Murphy, Baraka and others Powwow in the Midst of Lead Contamination Panic

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka says that state guidelines regarding investigations into police misconduct are antiquated and need to permit independent civilian investigation. NJ Attorney General Gurbir Grewal recently said he supports the current policy, which diminishes the ability of Newark's Civilian Complaint Review Board to perform civilian investigations into complaints against police.

NEWARK – They just got out of a briefing a shot time ago, Governor Phil Murphy, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, and an assortment of elected officials, as they try to address the crisis of contaminated lead lines in Brick City and the surrounding area.

There are 18,000 homes with lead service lines, 15,000 of them in the affected area where the corrosion inhibitor that coats the lead pipes so the lead doesn’t leak stopped working.

Authorites have introduced a new inhibitor but it will take months to start working. In addition, the mayor has bonded $75 million to replace the lead service lines that are not owned by the city, a program started this spring.

“We have over 700 homes changed so far; it’s going to take 10 years to change all the lines at this rate but that’s the permanent fix,” Deputy Mayor Rahaman Muhammad told InsiderNJ.

Filters and bottled water are the temporary fixes until the inhibitor starts working.

The governor and mayor convened this morning’s meeting to develop a battle plan and head off ensuing area panic in the aftermath of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announced findings of dangerous lead levels in the lines of three houses.

For starters, they want wider testing, and a big date sampling.

“We have to give that a chance,” Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D-28) – who was in attendance at the


briefing – told InsiderNJ. “I was impressed that everyone seems to be concentrated on this. The mayor, governor and county exec are focused and the next days are not time for panic but for more information. Everyone seems to be engaged.”

Caputo said he disagrees with his colleague, Assemblyman Jamel Holley (D-20), who wants a National Guard presence to help confront the problem.

But there were grumblings in the vicinity of the state’s political classes about why the EPA went live with its findings after having found results in the lines of just three houses.

Against the backdrop of Baraka’s severe public criticism of President Donald J. Trump, a presidential candidacy by Senator (and former Newark Mayor) Cory Booker with pincushion potential, and madcap pushing and shoving between Murphy and much of the rest of the Democratic Party establishment, suspicions abounded about the political motivations behind making Baraka look bad at this particular moment.

The mayor is one of Murphy’s most obvious (and important) political allies in a state where many elected Democrats have turned against the governor in the name of polishing relations with an establishment dominated by the brain trust of South Jersey power broker George Norcross III.

Norcross, of course, has his own troubles as he attempts to dig out from under an Economic Development Authority (EDA) scandal.

A perception of weakness in popular local leader Baraka – who beat a Norcrosss-connected candidate to first become mayor in 2014 – conceivably splashes on Murphy and Murphy’s future statewide designs. At the moment, Murphy and the suddenly-national headline-beset Baraka still appear firmly welded together amid intra-party jeers mostly directed at Murphy.

(Visited 673 times, 1 visits today)
  • Valerie

    Everybody knows Norcross and his cronies are behind this scheme. This guy will do anything to destroy a black mayor, black council people, black people who don’t agree with him. Norcross and his cronies are Ruthless. He goes after people of color because they don’t have the resources and he can divide the race easy by Oahu g then off with jobs and titles. Norcross knows he is going down and he wants to take down others through embarrassing them in news narratives to defame and destroy leaders credibility and get the community in panic and anger against the black mayor and against the Governor. Norcross’s blue print is all over this. He is So damn dirty and sneaky. We know him well

    Norcross created this bullshit
    He’s behind all this panic. He’s the culprit with this lead crap and the person behind then scheme People better wake up and see just how diabolical this man can be.

    Maybe Camden needs to be exposed for levels of mercury and lead in the Delaware and Holtecs EPA concerns

News From Around the Web

The Political Landscape