this is why we can't have nice things

Newark Tries To Murder Cory Booker

It was only a matter of timeAmerica, have you enjoyed your Cory Booker? He has been your American superhero, your bright shining full-of-integrity star in the awful firmament of American politics. He saves ladies from burning buildings. He has a Gosling-style tumblr dedicated to him. He scored free Hot Pockets for America, or at least for Newark. He’s just like you, if you were much better at everything and people fawned all over you on the twitters. It is with great regret, therefore, that Wonkette must inform you that Cory Booker is just another dirty politician like all the rest!

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.

That was a thrilling  blow-by-blow account of inside-baseball Roberts’ Rules usage, wasn’t it? All you need to know is that Cory Booker used New Jersey state statutes to get his way. QUEL HORREUR! The good people of Newark did not appreciate Mr. Booker’s law-abidin’ procedural maneuverin’, however. Newark residents, in conjunction with union thugz, rushed the stage and lunged at the Booker’s new council crony, Shanique Davis Speight.

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

But when Speight was escorted by police to be sworn in, a group of residents, led by SEIU Local 617 President Rahaman Muhammad, stormed the dais and appeared to lunge toward Speight and her grade-school-age son.

Police restrained the group as they toppled a podium and residents were caught in the rush. When Muhammad would not give way, an officer doused him with pepper spray, along with residents, reporters and at least one other officer.

People of Newark, we expect you to now lunge, podium-topple, and dais-storm at every minor city council happening in your fair city. The bar has been set high. The rest of America, we hope you enjoyed your brief flirtation with hope and have now ceased writing Cory Booker 2016 fan fiction.

[New Jersey Star-Ledger]

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279 comments

  1. Lascauxcaveman

    Pepper spray? Where do these cops think they are? Some college campus in California?

    Also, those council chambers are gonna smell nice for a looong time.

        1. mrpuma2u

          It has porn in it, so I like this one best. Anyone know if there is video of this "democracy in tumultuous action" action?

  2. AlterNewt

    "The rest of America, we hope you enjoyed your brief flirtation with hope and have now ceased writing Cory Booker 2016 fan fiction."

    Well, America isn't really ready for a black man in the White House, anyway.

      1. CthuNHu

        Corey Booker makes Chuck Norris look like Don Knotts.

        Though to be fair, Chuck Norris does a pretty good job of making Chuck Norris look like Don Knotts, too.

    1. Negropolis

      Apropos of very little, I saw PBS's Find Your Roots on Corey where it was found he is of 47% black ancestry, 45% white, and 7% Native American.

      I've always wanted to do one of those DNA test, but haven't been interested enough to shell out the money for one.

    1. Weedlord BonerHitler

      See, both these guys are part of the "Democratic big tent." Christie, whether or not he realizes it and also, thanks to his recent performance, now in the minds of overwhelmingly blue NJ. And Booker attacked Our Prez, BarryBamz, for his "nauseating" attack on those vulture capitalists over at Bain.

    1. T3rbo

      Local negroes caught coonin' around at council meeting, police called to stop break dancing, drug dealing mob! Black mayor pepper sprayed, may be delinquent on child support

      LOL@ribfest

    2. kittensdontlie

      As a loyal SEIU member, I am glad to have funded this union-sponsored chaos…for the children.

    3. Goonemeritus

      Newark NJ makes Detroit look like Nantucket, I actually don't know about this particular donnybrook but I don't envy the good Mayor his job. That poor city and its good people have suffered bad governance for so long they have forgotten how it works.

      1. Negropolis

        Obviously, you haven't been following Detroit politics, oh, for the last five years or so. lol The city is on the actual verge of going bankrupt…a state it's been in for a year or two, now, while the city council dicks around because they want to stick it to the governor. And this is post Kwame Kilpatrick.

        I don't want to brag, but Detroit has the worse municipal politics evah.

