Booker’s Newark Jobs Record Called Into Question

STATE — By highlighting the city’s 13 percent unemployment rate in a TV ad, state Sen. Barbara Buono, the Democratic nominee for governor, is inadvertently trashing the jobs record of Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a candidate in the party’s special Aug. 13 U.S. Senate primary.

Now Booker is out with an ad that contains several claims that seem to turn reality on its head.

During his tenure as Mayor of Newark, the commercial says, Booker is “creating thousands of jobs” but when he wrestled control of City Hall away from Sharpe James, unemployment was only 9.5 percent, 3.5 points lower than it is today.

During his tenure, Booker laid off 1,150 public sector workers, including 167 police officers, allowing violence to continue raging on the Brick City’s streets.

In another apparently false claim,. Booker asserts that shootings in Newark are down 27 percent, ignoring a 43 percent increase in the murder rate from 2008 to 2012 and the fact that in 2012, 475 people were assaulted with guns in the city, up from 415 in 2011, according to State Police statistics released in advance of the annual uniform crime report.

A Booker campaign aide explained that those numbers only hold up when you look at them in a certain way while others were less generous.

“Cory Booker is more full of crap than anyone I’ve ever seen. Ever,” said Matt Rooney, a conservative who writes on The Save Jersey Blog. “If being an empty suit was an Olympic sport, then Cory Booker would’ve smashed Michael Phelps’s medal count a long time ago.”

“Cory Booker’s promise — captured in two books, two documentaries and frequent television appearances — was to save a city that had been hemorrhaging residents, industry and hope since the riots that ripped it apart 45 years ago,” wrote New York Times correspondent Kate Zernike. “But a growing number of Newarkers complain that he has proved to be a better marketer than mayor, who shines in the spotlight but shows little interest in the less-glamorous work of what it takes to run a city.”

Booker’s sideways explanations and ‘fact free’ narrations may not get him in trouble because he has raised millions of dollars from such billionaire buddies as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey and Republican Mitt Romney’s former partners at Bain Capital. That spending advantage could allow him to score a massive political victory over two accomplished Democratic congressmen and New Jersey General Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver.

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