Former Newark mayor Sharpe James was convicted in federal court of five charges, including conspiracy and fraud, along with former girlfriend Tamika Riley. He could face 20 years in prison, but is said to be more likely to get a sentence in the single digits.
The vile nature of Sharpe James's brand of politics was superbly captured on film in a movie that ought to be widely used in political science classes across America. Do yourself a favor and rent the excellent movie Street Fight about the 2002 election in which James employed the lowest form of political tactics in defeating a challenge from Cory Booker in the Newark Democratic mayoral primary (tantamount to election). Booker, who became a political hero to me, is today the mayor of Newark, and is reported to be making progress in turning around that city which suffered so deeply under the governance of a corrupt Democrat political machine, one that was integral to the New Jersey Democratic Party. Jim McGreevy is seen in the film bnefor ehis put his boyfriend in charge of anti-terror planning, got exposed, and left office.
But in a sense Sharpe James steals the film from Booker. Villains often have that kind of charisma, and James was no exception. His slimy political machine and contemptible ethics made a vivid impression on me. I despise the man.
Cory Booker is building an impressive resume of getting things done as an executive, unlike Barack Obama. He may well be destined for higher office. I thought about his possibility of running for president someday when I learned he had won election as mayor. But right now, I have no doubt he is dedicated to making Newark a better place, and more power to him.