January 2, 2010

Movie Review:Street Fight

Finally worked through my netflix's que to Street Fight an extremely compelling documentary about the 2002 mayoral campaign in Newark, New Jersey. I know it seems like you couldn't care about this if lived outside of Newark, New Jersey, but trust me, you will care about who wins this race between the golden boy challenger Cory Booker and the willy old incumbent, Sharpe James. What unfolds in this race hits every issues at play in American politics: race, age, reform, class, scandal, urban renewal and more.

The film also shines a light on a much rougher and darker brand of local politics than I've come across in my time. I've worked a number of campaigns in jurisdictions across Northern California and worked in local government in a few more and I've never seen the kind of dirty that gets played in Newark. The incumbent administration had police and firefighters tearing down the challenger's signs in broad daylight and uses City Code Enforcement officials to shut down business's that support the opposition. Not to get too self-righteous, but that kind of crap just would not just not fly where I'm from. It would hit the press in a second and anybody trying it would be roasted alive. But New Jersey is just a different kind of place, those kind of moves just get shrugged off as "politics."

But enough about a much cleaner NorCal politics is that Jersey, your main take-away from this post is that Street Fight is well worth your time to check out.

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