South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka on Saturday kicked off the next stage of his campaign for Newark mayor with a YouTube video, and political opponents are already quietly seething over his venue choice: Central Ward High School.
In the video, Baraka speaks to his mayoral aspirations in a close quarters shot that shows a bulletin board in the background.
The councilman, who doubles as principal of Central Ward High School, doesn’t see an issue.
“It’s after school,” Baraka told PolitickerNJ.com. “I don’t have kids in the video. I’m not showing the video in school. The issues in this campaign are going to be unemployment, education and tax problems. The school’s a symbol of what needs to be fixed.
“If I was a lawyer, could I use my law office after hours?” he asked. “If I was a doctor, could I do the same thing, but because I’m a principal it makes it wrong?”
His employment as principal has hounded Baraka on the campaign trail in the past. When he ran for his council seat in 2010, the opposition swamped him with dual office holding questions, wanting to know how he could run the school and serve as a councilman, and how he could collect two public paychecks.
In a rapidly developing citywide race, the candidate urged his colleagues to debate the issues.