US GU Assg. #5–Please see attached instructions. Thank you.

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US GU Assg. #5–Please see attached instructions. Thank you.

US GU Assg. #5–Please see attached instructions. Thank you.
Assignment #5: Societal Issues in City Life Required Readings: Read Textbook: Newark-Chapter 4-Fall, pages 84-118 (See attached). Source cited: Tuttle, Brad R. How Newark Became Newark: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of an American City. Piscataway, N.J: Rutgers University Press, 2009 Watched the video: The rich, the poor and the trash | DW Documentary (Inequality documentary) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_e7eFSkEjw Assignment: In Chapter 4 of the textbook, the City of Newark continues to expand and enters the Prohibition era. Please write a short essay for the following question: What are some of the social and political issues that accompanied Prohibition in Newark? Prepare an original and thoughtful (including references) response of 400 words. Student participation includes the following attributes: Comments show evidence of a thorough reading and analysis of the material(s) — this means the inclusion of references Points are relevant to the discussion in terms of increasing everyone’s understanding and are not merely a regurgitation of the readings.  Care is taken to distinguish among different kinds of information; i.e. facts, opinions, assumptions, or inferences.  There is a willingness to test new ideas rather than remain cautious and safe.  Submissions utilize correct word usage, spelling, and punctuation. INSTRUCTIONS TO THE WRITER: Follow the instructions above and response to the question. The essay should be no less than 400 words in length. Sources cited should be included. Sources cited should be from the required readings. Thank you, Customer
US GU Assg. #5–Please see attached instructions. Thank you.
89 89  4 Dead Weight prohibition, politics, and the growth of organized crime In the early 1900s, as progressives around the country ambitiously sought to rid their cities of partisan politics, corruption, wasteful spending, and all manner of vice and immorality, a thought occurred to reformers: perhaps the systems of municipal government themselves were part of the problem. Ef- forts to simply vote political bosses and their lackeys out of offi ce had yielded few lasting improvements. Something more drastic seemed necessary, and a new form of city government, born out of a turn-of-the-century tragedy, was heralded as the cure. The140-miles-per-hour hurricane that ripped through Galveston, Texas, in the fall of 1900 destroyed over three thousand buildings and killed an estimated eight thousand people, nearly a quarter of the city’s population. The storm still ranks as the nation’s worst-ever natural disaster. Galveston’s government, often criticized in preceding years as paralyzed by corrupt political machines and quarrelsome bureaucrats, was not up to the critical task of rebuilding, many believed. A group of Galveston businessmen suggested creating an orderly, corporate board-style commission to oversee the monumental work ahead. The suggested commission would be run in a businesslike fashion, with each of fi ve commissioners responsible for a separate sphere of government. The Texas legislature approved the motion, and initial reactions to Galveston’s new commission government were over- whelmingly positive locally and around the country. 1 Commission government soon became thought of as a solution not only to a hurricane’s aftereffects, but also to the ills of cities in general. By 1915, 350 U.S. cities were run by modern, streamlined commissions similar to the one created in Galveston. Most commissions consisted of fi ve offi cials who collectively held all the city’s executive and legislative powers. One member Tuttle, B. R., & Tuttle, B. (2009). How newark became newark : The rise, fall, and rebirth of an american city. ProQuest Ebook Central http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from rutgers-ebooks on 2021-09-01 03:38:13. Copyright © 2009. Rutgers University Press. All rights reserved. 90fal l served as mayor, though he basically had no more power than any other commissioner. In the hopes of limiting the infl uence of political party bosses, offi cials were typically elected in at-large nonpartisan contests. One early in-depth study, by an Indiana state attorney named Oswald Ryan in 1915, pronounced commission government “the most promising” system in existence. Already, “large fl oating debts have been wiped out, sinking funds created, and the public credit restored,” the New York Times said, paraphrasing Ryan’s book, Municipal Freedom. “The observer fi nds that an improvement—an unmistakable improvement—has occurred in the various public services, there being a purer water supply, better streets, more effi cient fi re and police services.” What’s more, “current expenses have been curtailed; taxes have been decreased,” and “as far as the moral tone of the commission cities is concerned, here, too, is much improvement, in the opinion of Mr. Ryan. Gambling and the red lights are no more.” 2 Cities were clearly eager for all sorts of reforms in the early 1900s. The newfound anonymity of city living had brought with it drastic shifts from the days when village elders closely enforced societal standards. Old- fashioned watchdog groups were not ready to concede their governments, or the morality of their communities at large, to the corruptions of the modern world, however. In Newark, about the same time hundreds of U.S. cities were adopting the progressive new commission form of government, a group called the Citizens Committee sponsored a series of late-night undercover investigations to study the extent to which vice had infi ltrated the city’s downtown neighbor- hoods. The group, which included clergymen and leading fi gures like Louis Bamberger, published a 1914 report in the hopes of ridding Newark of its rampant “social evil conditions,” as stated in the report’s headline. 3 At least four hundred prostitutes worked Newark’s streets, the study said. Prostitutes solicited clients in back rooms of two-thirds of the ninety-three city saloons investigated, often with the encouragement of bartenders and waiters. Among the other fi ndings in the report, which did not claim to be comprehensive, 750 cases of gonorrhea were treated in Newark in a single week. Investigators quickly and easily purchased morphine and cocaine, and one stumbled onto the scene of a white man and a black woman in a saloon hallway “performing an indecent and degenerate act.” 4 “An even graver menace” than the prostitute, according to the committee, was the “Charity Girl.” Professional call girls created the term of derision for women “who sin sexually in return only for the pleasures given or the company of the men with whom they consort,” in the study’s words. The industrial era had brought with it the possibility that large numbers of women Tuttle, B. R., & Tuttle, B. (2009). How newark became newark : The rise, fall, and rebirth of an american city. ProQuest Ebook Central http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from rutgers-ebooks on 2021-09-01 03:38:13. Copyright © 2009. Rutgers University Press. All rights reserved. dead weight91 could support themselves and live independently for the fi rst time ever. An estimated ten thousand young, unattached (and unsupervised) women then lived in Newark. They worked in department stores or factories, lived in furnished boarding houses, and spent their evenings as they pleased, fl irting at cafes or hopping into automobiles with men they’d just met—scandalous behavior for the era. “Their lack of knowledge of the effects of contact with men renders them infi nitely more liable than the professional prostitute to spread venereal disease,” the committee report stated. Most worrisome of all, according to the report, “they contaminate other girls.” 