Go Newark. Live Green. Love Pink.

"He who knows his WHY in life can live through any HOW" - Victor Frankl

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Are You Ready for Green?

On Saturday, September 27th it's time to send a reverberating message to the world: I'm ready for Green jobs! In Newark, that message will come across loudly and clearly between 11am and 3pm on Lions Avenue and Bergen Street. An almost historical location for any Newarker, Cotton Funeral Home (both locations) and Level One Bakery will undergo Cool Roof /Reflective Roof retrofits.

"Cool/Reflective roofs do not absorb as much heat and therfore reduce cooling costs and associated energy demand/greenhouse gas emissions. This is just an example of efforts to green our community, green our economy and grow green jobs for all, " reports event host Renaldo DaSilva in a press release for the mission.

Sponsorship for this event was provided by the Karnak Corporation and Bradco Supply Company by way of training and materials. I encourage all Green-conscious, city/state residents and skeptics to participate in this great event. For those who may not understand the socio-economic and community benefits of the Green initiative, this event also serves as host to an ideal example. "Saving Our Selves" (S.O.S.) is a non-profit gang intervention/prevention organization that will take part in the installation process. This group was formed by the Bloods & Crips--who knew? Additional participants are members of the NJ Environmental Federation's Urban Environmental Institute (UEI), community residents, business owners, and City leaders.

For more information regarding this event, please contact Renaldo DaSilva at 973-280-2682 or renaldo_dasilva@yahoo.com.

Another Remarkable Bush Answer to Crisis

According to Bush, the answer is straight forward. Spend $2300 per US citizen (of which there is no repayment plan) to bailout companies with irresponsible practices. The Bush plan also bails out citizens who were delusional enough to believe that a $35,000/yr job can cover a $500,000 mortgage. Although this practice is surprisingly eight years in the making, apparently, we're showing the world that America is "the best place to do business"--huh?

Well Bush (and the ultra conservatives who support the $700 billion perfect solution), our entire economy is based on unregulated, deceptive, coercive, lending practices. And, our solution for everything is borrow until you can't pay it back.

I won't pretend to have the economical resolution to this, especially since neither candidate does either. But, I do have one suggestion: ALL BONUSES AND PROFITS "DUE" TO CEO'S AND SENIOR MANAGEMENT SHOULD BE SEIZED to repay the....American bank accounts where these funds are coming from?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Working With What We Have

The Green Summit brought together a collective of investors. These investors were either socially based like the Weequahic Super-Neighborhood Covenant, capitol institutions like B.A.L.L.E., and non-profit entities like the Brick City Development Corporation. Each are looking for a return on effort, while working towards the same goal, an economically independent, socially-sustainable Newark, at the forefront of the global Green transition.

In order to ensure the fruition of this lofty goal, we must identify all cross-sector resources available in the city, and determine what their individual purposes are. What I am sure a surveyor would find-especially in this post-Lehman brothers society is: all
non-profits are not created equal, not all micro-business owners are economically available to go Green (even if they are willing), and sustainability is a relative term. There are hundreds of non-profits that may or may not achieve their mission statements. There are hundreds of businesses that may or may not perpetuate the quality of life standard the collective is trying to achieve.

The millions of non-profit dollars available must be awarded to those who produce results. Micro-businesses must understand the appreciated value of going Green,
while being presented with cost-effective measures to adhere to such. The strength in the Green plan will grow as this sifting process occurs, and transparency is created in the City of Newark.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Yes, They're Open...B&N Livingston

Barnes & Noble Bookstore adds another ribbon cutting to their repertoire of success stories. As a part-time employee of the Livingston, NJ location, I am especially proud of the B&N feat. I have always reaped the benefits of the Barnes & Nobles philosophy as a customer. Now as an employee, I understand what it takes to create that brand for customers. There's something about choosing the floor over a chair, while consistantly basking in Starbucks brew that creates the at home feeling customers and employees have come to love.

Today, from 6:00 PM until 9:00 PM fans, friends and family members, attended the Preview Night hosted by the store. Samples of cafe favorites were served in h'orderve style while cafe staff had their first run at deciphering rapid-fire Starbucks lingo. Livingston City Council members facilitated story-time for kids and Mrs. New Jersey greeted guests with a cause. Part of Preview Night 's proceeds were donated to the Livingston Public School district of which Mayor Dr. Gary Schneiderman warmly accepted on behalf of the city.

The well-orchestrated event and segue to the grand opening tomorrow, can be attributed to the dedicated staff who shelved over 200,000 books in just under six weeks, and management who facilitated the opening procedure process. Matt Mengers, General Manager comments, "It's really great to be apart of the revitalization of the mall and essentially the community here as a whole."

Women, Gold, Blue-Allocating WPS-NJ

New Jersey and New York fans have another exciting reason to shout: take me out to the ball game! Sky Blue FC, the new professional soccer team of the Women's Professional League (WPS) announced their first three players today at an allocation conference at The Sports Museum of America, in downtown Manhattan. Olympic Gold Medalists Christie Rampone, Heather O'Reilly, and Natasha Kai are the tri-state areas premiere appointees.

