Cory Booker Takes a Hit

Crazy. Democratic hero Cory Booker sparks near-riot over political shenanigans.

A behind-the-scenes political maneuver by Newark Mayor Cory Booker to fill a vacant council seat with his choice led to a near-riot in city hall tonight, with dozens of residents rushing the council stage and police responding with pepper-spray.

After weeks of jockeying for Rep. Donald Payne’s successor, Booker made an unprecedented personal appearance to cast the deciding vote with his council allies for Shanique Davis Speight, a longtime ally of power broker Stephen Adubato, over the angry objections of residents.

“In the absence of a quorum, I have an obligation to sit in,” Booker said, though he was barely audible over the din.

The packed city council chamber was gearing up for a showdown over the appointment as well known figures including former Mayor Sharpe James, Amiri and Amina Baraka, former Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins and former Council President Donald Bradley came to back their choices.

Councilman Ras Baraka attempted to speak but was not recognized by Councilman Anibal Ramos, who was serving as acting president. Instead Ramos proceeded with the nomination of Speight.

Baraka, Councilwoman Mildred Crump, and Councilman Darrin Sharif walked off the dais in protest, and Booker came in cast the decisive vote, as laid out in state statute.

The move was planned by Booker’s chief-of-staff, Modia Butler, to scuttle the appointment of James’ son John Sharpe James, an avowed Booker opponent, in favor of Speight. Butler had the mayor at the ready in case of a tie or if there was no quorum.

“We did our research. We abided by the rules and guidelines. We didn’t run afoul of anything,” Butler said.

After the vote, residents stood chanting “Cory’s gotta go!” as officials shouted over the confusion.

This was a showdown of the corrupt with the corrupt, apparently. This was obviously a shady move on Booker’s part, but the biggest opponents were the SEUI and old-school Civil Rights dudes like Amiri Baraka. Who knows which side was more righteous, if there was anything righteous on either side. All I know is that the Democratic Party is a case study in dirty irony these days.

This is an open thread.

About Woke Lola

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47 Responses to Cory Booker Takes a Hit

  1. The police used pepper spray on opponents, including some elderly activists. I get the sense that there will be no nationally recognized outcry about this, as there was with OWS.

    Shanique Davis Speight was eventually taken to a back room and sworn in.

  2. votermom says:

    Let’s see if Cory Booker replies

  3. myiq2xu says:

    Here is a better description of events:

    Booker was looking to nominate an ally, Shanique Davis Speight, to the empty slot. His opponents were pushing for John James, the son of former Newark mayor Sharpe James, who Booker beat in 2006 to claim his current job. When a councilman supporting James attempted to speak, he was not recognized by the acting chair, so he and three other council-members walked out in protest, leaving the council without a quorum.

    That’s when Booker stepped in. In the absence of a quorum, council rules allow the mayor to sit in and cast votes. Anticipating just such a moment, Booker’s chief of staff had planned ahead, making sure the mayor was at the council meeting—for the first time ever—to take action. Speight was nominated to the empty seat and Booker cast the deciding vote in her favor.

    That’s when the mayhem started. Residents grew furious over what looked like back-room cronyism orchestrated by Booker and his allies, and began chanting “Cory’s gotta go.” When Speight entered the chamber to be sworn in, dozens of citizens stormed the dais and had to be pushed back by police. One man was even arrested. Speight had to leave the room to be sworn in elsewhere.

    Read more:

    • myiq2xu says:

      If it’s within the rules it ain’t cheating.

      • The 2008 caucuses were within the rules, too. I never said it was cheating. I said it was shady, and it was.

        • myiq2xu says:

          If those four council members hadn’t walked out, Cory couldn’t have done anything. They tried a move and it backfired.

        • No argument there. I’m not giving anyone a pass here. Not picking sides, either. The whole thing sounds like a loony affair.

        • myiq2xu says:

          This reminds me of Wisconsin where the Democratic senators left the state to prevent a quorum.

        • Remember when they tried it in Texas a few years before that? Taking yourself out of the equation is almost never a good idea.