5 One investigator ventured into a largely African American section of the city. “This is the toughest place in Newark, and in the country, I guess,” a seventeen-year veteran police offi cer said. While white prostitutes charged an average of $3 for their services, their “colored” counterparts asked only fi fty cents “to do the lowest acts of perversion,” the investigator reported. Once a customer followed the woman, the police said, he was often robbed. “They offer to go with a man for a few cents,” one offi cer said. “Then they get him in a lot or room and steal every cent he has got.” In a fairly typical scene in one saloon, a bartender approached the investigator as he watched several women dance provocatively. “Say, brother,” the bartender said, “I’ll fi x you up with a nice black girl. You needn’t be afraid; I’ll see that you’re taken care of.” 6 Another report aimed at reform, written by social worker Willard Price in1912, focused on the Ironbound, where there were three well-known gambling houses and 122 saloons—one for every seven residential buildings. The Ironbound at the time was “a district of industrial uproar, drifting smoke, heavy atmosphere, dangerous acid fumes and unforgettable odors,” Price wrote. “Its people are a hodgepodge of nationalities, speaking many old-world tongues, and making pathetic efforts to adjust to their new and unwholesome American surroundings.” 7 The fi ndings from these reports—prostitution, casual sex, gambling, drug use, intermingling of races—shocked Newark’s traditional moral code. Reformers blamed the conditions on a number of factors, including the lack of supervision for young women, the infl ux of immigrants, and corrupt or lazy policemen who refused to enforce the law. (Oddly, poverty was rarely named a cause.) Whatever the reasons, vice was present to varying degrees in every city, and clergy-led crusades such as Newark’s Citizen Committee’s spread all over the country in pre–World War I days. Reformers targeted everything from smoking to jazz music. Dancing was often viewed as a sign of loose morals. The risqué Charleston was worst of all, but various women’s clubs also banned the tango, the fox trot, and the waltz. 8 The granddaddy of Tuttle, B. R., & Tuttle, B. (2009). How newark became newark : The rise, fall, and rebirth of an american city. ProQuest Ebook Central http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from rutgers-ebooks on 2021-09-01 03:38:13. Copyright © 2009. Rutgers University Press. All rights reserved. 92fal l all vices, however, which reformers almost universally pointed the fi nger at as a cause for so many societal ills, was alcohol. Temperance societies had been asking men and women in America to “take the pledge” and swear off alcohol at least since the colonial era. The Prohibitionist movement gained new traction amid the reform-minded early 1900s, and the Volstead Act, which rendered the manufacture or sale of liquor illegal, offi cially went into effect on January 17,1920. A loud minority of Newark’s clergy and reformist business leaders zealously welcomed Prohibition and pushed city offi cials to enforce the law throughout the era. Overall, however, the immigrant-heavy city never gave the movement anything close to majority support. Working-class Germans, Irish, and Italians, in particular, opposed limitations on their right to have a drink. As many on the “wet” side asked: how could such a basic right be denied to soldiers returning from fi ghting for freedom in Europe during World War I? Another of the era’s major reforms, on the other hand, did receive the overwhelming backing of Newarkers. Prior to the war, Newark’s municipal government consisted of a mayor elected by all voters, as well as a legislative body of thirty-two aldermen divided among sixteen wards. The responsibility for streets, sewers, and water lay in the hands of a separate board of elected offi cials. Other services, such as health, police, and fi re departments, were run by appointees named by the mayor or aldermen. With power scattered among a “weak mayor” and so many offi cials and boards—many of whom were in the pocket of political machines—city government was incapable of responding effi ciently to the needs of the people. Improvements to streets, parks, and other services occurred far more slowly and haphazardly than frustrated citizens hoped. 9 Following the national trend, in 1917 Newark voters considered adopting a commission government in which fi ve commissioners would be elected in nonpartisan, at-large contests. Each voter could cast as many votes as there were openings (fi ve), and the candidates receiving the most votes were named commissioners, serving four-year terms. The fi ve winners would divvy up various domains of responsibility, with one director of public safety, in charge of fi re and police departments, for example, and another commissioner placed in control of streets and public improvements. 10 Thomas Raymond, Newark’s mayor since 1914, was one of the few city leaders opposing the commission. Among other reasons, Raymond worried that the new system would not root out corruption or partisan control. A commission government, Raymond argued, instead seemed “certainly made for [political] bosses.” 11Tuttle, B. R., & Tuttle, B. (2009). How newark became newark : The rise, fall, and rebirth of an american city. ProQuest Ebook Central http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from rutgers-ebooks on 2021-09-01 03:38:13. Copyright © 2009. Rutgers University Press. All rights reserved. dead weight93 Essex County’s most powerful political boss, Democrat James R. Nugent, in fact supported the change to a commission. Newark’s Board of Trade and voters in general did as well. The motion passed by a count of 19,069 to only 6,053. “What the city has accomplished,” a Newark Evening News editorial cheered, “has been to cast off the outworn system which has been a dead weight to its progress.” 12 If reformers believed the switch to commission government would bring with it bold new leadership, they must have been somewhat disappointed in the election held fi ve weeks after the referendum passed. The nonpartisan, at-large structure opened up the election to anyone and everyone, resulting in a disorganized, chaotic campaign. More than eighty candidates vied for fi ve seats. The top vote-getters wound up being familiar faces, including two Irish Democrats: Charles Gillen, a high-profi le realty man with ties to Newark’s fi nancial institutions, and William J. Brennan, the police commis- sioner appointed by Mayor Raymond in 1917. Raymond himself, despite his opposition to the commission system, also secured enough votes for a spot. Gillen, however, received the most votes, and he was named to the mostly nominal position of mayor. 13 The back-to-back votes in Newark seemed to relay a mixed message, with the fi rst calling for a complete overhaul of the government, the next giving a pat on the back to the men running the government. Voters were essentially indicting their outdated form of government, not the men in charge, who seemed to be doing a decent job. In fact, by most indications, Newark in the precommission era was a fl ourishing city. “One cannot come in contact with a live business man in Newark,” the Times wrote in 1913, “without being infl uenced by [a] spirit of optimism.” 14 Physical signs of progress were everywhere. As of 1911, a train line connected Newark to Hoboken, Jersey City, and then on to New York City via “the tubes,” which became the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) train system. Work began in 1914 to dig a channel in Newark’s swampy Meadowlands and deepen its port to accommodate huge ships loaded with cargo. According to a 1915 count, 280,000 pedestrians crossed through the Four Corners in a thirteen- hour period, making it arguably the nation’s busiest intersection. The fi rst skyscrapers arose downtown, notably the twelve-story Kinney Building and, a few doors down, the slim sixteen-story Fireman’s Insurance Company headquarters, built in 1916 at the northeast corner of Broad and Market. Also in1916, in coordination with Newark’s 250th anniversary, a three hundred- room hotel with an extravagant, second-fl oor ballroom opened overlooking Tuttle, B. R., & Tuttle, B. (2009). How newark became newark : The rise, fall, and rebirth of an american city. ProQuest Ebook Central http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from rutgers-ebooks on 2021-09-01 03:38:13. Copyright © 2009. Rutgers University Press. All rights reserved. 