Last spring, Ellen DeGeneres presented Mr. Booker with a superhero costume after he rushed into a burning building to save a neighbor. But Newark had eliminated three fire companies after the mayor's plan to plug a budget hole failed.In recent days, Mr. Booker has made the rounds of the national media with his pledge to live on food stamps for a week. But his constituents do not need to be reminded that six years after the mayor came into office vowing to make Newark a "model of urban transformation," their city remains an emblem of poverty. Cory Booker's promise -- captured in two books, two documentaries and frequent television appearances -- was to save a city that had been hemorrhaging residents, industry and hope since the riots that ripped it apart 45 years ago.But a growing number of Newarkers complain that he has proved to be a better marketer than mayor, who shines in the spotlight but shows little interest in the less-glamorous work of what it takes to run a city.
I met Cory Booker once, and immediately understood why he would appeal to an Oprah. He is really likable, really smart, and generally impressive. But its never been clear to me that his success nationally was matched by success at home. The ending for The Times' article is rather damning:
Asked about complaints from residents and business owners that garbage is not picked up, abandoned buildings are not boarded up and public spaces are in disrepair, the mayor talked about a new system that allows him to track which streets need snowplows and which departments are paying for too much overtime -- even when he is out of town.He invited a reporter to see the system in action. He then called to apologize that he could not be there: "I'm in and out of New York all day." Instead, his staff demonstrated the system.Mr. Booker was on his way to host a reading at a bookstore on the Upper West Side, filmed by CNN. He then spoke at a benefit at Cipriani and attended a movie premiere at Google's New York headquarters. Afterward, he announced on Twitter, "I sat on a panel with Richard Branson."
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