In Newark: Scrambled Notes No. 1


So I’m at the corner of Broad and Market streets in downtown Newark (the intersection of two major thoroughfares) about an hour ago, and I’m talking to a woman who is leaning toward supporting Ras Baraka for mayor. She tells me how Central High School, the school Ras Baraka was principal of, is now much cleaner and “no one is roaming the halls.”

I go into the McDonald’s to make some change. A brother is in a wheelchair scooter with a Newark Fraternal Order of Police badge on it. He has on a “Team Baraka” jacket on and he’s passing out a newspaper-formatted flyer showing how much money Shavar Jeffries has raised–by outsiders. A sister sitting diagonally from me in the next set of seats gives me her copy. I open it and see the ugliest picture of Gov. Chris Christie Baraka’s people could find. I ask the sister who she is voting for, and she says she’s waiting until the upcoming debate to decide.


Watching the campaign commercials. The worst thing Jeffries can think of to say against Baraka is that he’s run for office for 20 years and actually used his expense accounts?!? Really? Is that allyagot? No wonder he needs $1 million-plus.


I saw Amina Baraka the night I came in, on Saturday. (My friend, Liam McGrath, who I hitchhiked with from Maryland and a former SUNY-Stonybrook student of Baraka’s, was with me.) As usual, I barged in Mr. Baraka’s house, unannounced.  Well, clearly not as usual now. Not surprisingly, his spirit wafts throughout the place.  She played for us a campaign song a local recording artist made. She is very proud. I am trying to keep the memories at bay while drowning in them.

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