94fal l Military Park. The city’s fi rst luxury hotel, it was named in honor of Newark founder Robert Treat. A few months after Newark elected its inaugural board of commissioners, with the city in the midst of a war-related economic boom, the port’s Submarine Boat Corporation laid the keel for the fi rst steel ship built in the country. 15 Early on, Newark’s commissioners seemed eager to make the idea a reality that government could be more effi cient and truly work for the people. Mayor Gillen staged battles versus various train and trolley companies every time they tried to raise prices. At one point in 1919, a trolley raised prices from six to seven cents a trip, prompting Gillen to board and refuse to pay the extra penny. In another instance, Gillen managed to get the cost of passage from Newark to New York on the tubes reduced from fi fty-four cents to thirty-three cents for a round trip. 16 Those initial years of commission government were remarkable because, rather than being bogged down with internal squabbles, city offi cials seemed to work together. At least on the surface, Newark’s commissioners were almost always cordial, cooperative, and supportive of each other. The public seemed content as well, favoring incumbents for more than a decade. Four of the fi ve original commissioners were reelected in 1921. Voters kept Gillen in offi ce through 1933. Raymond remained a commissioner until his death in 1928; he even became mayor again for the last three years of his life. 17 Of all the long-serving 1920s commissioners, none was more beloved by voters, his peers, or the press than Irishman William Brennan. Bill, as everyone called him, was witty and blunt-spoken, known as a principled, strict but fair administrator and disciplinarian. Through circle-rimmed glasses, Brennan’s fi erce stare was dreaded by underlings who had somehow disappointed the commissioner. Brennan was also a family man, raising eight children in his home near Vailsburg Park. One of his sons, William J. Brennan Jr., would go on to serve for thirty-four years in the U.S. Supreme Court as one of the most liberal, distinguished justices ever. Bill Brennan Sr. was born with light eyes and curly red hair in 1872 in County Roscommon, northeast of Galway. In his late teens and desperate to earn a decent wage, he left his homeland, heading fi rst to England, then on to the United States in 1892. Brennan found employment as a fi reman in Trenton before settling in 1894 in Newark, where he also joined the fi re department. His work with the fi reman’s union evolved into stints as president of the Essex Trades Council and executive board member of the New Jersey Federation of Labor. Republican Mayor Thomas Raymond was impressed enough with Brennan to name him police commissioner in 1917, even though Brennan was a Democrat. Nine months after the appointment, voters gave one of the Tuttle, B. R., & Tuttle, B. (2009). How newark became newark : The rise, fall, and rebirth of an american city. ProQuest Ebook Central http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from rutgers-ebooks on 2021-09-01 03:38:13. Copyright © 2009. Rutgers University Press. All rights reserved. dead weight95 fi ve commission seats to Brennan, where he stayed until his death in 1930. In Brennan’s last two elections (1925 and 1929), he received more votes than any other candidate. Content running the fi re, police and other departments as public-safety director, he demurred from ever becoming mayor. 18 Commissioner Brennan understood the value—political and societal— inherent in compromising to try to please the city’s various factions. He refused to close the few movie houses that chose to show fi lms on Sundays. Yet, to appease fanatics pressuring him to shut them, Brennan forced the movie houses to donate one Sunday’s profi ts to a local charity every few weeks. William Ashby, founder of the Urban League of Essex County, said that Brennan always ensured that when it was the African American charity’s turn to be the benefi ciary, the money came from one of the larger movie houses. Brennan’s door was always open to Ashby, and the commissioner sometimes asked him to stop by simply to chat—small acts of kindness that left an impression on Ashby, accustomed to second-class treatment in a racist world. Brennan, resting a leg on his oak table and sucking on one of the dozens of pipes he loved so much, “wanted nothing in particular,” Ashby recorded in his memoirs. “He just wanted to talk to me. I would sit and listen to stories of his boyhood in Ireland—the brogue still so thick I could scarcely make out some of the words—and of his early life in this country.” 19 Brennan thrived under the nonpartisan structure of commission elec- tions. Though a nominal Democrat, he never had organized backing from any political party. The commissioner had plenty of support, nonetheless, from people who viewed him as an honorable, genuine, self-made man who had their interests at heart. “What is the secret of Commissioner Brennan’s success? Has he wealth? No!” one speaker said at a 1921 Brennan rally. “Has he courage? Barrels of it. Has he honesty, fi delity, and independence? Yes! All of these and more.” Later, at the same rally, a woman addressed the crowd. “We like home-made things,” she said. “We don’t like machine-made goods. It’s got to be ready made. That’s Bill Brennan. He’s a rough diamond. He has had no training but the training he received in the College of Hard Knocks.” 20 The commissioner was sometimes criticized as being too connected to labor, especially in light of his background with the fi re department, unions, and trade groups. Time and again, though, Brennan instituted policies to rein in the power of the departments he oversaw. Brennan was outraged when Newark police and fi remen unions attempted to secure a generous new pension in 1921. “You can put me down as no friend of theirs,” he said, if “lending my efforts to help them put something over on the rest of the citizens.” When Brennan became commissioner, fi rst-year fi remen received $800 a year. Four years and two raises later, they netted $1,800 annually. Tuttle, B. R., & Tuttle, B. (2009). How newark became newark : The rise, fall, and rebirth of an american city. ProQuest Ebook Central http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from rutgers-ebooks on 2021-09-01 03:38:13. Copyright © 2009. Rutgers University Press. All rights reserved. 96fal l The pension they sought was almost unheard of for the era: half salary after twenty years of service. “Imagine,” Brennan said, “able-bodied men getting a thousand a year or more from the city and working in a bank at a couple of thousand more, taking work from men who need it.” 21 “A square deal for all; special privileges for none” was how Brennan summed up his political platform. 22 Police offi cers and fi remen newly under Brennan’s charge found it unusual that employees were actually promoted based on merit rather than patronage. “For the good of the service” was the pat response Brennan issued to anyone questioning a reassignment, promotion, or other change. 23 “He has tried to keep his department free from pernicious infl uences of all sorts,” the Newark Evening News wrote in a 1921 endorsement of Brennan. “He has been fearless and capable. He has not forgotten that he owes responsibility to the people and to none other.” 