If Newark Mayor Cory Booker leaves his job prior to the end of his term to become U.S. Senator, veteran At-Large Newark Councilman Luis Quintana said he doesn’t want a candidate for mayor to serve as acting mayor.
He has nothing against Acting Council President Anibal Ramos of the North Ward.
But Quintana said Ramos should not serve as acting mayor as he prepares to face voters in the scheduled 2014 mayor’s election.
Quintana said if the council wants a veteran to serve as acting mayor from the time Booker leaves, conceivably in November, until July of 2014, he would gladly do the job.
“I am not running for mayor and I haven’t endorsed anyone,” Quintana told PolitickerNJ.com. “I understand what the needs of the city are and I can work with both sides. I don’t want to polarize our city into Latino and African American.
“The office of the mayor right now needs attention,” the councilman added. “It doesn’t need a showcase.”
Quintana said if Booker runs for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the death of U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg, “I would have to go along with Cory.”
But he doesn’t favor the city council backing Ramos to be acting mayor, thereby giving the councilman an unfair advantage over Ramos’s mayoral rivals, South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka and former Attorney General’s Counsel Shavar Jeffries.
He said if the council voted for him to serve as acting mayor he would stay out of the mayor’s contest.
“At that stage I would have to be neutral,” he said. “I would have to be a referee. My concern is we stay together. I don’t want a fight on the city council over this.”
The Newark City Council chamber infamously turned into a riot zone last year when Ramos attempted to seat Shanique Speight to fill the vacated city council seat of Congressman-elect Donald Payne, Jr.
At that time, Booker broke a tie vote pitting Ramos, Councilman Augusto Amador, Councilman Carlos Gonzalez and Quintana against Councilman Ras Baraka, Councilwoman Mildred Crump and Councilman Darren Sharif and Councilman Ron Rice (who was not present at the meeting but who did not favor seating Speight).
Now Quintana backs Speight’s November election opponent, John Sharpe James.