Youth bureau bash draws 1,100 downtown to hear Cory Booker, Samite
By Luke Z. Fenchel • Correspondent • January 30, 2009
Despite chilly weather and icy roads that left schools empty, Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, N.J., and Ugandan musician Samite received a warm reception Wednesday at The State Theatre for the 60th Anniversary Celebration of The Ithaca Youth Bureau.
An audience of about 1,100 packed the State, and Booker was enthusiastically introduced by Mayor Carolyn Peterson to a crowd that brought together public officials including Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, D-125th Dist., Tompkins County Legislature Chair Michael Koplinka-Loehr and members of Ithaca Common Council.
Though the theme for the anniversary was "Bridging Racial and Cultural Divide: The Role that Youth Play," Booker didn't spend as much time speaking about young people as he seemed to speak directly to them.
"The vision, the moral imagination of our human family is so great," Booker said. "While campaigning for Barack Obama, I saw every room full of youth rallying for social change."
Booker, 37, has spearheaded a revival in a city of 300,000 that for 40 years has suffered the blight that plagues so many urban centers across the United States. His speech elicited such enthusiasm from both the young and old in Ithaca that the fact that he is the leader of another city in another state seemed moot.
"It's really refreshing to see a politician care about his constituency," Cornell University senior Tiffany Jones said after meeting Booker during the intermission between Samite's performance and the mayor's speech. "I'm really impressed with black politicians like Obama and Cory Booker, and the change in politics across the nation."
"I had seen him on the Oprah Winfrey show a few years back," added Tia Hicks, a sophomore at Cornell. "But in person he's a really cool guy, a relatable guy that sets a standard for other politicians."
Jones and Hicks were among the throngs who approached Booker during the intermission to thank him for his service and wish him well. The mayor had slipped into the packed theater after Samite began performing an hour-long set that featured some fiery breakdancing from an Ithaca High School trio called Greatest Common Factor.
Ray Henniger, 16, of Trumansburg, got his ticket as a Christmas gift from his mother.
"I had heard about (Booker) from the news. But seeing him in person was awesome," he said. "Besides his message, he was just a fantastic public speaker and seemed really grounded for a politician."
"I feel like his message is very spiritual and resonates beyond politics and what we generally talk about in America," said Jhakeem Haltom, a Youth Bureau employee and the front man of the Ithaca band Thousands of One. "He draws at the heartstrings of an apathetic youth. Youth is inundated by consumerism, and what he's doing is speaking through all of that static, all of that noise."
Though was difficult to find a single detractor in such an adoring crowd, the religious overtones did disappoint one attendee.
"I think he is steeped in religiosity that is disappointing and detrimental from a social justice standpoint," Michael Bryant said.
Most of the crowd was blown away by the mayor's ability to speak to people of all ages.
"I was most impressed with his ability as a speaker to meet the needs of both our community's youth and adults," said Youth Bureau Advisory Board Chairperson Stell Whitehead. "So often when speakers are selected, they are much more adult-oriented. Mayor Booker was just so much fun!"
Of course I said much more than that but that is all the paper of record in LiberalLand would place in their squishy pages.
And what you may ask are Mr. Booker's (who bragged about how many various religious texts he kept at his night table and road into town on a corporate jet- seems the angels could've flown the bastard in) "25 ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN 25 MONTHS"?
Here are numbers 1-2-3:
1- Public Safety
Since taking office, the City has graduated 4 classes of police officers, putting an additional 159 officers on the streets, with another class of 66 officers scheduled to graduate in December 2008.
Most significantly, Mayor Booker and the Municipal Council have been committed to hiring more residents as police officers. In addition, since taking office on July 1, 2006, the Booker Administration has succeeded in redeploying over 140 more officers onto Newark streets. Originally assigned to administrative duties, these officers were moved into patrol duty to increase the number of officers in our communities, with civilians assuming clerical positions and some traffic enforcement responsibilities. The Booker Administration is also responsible for the formation of a Gang & Narcotics Bureau as well as the Fugitive Apprehension Team, which has led to the apprehension of over 2,700 fugitives (visit www.npdmostwanted.com to see Newark’s Most Wanted). In addition, a Quality of Life Enforcement Strategy has been implemented to address quality of life violations through the issuance of summonses in lieu of arrest.
For more information on how to become a Newark Police Officer, please call (973)733-6030 or log onto www.newarkpd.org
2- Using Technology To Fight Crime
The Booker Administration and Municipal Council have also made significant investments in police technology. The City has dramatically increased the computing power of the Newark Police Department and incorporated a range of sophisticated equipment to combat narcotics, gangs and other types of criminality. Most recently, in a new public-private partnership, it launched New Jersey’s largest wireless network which is hosting 109 cameras to protect our City. The Newark Police Department is fast becoming among the most technologically-advanced police departments in the State.
3- The Newark Police Foundation
The City of Newark, together with committed members of the Newark philanthropic community, launched theNewark Police Foundation (NPF). Mayor Booker and theNPF raised private dollars which are used to purchase cutting edge technology for the Newark Police Department. More importantly, NPF is funding the new Newark tip lines, which allow residents to anonymously call two hotlines (1-877-NWK-TIPS and 1-877-NWK-GUNS) and report crime or information about a person carrying a gun. If a gun is recovered or an arrest is made, residents receive a cash reward of $1,000 for a gun recovery and arrest, and up to $2,000 for other types of arrests.
For more information about the Newark Police Foundation or anonymous tip lines, please contact Lt. Adolph Perez at (973) 733-6008 or www.newarkpolicefoundation.org.
Read the rest here: