen
a tremendous amount of adjustment in our agency and as we all know,
in December we saw a serious spike in crime most notably in carjackings throughout our
city. Further,
2010 was the first year of my administration where we didn’t see a double digit percent
drop in shootings.
I am however now proud and grateful that our city pulled together during this crisis.
Garry McCarthy along with others formed an unprecedented coalition against crime in our
city. Our County Prosecutor under Robert Laurino
and now Carolyn Murray, US Attorney Paul Fishman,
The FBI, The County Detectives Office,
our County Sherriff Armando Fontoura, NJ state police,
the Drug Enforcement Administration, and other federal law enforcement agencies
along with teams of our best officers took on the carjacking problem that was gripping
our city and as we have seen over the last two months ended that crisis.
Dozens of arrests, incredible police work,
work by county and city detectives piecing together evidence and thus apprehending more
of those involved, and aggressive federal and county prosecution
all helped to not only eliminate the carjacking spike, but also set the tone for the year
Last year many of you may remember that in our first quarter,
with our murder free March, violent crime statistics were the best since
1964. But then we followed that up by having the
worst summer of violence in twenty years. That pattern can’t happen again.
Already we are having a first quarter that is showing a decrease in violent crime most
notably shootings and murders. We are now only slightly up from last year’s
historic drop. But this year, we must better prepare for
the summer months. So first,
our coalition that was so successful against carjackings will focus their attention,
strategies, resources,
and convictions on making sure that the warmer months in Newark are not marred by violence
as we saw last year. We will meet this summer with the determination
to show that Newark is yet again, on track to set the national standard for
violent crime reduction.
Another way we seek to do this is through a new strategy I'm proud to announce tonight.
Our police director is bringing forward with Rutgers University and John Jay College of
Criminal Justice that has shown to drive down violent crime in other cities in dramatic
fashion. This will be a powerful new policing approach
that holds tremendous promise for our city and one that actually involves less police
action and more community action.
Currently, we are locking up hundreds and hundreds of people who are involved in gangs.
Young men are going in and out of prisons and we as a community are not doing nearly
enough to break this cycle of recidivism, which is consuming the lives of too many who
are caught up in this dangerous lifestyle– and doing horrible collateral damage to Newark.
Our new initiative seeks to end this. Over the coming months through a program modeled
from successes in a handful of others cities, we will be holding meetings with gang members
throughout Newark. Hosting these meetings will not principally
be the police, but people who the gang members will know,
recognize and who have community credibility.
Along with police, these leaders will make it clear to gang members–
if you are willing to work with us there are alternatives.
We will be raising private dollars to offer numerous social services and economic opportunity
to these men and women focused on enabling them to make different choices.
For gang sects who choose to participate, we know from other cities,
that their membership abruptly stops their illegal activity and the violence often associated
with it. Those involved in the gang activity actually
are better integrated and even embraced by the community.
For those that choose not to participate and instead resume criminal activities and violent
crimes we will make it clear that there will be consequences.
Because of our coalition between multiple law enforcement agencies,
we can bring to bear considerable law enforcement action on that refusing gang sect and when
they engage in any criminal activity we can bring swift and determined consequences their
way. What other cities have found is that given
these two options, gang units more often choose the way of peace
without incarceration then the way of violence and more mass arrests.
Policing needs to evolve and our department will continue to do so.
But we all know that the
best way to prevent crime in the long run is education of our children and economic
opportunity for adults.
The opportunity we must create in our city must be opportunity for all.
I am proud to announce tremendous progress tonight in creating jobs,
housing, and economic growth in our city.
One of our major strategies in my first term working with our city council was to make
capital available to entrepreneurs from our city who sought to open or expand businesses.
Since 2006, the Brick City Development Corporation and
the Newark Urban Enterprise Zone have committed over $14 million in loans to local entrepreneurs
and key projects.
In 2011, this assistance is already helping create two new restaurants,
LOFT47 and the Edison Ale House, right next to the Prudential Center.
These restaurants will team up with Brick City Bar and Grill,
also a loan recipient, and numerous other restaurants opening in
our downtown to add to our city's growth and job base.
My goal in 2011 is to empower even more Newark entrepreneurs to realize their dreams.
BCDC has proposed a new small business program with loans of up to $150,000 to
women, minorities,
and small business who seek to grow and expand. And we will start a new effort to help small,
contractors break into the construction industry.
Jill Johnson at the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership is partnering with the UEZ office
to continue to drive our economic recovery by helping entrepreneurs take new small businesses
ideas from concept to reality. For example,
Heather Kollar is a South Ward resident and the owner of Diamond Doobies,
a boutique organic hair salon at 188 Market Street.