24 After Brennan’s 1921 reelection, he hosted an end-of-summer picnic to thank his supporters. The event soon became an immensely popular annual occurrence that symbolized the feel-good era of Newark in the early days of commission government. Tens of thousands gathered for a free day of merry- go-rounds, Skee-Ball, carousel rides, soda, peanuts, hot dogs, and ice cream at a Newark-area amusement park. Nearly a hundred thousand people attended the1922 picnic at Irvington’s Olympic Park. Brennan’s picnics grew with each passing year. In 1928, invitations for the September 8 event at Newark’s Dreamland Park went out to seventy-fi ve thousand children and thirty-fi ve thousand adults. Guests hopped on the miniature railway and the Ferris wheel, watched some twenty-fi ve clowns and a Punch and Judy puppet show, listened to the drum-and-bugle-corps competition, and helped themselves to the staggering number of treats: 100,000 hot dogs, 75,000 packages of candy, 150,000 ears of corn, 7,500 gallons of ice cream, 5,000 gallons apiece of root beer, orangeade, and lemonade, as well as 75,000 toys. 25 The picnics solidifi ed Brennan’s image as a man of the people, especially in the eyes of immigrants and the working classes. The “drys,” who wanted Prohibition zealously enforced, consistently gave William Brennan grief, however. The commissioner thought Prohibition a foolish, prudish restric- tion on liberty. He took rudimentary steps to follow the law, but frequently argued matters were largely out of his hands. “What can I do?” Brennan asked in the fall of 1921, responding to Third Ward residents who wanted to shut a notorious neighborhood tavern called the Tub of Blood. “You see, under the old system of saloon licenses, I could do something. I could just revoke the license of the place. Now I can’t do anything.” An Anti-Saloon League offi cial accused the commissioner of sitting on his hands. “The trouble is that Brennan lacks any disposition to interfere with such places,” he said. “Saloons are operating quite openly, apparently without fear of the police.” 26Tuttle, B. R., & Tuttle, B. (2009). How newark became newark : The rise, fall, and rebirth of an american city. ProQuest Ebook Central http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from rutgers-ebooks on 2021-09-01 03:38:13. Copyright © 2009. Rutgers University Press. All rights reserved. dead weight97 The following February, a coalition of Newark churches stormed City Hall, asking for Brennan’s resignation. “The committee takes the position that vice is not being suppressed as it should,” one speaker said. “There are two points: Inability and unwillingness.” While people in the crowd heckled Brennan with shouts of “Give ’em a drink!” and “Throw ’em out!” the commissioner maintained the law was being enforced as well as it could be. 27 A few days after the hearing, four African Americans died from drinking gin with wood alcohol in a saloon called the Side Pocket, located opposite the Tub of Blood. “It’s hard to close such places unless we have conclusive evidence that a misdemeanor was committed on the premises,” Brennan refl ected. “There are no license laws on the basis of which we can close a saloon any more than we can close an ice cream parlor.” Pro- and anti-Prohi- bitionists alike could have used the incident to support their cause—arguing either that the Volstead Act drove people to such dangerous lengths, or that such tragedies would be avoided if the law was vigorously enforced. Regardless, the Evening News reported that the morning after the people died, Broome Street’s saloons were “fi lled with patrons, blacks and whites, laughing and talking and buying drinks, while nickel-in-the-slot machines ground out jazz.” 28 Arrests for Prohibition violations in Newark slowly accumulated: 83 in 1920,198 in 1921,233 in 1922. Few convictions ever occurred, however; there were less than a dozen in 1922, for example. 29 Prohibition largely seemed successful only in turning normally conscien- tious citizens into law breakers because they wanted to relax with a whisky after work. The sober, virtuous utopia Prohibition advocates envisioned was never realized. Instead, the Volstead Act’s most obvious creation was a vast underworld that amassed more money and power with each passing day—as well as a cooperative generation of policemen and government offi cials who were increasingly willing to look the other way. In the early 1900s, when Newark’s Third Ward was heavily Jewish, a tall, young tough named Abner Zwillman earned a reputation for defending Jewish peddlers and kids being harassed by hoodlums from other neighbor- hoods. Born in 1904 and raised on Charlton Street—a block west of the cobbled shopping thoroughfare of Prince Street, and four blocks from the notorious saloons of Broome Street—Abner came from a family of poor Russian immigrants, like most folks in the Third Ward. His father, Avraham, made a meager living selling live chickens in a public market stall, and Abner and six siblings were always hungry. As a composed and discreet adolescent, Abner ran errands for local politicians, bookies, and pimps in exchange for Tuttle, B. R., & Tuttle, B. (2009). How newark became newark : The rise, fall, and rebirth of an american city. ProQuest Ebook Central http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from rutgers-ebooks on 2021-09-01 03:38:13. Copyright © 2009. Rutgers University Press. All rights reserved. 98fal l pocket change. By the time he was in his early teens, Abner Zwillman stood at a lanky six feet, two inches, olive-skinned, broad-shouldered, and handsome, with curly, black hair neatly parted down the middle. Third Ward residents had little reason to fear Zwillman’s gang, the Happy Ramblers. Whenever Irish hooligans appeared on their turf, however, darting down Prince Street to raid the pushcarts or knock the skullcaps off of young Jews, a cry came out of “Reef der Langer!,” Yiddish for “Get the Tall One!” Langerbecame anglicized as “Longy,” Zwillman’s lifelong nickname. 30 Avraham Zwillman died during the summer of 1918. Longy had just completed eighth grade, and instead of going on to high school, the four- teen-year-old rented a horse and wagon. Rather than trying to peddle goods to the Third Ward poor, he chose a more lucrative option of touring wealthy neighborhoods and fl irting with housewives while selling them fruits and vegetables. Within a year, in the course of his rounds Zwillman was supple- menting his income by taking penny and nickel bets for the illegal lottery, known variously as policy or the numbers game. Realizing that the hoods running lotteries were no tougher or smarter than he was, Zwillman soon established his own numbers game, which became the biggest in Newark. An organized network of barbershop, soda fountain, candy store, and saloon owners collected bets for Zwillman in exchange for a steady $30 a week. 31 Zwillman effectively took control of Newark’s numbers racket while still a teenager. By the beginning of the Roaring Twenties, he’d accrued connec- tions in politics and the police force to assure his business ran smoothly. An intimidating bunch of henchmen eagerly jumped to Zwillman’s side and made bettors pay up, if necessary. Most importantly, Zwillman never wanted to be hungry again, and vowed to use his brains, energy, and muscle to make himself rich. In short, Longy Zwillman had the personality, skills, and desire needed to take advantage of the shady business opportunities that accompanied Prohibition. At its peak, Zwillman’s gang was importing 40 percent of the bootlegged liquor in the country, and Longy reaped in $2 million a year. Despite Zwillman’s attempts to keep a low profi le—quietly dishing out bribes, never wearing garish jewelry or driving expensive cars—the press began calling him “the Al Capone of New Jersey.” A member of the Big Six (or the Syndicate), which included Charles “Lucky” Luciano, Frank Costello, Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel, and other leading gangsters, Longy Zwillman consistently pushed for a professional approach to making money. He convinced criminal operations to divide up territories in a businesslike fashion, make peace with each other, and diversify investments to include legitimate interests, ushering in the age of organized crime. 32Tuttle, B. R., & Tuttle, B. (2009). How newark became newark : The rise, fall, and rebirth of an american city. ProQuest Ebook Central http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from rutgers-ebooks on 2021-09-01 03:38:13. Copyright © 2009. Rutgers University Press. All rights reserved. dead weight99 Newark’s large breweries had no choice but to offi cially shut down with the advent of Prohibition. People wouldn’t be denied, however. One brewery sold ingredients and instructions for making homemade beer. The Newark Public Library noted that pages on wine-making had been torn out of books. Many small breweries managed to keep churning out lager and ale, either by disguising their operations or paying off the right policemen. 