South Ward’s Council: ‘What Happens if Newark Decides to Sit Down?’

NEWARK – Sitting in King’s Restaurant on Clinton Avenue, South Ward Councilman Pat Council told InsiderNJ that Gov. Phil Murphy made a mistake when he selected non-Newarkers to sit on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, considering Murphy’s skin-of-the-teeth 2021 victory over Republican Jack Ciattarelli, which required significant voter output from Newark.

If Newark and Essex (29,000 M to 3,140 C; and 132,520 M to 45,542 C, respectively) hadn’t shown up for the Democratic incumbent, Murphy would have lost.

And yet, when it came time for Murphy to select appointments to the powerful Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, he selected staffers Joe Kelly and George Helmy (in addition to Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage), supplying the necessary bodies to re-up the chairmanship of Kevin O’Toole, a former Republican state senator.

It didn’t sit well with Council, South Ward Democratic chairman and a key ally of Newark Mayor Ras Baraka; and he said so.

“We have to speak to the narrative of the respect of the city,” Council (pictured above, left, with King’s owner Younis Moheisen) said amid the clanging sounds of plates arriving and departing in the busy neighborhood diner on one of the city’s main arteries. “This is a city that has always stood up in times of crisis and in times of tribulation ensured victory for others [including Murphy],” said the councilman.

“It weighs a lot on the state’s responsibility to look at the City of Newark,” he added. “It’s been said many times: as the City of Newark goes so goes the State of New Jersey. At some point reciprocity has its place. We need to look at individuals we know who are qualified; individuals who have labored in the vineyard and who can serve the interests of the people of this urban metropolis.”

It riled him, especially now.

Here it is, Black History Month, a time when we celebrate the contributions of African-American people throughout the diaspora and the continent and how far we have come to even where we are now part of the 94% and it still feels like we are stranded as our ancestors were in Galveston, Texas in 1865.

“Newark matters,” said Council. “This is a city that has grown even since the Census. And yet, individuals who have been recommended to these boards and authorities are not getting respect. It’s not just the Port Authority. The North Jersey Water Supply Commission hasn’t had representation for over 15 years. Newark owns 50% of the supply and is a founding member.”

Yet Terry Duffy received a seat and his town (West Milford) isn’t a member, the councilman noted.

“The director of our water department was recommended – this is someone who led us through the lead line crisis in Newark, and he is still waiting. This is the equivalent of the Puritans saying they helped move us through discord. It has to be more at the end of the day. Every time someone asked Newark to stand up, we stood up.

“What happens if the City of Newark decides to sit down?”

He pointed out that Newark has not had a seat on the Port Authority for 60 years.

“This is about our fair share,” Council said. “We’re not allowing people to think the largest city wants to be greedy. No. We just want fair representation. We think Newark should have representation when it comes to our airport and seaport and PATH Train, and yet we have no appointments.”

We noted others, nominated and not appointed:

Kareen Adeem nominated in 2020 to the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission

Mary Bennet, nominated without effect to the State Board of Education

Wynne Fred Hinds, nominated without effect to the Highlands Commission

Lakeesha Eure, nominated without effect to the Victims of Crime and Compensation Board

Charles Hall Taskforce on Wages and Health Benefits

Diane Johnson New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency

Suffiyah Webb Public Health Council

Eric Pennington NJ Sports and Exposition Authority

Annett Smith State Council on Developmental Disabilities

“We’re not here to be barbaric but to make sure our voice is heard in a respectful way,” Council added.

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11 responses to “South Ward’s Council: ‘What Happens if Newark Decides to Sit Down?’”

  1. I agree with the Councilman it is a complete lack of respect or consideration of the Black Community in NJ. Time to demand equity and fairness. White Supremacy has to Stop on all levels in our society. The Governor has to be call out on this blatantly racist situation.

  2. Newark the Biggest city in the State Doesn’t have Not 1 New car dealership or a Walmart or a Target or a Five Guy hamburger restaurant due to Politics !

  3. You are absolutely correct, Councilman Council.
    Sick and tired of being ignored…especially when we STAND UP for leaders when they need us and what they do after we labored on their behalf? Ghost us. Smile in our faces and appoint someone else.
    When will we learn the truth. “They only care about us when it convenient .

  4. Newark wields political power. Instead of “sitting down” (as the Title Question implies) , perhaps it’s THAT TIME, to USE THE SWORD!

  5. If Newark had representation on the Port Authority maybe airline travelers would be greeted with signage saying “Welcome to Newark.” Orlando Airport doesn’t say welcome to Florida! Sad..

  6. Newark is the second largest city in the NYC-Newark metro region.
    Newark is Americas 3rd oldest major US city.

    Yet your never know it!
    *NJturnpike Authority refuses to place Newark as a NB control city with NYC , but SB,has Trenton & Camden as controlling cities despite the turnpike missing both by over 5 miles.
    Njturnpike cuts right thru Newark!
    Only after the TPK/I95 LEAVES NEWARK & into the meadowlands you see “Newark”- BUT ONLY BC ITS I280!

    The PANYNJ doesn’t give a __ about Newark. They serve NYC & JC/Hoboken “gold coast”. If they did, PATH would serve more parts of Newark & Irvington.

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