Star-Ledger to Cami Anderson: Be mine, Valentine!


blogvalentineThe Star-Ledger’s passionate, public love affair with Cami Anderson is now sliding into political porn. The newspaper’s latest editorial is a gushing, embarrassing, big wet kiss for Chris Christie’s agent in Newark. “She needs help!” cries out the knight errant editorial writer who boldly and proudly wears her scarf as he plunges into battle, a Lancelot who also was busy today apologizing for endorsing Christie. “She cannot do it alone,” he trumpets. Huzzah!

Breathless. I hear hearts beating wildly, don’t you? I hear panting. Heaving. The poor woman–out there all  by herself surrounded by evil enemies. She needs, well, she needs  “civic and religious leaders to step up and be counted.” She needs charter school families to rush to her side.

Oh, please, come quickly! All ye knights of noble Christieland and ye will be rewarded  by the governor-king for rescuing this damsel in distress! Charter schools for “religious leaders.” Campaign support and maybe Sandy aid for “civic leaders” like Joe D. Bond counsel positions for the sale of New Market Charter School Bonds.

Save her! Save her because–oh, my God!–she “is on the ropes.” Whoa! Mean, big, ugly, shrieking “provocateurs” wish to–oh, no, Heaven forfend,  I just can’t bring myself to say what unspeakable, indecent things these beasts will do to this  fair flower of Christieland. A fate worse than death, truly.

“And if she is knocked down, it will be the children of this city who bear the real loss.”

(By the way, I was at the meeting Anderson ran from. Neither she nor anyone else was ever in any danger–well, yes,  the people kept outside were threatened with frostbite. But, inside, the police had matters well in hand. The meeting was loud and contentious, but it was  not disrupted.  Antoinette Baskerville-Richardson did a masterful job of handling the raw emotions on display–and she deserves credit for her work as head of the school board. And The Star-Ledger should immediately stop depicting critics of her “One Newark” plan as wild animals who threaten her. I think this repeated imagery crosses the line into racist invective.)

A new look for The Star-Ledger?
A new look for The Star-Ledger?

Never before have I seen such  adolescent drivel offered as a serious newspaper’s editorial position. I have lived and worked through governors since Richard Hughes. I have winced at editorials before. But this needs some sort of special award for fecklessness in print.

This woman shouldn’t be vilified? Here are seven good reasons why she should not just be vilified but fired immediately (only one of which is, sort of, mentioned by a Star-Ledger that assiduously avoids the truth about what is going on in town):

1. She sent a letter to Newark’s families that, while  blaming the unions for abiding by the law governing attendance at conventions, managed to insult the children by saying they would get into trouble and cause the crime rate to go up because they were out of school. When she got nailed by brave principals who refused to send the letter out, she withdrew it and lied about it, saying it was merely a “draft.” Yeah–a draft, signed and on official stationery sent home to thousands of children.

2. She hired a school principal who was caught stealing public money and canoodling with a subordinate and who was banned forever from working in the New York City Schools. A bold, sensible reform? This makes her what the editorial calls “an expert educator”?

3. She hired an assistant superintendent who awarded a busing contract to her brother, hired another sibling, and presided over a cheating scandal at a New Orleans charter schools. Another “bold and sensible” reform?

4. She sent the same assistant superintendent to a school to tear down legally posted notices of a parent meeting and, when the PTO president tried to stop the lady from New Orleans, she was allowed to bring over-the-top aggravated assault charges against him that could put him in the slammer for three to five years.

5. She banned the same PTO president from entering the school his children attend.

6. When every school in Essex and neighboring counties was closed because of a declared snow emergency–including Newark’s charter schools–she insisted on making the children come in despite the dangerous conditions.  Ah, yes, it will be the “children’s loss” if Anderson resigns, the editorial sobs.

7.  A week later,  in the middle of another snow emergency–after keeping schools open until a few minutes before class began–she closed them, stranding thousands of children and employees. Again, children will lose if she leaves?

Cami Anderson is no damsel in distress. She is a tough partisan who punishes dissent swiftly and harshly. She is a devoted ally of a governor who has proved himself a bare-knuckles street fighter. Anderson is as much a political creature as anyone who opposes her and should be treated dispassionately–or, at least, fairly–by the state’s largest newspaper. Treating her like a poor, isolated victim is a feverish teenager’s dream.

Perhaps, if the newspaper covered the city schools fairly and comprehensively, it would learn the truth about what has happened, the truth about Anderson and her blunders, attacks on employees, and misguided hiring decisions. Then, maybe, its editorials might regain some sense of maturity, some credibility.

Editorials from a serious newspaper are not Harlequin Romances.











  1. They have bought in to the anti public school/anti union philosophy and will stick to this until the Newark community pushes back. Facts are irrelevant to true believers of any stripe. Maybe, if Ras Baraka wins the mayor’s election there will be a strong public voice.

  2. Not to mention the fair bargaining agreement contracts(union contracts) not being negotiated. Several unions are without contracts and have been for two or more years. She’s a disgrace.