33 While U.S. brewers supplied speakeasies with beer, most Prohibition-era whisky came from Canada, and much of it came through Newark. Freighters from Canadian distilleries anchored a few miles off the coast, so as to be outside U.S. jurisdiction. Workers loaded liquor into waiting speedboats, which raced past on-the-take Coast Guardsmen into Newark, as well as ports in Ocean and Monmouth counties. In the beginning, the booze was loaded onto wagons and carted off to saloons and social clubs. Zwillman, always the innovator, bought a truck to distribute the bootlegged “hooch” more effi ciently. “We started in the Third Ward, where we knew everybody,” one of Longy’s men later recalled. “We’d go around to the different joints to take orders. Longy would take his truck—we soon had three—down to the docks where he knew the people bringing stuff in. He’d buy a few hundred cases and bring ’em to a warehouse we had near Prince Street.” 34 Bootlegging was a dangerous business, especially in the early days. Zwillman developed a system to avoid hijackings, which were far more common than arrests. A Zwillman worker arrived at the port with half a $5 bill. If the contact on the docks didn’t have the other half, guns would be drawn. One night, hijackers set up a barricade to block their trucks, but Longy had supplied his men with guns and instructions on what to do in such a situation. The fi rst truck barreled through, and the men in all the trucks fi red their weapons. “They thought Longy was some punk kid—he was only 17 years old—who’d run as soon as they had him hemmed in,” another Zwillman associate said. “They never expected us to be ready with our own guns.” 35 Word spread that Longy Zwillman meant business in every sense. One obviously impressed player was Joseph Reinfeld, the owner of a tavern on High Street and Eighth Avenue. Though Jewish, Reinfeld was dark-skinned and tall and could have passed for Sicilian, which came in handy in his tavern, located in the Italian First Ward. A mostly Italian assemblage of loan sharks, brick- layers, politicians, gamblers, and members of the “Black Hand”—the crooked neighborhood bosses who were precursors to the mafi a—were all regulars in Reinfeld’s place. Joe Reinfeld asked Longy to become his junior partner. Rein- feld needed someone to distribute whisky from his connection in Montreal: the Bronfman brothers, whose surname appropriately means “liquor man” Tuttle, B. R., & Tuttle, B. (2009). How newark became newark : The rise, fall, and rebirth of an american city. ProQuest Ebook Central http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from rutgers-ebooks on 2021-09-01 03:38:13. Copyright © 2009. Rutgers University Press. All rights reserved. 100fal l in Yiddish. In the 1920s, the Bronfmans merged their small distillery with another liquor manufacturer with a better-known name, Seagram’s. 36 The Reinfeld-Zwillman operation sold only top-notch whisky and, it was said, never watered it down like so many other bootleggers. Accordingly, they charged $30 per bottle, a whopping profi t of $28 a pop. The partners became the biggest whisky importers on the East Coast. Reinfeld lectured his young partner in all aspects of business, notably bribery, which in Newark became an art form. “Any cluck can wave money in front of somebody he wants to buy. The trick is to learn who to bribe, and how much the guy is worth,” Reinfeld was known to say. “A judge is more important than a prosecutor. A city attorney is more important than a cop. Some cops are important, though, because of the information they have, like when and where raids are planned. They’re worth almost as much as a prosecutor.” 37 Reinfeld begrudgingly made Zwillman an equal partner in a tense Thanks- giving Day meeting in 1923. Longy had yet to turn twenty. As their business evolved, they chartered as many as thirty ships to cater to bootleggers all along the East Coast. According to the IRS, between 1928 and 1933, Zwillman and Reinfeld made about $40 million from liquor alone. Longy still controlled the numbers racket, which had spread from Newark into the surrounding suburbs. With business and political connections all over the state, Zwillman was approached by Meyer Lansky, Frank Costello, Lucky Luciano, and other New York crime bosses who wanted to expand their gambling operations to the west side of the Hudson River. Together, they opened a string of high- class casinos in Bergen and Hudson counties. 38 An upstart First Ward gang leader named Ruggiero Boiardo temporarily disturbed Longy Zwillman’s peaceful reign as Newark’s underworld king. Boiardo grew up in Chicago, and in 1910, at the age of twenty, moved to Newark. For spells, he did masonry work and drove a milk truck. Eventually, Richie, as he was known, branched into lotteries, bootlegging, and shaking down merchants for protection money. Few homes had telephones in the era, and Boiardo always seemed to be talking to some girl or business associate from a candy store pay phone. When someone asked for Richie, the response was often, “He’s in the phone booth.” The last word, however, sounded more like “boot,” which is where his nickname, Richie “the Boot” originated. Another theory had it that the “boot” was simply short for bootlegger. 39 By the late 1920s, Boiardo’s intimidating tactics, fl ashy persona, and obvious wealth made him a celebrity in the First Ward. Heads turned as Boiardo strutted into Eighth Avenue restaurants, his oversize belly stretching a pin-stripe three-piece suit to the limits. Around his waist rested a belt buckle studded with 150 diamonds and reportedly worth $20,000—easily ten Tuttle, B. R., & Tuttle, B. (2009). How newark became newark : The rise, fall, and rebirth of an american city. ProQuest Ebook Central http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from rutgers-ebooks on 2021-09-01 03:38:13. Copyright © 2009. Rutgers University Press. All rights reserved. dead weight101 times the annual salary of hard-working Newarkers. A fi ve-carat diamond often sparkled from Boiardo’s fat fi ngers, and a fi fteen-diamond pin held his tie in place, just below a double chin. In some pictures, Boiardo appeared to have no neck whatsoever. His thick head of black hair was slicked neatly straight back above a fi ne Roman nose and dark, glazed-over eyes. 40 At some point around a decade into Prohibition, the Boot’s ambitions expanded beyond the First Ward. His henchmen began straying into the Third Ward—Zwillman territory—and demanding saloon owners buy their beer and liquor from Boiardo. A few bars were sprayed with machine-gun bullets. Some of Boiardo’s boys also reportedly mugged men inside one of Longy’s regular hangouts, the Third Ward Political Club. A gang war lasting several weeks followed, with failed assassination attempts of both leaders. One legendary story has it that two small-framed Italian would-be hitmen dressed in drag and presented themselves as hookers to (unsuccessfully) try to get into Zwillman’s hotel room and knock him off. Before long, the two gang leaders decided bloodshed was bad for business. They declared a truce in the fall of 1930. 41 To celebrate, Boiardo hosted a wild two-day party at Nuova Napoli, a Seventh Avenue banquet hall. About a thousand guests came to drink, eat, and pay their respects to the First Ward boss. The parade of fancy cars on Seventh Avenue looked like “an annex to an automobile show,” the Newark Evening News reported. The crowd inside included Boiardo’s wife and four children, local cops and city offi cials, and gangsters from as far away as Massachusetts, Nebraska, and Illinois. When Zwillman and ten of his men arrived at ten o’clock on the second night of festivities, a bleary-eyed Boiardo escorted them to a table, where they popped champagne and talked. Longy appeared in good spirits, but unlike several politicians, he refused press requests to pose for a photo with Richie. “G’wan, whaddaya want a picture for,” Zwillman said. “Ain’t it enough we’re here together?” 