Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Exclusive interview with Newark Mayoral Candidate Darrin Sharif

On August 27 Darrin Sharif announced he would run for Mayor of Newark.
Sharif was an aide to Mayor Booker when Booker was a Central Ward Councilman.
His Father Carl Sharif has long been involved in Newark politics and was advisor for Booker's 2002 run for Mayor and 2006. Today we have an interview the Central Ward Councilman about his run for Mayor.

There is nothing more important at the present time than the murder rate and violence in our city. What is your solution?
Response: the murders and other lawless acts that have occurred in our city are disgusting, reprehensible, and shock the community’s collective conscience. As mayor I will conduct a national search for the most qualified police chief and director and employ the most effective crime fighting and reduction measures anywhere. Additionally, I will find the additional revenue to hire more police officers and to purchase additional security surveillance equipment to keep our community safe. But as I make this important and necessary investment, I will also intensify and accelerate the investment I, working with some great and commitment partners, have made in our residents and the neighborhoods where they live. Some of these important investment include: transforming 3 vacant and garbage-strewn lots into beautiful gardens and pocket parks; creating 4 building-based computer labs at New Hope Village, Pilgrim Baptist Village, Wynona Lipman Gardens, and thanks to a major investment by NJIT a computer lab and learning center at Oscar Miles; the expansion of the Central Ward Youth Ambassador program I started this summer where 25 high school students participated in a community project each week. These are the kinds of investment we should be making in our neighborhoods and as mayor I will make them in each of the other 4 wards.

2. The jobless rate in New Jersey is at high 8.5 percent while Newark's is at a staggering 15 percent or higher. What will you do as mayor to help bring about jobs? 
Response: Over the last  2 ½ years over a third of the economic development activity has occurred in the city of Newark. And over 80% of it has occurred in the Central Ward. Projects like the Prudential Office Towers, Teachers Village, Springfield Village, Food Depot, Springfield Market Place, and Douglass Harrison will generate thousands of temporary construction and permanent jobs. I am proud to have worked with the administration to create these opportunities for Newark residents. Over the next two years there are more than a billion dollars of economic development projects in the pipeline. As mayor I will get them out of the pipeline and across the finish line, fighting to make sure Newark workers got most of the jobs. But we also have to make sure that every Newark resident who wants a job is prepared to compete of it. I would work with our job development office to make sure that more of the money we receive from the federal and state government went to “job training” as opposed to “job placement.” With a 15% unemployment rate the reality is that thousands of Newark residents are going to have to compete for jobs outside the city. And when they compete for 

those jobs I want to makesure that they receive the best possible training we can provide them 

3. The Central Ward  has been the hub of economic development seeing probably over 80 percent of the cities economic development.
How would you bring economic development in the other wards like the North Ward that has not seen such an increase? The good news is that based on the explosive development over the last two years, and the additional development projects in the pipeline, outside investors now have Newark on their development radar. As mayor I will pick up where Senator Booker left off and be an even bigger champion for development. It is important that we send the signal to outside investors that we will continue to be business friendly and open for business. I will use the relationships I have developed with the commuting to attract more economic development activity to other wards in the city.

4. You have recently forged a relationship with Principal Yolanda Mendez at Roberto Clemente School to bring Saturday classes to the school. What are your hopes for that and do you plan on doing that in every ward? 
Response: Principal Mendez is a gifted principal and true community leader. Born and raised in Newark she has a unique understanding of the needs of her students and community. In 2010 after coming into office I established a “Learning Community” at Science Park High School.Science Park High School offers free classes on Saturday from 11am to 2pm. These classes include computer and financial literacy, GED prep, yoga, aerobics, film making, and more! The Learning Community is a model that can be replicated in every school in the city, and that will be my goal as mayor. Schools are the most logical places to organize community events. And schools are excellent venues to organize members of the surrounding community.

5. What is your top priority for the Newark Public Schools?
Response: To provide every single child with the type of quality education, that will allow them 

to compete on the world stage. As mayor I represent all of our children, whether they attend 
district schools, charter schools, or private schools. As we work to reform our system of public education and make it stronger, we have to work more closely with the community of stakeholders (our colleges and universities, our corporations, the development community,our faith and community based organizations, our residents, and most importantly, our parents and guardians/caregivers) to support our children NOW! To that end I started a mentor program for young men and women at the Vision Academy Charter School; I created a partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media lab to teach children how to code to become computer programmers; I am working with the Newark Public Schools, and hopefully Panasonic to create a special video game to help Newark kids who have physical disabilities increase their manual dexterity. Our challenge is to learn how to work together even when we disagree.

6. Who is your role model and why?
Response: My mother and my father. They instilled in me a moral compass and a fundamental sense of right and wrong. They taught me to respect everyone with the dignity and respect they deserve. And they instilled in me a love for learning and knowledge

7. Our property taxes under the current administration hasgone up considerably and yet our services such as sanitation, street cleaning, walking police officers have been on the decline. What would you do to help the citizens of Newark?Tax paying Newark residents deserve relief. And the key to providing them that relief is to generate more revenue. As we bring more development to our city we generate more revenue to fund services such as sanitation, street cleaning, and police officers. As mayor I will also pursue what I believe will be a significant and reliable source of continued revenue for the city – revenue generated from operations of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Each year the City of Newark receives 10% of the Port Authority’s gross revenue. If we find creative revenue ideas for the PortAuthority, we will receive 10% of that additional revenue the Port earns. To this important end, when I become mayor I will amend the administration’s table of organization to create a designated division that will specifically focus on Port Authority operations and ways in which to generate more revenue for the Port. When the Port Authority wins Newark wins.

8. If you're elected Mayor, your number one priority is?
Response: Safety, Safety Safety!!!

1 comment:

  1. that needs safety improvement with the schools especially with security doing there jobs