Mayor Ras Baraka to hold town hall on public safety at NJPAC

Mayor Ras J. Baraka and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) have partnered on a series of four Town Halls which will focus on public safety, economic development, education and health. The first Town Hall will address the topic of public safety and will be held at NJPAC’s Victoria Theater on Wednesday, December 3, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Town Hall is free and open to the public.

At the Town Hall, Mayor Baraka will discuss public safety concerns with community experts in a panel discussion moderated by Rutgers University-Newark Vice Chancellor for External and Governmental Relations Marcia Wilson Brown. After the discussion, there will be a question and answer session with attendees. The programs will be recorded for re-broadcast by NWK-TV Government Access Channel and WBGO 88.3FM, Newark Public Radio.

Panelists scheduled to join the Mayor are as follows:

  • – Newark Police Director Eugene Venable
  • – Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray
  • – Rutgers University-Newark Provost Todd R. Clear, former Dean of the Rutgers School of Criminal Justice

“Holding these Town Halls at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center increases our efforts to reach out to everyone that Newark impacts in the City and beyond,” Mayor Baraka said. “Public safety in Newark is just as important for our residents as it is for our commuters and visitors. All of them expect and demand a high level of public safety and my administration is committed to providing that. This dialogue at NJPAC will enable us to work together to better transform Newark into a City that we can all believe in.”

According to NJPAC CEO and President John Schreiber, “The opportunity for the Mayor to speak to citizens in a direct and unfiltered way is what our democracy is all about. NJPAC is proud to host these important gatherings.”

Some of the subjects that the mayor will discuss include:

  • – Deploying 72 percent of the Police Department’s manpower on the city’s streets
  • – The new Community Roll Calls and Neighborhood Walks the Mayor has inaugurated to reach out to residents
  • – The Urban Mayors’ Roundtable initiative, launched this summer, spearheaded by Mayor Baraka, Paterson Mayor Joey Torres, and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop. This initiative unites New Jersey municipalities to work together to address both crime and its causes, by sharing “best practices.” At the first Roundtable, 17 municipalities attended, along with county, state, and federal agencies.
  • – The City’s responsibility to maintain public safety in the context of being home to a leading international airport and seaport. This requires Newark to work with state, bi-state, and federal agencies to address issues of potential terrorism, smuggling, and public health.
  • – Working to prevent crime by addressing its causes. These include re-entry programs for ex-offenders; employment, education, and training programs for at-risk youth; and meetings with gang members to offer them alternatives to gang life.

The Town Hall is the first of four such events the Mayor and NJPAC will hold. Register online at: The schedule and subjects for the remaining Town Halls are as follows:

  • February 11, 2015: Economic Development
  • April 29, 2015: Education
  • June 8, 2015: Health