After his first meeting with Newark mayor-elect Ras Baraka, New Jersey governor Chris Christie referred to him as “a hostile guy,” reports NJ.com.
Overall, Christie said they had a “really friendly meeting,” but also described Baraka as a “kind of hostile guy.”
“I think he expressed hostility about a lot of things and people during that campaign,” Christie said. “But fortunately the campaign is over. So when we met yesterday, that was my one bit of advice I gave him. I said ‘you know, campaigning is different from governing, so it’s time to govern now. ‘“
And Christie said he was willing to help Newark’s newly elected mayor.
“It’s time to govern now. You want to work with me, I’m happy to work with you. If you don’t, it’s your call, too,” he said.
DiVincenzo said Baraka called Christie to set up the meeting, and Christie asked [County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr.] to be a part of it. Baraka also met with former Newark mayor and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) on Sunday.
While concerns have been floating around that the state planned to take over Newark’s finances to close gaps in a $93 million deficit, Christie reportedly made it clear to Baraka that he has no plans on doing that — yet.
“[Christie] believes [Baraka] just got elected by the people … He should be able to have the opportunity to move the city forward,” DiVincenzo said. “He said ‘you need the opportunity to do what you have to do.’”
Christie refuses, however, to budge in one area: education.
“I also made very clear to him that it is the state government that runs the school system in Newark, and that while I will talk with him and hear his ideas, that we are the deciders on what happens in the school system,” Christie said.
As previously reported by NewsOne, Baraka, the son of legendary poet-writer-activist Amiri Baraka, previously served as principal of Central High School, in addition to his duties as councilman in Newark’s south ward, and made education an integral part of his platform.
“One thing I’m sure of is no one can do this by themselves,” Baraka told supporters in February. “A fundamental piece of our plan is the inclusion of all institutions in the community, all the stakeholders in the community. Everyone who has a stake has to be involved.”
Ras Baraka Speaks On Gov Christie’s Newark School Closings