        1. Goonemeritus

          Guilty as charged, my apologies and my sympathies. I only fly through Detroit but I actually did a job in Newark rebuilding some of their light rail. I fell in love with the city and its people but it just seemed adrift and unable to do the work necessary to get everyone pulling in the same direction.

          1. Negropolis

            Newark has light rail?! What snobs!

            Seriously, Michigan's Republican-controlled legislature is stalling bills that would even just allow Metro Detroit to form a regional transit authority. Currently, the only mass transit this metro of over 4 million has is two, yes, two "seperate but equal", shitty bus services. This is inspite of everyone and their mamma in the region wanting the chance to form a true regional transit system. Hell, even the Big Three auto companies came around to blessing light rail, but the fucking teabaggers don't want to pass the legislation because it inevitably require a tax increase (though, that would be voted on on a county basis) to run the new system. So much for conservatives screaming about "local control" huh?

            Newark is lucky to be nearly nextdoor to NYC or otherwise it would be Detroit, and I love this place to death but damn if the city's history didn't stop and park itself in 1967.

      2. Chow Yun Flat

        No one in Detroit is interested enough in local politics to podium topple or dais storm. The city is a wreck; Kwame Kilpatrick was a crook and a bit of a thug; Dave Bing (current mayor) is ineffectual and unable to get anything done. Racist legislators in northern and western Michigan–and some right on Detroit's border–want the city to collapse to show that THOSE PEOPLE are incapable of self-government.

        1. James Michael Curley

          Ras Baraka is the son of Amiri Baraka. Amiri Baraka is often best remembered by us olds as LeRoi Jones from going to Cuba in the early 1960's, the Malcolm X Assassination Days and getting arrested during the Newark Riots in 1967 as one of the 'inciters' (sometime in the past I posted about being stuck in the Induction Center in Newark because the riots started while I was getting my draft physical). He has developed a meaner streak since.

          The position is open because Council member Donald Payne ran an arduous campaign to get the nomination for his father's Congressional seat which he won two weeks ago. One of the other candidates he defeated is Ron Rice, another Newark Council member. There are other connections which I forget that make one think that Newark politics is being scripted by Quentin Tarantino.

    1. James Michael Curley

      One of my co-workers in the late 80's had him for a client. When I helped her moved into her new house and away from Baraka (two doors down) he came over with a pitcher of ice tea and we sat on the steps to drink it. He was wearing a pair of shorts and the barrel of a pistol was clearly visible in the light material pockets are made from and was sticking out under the hem of the shorts. Lydia was one of the most civilized and gracious attorneys I ever knew and mentioned his poetry knowing he would insist it was no problem for him to get something to read. When is disappeared through the door she said, "Run." which we did and drove off. O didn't take her back until hours later and came back to finish the job on Sunday morning when she knew he would be in church.

        1. MilwaukeeKent

          He had iced tea with a time-eating Beat Poet Leroi Jones/Black revolutionary activist Amiri Baraka, a neighbor of Curley's co-worker, while helping his co-worker move, when the poet showed up with iced-tea and a hand-gun. Then they ditched him after appealing to his vanity.
          It actually beats my story of getting stoned with Gregory Corso in a broom closet with 30 other people and about ten assorted bags of weed, which ended with an annoyed Corso yelling "Fuck this shit!" and storming out.

        2. James Michael Curley

          The point was Baraka was carrying when he came over to be neighborly with a pitcher of ice tea. Though he was fairly genial my friend was experienced with his late night rants waking up neighbors to rail at some issue.

  3. SayItWithWookies

    Oh, hell — you don't walk out when you're the decisive vote, councilpeople — don't you remember when the USSR walked out on the Security Council resolution to defend South Korea and got blindsided instead of vetoing any action? If y'all had participated in the Model United Nations back in high school you never would've forgotten that lesson, just sayin'.