She joins other Newark entrepreneurs as courageous models for our city,
investing their capital in their dreams and creating jobs,
wealth and growth for us all. Heather,
we’re proud of you, and we’re so glad we could help you realize
your dream. In addition to Heather,
the IFEL/UEZ partnership has helped: Better Bites,
Kings Family Restaurant, and Porta Print start or grow their businesses.
Newark’s entrepreneurs and small business owners are the lifeblood of our economy.
It is our duty as a city to lay the groundwork for their success.
But too often, just getting permits and licenses in our city
ensnares, frustrates and confuses entrepreneurs.
This month, we will begin with a pilot program to automate
the restaurant license and renewal process. And over the course of the year,
we will work to extend the program to other licenses.
In this recession, our administration is squarely focused on creating jobs.
Take NewarkWORKS, our job training and placement agency at 990
Broad Street. Before we took office,
the agency was failing fully half of the federal benchmarks for adults seeking work.
Now, it is meeting or exceeding all of these targets.
And every month we are finding ways to increase job opportunities and placements.
Further, through our prisoner reentry initiative, we have placed hundreds of ex-offenders in
jobs and our program as a whole has a recidivism rate below 10% with our Re-entry Office being
awarded a 2010 Innovation in Governance Award.
But I believe we can go beyond traditional job training and placement to create collaborations
that lead to new jobs for our residents.
In the 21st century, if you’re looking for work,
you shouldn’t have to search in the same old places and, once hired, you shouldn't
have to clock in and clock out in the same old ways.
We should be able to go beyond bricks and mortar and draw upon the information and communication
technology of today. So I’m pleased to report tonight that we
are partnering with LiveOps, a virtual call center hiring people to work
from home and set their own schedules. Our goal is for more than 100 of our residents
to work for LiveOps by the end of 2011– and for hundreds more Newarkers to find such
21st century employment in the years ahead. Live Ops has actually challenged us to find
1,000 Newarkers to take advantage of this opportunity.
The LiveOps jobs can be either part or full time,
working at any hour and people from 18 to 88 can qualify.
We are joined this evening by Regan Parker from the LiveOps,
and some of the company’s newest employees– Newark residents Darryl Harvey and Sharon
Quality of Life
In my first term, we doubled the City’s production rate of affordable housing building
more than 1,200 units in that span. And in this term we will continue that pace.
New projects this year like the LEED-Platinum Roseville Commons will serve the formerly
homeless and other special needs populations. Project Live will create 21 units for residents
with mental illnesses. Episcopal Community Development’s Kinship
project will produce 24 units of multigenerational housing.
And the Newark Housing Authority will break ground on Baxter Park South,
a pair of mid-rise developments with a combined 90 units of housing.
Developers are also seizing on a pent-up demand for loft apartments in Newark,
partnering with City Hall to convert vacant spaces into beautiful new residences.
Studebaker Lofts will create 68 of these homes. (50% of them at affordable rates).
And a former car dealership will soon blossom into Packard Lofts,
with 30 new residences on Broad Street.
Our Financial Empowerment Center continues to enhance our families’ financial well-being.
This year, we added a new free tax prep site in the South
Ward– a new front in our ongoing effort to build
assets and strengthen financial futures for our residents.
In 2009, we served 3,000 residents at our tax prep
sites and helped Newark families take home $7 million.
In 2010 we stepped up our game. Over 4,000 Newarkers received support,
and brought home more than $10 million in tax refunds.
And we keep innovating to find new methods of financial empowerment.
In 2010, we introduced Financial Aid U,
a resource for first-generation college students to get connected to the scholarships and aid
they're eligible for.
In 2011, we will add another new tool.
We are launching SaveUSA in two Newark locations. It’s a simple idea to help our residents
save for the future. If you qualify for free tax prep and sign
up for a special savings account, we will give you a $1 match for every $2 you
save out of your refund. I can’t think of any place else in our economy
that you can literally get free money for the money you save.
It is a great program.
I have heard from our residents all over the city the call for better access to fresh food
in Newark. We are answering this call.
In 2010, we celebrated Food Plaza on Bloomfield Avenue,
the first recipient of our small grocer grant program.
Thanks to this grant, Mencido and Francisco Baez’s store now has
the refrigeration equipment needed to sell fresh fruits and vegetables.
In 2011, we take our efforts to the next level through
the creation of supermarkets in chronically underserved neighborhoods.
Site renovations of a new grocery store on Springfield Avenue in the South Ward have
already begun. A first phase will open this year.
