2005

July 22, 2005
PBS — P.O.V.
USA
English
83 minutes

fascinating documentary about the 2002 election for Mayor of Newark NJ. The election pitted an Barack Obamaesque young, educated candidate, Cory Booker against an established, old-school incumbent named Sharpe James. The director began by filming both sides of the campaign, but word spread that he was on Booker’s side, and from that point on, he was detained by police and had his camera lens covered whenever trying to film campaign appearances by the mayor. We hear of intimidation by the mayor whenever a Booker sign appears at a business. The police and firemen are seen tearing down Booker campaign signs, a body shop is visited by code enforcement the day after he hosts a coffee fundraiser for Booker. I mean, stuff was going on here that I didn’t know went on so blatantly in America. And I teach U.S. Government. A Booker campaign worker is spotted in line to enter a strip club and James uses this to accuse the man of soliciting a 16-year-old prostitute. When Clinton declines to pick a favorite, James still sends out fundraising literature with the two of them pictured together implying the endorsement.

I won’t tell you who wins, but Booker has a long and fruitful career in politics after this airs. The fact that James wasn’t brought up on charges is amazing. I wish all Newark voters could have seen this film before they voted back in 2002.

Eye-opening and a bit disheartening.

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Written by Michael W. Cummins