Newark Mayor Ras Baraka — in an op-ed that appeared this weekend in The Washington Post — explained why jobs do not have to come at the expense of community.
“There are real challenges inherent to the policies and systems that allow wealth to be concentrated in a few hands — especially within development and investment,” he wrote. “But equally irresponsible and privileged is refusing to entertain how we can bring jobs and wealth to communities that suffer from serious, decades-long problems.
“It is not enough to respond to these issues with sloganeering and ideology. We have to figure out a way to advance these conversations within our existing structures.”
The paper, which is owned by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, requested the op-ed.
Baraka explained the sense of pride and potential Newark felt when it was selected as one of 20 finalists for Amazon’s second headquarters — the much-talked-about HQ2 project.
The project was eventually awarded to both Northern Virginia and New York City — only to see Amazon pull out of the Long Island City location following a backlash from some local civic and political leaders.
Baraka addressed that situation — while making another pitch for his city.
“No other city among the finalists were positioned as well for such a transformation as Newark,” he wrote. “But here’s the real opportunity: Newark could also transform Amazon.”