    1. BadKitty904

      We didn't do a "Model United Nations back in high school." For reasons I still don't understand (other than our teacher was crazy as dammit), we did a "Model 'Reign of Terror'". I got to be Robespierre!

      And don't you think I didn't have those triflin' aristo bastards lined *UP* at the guillotine, either…

      1. GhostBuggy

        I had a middle school history teacher that made us play a semester-long game where we were divided into nations trying to colonize the world in the 16th and 17th centuries. Our academic progress translated into success or failure in the game. I got to be the Dutch!

          1. FeloniousMonk

            83.14159265358979% of all kitties have green eyes. (This number brought to you by Scarborough Ass-Derived Statistics.)

  4. Respitetini

    He's still a Democrat I could vote for, if he decides to run for Governor against Mr. 'blame the teachers'. Runs into burning buildings, you know.

      1. Respitetini

        My Mom retired from NJEA. Thanks to Sammiches, she was all spooked that the pension she was relying on would be gutted, because of Freedom, so she up and moved to Florida. I'd prefer Voldemort to the asshole we have now, actually.

        1. Weedlord BonerHitler

          Wow. Sorry to hear that, Respitetini. My mom was a teacher, too, and she retired early when her soshulist government offered teachers early retirement in exchange for lifetime free health care plus a nice big payoff that allowed her to spend her retirement years in ease and plenty. I wonder if the Repiglicans have a clue how good the citizens of soshulist nations have it. Except, of course, no Kardashians. (A blessing, in my opinion.)

    1. Negropolis

      Wait, isn't Corey also Mr. Blame-the-teachers'-union, only with less spittle-inflected invective? On that front, they aren't really that different beyond style.

  5. ManchuCandidate

    Based on that epic display of geniuz, Linda McMahon should have made a serious run at Newark Mayor. All this meeting needed was Randy Macho Savage to emerge and club Cory in the back of the head with a folding chair.

  6. Respitetini

    Also: Holy fuck. He was trying to stop Sharpe James's kid from getting a political appointment? Should be given a fucking medal for that.

    1. James Michael Curley

      Booker and Sharpe James have been at war for over a decade – probably close to 15 years. When ever Booker runs into a burning building he tries to get James to go first.

      John Sharpe James (he recently adopted his middle name I think) was a 'head buster' for his popa's last campaign when Booker ran against him. This is the term for one of the guys who works a political campaign by going out and knocking on doors and reminding the ward how many problems they will have if they don't turn out to support his guy.

      At our state convention in 2006 I ran across Sharpe James in one of the hospitality suites. I jokingly congratulated him on being the first Newark Mayor to leave office without a perp walk in over forty years. He laughed. A year later out of office he was indicted.

    1. Negropolis

      Snooki is from Schnectady; she wouldn't be caught dead in Newark. Well, if she were to be caught in Newark, it definitely be dead.

  7. bikerlaureate

    When Muhammad would not give way, an officer doused him with pepper spray, along with residents, reporters and at least one other officer.

    The SuperScatter omnidirectional pepper spray dispenser probably wasn't a wise choice.

    1. Barrelhse

      I think it means that the officer not only doused him with pepper spray, but also doused him with residents, reporters, and at least one other officer. Kind of an over reaction, I'd call it.

      1. bikerlaureate

        Heh. Once the adrenaline hits, it's hard to stop at dousing miscreants with people. I've doused 'em with furniture and fixtures before I could stop myself…

  8. Jukesgrrl

    They should go to Asbury Park and get a non-partisan. There are plenty of people down there with extensive City Council experience just cold hangin around in jail, doin nothin.

  9. Doktor Zoom

    Ladies and gentlemen, we wish to share with you a landmark. Today is the first time in Known Wonkette History when we have run TWO stories in which "having a quorum" figures prominently.

    1. StillGoinGreen

      I don't read no quorum, I read the only G-O-O-D Book and watch me some FOX NEWS. You Muslin commie heatherns can have yer Mohammy AND yer Godfersakin quorum!