The conference was hosted by NBA All-Star and WPS part-owner Steve Nash and moderated by WPS Commissioner, Tonya Antonucci. The 21 women, who contributed to the United States National Team’s gold medal acquisition, were split among seven team areas: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, St. Louis, San Francisco Bay Area, Washington DC, and New Jersey. "This is a big day for Woman's Professional Soccer, as teams now have Olympic gold medalists from Beijing allocated to their home cities along with other talented national team players. These are the first building blocks for the teams as the league begins the countdown to the inaugural 2009 WPS Season," said Antonucci.

Christie Rampone, Point Pleasant, NJ native and WUSA veteran was named captain for the 2008 Beijing bound team. She's a masterful defender who played every minute of the six games in China. Christie’s skills and leadership played a major factor in the US National Team's capture of Gold. Moreover, her professional league experience acts as a guiding light for the team. “This time around we’re going to have a lot of games, which American players need to raise our level, so I think that will be good all around.”

Heather O'Reilly hails from East Brunswick, NJ with an impressive career history. Her repertoire includes a New Jersey Wild Cats Championship, a University of North Carolina NCAA MVP designation, and All-Conference, County, and State acquisitions-all four years of high school. O’Reilly’s consistent dedication to her craft also makes her an invaluable asset to the team, but she attributes her success to a united team effort and excellent leadership. “Ian has an incredible knowledge of the game. Between him, Julie Foudy, and the 2009 team there is so much more for me to learn.”

Not only is Natasha Kai a forward to be reckoned with. She is the first-ever Hawaiian to make the Woman’s National Team and Woman’s World Cup Team. As the player who scored the winning goals in the game that lead to Olympic placement and the Gold Medal victory over Brazil, this Kahuku, Ohau spitfire appreciates the opportunities that soccer has provided. “We’re far from the U.S., and there aren’t that many opportunities in Hawaii. We have to go the extra mile. I was lucky. I stayed home, went to college, and the tables turned in my favor. I got noticed.”

The rebirth of a women's professional league within the New Jersey corridor provides significant role-models for young ladies and the opportunity to increase industry awareness to non-traditional markets. Ian Sawyers, Head Coach & General Manager explained, “We have the opportunity to reach everybody…and show them the health benefits of soccer. When you are out on the field for 90 minutes, you’re moving for 90 minutes. It’s an intense cardio workout that can keep kids healthy.”

The combination of skill, dedication, underscored international achievement, health benefits, and a national fan base- foreshadows a promising future of Sky Blue FC and the WPS league.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Moving Forward Monday

It was encouraging to receive emails and phone calls this morning that continued the conversations of this past weekend's summit. As I looked at some emails "cc" list throughout the morning, it became even more apparent that a Green direction is a progressive direction.

The new Green economy has an inclusion goal in support of societal re-entry of ex-offenders. This is encouraging considering nationally 1700 prisoners are released from prison daily, and many will return within three years for the same offense. Governor Corzine, the Victoria Foundation and other national organizations recently awarded $5 million to Newark in support of Operation Reconnect, Ready4Work and other city based reentry programs.

Some concerned citizens argue that this is a wasted effort considering the current state deficit and statistical risk. I argue, we can't afford to let a large populous of unskilled citizens tax citizen funded resources as prisoners, or negatively impact the quality of life when released.

The Green initiative as expressed by Elizabeth Reynoso, Coordinator of Planning & Community Partnerships for the Institute of Social Justice, will provide cutting edge Green training in the emerging, insurance baring, workforce fields such as horticulture and sustainable building construction. Under the new funding allotment, ex-offenders will have a real chance to reconstruct their lives and become productive members of society.

Candidates Be Ware

I read in the Sunday Star Ledger, Cory Booker will have opposition for Mayor in 2010- if he chooses to run. Candidates for the seat are Clifford Minor and Anibal Ramos. As a Newarker who has not benefited from either candidates efforts, I encourage all hopefuls to remember the RESIDENTS.

Many residents can not argue a political platform. They can only voice their frustrations and the need for something better. They will choose a mayor who has delivered truly measurable successes.

Let me remind all politicians who will venture into the messy, kinetic web of mayoral campaigning in Newark that this is a year of change. The movement and momentum will build and continue forward, 2010 and beyond.

The question that will be asked as the current term nears completion: what have you done to stimulate economic development and opportunity within your constituency that can be mirrored district wide?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Green Summit Wrap-up: Day 2

The Newark's Green Future Summit ended with a speech only Mayor Booker can deliver. It even brought a super-charged, Super Neighborhood Chairperson and jovial moderator to tears. While a few others were moved, and I myself wanted to jump out of my seat and shout "Yea, this is our time!" I found myself leaving the summit pondering a question that my fellow Newarkers not in attendance, nevertheless informed will be asking:

"How will this begin?"

Although a huge, huge success, because hundreds of action items, commitments, resources, and facts were exchanged and promised to the cause, there is room for skepticism, which residents will not be afraid to express.

The breakout sessions, convened after panel discussions, were the primary opportunity to offer individual feasibility suggestions from ones own area of expertise. It was here that professionals and non spewed out ideas that will certainly turn Bricks green. At the end of an allotted time, all parties returned to the Atrium to discuss their findings.

