Newark mayor releases transition report that puts emphasis on community involvement

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NEWARK, New Jersey — Newark's new mayor released a report Wednesday on his administration's goals for the next four years that focuses on community involvement in all facets of government.

The 210-page report issued by Mayor Ras Baraka's transition team echoed the primary theme of Baraka's campaign, which was to give Newark residents a voice in the city's operations.

"For the next four years, more than 270,000 mayors will govern Newark," Baraka wrote in the report's introduction. "Working collectively, we will empower each other, take responsibility for our families and our neighborhoods, and chart our new direction."

Baraka, a former city councilman and high school principal, was elected in May and takes over a city facing budget woes, high crime and unemployment.

Among the recommendations contained in the report are a collaboration between law enforcement and business leaders to offer young adults alternatives to gangs; neighborhood advisory boards that will have a say in shaping issues before the city council, and plans to help homeowners avoid foreclosure and enforce code violations among absentee property owners.

The report also recommends redeploying police officers to put more personnel on the streets during the summer months, when there is traditionally an uptick in violence.

Baraka has said he intends to seek state aid to close the city's budget gap in the short term and plans to audit how the city collects revenues such as parking, payroll taxes and payments in lieu of taxes.

Former Newark mayor Kenneth Gibson and former PSE&G head Alfred Koeppe headed Baraka's transition team.

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