After seven hours of discussion between the City of Newark and New York City attorneys behind closed chambers with a federal judge on Monday, Dec. 9, about the controversial Special One Time Assistance Program, also known as SOTA, both municipalities made collaborative progress in addressing immediate issues.
“This is a victory for the people of Newark,” Gary Lipshutz, Newark Assistant Corporation Counsel said.” “I actually think it’s good for both cities to take care of the people. That’s my job. That’s our job in city government.”
Under the agreement, New York agreed to a temporary pause in sending new families and residents to Newark; to provide Newark with a confidential list of persons who were moved here and their addresses; and work with Newark to inspect those apartments and homes for housing code violations. Any such violations will be enforced by the City of Newark and landlords will be charged for them in Newark Municipal or Essex County Superior Court, as appropriate.
“When they provide us with the list of SOTA recipients in Newark, we will have a chance to ensure they are living in legitimate conditions and make sure that they are living in safe conditions,” said Kenyatta Stewart, Newark Corporation Counsel.
Under the SOTA Program, approximately 1,200 New York families have been sent to live in Newark, regardless of their habitability, with a full year’s rent paid up front. The city passed an ordinance last month prohibiting agencies from paying a year’s rent in advance or housing people in apartments not inspected by Newark’s code enforcement people.
In a related matter today, the Director of Health and Community Wellness Dr. Mark Wade presented the City of Newark’s Comprehensive Plan for the homeless population, which includes new programs for the populations safety, health and welfare, and access to social services.
The lawsuit continues, but New York City and Newark have taken a big step forward in supporting the residents under the program. A conference call between both parties is scheduled for Thursday.
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Lawsuit continues, but cities are working together to support residents...
Ras J. Baraka is the 40th Mayor of the City of Newark.
A native of Newark, whose family has lived in the City for more than 70 years, Mayor Baraka’s progressive approach to governing has won him accolades from grassroots organizations to the White House. With a forward-thinking agenda that reduced crime to its lowest levels in five decades, addressed affordability while maintaining steady growth, lowered unemployment, and returned local control of schools after more than two decades, Baraka defied expectations during his first term in office.
As a part of his commitment to strengthen Newark’s position in the expanding technology space, Mayor Baraka has partnered with corporate stakeholders and institutions, such as NJIT (New Jersey Institute of Technology) on efforts that will capitalize on the 26 miles of dark fiber which lie beneath the City’s main corridors. Consequently, Newark is the host city for VOICE, a three-day summit hosted by Amazon Alexa, which is at the forefront of natural language processing. Additionally, in 4Q of 2018, the City will also launch LinkNWK (pronounced Link Newark), a new communications network of sidewalk kiosks that will provide residents of and visitors to Newark with free, gigabit Wi-Fi, mobile device charging, phone calls to anywhere in the U.S., access to municipal services, maps and directions, and real-time local information on city streets at no cost to taxpayers or users.
Mayor Baraka’s futurist agenda includes the implementation of a groundbreaking partnership called Hire. Buy. Live. Newark, a program that marks the first time that any US city has sought to transform its economy by combining employment, procurement, and residential strategies. These types of initiatives caught the attention of Amazon, which named Newark as a finalist city in its search to establish its second global headquarters.
He is considered nationally as a thought leader in the space of urban revitalization and his defiance of a hostile Presidential directive targeting the immigrant community with an executive order designating Newark as a sanctuary city solidified his status as one of the country’s most progressive elected officials.
Mayor Baraka was educated in the Newark Public Schools. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and History from Howard University in Washington, D.C. and a Master’s Degree in Education Supervision from St. Peter’s University in Jersey City. His father, the late Amiri Baraka, was a legendary poet and playwright. His mother, Amina Baraka, is herself a renowned poet. The father of three daughters, Mayor Baraka is a published author and well-regarded in the entertainment industry for his appearance on the Grammy-award winning album, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” in his authentic role as an educator.