42 Less than two months afterward, during Thanksgiving week, Boiardo’s driver, Joseph Julian, pulled up to 242 Broad Street, where Richie had recently begun renting an apartment after a fi ght with his wife. It was a little after 4 am, at the tail end of a long Tuesday evening in nightclubs. Soon after Julian said good night, shotgun blasts erupted and slugs ripped into the car, as well as Boiardo’s neck, mouth, arm, and chest. The unsuspecting Boiardo wasn’t wearing his bullet-proof vest. Day broke a few hours later, and as word of the incident spread, First Ward undertakers approached the Boiardo family offering their services. By afternoon, however, while Boiardo drifted in and out of consciousness and avoided police questions, doctors said he would survive. 43Tuttle, B. R., & Tuttle, B. (2009). How newark became newark : The rise, fall, and rebirth of an american city. ProQuest Ebook Central http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from rutgers-ebooks on 2021-09-01 03:38:13. Copyright © 2009. Rutgers University Press. All rights reserved. 102fal l Few people thought the attempted hit was the work of Abner Zwillman’s goons—not because of the recent treaty, but because of the amateur approach taken by the would-be killers. They had rented an apartment across the street from Boiardo and apparently fi red from about a hundred feet away. At such a distance, the shotgun’s buckshot spread widely, infl icting only superfi cial wounds. Richie “the Boot” Boiardo would have to live with eight slugs in his body, but he would live. 44 When City Hospital released Boiardo in early December, he was taken to police headquarters to be fi ngerprinted and photographed; in the mug shot, Boiardo’s left arm is in a sling, and his head is wrapped in a cartoonlike mass of white gauze. Boiardo, who had been carrying a gun and a ten-inch knife on the night of the shooting, was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon, with bail imposed at $25,000. Police offi cers wondered if Richie might opt to remain in jail, where it would be more diffi cult for assassins to fi nish the job. “I’m safe in or out,” Boiardo shrugged. 45 Within two weeks of Boiardo’s sentencing, three teenage boys spotted the body of a forty-two-year-old racketeer, ex-con, and former police offi cer named Adam Dresch fl oating in the Passaic River. Dresch’s body was riddled with bullets, and there were obvious signs he’d been bound and severely beaten. The same day, Philip Rossi, a thirty-one-year-old former boxer, had been gunned down behind the Eighth Avenue club he co-owned. Neither incident could have been called a robbery, as both men still had valuables on their persons. Police believed that one or both of the killings were retaliations for the attempt on Boiardo’s life. 46 Fined $1,000 and sentenced to two and a half years due to the weapons charge, Boiardo never exactly served hard time. He was quickly transferred from Trenton State Prison to a minimum-security penal farm outside Bordentown. Throughout his stint in jail, reports circulated that someone who looked remarkably similar to Richie Boiardo appeared regularly in various First Ward haunts, especially on evenings and weekends. 47 Longy Zwillman likewise couldn’t completely avoid run-ins with the law. While Boiardo’s trial was taking place, his Third Ward counterpart was serving six months for assault. These were minor setbacks, however. In the early1930s, even as the gangsters sat behind bars and the end of Prohibition seemed imminent, Zwillman, Boiardo, and their cohorts tightened their grip on Newark politics and business. One of the most blatant examples of the corruption that had infi ltrated the city came during the November 1932 elections. The results in the Third Ward’s Eleventh District suspiciously yielded fewer than ten votes for every Republican candidate and exactly 587 votes for Franklin Roosevelt and every Tuttle, B. R., & Tuttle, B. (2009). How newark became newark : The rise, fall, and rebirth of an american city. ProQuest Ebook Central http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from rutgers-ebooks on 2021-09-01 03:38:13. Copyright © 2009. Rutgers University Press. All rights reserved. dead weight103 other Democrat. Alleged fraud had similarly been discovered in fi ve other wards. An inquiry began within days of the election, and by the end of the year, Essex County grand juries returned indictments against 113 people. Most of those indicted (eighty-three) were election offi cials, nearly every one with a Jewish or Italian surname. Trials began in early January, but the prosecutor’s cases seemed hopeless. Early on in the investigation, twenty- seven suspect poll books—including all the Third Ward’s results—had mysteriously disappeared from City Hall. No one was ever convicted. 48 Newark’s population growth had slowed—up marginally from 414,524 in 1920 to 442,337 in 1930. Still, most Newarkers were pleased with how far their city had come, and nearly everyone envisioned even brighter days ahead. In 1925, a rendering predicting what Newark would look like in 1975 showed a downtown teeming with skyscrapers. The vision seemed to be transforming into a reality on Broad Street by the end of the decade, what with the twenty- story New Jersey Telephone Building opening in 1929 and work nearing completion on the National Newark Building—a neoclassical gem and, at thirty-fi ve stories, the state’s tallest building. 49 A world-class skyline seemed like the natural next step for Newark, considering the other monumental projects underway. In 1927, the city bought the abandoned Morris Canal and began draining and expanding it to accommodate a subway. A year later, with the world enthralled by Charles Lindbergh’s fi rst-ever transatlantic fl ight, the city hastily fi lled in acres of the Meadowlands to build an airport runway. Newark Airport soon boasted 125 departures and arrivals daily, making it one of the world’s busiest airports through the early 1930s. The Holland Tunnel opened up automobile traffi c between Jersey City and Manhattan in 1927, by which time plans had been formulated for the Pulaski Skyway, a remarkable highway resting atop a system of viaducts. When completed, drivers could travel from New York City to Newark’s central business district, airport, or ship terminal in minutes. 50 A one-liner making the rounds in the 1920s hinted that all was not well, however. “No one lives in Newark,” it went. In certain circles, the silly joke was becoming a truism. Rich Newark families had begun fl eeing for the suburbs in droves. As early as 1923, the Newark Evening News was pointing out a concern that should have been in the minds of wealthy businessmen leaving the city: “Is it going to be a desirable situation for the owners of the factory or its active managers to have nothing to say politically about the tax rates, police and fi re protection or even the character of the government of the city in which they have invested their fortune?” 51Tuttle, B. R., & Tuttle, B. (2009). How newark became newark : The rise, fall, and rebirth of an american city. ProQuest Ebook Central http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from rutgers-ebooks on 2021-09-01 03:38:13. Copyright © 2009. Rutgers University Press. All rights reserved. 104fal l Nonetheless, the escape route had opened thanks to road improvements and the increasing affordability of automobiles. In 1916, every Board of Trade offi cer was a Newark resident; a decade later, slightly over half the members of the Chamber of Commerce (the successor to the board) lived in the city. By 1930, more than two-thirds of the chamber’s offi cers and directors lived outside Newark’s borders. Newark’s overall population had grown by about 7 percent in the 1920s, but the exodus of the well-off meant a slow chipping away of the tax base. There was no mystery about where those with the means had retreated. Many suburban towns within commuting distance nearly doubled in population during the decade. South Orange, for example, grew from 7,200 residents in 1920 to 13,630 in 1930. 