"But how will we stay connected?"

Perhaps Van Jones, keynote speaker day-2, expressed the issue best when he raised the question, "How do you keep the hope without letting the hope turn into hype?"

Turning Bricks Green-Day 2

Mix and Meet in NYC: A TPNO Event

Green Summit Wrap-up: Day 1

As a participant of the Newark’s Green Futures Summit, I heard many fantastic ideas and strategies brainstormed among stakeholders. The guest list included community advocates, public and private investors, students, corporate and small business owners, local and state officials, higher education administrators, and concerned citizens. While dialogue at times reached steamy, the general consensus was: going green can, will, and must happen. The question now becomes: how soon and how much? (Standby day-2)

Politics and bureaucracy are never fun facilitators, but with positive and progressive leadership, they should never become barriers of change. It’s interesting that change has been a thematic control of 2008 hot-topics. This fact goes to show that the mindset of the 21st century American is focused on improving quality of life by a standard other than current (see Bush administration) or previous leadership models.

For Newark, this has meaning tenfold. On Monday, September 15th, 2008 former Newark Mayor Sharpe James will reap what he sowed. A legend in his own right, he did not have the right to steal from his constituents- citizens of a city who have already been underrepresented, mistreated, and misunderstood.

As Mayor Cory Booker galvanizes a coalition designed to restore that which was taken from us, it is my sincerest hope that the citizens of Newark remain steadfast in faith that this administration holds true to its charge: to bring our great city where she belongs- at the epicenter of commerce, culture, class, and opportunity.

From the hand of...


Friday, September 12, 2008

Turning Bricks Green: A Collabortive Effort to Revitalize Newark, NJ

Residents of Newark, NJ will capture the limelight again this year, as the premier model of a sustainable green economy. The Newark’s Green Future Summit kicked off today at the NJIT campus in Newark. The Summit ran under the coordination of Mayor Cory Bookers newly appointed Sustainability Coordinator, Chelsea Albucher, The Apollo Alliance, Green for All and a host of additional private investors, community leaders, and residents.

The two-day conference began with Booker's’ strategy outline, and a vision that would create substantial economic development opportunity, specialized workforce training, and committed social rehabilitation initiatives for residents including youth, small and minority owned businesses, and ex-offenders.

“Newark is perfectly placed. How do we infuse [that] with a green economy so that we can save energy, reduce costs, and also create a better atmosphere? We show the nations what can happen when people come together fr a greater cause," said Booker.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Write it---In Bodat Ink: Montega & Shakespear's "Ink'd Chronicle"

The lyrical world has new contenders, Bodat Ink. To the world, they are known as Montega and Shakespear, but to family and friends in their small hometown of Irvington, NJ, they are simply Curtis and Will. Bodat Ink offers Ink'd Chronicle as a twenty-track introduction to their experiences as urbanite heartthrobs. Their ability to compose and deliver bold tracks to a pop culture audience in boy-next-door charm, casts Bodat Ink as a standard to remember.

In an August 2008 interview, Montega and Shakespear shared the influence, vision, and philosophy of the Bodat Ink brand. Shakespear, 24, is ready to take on the challenges and successes the industry has to offer."I’m confident competition, I’m not afraid to say what I want to say.” As an Irvington resident in high school, Shakespear can recall situations surrounding guns, girls, and gangs. In some instances his life was in danger, while others his judgment impaired. In any case, these are the topics reflected in his music; the playlist of the 21st century urban adolescent.

Montega, 23, also welcomes the challenge that lies ahead of the Bodats. Perhaps he is most confident because of turnover regularity. Montega attributes this to a lack of creativity and an almost unwillingness to challenge the status quo. “Ink’d Chronicle” is an R&B and Hip Hop venture, where Montega not only joins Shakespear in verse, but hooks in harmony. An easy yet controversial listen, Ink’d Chronicle titles include, I’m the Man, Sour-D, and Head in da Honda. While some may perish the thought, the Bodats say: Crank the Volume! “We aren’t afraid to talk about things considered to be taboo,” commented Montega. “We are true to ourselves and I believe this will give us lasting power.”

Today’s industry suggests an artist write their own words to build creditability with fans. While Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Jay-Z fit the mold-tenfold, they may argue that what’s most important is tearing down the crowd from the first mic check on a live stage. The ability to crank-up thousands of already screaming fans comes with practice. With arms wide open and performances under belt, Bodat Ink is working toward Hip-Hop mogul status like their BET mentors.

On August 24th, Bodat Ink participated in the Phi Beta Sigma Showcase at Eagle Rock Reservation in West Orange, NJ. The gathering also hosted voting registration for unregistered attendees. "We were able to serve our community in two ways, artistic entertainment and by promoting political involvement,” said Montega. Avidly active Obamanoids, Bodat Ink encourages their community to participate in the Constitutional right leading by example.

It is no secret that the music industry is rough and rugged terrain. Equipped with inherent composition capability, humble confidence, hot swag, and political advocacy, Bodat Ink is geared-up in Rover quality and proportion.