British P.M. Visits Newark, No One Pays Attention
I did not know until two days later that the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, visited Mayor Booker in City Hall and walked thru part of Downtown Newark on a 90-minute stop (or two-hour stop, depending on which news report you believe) on his way to Ground Zero. I didn't see this on network news, and I think I saw either or both of ABC and NBC network news that day. The Newark Patch story contains 4 fotos. When I went to check the occurrence on the Internet, I found an unfortunate reference to "the impoverished city" in the National Public Radio website's story that dealt with Cameron's visit. Thanks so much, NPR, for distorting things to make something negative from a very positive story.
A Star-Ledger article on NJ.com contains a foto gallery of 10 pix. Unfortunately, one of those fotos shows a construction worker from South River working in Newark. Why are construction jobs in Newark going to people from 27 miles away, in a SUBURB in MIDDLESEX County? That is disgraceful. Perhaps that's not a City construction project, but, then again, maybe it is. Does the City of Newark have and enforce residency requirements for City jobs, to keep Newark taxpayer money in Newark? This is the very least we can expect of a manager of City finances. If I were mayor, and Newark does have a residency requirement, I would have anyone who lives outside Newark but has a job that requires Newark residency not only FIRED but also SUED for return of every cent of salary and benefits they received but were not entitled to. And I'd have them jailed, at their own expense, for fraud.
The S-L article says, in part:
The prime minister said he came to Newark to "quiz" Booker on his mayoralty as well as city programs.
"I’m a great believer that big-city leaders can have great impact on their communities," he said.
Along with instituting an urban chief executive, Cameron was interested in seeing how government funding can fuel economic development. Some of Newark’s biggest projects — Teacher’s Vill[ ]age, the Panasonic Tower and the planned Prudential office building — would not have been possible without major cash infusions in the form of an urban transit hub tax credit.
Booker and Cameron said cities like Liverpool and Manchester share a common arc with Newark in that they thrived in an industrial era when manufacturing was domestically based, but suffered throughout the 20th century as jobs and tax dollars fled urban areas.
Now Cameron is looking to regenerate growth in England’s struggling cities.
"He knew what was going on in Newark," the mayor said. "He asked specific questions about specific issues."
Police Director Samuel DeMaio and Chief Sheilah Coley also sat with the prime minister in Booker’s office to discuss urban policing strategies.
The mayor, who studied for two years at Oxford University, said he was honored at the compliment paid by Cameron’s high-profile visit.
"This partnership is very special to me," he said.
The visit lasted just two hours, starting on the steps of City Hall, moving into the mayor’s office, then to Loft 47 — a newly opened bar on Edison Place — and ending at Brick City Coffee, in the shadow of the Prudential Arena.
Did the Mayor show the P.M. the magnificent
Mayor Booker has done essentially nothing to tout Newark as a tourist destination. Gaetano found an article (also from March 15th) that reported that tourists spent $38 billion in NJ last year. I think a dollar thirty-nine of that was spent in Newark, tho that article didn't break out Newark's miserable performance in the tourism area. I replied to Gaetano's email conveyance of that info, "Booker is doing NOTHING to generate tourism to Newark. Not one damned thing to bring even a small percentage of tourists already present in NJ to Newark sights."
Mind you, Newark's international airport handles over 33 million passengers each year. How many of them spend so much as one hour in Newark's many worthy sites, from the Newark Museum to NJPAC to PruCenter to the New Jersey Historical Society, to the THREE Gutzon Borglum statues Downtown, the magnificent interior of the historic Essex County Courthouse, the glorious Art Deco waiting room of Newark Penn Station, our art galleries (including one in Arts High, the Nation's first art and performing-arts high school, and others in Rutgers-Newark and Essex County College), any of our fine restaurants in the Ironbound, and on and on?
I started a website on Microsoft Office Live, called TourismNewark.org, headlined, "A Destination, Not Just an Airport", but could not flesh it out with more than a short text introduction and a 50-foto slideshow. That's still about 43 more fotos than appear at the "Visitors" area on the City of Newark's website. That area has tiny GRAY type, not even crisp black type at an easily readable size. That area, indeed, the City's entire website, is atrociously incompetently designed, apparently by somebody — what's the current euphemism? — intellectually challenged.
Microsoft is, alas, closing down that free service as of April 30th. I don't know why. I guess the world's largest software company couldn't afford it any longer. So I have to look for another free webhost to which to move that rudimentary website. Maybe I'll add some more slideshows when I do, one for Newark arts, one for Newark sports, one for Newark history, etc. If students of website design in this city's various high schools and colleges would like to help with creating a competent tourism website for this splendid city, perhaps their instructors would allow them to do so as a class project, for credit. The fotografy section of the various art departments, history departments, etc., of Newark's high schools and colleges might also give class credit for efforts in promoting Newark tourism. Why not?