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Re: Is Jersey City molding any young black leaders?
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JC is providing very poor Irish-American role models with our drunken brawler of a mayor. Why no concern on that front?

Posted on: 2008/7/15 3:42
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Is Jersey City molding any young black leaders?
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Is Jersey City molding any young black leaders?

Political Insider
Jersey Journal
July 09, 2008

Occasionally, the Jersey City public can expect a Punch and Judy Show to erupt in City Hall. Every administration has had people who provided several guffaws, pratfalls or brain freeze moments that leave city residents open-mouthed.

Mayor Jerramiah Healy's battle to overturn his conviction on resisting arrest and obstructing justice outside a Jersey Shore tavern has some entertainment value.

Last year, former Healy Deputy Mayor Ador L. Equipado, 63, copped a plea in Superior Court to third-degree official misconduct. Against city policy, Equipado was charging about $130 to marry couples at City Hall - while also trying to sell the newlyweds phone service plans.

The latest headlines involves another of Healy's deputy mayors, Kabili Tayari. At first, some politico watchers suggested this is a clever ploy by the mayor to highlight members of former Mayor Bret Schundler's administration to discredit a possible rival in the upcoming mayoral race. Tayari held a post as an assistant economic something or other under Schundler.

Tayari is a nice enough and friendly guy, traits that did not matter to Port Authority cops who pulled him over last week in his rental 2008 Chevy Malibu. The vehicle had been reported stolen by an Avis rental outlet.

Apparent house - as in the mayor also uses him - attorney Philip Matsikoudis said Tayari probably just overlooked the rental bill and it would eventually be paid. Being pulled over was apparently a reminder that the bill was overdue.

This incident is not expected to hurt Tayari in City Hall. His post was more ceremonial than a position of power.

Tayari's real problem is that he is president of the local chapter of the NAACP. Under the present circumstances, Tayari could see a challenge to his role in the NAACP and as a perceived black leader.

While this issue would find a better venue in Earl Morgan's column, I view it from a strictly political point of view.

The Tayari incident does point out the need for fresh and younger hands on the steering wheel, rented or not, who may one day carry political weight. Only those with new ideas should apply.

In some political organizations, the old guard tends to stay too long. They are stuck in old ways of doing things and it is difficult for younger people to develop leadership and political skills. This holds true in most communities, including among the city's black constituents. Where are Jersey City's Barack Obamas?

An example of a lack of leadership was obvious in this year's Martin Luther King Jr. Parade, which annually attracts between 3,000 and 4,000 spectators. There was no parade.

A concern by city officials was the potential of violence and gang activities. To combat any possible trouble at the 2007 parade, police lined the route and when the parade was over, motorcycle cops roared up and down Martin Luther King Drive to discourage any gatherings.

There is a need for new, young thinking. While the established black leadership does not want anything to do with gang leaders and others, perhaps some conversation might have helped. Yeah, I know, it's wishful thinking. Did anyone try?

The thinking of some ignored black leaders is that young people, who have no connection to King and his message, could be incorporated into the annual event, both in the planning and the march itself. It would have taken someone with a strong personality and communication skills to make the attempt.

There are potential new faces out there, both men and women. Just to throw some Jersey City names out there for debate:

Omar Jones, a local physical therapist, has stayed out of the limelight, but he has been identified by some as a person who has potential and should get more political.

Better known are former basketball players Terry Dehere and Jerry Walker. The two talk about giving back, and they do - but they could do much more. Dehere has had some, shall we say, image problems. Still, he did run and win a spot on the Board of Education - a potential first step. Walker is very community-oriented, although there is some criticism about him being close to establishment types.

Hope this doesn't mean only the perfect need apply.

Posted on: 2008/7/11 10:38
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