Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Sharpe James

I spoke to a Sharpe James supporter at work today, or rather, a woman who said she had at least voted for James over Booker in 2002. She described herself as a "true Newark girl" before revealing her vote, as she no doubt anticipated disgust on my part. However, I did not denounce her decision, and we had a rather lengthy conversation on the matter. Although I still consider James a dubious character, I understand better the position of those who favored him over the more idealistic option in Cory Booker.

This woman told me that during her ten years in Newark she had witnessed economic development that was largely due to James and that she wasn't sure that Booker would have been able to accomplish the same feats, as he has been a councilman for some time and has had what she refers to as a "thin record". She also thought that the claims of Booker's supporters that he had spent time in the ghettos as part of a successful effort to try and understand the problems in Newark, were bogus.

Nonetheless, Sharpe James, based on a lot of circumstancial evidence, is a crook. And frankly, in politics, one is not innocent until proven guilty. In politics, "guilty by association" is not an unreasonable verdict for a voter to reach. One must always keep in mind that every politician has limited connections to corrupt officials, however, in the case of James, the connections are egregious. His police chief has been convicted of embezzlement, his chief of staff of bribery. These are his appointments. Whether or not James is a super villain or the most innocent politician in Newark, the image he casts over his city is not a pretty one. Is it time for him to go? Or are we all too naive to determine Newark leadership?


At 2:59 PM, Blogger wfoley said...

I would say that you can judge a politician by circumstantial evidence and deem him or her "undesirable" or even "intolerable." Many people felt that way about Clinton as his former close associates, such as Web Hubbell, went to jail on corruption charges. But I don't they would have been justified in calling him a crook.

At 5:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sharpe james- certainly one of montclair state's finest products.... Sharpe James has now been mayor for almost 20 years, and his legacy of "economic development" as expressed by "newark girl" is unquestioned. statistics like "6 out of 10 students in Newark do not graduate high school" and "nearly one third of the population lives under the poverty line" stem from studies funded by the KKK and Taliban. Similarly studies showing Newark to be amongst the 10 poorest cities in the country were funded by jews and "faggot white boys".

- Julian

At 10:11 PM, Blogger Jack said...

"One must always keep in mind that every politician has limited connections to corrupt officials, however, in the case of James, the connections are egregious."

At 11:42 PM, Blogger Mr. Snitch said...

It's great that you can show sufficient objectivity to treat a James backer with respect despite your misgivings about him. There are too many foolish politicians and blind political zealots whose idea of sound politics is to simply call the other side liars, crooks or worse. Understanding the other guy's position is the first step to persuading him to a different point of view. Beating him over the head rarely works.

I have been pondering what the recent dust-up between James and Booker on Newark's basketball courts means in this regard. Is Booker merely publicly demonstrating that he is not afraid of James? Or is this an ominous foreshadowing of the next Newark election, where James superior understanding of human nature carries the day over Booker's well-meaning but benighted efforts to oust him?

P.S.: Jack's point is well-taken.

At 1:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmph! "A true Newark girl?"... "Witnessed economic development?!" I beg to differ! I'm born and raised in Newark NJ and I'll tell you one thing. In my 20 years of living there, it's only gotten worse and worse as I got older. Even now, when I visit my mother who still resides in Newark, it seems to get worse. The crime is ridiculous; the corruption is out of this world! I tell you one thing, that "Newark girl" must be on some good stuff, because she's hallucinating!



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