NEWARK – Waging a campaign against Booker ally Councilman Oscar James II in the South Ward, Ras Baraka says his opponent doesn’t want to talk about the issues.
A high-powered James-backed mailer is out there on the streets right now criticizing Baraka for seeking a council seat in addition to his current job as principal of Central High School, dual professional duties that would push him into the $200,000 salary range.
Baraka said it’s a distraction from the South Ward.
“It’s insidious,” said the candidate.
“The only people attacking people throughout this campaign have been my opponents. They put out this trash mailed to folks, which my students brought to me. What’s interesting is that at the beginning of the campaign, he (Councilman James) said all he would run in is the issues. But he hasn’t been running on the issues. The only issue they’ve run on is me. I’m the issue, not crime, not what we’re going to do with abandoned buildings, not how we’re going to put the residents of the South Ward back to work in a deep recession, not how are we going to handle the schools.
“I said if it was about money, I was the deputy mayor for a dollar for four years,” Baraka added. “I said at the beginning that I will use part of my salary for a young person in the South Ward, if that’s the issue. But that’s not really the issue. It’s a cloud when we perpetuate that and discuss that. The real issues are never dealt with. Our mother was robbed – the mother of John James – that’s the issue. In March, there were no bodies for a whole month, and then as soon as march was over – murders. That’s the issue. It’s Police Director McCarthy’s relationship with Ron Salahuddin. That’s the issue.”