Newark mayor’s race: Ferry Street diary – for jeweler, Newark could be gold

NEWARK – PolitickerNJ.com hit Newark’s streets on Thursday to check the pulse of the city’s voters just 12 days before the May 13 municipal election.

Ferry Street is the vital artery of Newark’s Ironbound neighborhood, the area that makes up most of the city’s East Ward.

Inside Vinhas Jewelers, owner Helena Vinhas proudly displays a blown-up black-and-white photo of the day her Portuguese-born parents paraded down the street in their native village of Cameira on their wedding day.

Vinhas, born and raised in Newark, wants to keep the family jewelry store in the Ironbound, but has concerns about policing and the quality of life.

“It’s on record that we lost over 160 police officers [to city layoffs in 2010]. Criminals love to hear this, and it makes it more of a free-for-all for them,” said Vinhas, who, as a smart businesswoman, did not discuss whether she prefers Ras Baraka or Shavar Jeffries to be Newark’s next mayor. “I live and work down here. The next mayor has to be able to find the funding to hire qualified police officers with a good work ethic. It’s not just about adding more police officers. Sometimes more is less.”

When Vinhas looks west down Ferry Street deep into the heart of Newark, she sees more, not less.

“The Ironbound, and Newark overall, can be an amazing place. I believe that it can be bigger and better than Hoboken or Jersey City. We have everything here,” Vinhas said. “If the right mayor can bring everything together, starting with the public safety issues, it’s not going to be ‘You live in Newark?’ anymore. It’s going to be ‘Let’s go to Newark.'” 

Newark mayor’s race: Ferry Street diary – for jeweler, Newark could be gold