Joan Whitlow for the Ledger: A poor idea to make people feel left out
Yesterday I got a copy of an e- mail that a 44-year-old Newarker who worked on Booker’s election campaign sent to City Hall. She was complaining loud and clear:
“How dare you have a State of the City Address and not be open to all!!!!”
We chatted on the phone. She told me she has defended the mayor to his detractors, rationalized the fact that scores of city employees were laid off even as the administration hired out-of-towners at high-level salaries. The ticket thing was the last straw. Newarkers were being treated like outsiders, she said.
The event, held at NJPAC, saved more than half the expense of last years’ SotC. Those who weren’t able to get one of the 500 seats (Whitlow fails to disclose whether this is more or fewer than the number of seats available at City Hall last year), were able to watch live video of the event at City Hall. The speech was broadcast on cable TV; it was streamed live over the web.
Joan implies this one disgruntled campaigner speaks for all of Newark when she says that the State of the City was exclusive. It just doesn’t wash, and the argument that Booker, a mayor who has been working in and serving the city for over ten years, prefers outsiders to Newarkers is starting to sound more than a little tired.