  3. Eloquent! Unfortunately, not only is she protected by Christie, but exponentially by her cohort in Congress, Corey Booker. Having grown up in Newark and seeing how people of different ethnicities and nationalities have been manipulated into fearing each other, the result of this corruption is bringing the people of Newark together. In the next few months, I hope the “One Newark” concept has a whole different meaning. In your opinion what can be done?
    Bob Braun: A necessary, but not sufficient, action–the election of Ras Baraka by a wide margin. Then organize to persuade the Legislature to pass bills blocking such plans. Finally, organize to drive Chris Christie into early retirement. Without Christie, Cami Anderson comes down.

  4. “Unruly”
    “A bee’s nest”
    “Physically threaten[ing]”
    “Fanning resentment”
    “Failed to keep order”

    That’s what the S-L Editorial Board thinks about the opposition to a State Superintendent who was appointed by a governor who lost overwhelmingly in Newark. And that’s just within two editorials.

    I don’t know if the S-L would write such things about opposition to state-mandated school closings in a majority white district. The reason I don’t know is that the state would never attempt to take over a majority white district, especially with a Republican governor at the helm.

    But the S-L doesn’t ever mention such unpleasantries. It would be far too “shrill,” don’t you see? Much better that we just avoid these uncouth subjects…

    Bob Braun: JJ, you got it right. The editorial writer doesn’t even know he is playing with racism–and that makes him even doubly dangerous. I would characterize the people in the fight against Cami as saddened, frightened, and hopeful fairness will somehow happen. Unfortunately, I have to call the editorial writer a liar because Baskerville-Richardson did not fail to keep order. But, then again, no one from The Ledger was there.

  5. Strong adversarial journalism is essential for a healthy democracy. Thank goodness we now have bloggers like Mr. Braun to fill the void when traditional media outlets fail.

    Why is the Star-Ledger in love with Cami? Access journalism? Financial ties? Fear of retribution?

    Bob Braun: I would say no to financial ties. Not much retribution potential. Access is probably an issue, not so much for the editorial writer, but for the shoe-leather reporter who, while good, is very new to the beat. The chief editorial writer has been banging the same drum for years–unions are “regressive,” public schools fail, anything called “reform” even if it’s stupid, has got to be good. Sadly, the level of sophistication once expected of editorial writers at the state’s largest newspaper has fallen dramatically.

  6. What’s in this for Christie? Why is he so silent on this issue? Is he too involved with Bridgegate and Sandy recovery (or lack thereof) to care about the children and families of Newark or is something else going on?

  7. Brilliant, Bob. Also, nice article about your outstanding career in New Jersey journalism in the latest Rutgers magazine. You really care about people and it shows. Keep up the good work!

    Bob Braun: Thanks so much.

  8. I also have noticed that the One Newark plan is advertised in the Star Ledger and on the website. Tough to write bad things about an advertiser.

  9. Bob,

    How long do you think it will be before we see a Tom Moran, SL, editorial with the title:

    Cami Anderson endorsement: Regrettable

  10. Oh Mr. Moran, really you must read this one. I think you have just been portrayed as a knight in shining $hit. I know you promised never to visit this blog again, so I will do you a favor and share this with you on fb….

  11. That’s why it’s known as the “Star Liar” in many circles!

  12. Moran Et.Al,were big supporters of Beverly Hall,you think we can get an apology for that mistake?

  13. Understand that the current administration set the buildings on fire so they could put the fire out. You would think it is 1965 in the Deep South fighting affirmative action. Not only have qualified white NewJersey Administrators been bypassed for school leadership in urban areas qualified blacks have been bypassed for a generation of out of state carpet baggers, political cronies, and Christy/Cerf puppets.
    Christy’s plan was to win big at the polls and then make a major splash with his educational plan to launch his run for national office. He sent his urban storm troopers ( state monitors) out to dismantle
    anything that was working so he can have a free hand in saving the districts that he put in shambles.
    No individual accountability for their actions. Newark, Trenton, Camden, Pleasantville, and AsburyPark all have major financial fiascos under the watch or directed by the state monitor. Ex. Over 100k in Sandy exspences in Pleasantville without BOE approval and supposedly without the monitor’s approval. The BOE was not notified if the expenses until March. The BOE responded by voting to authorize a formal investigation. Guess what, the monitor refused to allow the investigation. Who got paid, how much did they get paid and who authorized payment? One word for this- – SCANDALOUS! When you on the Christy/Cerf team you can do no wrong just keep it in the family. Hand picked superintendents and fiscal monitors
    yet no individual accountability no community input.

  14. Moran is not doing the Star Liar any favors. I know plenty that have not reinstated their subscriptions.

  15. Bob – there you go again! An outside agitator fanning the flames of discontent!

    Love it!.

    Poor Moran, he must be losing sleep.

  16. “50 Shades of Cami” by Tom Moran

  17. great job spelling out the facts, Bob!

    CAMI MUST GO!!!!!!!

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