Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Essay 1909

Sign of the times in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• The city’s teachers union in Newark, New Jersey has sparked controversy with a billboard campaign urging citizens to “Stop the killings” (pictured above). The mayor and local businesses want the signs taken down, arguing that the messages hurt business. Newark has a high homicide rate, and the campaign is intended to bring attention to the issue. “I think we have a serious problem,” said the president of the Newark Teachers Union. “It’s about people dying.” In other words, if you try to take down the signs, you might get killed.

• Citigroup is planning to kill about 15,000 jobs, according to the Wall Street Journal. However, Citigroup officials won’t confirm anything. The company’s chairman and chief executive said, “We are going to announce the results of our strategic structural review on or before our earnings announcement on April 16.” Which means 15,000 may have to amend the employment status on their tax forms.

• Eminem and his ex-wife have agreed to stop publicly dissing each other. During a court hearing on Monday, the two decided their verbal feuding could be harmful to their 11-year-old daughter. Look for the ex-Mrs. Mathers to erect billboards soon.

1 comment:

Newarker said...

Most people in the city who are familiar with both the union and Mr. Del Grosso know that it's a shell game. The new mayor and council have started a whole series of public safety programs to combat crime since they assumed office last summer. And compared to the same time last year, crime is actually down. I live downtown, and it's quite safe. In many ways, people who "know" about Newark have no idea what they are talking about. Crime needs to go down more, of course, but it is concentrated in just a few high-activity areas, not an all out war zone like so many think.

This is the real reason for the signs: the Newark Teachers' Union and their president Del Grosso want to shame the mayor and council because Mayor Booker supports charter schools and school choice, which the union opposes deeply. He also wants to return the schools to mayoral control (right now Newark public schools are run by the state). With an abysmal graduation rate of 39%, you would think that the union would appreciate the need for change, but it has taken an relentlessly confrontational stance against anything the mayor does. They are among the highest paid teachers in the state, with ZERO accountability. The gravy train has got to stop.

If this is supposed to help stop the violence, why don't the billboards list any resources or useful information? Arguably the union could have done more to combat violence by sponsoring after-school programs or buying school supplies with the tens of thousands of UNION DUES dollars it is spending on this alarmist campaign of intimidation. Furthermore, Joseph Del Grosso hasn't even lived or taught in Newark for over 20 years, but makes $150K as head of the NTU! Can he really be trusted to speak in the best interest of Newarkers? All my neighbors are furious about this.

I don't think the mayor is perfect, but he is in the right on this one. He works extremely hard and I see him and other city officials everywhere trying to get a handle on what people are thinking, and encouraging Newarkers to take responsibility in taking back their neighborhoods. The new police director is doing a huge amount of work on decreasing crime, and this slime campaign is utterly useless and exploits the victims of violent crime for a political ploy!