        • votermom says:

          Didn’t they escape thru a window? Good times! LOL.

        • votermom says:

          I’m waiting for a white Dem talking head to tell me which side is the racist one in this Newark semi-riot. /s

        • angienc says:

          They tried a move and it backfired.

          Hmm, these days I’m not so sure about that. It looks like Booker expected them to try that move (hence his being at a meeting for the first time ever). I can’t with confidence say that the 4 council members only PUBLICLY supported Booker’s opponent James (for vote getting reasons) while having a back room deal with Booker. They couldn’t vote for Booker’s guy, but by walking out & allowing Booker to be the deciding vote, they have it both ways.

          Maybe what “blew up” is that this political theater counts on inflaming the public (on both sides) into an “us v. them” fight — the fury of which neither Booker nor the 4 council members adequately took into account. They played with fire & got burned.

          And yes, with the corruption I’m seeing today, I 100% believe this is a valid alternate theory.

        • myiq2xu says:

          And yes, with the corruption I’m seeing today, I 100% believe this is a valid alternate theory.

          I agree.

  4. tommy says:

    Jeez, this is like mafiosi vs. mafiosi. I had the highest regard for Booker. Then, he went and got Bookerized. And now this. Reminds me that all politicians are effin leaches.

    • ME says:

      It’s maddening. On the one hand the media praises Obama’s campaign for targeting different groups with policies. When people point it out they are called racist and haters of poor people.

  5. myiq2xu says:

    New word:


    (v) A political tactic that disguises itself as journalism in order to protect Democrats, most specifically Barack Obama.

    1. Something happens or is discovered that might hurt Obama.

    2. That something is discovered in the alternative media and uncovered.

    3. Ben Smith (or the equally dishonest PolitiFact and Media Matters) pretend to investigate it, write something up disguised as “definitive,” and then hand the complicit media an excuse to ignore it.

    • DandyTiger says:

      This and the other maneuvers are dirty politics that work. But as myiq has said about OWS and other efforts, say you get your way, then what? What policies are these people going to push? Where do they want to take the country? Do they even care? Those are obviously rhetorical questions.

    • ME says:

      So very true. After the hurricane daily kos sent out an email about Romney’s FEMA comments. Soon after, cable news covered it as well as the NY Times. Media bias is corrupt.

  6. myiq2xu says:

    Reading between the lines, Cory had the votes he needed to get Speight appointed, and the four council members who walked out did so to prevent a quorum so there could be no vote.

    Cory’s CoS either found out what they planned or guessed correctly what would happen. So even if they hadn’t walked out, Cory would have broken a tie and Speight would have been appointed.

    I really wouldn’t call that corrupt or dirty politics.

    The crowd was obviously displeased.

    • myiq2xu says:

      The council chambers might have been was probably packed with John James supporters.

    • angienc says:

      The main problem is the way politicians are dividing the public,pitting groups against one another & inflaming them with violent rhetoric/charges. They are creating powder kegs within the public.

      I don’t know specifically the details of what Booker & James have been saying about each other, but given what we’ve just seen out of a siting president’s mouth against his opponent (who I will guarantee knowing *nothing* about James,has led a much more blameless life than either James or Booker) it isn’t a stretch to believe that what has been going on in Trenton, NY has been *at least* as vile as that.

  7. gram cracker says:

    Another genius gets the boot for his Facebook posting. When will people wise up that if your boss doesn’t like what you post, your job is toast?

    ‘Wrap your legs around my head’: Married Fox weatherman fired after ‘inappropriate’ sexting chats with female photographer on Facebook are read by his bosses

  8. ME says:

    Oh my, my people, my people. I’m scared to read the comments under that video on YouTube.