      1. Doktor Zoom

        Dear Penthouse Quorum,

        I am writing to tell you about the most amazing thing that happened when only three of the members of the City Council showed up for the monthly budget meeting…and the other two were women.

  10. weejee

    Happy Thanksgiving Wonketteers. Take a moment to give thanks for having had Wonkette to help you give conservative American the bird.

    1. BadKitty904

      Hear, hear! Well said, Weejee!

      Many thanks to our editors/editoresses for allowing us to tell the Wingtards to get stuffed.

    2. C_R_Eature

      I'm thankful that I have a place to be a public jackass, exchange banter with an extraordinary group of very clever people and to yell back at a world that's gone far over the rim past the Absurd towards the Irrecoverably Insane.

      Thanks, everybody.

  11. DemmeFatale

    Maybe I don't get this.
    Maybe I've met and worked for too many politicians.
    Killer instinct is a good thing.
    I've seen too many good ones go down because they lacked a ruthless streak.
    And don't forget people, this is Jersey!

  12. Chet Kincaid_

    See, if Booker had established his physical conditioning in an earlier scene, perhaps working a speedbag while getting a briefing from an aide, this part would be more believable.

  13. Chet Kincaid_

    Nucky Thompson would simply have given everyone a case of Irish whiskey, a Thanksgiving turkey and a flapper floozy to enjoy for the evening. Damned uppity Chalky Booker!

      1. BoroPrimorac

        I didn't want Owen Sleater dead just yet. It would've been awesome to have seen him and Richard Harrow go to war against Gyp.

  14. ericthefredd

    Sounds exactly like what I always imagined a typical city council meeting in Jersey would be like.

    Admit it, you guys imagine the same thing about our city council meetings here in Texas. Except with guns and stuff for added effect…

  15. BigSkullF*ckingDog

    I'm gonna need at least two more posts today to entertain me while I wait in this epic ferry line. Curse you parents for living on the wrong side of Puget Sound.

        1. emmelemm

          Interesting.

          Btw, do you mean the city of Sequim is growing lavender as a strategy to disguise its pervasive old people smell, or your parents specifically started growing lavender because they didn't like the old people smell?

      1. BigSkullF*ckingDog

        I will not chill. I just missed the ferry by three cars. But then I let my dog take a massive dump on the ferry dock, which somehow made me feel better.

    1. BadKitty904

      Can you fish over the side? That'd pass the time, as well as provide a lil' extra for the Thanksgiving table.

      1. weejee

        Think BSFD is likely stuck in a parking line or lot waiting to get on the ferry. Sometimes on holidays it can run to hours in the queue before you get on the boat.

        1. BadKitty904

          Dang. They need more ferrys, then.

          The only ferrys we have here (and precious few we have, too) are lil' bitty 'uns that cross rivers – maybe a 5 minute trip. I'm reckoning BSFD's voyage is some longer.

          1. BadKitty904

            If it was a choice of waiting an hour+ in line to get on a damn boat or getting to where I needed to go, I'd sure be willing to cough up some extra bucks…

        2. BigSkullF*ckingDog

          I find lines are shorter since Tim Eyman's first initiative. It also costs about twice as much. Fuck Tim Eyman.

          1. weejee

            Timmie was a totes failure at flogging Balfour paddles, pins, and shit to Freddy Fraternity and Susie Sorority. So pulling a pair of raided panties from his pinhead, Eyman leveraged his intimate knowledge of failure in the service of the privileged into initiative grifting for a career. Is this a great country or what?

    1. not that Dewey

      In other words, Mitt was correct about the absolute percentage of people who contribute nothing to society.

  16. docterry6973

    OT, but I messed up my tee shirt order and got an email direct from our very own Editrix. I am all a-twitter!

  17. BadKitty904

    OT: I see that tomorrow is the 49th anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination.

