Newark Mayor Ras Baraka

An Santos / WBGO

Cars are parked with their emergency lights on in front of the Vince Lombardi Center in Newark’s north ward.  Brawny men use hand trucks to cart cases of water from the building to the cars, loading them in for residents.

“We’re giving out water as precaution, I think the distribution centers are moving excellently,” said Mayor Ras Baraka taking questions from reporters.  

Ang Santos / WBGO

New Jersey officials say its unclear why samples of drinking water in Newark exceeded the US Environmental Protection Agency's standards for allowable levels of lead, even as those homes used EPA certified water filters.  

Of the three recent samples of water taken from Newark homes, only one came back with levels of lead reduced to the EPA's standard.  New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe says she's meeting with federal officials to discuss what steps should be taken beyond handing out bottles of water to residents.

Ang Santos / WBGO

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has signed a bill that could help revitalize blighted areas in towns and cities.  

The New Jersey Land Bank Law allows municipalities to use public or nonprofit entities as an agent to acquire abandoned properties and revitalize them to benefit neighborhoods. Governor Murphy says it gives cities like Newark, Paterson, and Elizabeth another tool to reshape communities.

Newark City Hall
Doug Doyle for WBGO

Some area mayors joined with city officials, state representatives and other on the steps of Newark City Hall Monday, denouncing The Trump Administration’s plans to conduct pre-dawn ICE raids. Those raids were scheduled to happen Sunday but were postponed for a couple of weeks.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka says they reject President Trump’s attack on undocumented families across the United States.  He calls the raids outrageous. 

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka testified in Trenton to support the Municipal Land Banking Bill.

The land banking bill would create an online database of properties owned by municipalities making them available for purchase.  

Ang Santos / WBGO

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka delivered his first State of the City address since being reelected last May, with a message highlighting investment in the city and its children, while defending an increase in development.

Amazon passed on Newark as a location for its new headquarters, but Baraka says the consideration was a major victory and believes opponents were wrongheaded for being skeptical. 

Ang Santos / WBGO

A recent independent study of Newark’s water supply showed a portion of the system as ineffective against preventing lead exposure to residents.   

“Those folks that are affected in areas of the city will be getting a filter until we put the right chemical to provide the necessary corrosion control in people’s lead service line’s, so they won’t be affected by the lead that enters into their water at all,” Mayor Ras Baraka said.

Newark International Film Festival Returns For Third Year

Jul 12, 2018
Alexandra Hill / News

The Newark International Film Festival returns in September. Founder Kenneth Gifford made the announcement at city hall. 

The Tate Brothers, Lance Gross, and Kim Hawthorne are among some of the celebrities set to attend. The festival, now in its third year, has garnered global appeal, drawing thirteen-hundred submissions from two-hundred and seventy-eight countries around the world. Gifford says that he wants to make sure the film festival is supporting the arts community, right here in Newark.