  9. HELENK says:

    cease fire bettween hamas and Israel

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012
    Kislev 7, 5773
    8:44 pm IST
    Site updated 9 seconds ago

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    Home Israel & the Region Jewish Times Israel Inside Ops & Blogs The Jewish Planet Start-Up Israel Daily Edition Spotlight
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    Israel & the Region
    Live blog: Operation Pillar of Defense, Day 8, Part 2 LATEST: Iron Dome intercepts 5 rockets; sirens blare across southern Israel
    Ahead of ceasefire, Gaza terrorists pummel southern Israel with rockets, IAF carries out final airstrikes
    Obama commends Netanyahu for agreeing to the Egyptian ceasefire proposal: 4 soldiers injured in rocket attack; 21 injured in central Tel Aviv bus bombing, which is condemned by US, France, UN; police on trail of bomber; Clinton meets with Egyptian president; in south, one house hit by rockets twice
    By Elie Leshem and Gabe Fisher and Matti Friedman and Ilan Ben Zion November 21, 2012, 2:28 pm
    submit to reddit


    US and Egyptian foreign sectaries Hillary Clinton and Mohamed Kamel Amr hold a joint press conference announcing Israel-Gaza ceasefire on Wednesday, November 21 (screen capture Channel 2)
    US and Egyptian foreign sectaries Hillary Clinton and Mohamed Kamel Amr hold a joint press conference announcing Israel-Gaza ceasefire on Wednesday, November 21 (screen capture Channel 2)
    Related Topics

    Pillar of Defense
    Gaza Strip

    More on this story

    From ‘sewage pipes with wings’ to sophisticated missiles
    A week into Pillar of Defense, frustration sets in
    Winners and losers in Gaza
    Thousands rally in support of Israel in Paris
    21 wounded in terror attack on Tel Aviv bus
    Terrorist bombs Tel Aviv bus as hostilities continue in Gaza, southern Israel
    Rockets kill soldier, Bedouin civilian in Eshkol region
    Islamic Jihad official says his missiles are Iranian-made

    Operation Pillar of Defense is deep into its eighth day, with continued rocket strikes on southern Israel and Israeli air attacks on terror targets in Gaza. A little after noon, a bus was blown up in central Tel Aviv. The Times of Israel is live-blogging developments. Refresh for latest updates.

    Click here for all our previous live blog coverage of Operation Pillar of Defense.

    Click here to receive our free daily newsletter, compiling each day’s key stories.

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    The BBC has published what it says is a copy of the written ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel:

    Understanding regarding ceasefire in Gaza Strip:

    1. a. Israel shall stop all hostilities on the Gaza Strip land, sea, and air, including incursions and targeting of individuals.

    b. All Palestinian factions shall stop all hostilities against Israel, including rocket attacks, and attacks along the border.

    c. Opening the crossings and facilitating the movement of people and transfer of goods, and refraining from restricting residents free movement, and targeting residents in border areas and procedures of implementation shall be dealt with after 24 hours from the start of the ceasefire.

    d. Other matters as maybe requested shall be addressed.

    2. Implementation Mechanism:

    a. Setting up of the zero hour for teh ceasefure understanding to enter into effect.

    b. Egypt shall receive assurances from each party that the party commits to what was agreed upon.

    c. Each party shall commit itself not to perform any acts that would breach this understanding. in case of any observations, Egypt — as the sponsor of this understinding — shall be i

  10. HELENK says:

    sorry it was so long, I just wanted to show the part of what is in the cease fire agreement

    this is from the times of Israel

  11. There was an ongoing independent film on Cory Booker’s tenure as mayor that was on for I believe three seasons. All of the players mentioned above are in it and more, and these shenanigans seem to be par for the course. Wish I could remember more about it so I could put up a link. Anyone else see it? It was fascinating. I watched it on my “free movies on demand” channel a few years ago on my Time Warner cable.

    Either way, nice to see you back writing about SOMETHING, Lola. I’ve missed you!!

  12. votermom says:


  13. wyntre says:

    Bwa-ha-ha-ha! I used to sit in at nearby Paterson BOE meetings when I “taught” there and there were fistfights galore between board members with the audience cheering on their favorites.

  14. wyntre says:


    I watched the clip and it brought back fond memories of working cafeteria duty at inner city Paterson schools. Except the kids threw food.

  15. foxyladi14 says:

    I always worked on holidays. 🙂

  16. JimM57 says:

    Waiting for the “IT Was George W. Bush’s Fault” explanation.

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