52 Newark’s fi ve incumbent commissioners ran for reelection in May 1929 under the joint slogan “Continued Prosperity.” All fi ve kept their posts, but the surprising runners-up revealed a defi nite shift among voters, who were more and more likely to be poor or middle class, and of Italian, Jewish, or African American heritage. Finishing a close sixth and seventh in the election were a pair of upstart politicians who appealed in particular to the two ethnic groups growing in power and prominence: Peter A. Cavicchia, an Italian Republican, and Meyer Ellenstein, a Jewish Democrat. 53 Six months after the election, the stock market crashed, precipitating the Great Depression. The “continued prosperity” promised by commis- sioners seemed a cruel joke. Employment dropped in Newark by 25 percent between January and November of 1930. With investors out of cash or simply panicked, building in the city ground to a halt, leaving construction workers hit especially hard: nearly one-third were unemployed in 1930. Around the country that year, 26,355 businesses closed and 1,352 banks failed, making some $853 million in deposits worthless. Throughout that spring and summer, socialists and communists rallied in Military Park and other parts of the city to blame the depression on capitalism and demand jobs, taxes on the rich, and an immediate end to evictions. The numbers only got worse in1931, with an additional 2,294 U.S. banks, worth $1.7 billion, going under. An estimated sixty thousand Newarkers—30 percent of its workforce—were without jobs that year. 54 With each passing week, dozens more Newarkers couldn’t make their rental payments and were evicted. Desperate thousands walked the streets begging for handouts or trying to sell apples from carts. Soup-kitchen lines stretched around blocks. One Newark mother described her family’s day-to- day existence in a Social Services Bureau survey. “I used to sit and wonder if the people next door would send in something after they’d fi nished eating,” she said. “Sometimes they would and other times they would have nothing Tuttle, B. R., & Tuttle, B. (2009). How newark became newark : The rise, fall, and rebirth of an american city. ProQuest Ebook Central http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from rutgers-ebooks on 2021-09-01 03:38:13. Copyright © 2009. Rutgers University Press. All rights reserved. dead weight105 left and we wouldn’t eat. I’d tell the kids to drink lots of water and we’d wait for the next meal.” 55 As the group traditionally “last hired, fi rst fi red,” African American workers suffered most in the 1930s. During World War I, with Newark’s manufacturers running operations twenty-four hours a day and desperate for workers, African Americans had fi nally been able to land industrial jobs. While black men worked as longshoremen or unskilled laborers in steel-manufacturing plants, many black women moved on from domestic service to employment in factories making cigarettes or clothing. As word spread of opportunity in Newark, the city’s African American population shot up from around 9,400 in 1915 to nearly 17,000 in 1920. A decade later, Newark’s African Americans numbered 38,880, or around 9 percent of the total population. 56 (Chapter 6 offers a more detailed description of the Great Migration from the South and the growth of African American culture in Newark.) Unfortunately, unlike the immigrant groups from Europe that managed to muscle into one or another line of work and move up the ranks, African Americans struggled to gain a stable foothold in many industries. Employers often set the ceiling for black workers fi rmly at the level of unskilled labor. As of 1930, more than two dozen unions offi cially banned African Ameri- cans from their membership. Other unions found creative, Catch-22–style methods to exclude blacks. Joining the union was possible, they’d say, so long as one had completed the proper apprenticeship courses—only African Americans weren’t accepted in such courses. With their lowest-rung status, blacks accounted for 16.9 percent of Newark’s unemployed in 1930, or twice their proportion of the city’s total population. In other words, if you were black, you were two times more likely to be out of a job. The statistics worsened as time passed. Between 1930 and 1940, Newark added nearly seven thousand African American residents, yet the number of employed black males dropped from 13,308 to 7,990. 57 Newark, like most cities, was completely unprepared to cope with the scope of poverty prompted by the Depression. Public relief rested in the hands of the Outdoor Poor Department, overseen since 1925 by a crony of Commissioner John Murray’s named Frank La Fera. A former shoe salesman, La Fera had no experience in social work. A series of Newark Evening News exposés in December of 1930 revealed La Fera’s organization as incompetent and corrupt. People in severe distress had obviously been ignored. Curi- ously, the one item relief recipients were steadily and amply supplied with was coal—nearly all of which was purchased by the city from a company controlled by La Fera’s brother. 58Tuttle, B. R., & Tuttle, B. (2009). How newark became newark : The rise, fall, and rebirth of an american city. ProQuest Ebook Central http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from rutgers-ebooks on 2021-09-01 03:38:13. Copyright © 2009. Rutgers University Press. All rights reserved. 106fal l La Fera was forced to step down from his post in early 1931, by which time Newark’s commissioners had begun coordinating a fund-raising campaign. Most of the money raised came from municipal workers themselves; police offi cers, for example, agreed to give 2 percent of fi ve days’ pay. Five months into the program, with less than $60,000 raised, it was clear the efforts were inadequate. Giving work to the needy was always favored to a handout anyway, so the city began large-scale projects using plenty of manpower. Machines excavating the subway were abandoned and replaced with workers digging manually, increasing costs by $112,500 but employing twenty-fi ve hundred at $4 a day. By the summer of 1932, when the city began supplying would-be farmers with seed and tools for planting vegetables in the Meadowlands, more than thirty-eight thousand unemployed Newarkers had registered for state-aided work relief programs. The number of openings far exceeded those registering, however: only about 10 percent of those signing up would ever work in the programs. 59 Since the introduction of commission government, the knee-jerk reaction of Newark voters had been to favor incumbents. With the city in upheaval amid the Depression, however, a changing of the guard seemed in order. Building on his status as a top runner-up in the 1929 election, Meyer Ellenstein led the way. Handsome, athletic, eloquent, and ambitious, Ellenstein was a natural politician. His life thus far—one every hard-working Newarker could aspire to—had been a story of pluck and determination, the very embodiment of the American dream. Born in New York City and raised in Paterson, Ellenstein dropped out school at age thirteen and began juggling various money-making ventures, working in a silk mill, boxing professionally, and selling shoes. He eventually started going to dentistry school at night and graduated in 1912, reportedly at the top of his class. While establishing a practice in New York City, he still sold shoes on the side. After marrying a Newark girl and moving to the Third Ward, Ellenstein decided dentistry wasn’t his calling and began attending law school at night. He graduated from New Jersey Law School in Newark in 1925, again at the top of his class. Around this time, the energetic, charismatic, obviously driven Ellenstein involved himself in Third Ward politics. Some say that Longy Zwillman himself advised Ellenstein to run for offi ce, telling him there was a lot more money to be made in politics than dentistry or law. 60 After Ellenstein’s fi ne showing in the 1929 election, many supporters argued that he should have been named a commissioner the following year, Tuttle, B. R., & Tuttle, B. (2009). How newark became newark : The rise, fall, and rebirth of an american city. ProQuest Ebook Central http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from rutgers-ebooks on 2021-09-01 03:38:13. Copyright © 2009. Rutgers University Press. All rights reserved. dead weight107 when William Brennan died. Instead, City Clerk William Egan—a longtime Brennan confi dante rumored to be under the control of Longy Zwillman— was tapped to fi ll the spot. When Commissioner John Murray passed away in the fall of 1932 and another seat opened, Ellenstein fi nally landed a spot on the commission. Newspapers showed plenty of pictures of the dashing new commissioner with the easy smile and thick head of immaculately quaffed hair. The Evening News praised “Doc” as an excellent choice, while pointing out the fi t Ellenstein was often “stripped for action,” playing handball at local gyms. He was also an avid golfer and a passionate fan of Newark’s baseball squad, the Bears. As if Ellenstein’s life wasn’t full enough, “he still obliges a few friends by extracting molars occasionally,” the News reported. 