The Undoing of Sharpe James
My piece from April, written the day after the Sharpe James conviction.
Sharpe James saw Newark through some tough times, and was a tireless cheerleader for the city, but government was never meant to be run this way. Newark is undergoing a transformative change, seeing a drastic drop in crime and renewed economic interest. It’s time to put away old ways of apologizing for cronyism, evolve our political discussion away from racialism, call for accountability from our leaders, and stop thinking of potential partners in the city’s success as “outsiders.”
James’ approach to governing the city created a culture of secrecy, suspicion and fear that was more about him than the city. It was that very cult of personality that led to his larger-than-life attitude and his ultimate undoing. Perhaps the real legacy of Sharpe James will be a warning of what can happen if we don’t demand more from our elected officials.