    I remember Mama telling us about that. She was a lil' kiddo and Granny had taken Mama with her down to Ensley's Supermarket. It was announced over the store's PA and she said she'd always remember it, because it scared her – she'd never seen grown-ups cry in public before.

    1. DCBloom

      My husband's birthday is tomorrow. He said it sucked because as a kid, people would always be upset. Not what a little kid wants for his birthday :(

      1. boskolives

        I was in my high school electronics class and heard it all go down on a radio that someone had built as a class project. Still puts a lump in my throat even after all these years.

    2. MosesInvests

      A couple of weeks ago was the 17th anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. Remember it like it was yesterday.

  18. James Michael Curley

    Cory is going challenging this guy to go on a 'Food Stamp Diet" If this guy who started a tirade on twitter about commies who use food stamps takes the challenge all they will be able to eat for a week is what they can buy with $133.

    1. shelwood46

      I think $133 is the monthly grant, not weekly. That may also be for a family, not single. Cory's planning to publish the rules he's following soon, so we'll know the exact amount he's allowing himself. BTW, saw today he got a tweet of support from chef Tom Collichio, so Cory invited Tom to try it, too. Didn't see if he accepted. (Though somehow I think maybe Cory, and definitely Tom, have better tools and appliances for home cooking than the average family on assistance.)

      1. bobbert

        Yeah, $133 a week for one person doesn't sound that tricky. Actually, $133 a month for one person isn't unimaginable, although the wine selection would be pretty shit.

        $133 a month for a family of four (which is more likely the case) is fucking insane.

      2. James Michael Curley

        Without looking it up since the whole process is complicated, additionally I think $133 is the amount the recipient pays, or has deducted from his Medicaid/Medicare/Disability compensation and gets $X dollars worth of benefits. This was made more complicated in NJ, at least, when states were given the authority to diminish their contribution to the total benefit amount. Too much discussion on this issue on Thanksgiving. Too many are going to end the day hungry and too many who call themselves Americans are not going to care.Happy Thanksgiving to all.I won’t be eating until around 9:00 as JMC, Jr. and I are taking a late shift at the center where dinner will be served for the homeless and disadvantaged. Two shifts are planned this year as there may be a few more people who lost their houses in Hurricane Sandy.

  19. Lionel[redacted]Esq

    But when Speight was escorted by police to be sworn in, a group of residents, led by SEIU Local 617 President Rahaman Muhammad, stormed the dais and appeared to lunge toward Speight and her grade-school-age son.

    But has the Obama administration labeled this terrorism yet? It's Benghazi times a million. Why the cover up? I just hope FOX News gets to the bottom of this.

    1. Designer_Rants

      "Known Obama pal Corey Booker has been implicated in a very controversial and shadowy deal which involved New Jersey *blond anchorwoman facial tic* labor union activists and a young child in harm's way…"

  20. Doktor Zoom

    OT: You guys are gonna love the all-ponies version of William S Burroughs' Thanksgiving poem that I'm putting together for tomorrow.

    1. FeloniousMonk

      Bloody hell. I'd never heard of that before, and I'm grateful for the advance warning. Trying to make polite chit-chat shortly after being poleaxed might have been hard. Are the ponies going to play William Tell?

  21. mrblifil

    Newark Newark
    a helluva town
    the thugs go up
    and the dais goes down
    the city's a fucking smoking
    hole in the ground
    Newark Newark
    ITS A HELL OF A TOWN!!!11!

  22. Negropolis

    I lurves me some municipal politics. The size of the crowd may be notable, but even in my city, I've seen people kick through the gate and dash toward the council before being tackled. The fine citizens of Newark are simply upholding the time-honored municipal tradition of bumrushing the dias. And, no, that's not a sexytime thing at least in this context.

    BTW, I just think this further shows that like a lot of media politicians, Booker is loved more abroad then he is at home, and you'd expect this of media mayors becaus they are charged with making the hard cuts as states cut back their funding.

