David Giambusso and James Queally
November 21, 2012
A behind-the-scenes political maneuver by Newark Mayor Cory Booker to fill a vacant council seat with his choice led to a near-riot in city hall tonight, with dozens of residents rushing the council stage and police responding with pepper-spray.
After weeks of jockeying for Rep. Donald Payneâ€™s successor, Booker made an unprecedented personal appearance to cast the deciding vote with his council allies for Shanique Davis Speight, a longtime ally of power broker Stephen Adubato, over the angry objections of residents.
“In the absence of a quorum, I have an obligation to sit in,” Booker said, though he was barely audible over the din.
The packed city council chamber was gearing up for a showdown over the appointment as well known figures including former Mayor Sharpe James, Amiri and Amina Baraka, former Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins and former Council President Donald Bradley came to back their choices.
Councilman Ras Baraka attempted to speak but was not recognized by Councilman Anibal Ramos, who was serving as acting president. Instead Ramos proceeded with the nomination of Speight.
This article was posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 11:22 am