We will also break ground on a new supermarket on First Street in the Central Ward,
which we expect will open next year.
And for those of you like me who keep asking when our city’s only movie theater will
get its eagerly anticipated overhaul, here’s your answer:
Working with Boraie Development and Newark native Shaquille O’Neal,
in 2011 we will actually break ground on the new Newark Screens–
with the number of screens doubled from 6 to 12,
two 3-D theaters, and stadium seating.
Destination Newark/Tourism
The NCAA tournament-- March Madness--
is coming to the Prudential Center later this month. Here's a new and meaningful twist
-- much of the merchandise sold during the tournament
will be made in Newark.
it or not, Newark has over 300 manufacturers who employ over 12,000 people.
Everything from baseball caps to cowboy hats, from vanilla extract canisters to beer bottles,
from school uniforms worn across the region to U.S. army uniforms worn across
the world. Thank you to the man behind the “Made In Newark” movement
-- Mitch Cahn of Unionwear.
2011 will be the year that we truly break ground on the new Newark.
This year, we will break ground on a new Courtyard by Marriott Hotel at the Prudential Center.
This 150-room hotel is the first in our downtown in nearly 40 years and will both attract and
generate economic energy.
We will also break ground this year on Teachers Village--
224 units of housing for Newark teachers, with three schools,
a daycare center and new retail. This development,
designed by Newark native Richard Meier, will rejuvenate Halsey Street and become a
new landmark in our city.
I am also excited to report tonight that major new companies are on their way to our industrial
One is a transaction that literally closed this afternoon.
Bartlett Dairy– a minority-owned dairy distribution company
that services 550 Starbucks throughout the tri-state region–
is moving to Newark. Bartlett will open a 105,000 square foot distribution
center in the South Ward. Bartlett’s presence will start at 175 jobs
and expand to over 400 jobs over the next 5 years.
Wakefern, a major food supplier, will also break ground for a 180,000 square foot distribution
center servicing ShopRites from Baltimore to Buffalo.
The facility will be home to 90 jobs.
2011 will be the year we create new jobs by jumpstarting the television and film industry
in Newark. Ironbound Film and Television Studios is open
for business-- a state-of-the-art,
minority-owned complex in our east ward.
We've also created an Office of Film and Television at BCDC to capitalize on our early momentum
and bring more productions to Newark. We are strongly hoping that our governor and
legislature will renew the New Jersey Film Tax credit–
because this will lead to an even greater boom of jobs,
projects and filming done in Newark.
I’m pleased to announce more good news. In 2011,
Manischewitz, the nation’s leading producer of kosher
foods, will make Newark its headquarters city.
Standard Chartered Bank is bringing an additional 125 jobs to the city. is doubling down and adding 25,000 square feet, while expanding
its Newark workforce.
Rich Tucker, Ron Beit,
Josh Kannis, David Forem,
Chris Johnson, Randall Copeland,
Patti Fuster, and Donald Katz
are representatives of these new companies and projects--
thank you for helping create the new Newark!
So what do these new headquarters, distribution centers,
and homes mean for Newark, and for Newarkers?
Get this– taken together,
our new projects represent approximately half a billion dollars of development–
producing 1.25 million square feet of new space,
and creating over 1,500 construction jobs, plus well over 1,200 permanent positions.
This incredible success owes a lot to many partners.
I must thank.... (our governor,
Al Koeppe and Caren Franzini of the NJEDA, Lori Grifa of DCA,
All our State legislative leaders-- in particular
Assemblyman Al Coutinho, Senator Ray Lesniak.
These folks know that when a building boom starts to unfold in Newark our entire state benefits.
2011 is the year when, after all of our planning,
and promoting,
we truly begin digging,
and dazzling.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is our groundbreaking year!
We have challenges Newark, our work is not done,
but the dream has been deferred long enough.
It is time for us to claim our truth and let the world see it made real.
Last year’s savage circumstances tried to knock our city to its knees, but here we are,
still standing tall– bruised, but not broken– a city that will
never bow or break. Nor will Newark ever be content to crawl or
walk, when we know this city was called to soar,
to lead to show the way out of the darkness.
Our city was founded in faith and forged by the faithful.
We remain steadfast and determined with an indomitable will and unyielding love.
We know that hope in Newark is flourishing.
As it has been said in the song of our ancestors: Out from the gloomy past,
till now we stand at last. Where the white gleam of our bright star is
Ladies and gentlemen, in 2011 the state of our city is poised and
ready. Bring on the challenge. We will fight it.
Bring on the mountain. We will climb it. Let the cynics shout and the critics pout,
but Newark will clam its rightful and glorious future
have no doubt.