  23. LibertyLover

    I know you guys and gals aren't a sentimental lot being snarky libtards and all, but I wanted to wish you a Happy Turkey Day! And Also give thanks that we dodged a ballistic missile in the last election. I am thankful that you have kept me sane and laughing during the long haul!
    Keep the sharp knives away from your Repubtard family during dinner, 'K?

  24. Negropolis

    Sucks to the Newakrk council that couldn't get a quorom. Honestly, you can't complain when you can't even get your members to attend the meeting. I've seen this shit happen all the time. Guess what? City legislating is an actual job, and sometimes, you know, you actually have to show up regularly and miss your kid's sporting event or your bar visit.

    1. shelwood46

      Actually, the council members were there. They walked out before the vote, thinking that if they were no longer there, there was no quorum and no vote could be held. However, the mayor counts toward the attendance if not enough are there, so they trotted him out from the back so the meeting could keep going and the vote could be held.

      1. Negropolis

        My bad. For some reason, I thought those that walked out were the remaining members, and that a few hadn't shown up

        Either way, it sounds like Sharpe James' people didn't have the votes, so they can be mad a Booker all they want, but it's not going to flip a council member, and I say this as someone not too keen on Bookers political ideology.

        EDIT: Wait, I keep reading over the piece, and I'm still a bit confused. How many people are on the council? What it sounds like was that there was a deadlock, and a few pro-James members got up and left in protest and then Corey swoops in to provide just enough votes for a quorum, but since all of Corey's members are still there, they win the previously deadlocked session. If that's the case, why in the world did the two pro-James members walk-off? Isn't a tie vote a "no" vote like in most other councils? Now, I'm more confused. lol

      1. Chet Kincaid_

        Shit like that doesn't happen in the Chicago City Council. There's a big difference between the 3rd largest city and a shithole like Newark. There's been about 50 years of Pax Daley I and II, with the Council completely under the thumb of the mayor, and Rahm is continuing this proud tradition. The only times things got lively at City Hall were under Harold Washington and Jane Byrne, and since everyone here was born in 1996, you couldn't possibly have heard of them.

  25. ttommyunger

    Sounds to me like the work of the common clay, the salt of the earth, you know – Blazing Saddles style.

  26. Biel_ze_Bubba

    "Residents", all fully apprised of the maneuvering and all fired up, along the same lines, about an appointment, suddenly pack a city council meeting and turn it into a circus. That just had to be a fair cross-section of the public, and public opinion, in Newark.

    1. Negropolis

      It's really not much of a conspiracy, though. Obviously, everyone knew that they were going to need to appoint a council person. Whether it was scheduled for that meeting, I have no idea, but Sharpe's people obviously aren't dummies.

      I also suspect since Booker has always had his detractors (didn't he lose his first mayoral race), that the regular council gadflies are always there, anyway.

  27. FrankFuror

    Ok, I'm going to be honest, I read TFA, read what was here, and I still have no clue what this is about. Can anyone from New Jersey translate it for me?

    1. shelwood46

      From what I can tell, there were two candidates for the vacancy. James (son of previous mayor, enemy of current mayor) had X votes, the eventual winner had X+1. When time came to vote, though, the folks on the losing side realized that if they left, there would no longer be enough people at the meeting for the meeting to legally continue. They walked out, thinking that would end the meeting, postpone the vote and maybe give them time to maneuver more to their side.

      What they didn't know was that the mayor was in a back room, lurking in anticipation of them making this move. He only gets a vote if not enough members are in attendance for a quorum, and his presence counts toward the quorum. So Booker came out, the meeting continued and they held the vote, electing the candidate he favored.

      The opponent's supporters then lost their shit, rushed the podium, and pepperspray got deployed. So, you know, Tuesday.

  28. TribecaMike

    In the end, Amiri Baraka read a poem which made everyone drift off into dreamy dreams of a Maoist revolution and Jewish conspiracies.

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