61 Relief work dominated Ellenstein’s early days as a commissioner. Soon enough, however, he and his colleagues began gearing up for the 1933 elec- tion—which wound up being referred to as “the biggest political upheaval in the city’s history.” The rookie commissioner received twice as many votes as any other candidate and was the only incumbent to keep his post. Ellenstein was suddenly the commission’s most experienced and most popular member, and his fellow new commissioners installed him as mayor. He immediately jumped into action as the city’s most prominent cheerleader, making state- ments like “I haven’t the slightest doubt that Newark will be one of the fi rst cities in the country, and perhaps the fi rst, to emerge from the depression.” 62 People rallied to the side of this man to whom success would apparently not be denied. In September of 1933, word came out that Ellenstein was trying to coax the stock exchange into relocating from Manhattan to Newark. The strategy ultimately failed, of course, but Newarkers had to love their mayor’s bold vision and chutzpah. They cheered him on through his ongoing rivalry with New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, who wanted to see Brooklyn’s Bennett Field replace Newark’s airport as the region’s main fl ight gateway. Until the 1933 elections, Newark’s commissioners had typically been a chummy bunch—perhaps too chummy, critics suggested. Each commissioner had controlled his fi efdom within the city with minimal oversight from his colleagues. In the short run, taxes stayed fairly low, the public seemed pleased, and the commissioners rarely argued. They became accustomed to a policy of “reciprocal noninterference,” in the words of one watchdog group, with each commissioner free to run his department as he saw fi t and occasionally indulge in pet projects. 63 With Newark struggling through the Depression and a brash Mayor Ellenstein in charge, however, the transformed new commission was quar- relsome, often grandstanding and bickering about various initiatives and the general direction in which the city should be heading. The combative Tuttle, B. R., & Tuttle, B. (2009). How newark became newark : The rise, fall, and rebirth of an american city. ProQuest Ebook Central http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from rutgers-ebooks on 2021-09-01 03:38:13. Copyright © 2009. Rutgers University Press. All rights reserved. 108fal l atmosphere was blamed as a reason why in the mid-1930s a group of New Yo r k fi nanciers dropped plans for a $10 million development along Raymond Boulevard between Penn Station and Broad Street, which had included a ten thousand-seat sports arena, two theaters, a hotel, and dozens of shops. “I had a telephone call one day from one of the principals,” an architect involved in the project said. “He told me, ‘There’s too much turmoil in the Newark City Hall to suit us; we’d better wait a while.’” 64 Still, Ellenstein and his fellow commissioners did see through many large-scale projects, including the 1935 opening of Pennsylvania Station, heralded as “the largest railroad passenger-traffi c improvement constructed in this vicinity since the completion of the Manhattan transfer in 1901.” 65 The commissioners knew the city’s seaport and airport still represented enormous potential. Even under the cloud of the Depression, Newark’s airport fl ourished, setting a world’s record with well over a hundred thou- sand passengers in 1933. That same year, the port hosted 450 steamers, 100 more than the previous year. 66 Soon after the new commissioners assumed their posts, they quietly began buying up parcels of the Meadowlands around the port and airfi eld. News broke that in one of the deals, the city agreed to pay $190,000 for a 4.8-acre plot; two years prior, the owner had offered the same property for just $16,000. The commissioners rescinded their offer, but a taxpayer group’s study revealed the overpayment as one tiny part of a series of questionable land transactions and city expenditures. 67 The mayor and his fellow commissioners, as well as several other offi cials, were accused of no fewer than 134 illegal acts, most involving fraud that cost Newark taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. As the report charged, a two-acre lot near the airport reportedly worth $7,000 had been purchased by the city for $78,000. The city paid $350,000 for another strip of land, along Raymond Boulevard, which would have likely sold for $60,000 on the open market. There was no accounting for what happened to some $50,000 worth of copper, rails, and other materials, which disappeared at the port. The city gave $92,000 to a contractor in a no-bid bridge-repair job that should have cost $15,000. There were smaller instances of graft as well: a $500 door in police headquarters, a $5,000 bathroom in the Newark Boys Home’s superintendent’s offi ce. 68 The New Jersey Supreme Court assigned a young professor at New Jersey Law School named Warren Dixon Jr. to investigate. In the fall of 1937, Dixon presented his case to a grand jury, accusing Ellenstein and other offi cials with “extravagant and wasteful dissipation of municipal funds in various and devious ways.” Ellenstein pointed to his reelection that year as an indication Tuttle, B. R., & Tuttle, B. (2009). How newark became newark : The rise, fall, and rebirth of an american city. ProQuest Ebook Central http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from rutgers-ebooks on 2021-09-01 03:38:13. Copyright © 2009. Rutgers University Press. All rights reserved. dead weight109 people believed there was nothing to the charges. “The voters are the best jury,” he said. “They gave their verdict in the last election.” 69 In December, the jury indicted twenty-seven people, including Ellenstein and all four of his colleagues on the 1933–1937 city commission, on charges of conspiracy to defraud and cheat the city. More than a year passed before the trial began. In the meantime, Ellenstein prepared for a tour of Europe on the city’s dime, ostensibly to study airports overseas. A taxpayer group protested, stating the appropriation of funds for such a trip “will only serve to further the state of chaos that now exists in our city.” Nonetheless, the commissioners approved $1,500 for the venture, and Ellenstein boarded the Queen Mary in late July of 1938. After listening to Ellenstein’s justifi cations for the trip, Director of Public Safety Michael Duffy acquiesced, saying, “I wish I was going too.” 70 The trial fi nally got under way in January of 1939. Mayor Ellenstein took the witness stand in late March, armed with a briefcase full of documents that he occasionally consulted during slow, deliberate replies to questions. Though it seemed to have little bearing on the case, Ellenstein, in a low, calm voice, rehashed his life story, “a Horatio Alger saga of a poor boy rising by his own efforts to a position of prominence,” the New York Times wrote. After discussing his teenage days working in a Paterson silk mill, years of night classes, and sixteen-hour days as mayor, Ellenstein testifi ed he had no knowledge of one of the two land deals on which prosecutors focused the case. As for the other, the mayor explained, initial city appraisals of the property varied widely, one at $3,000 an acre, another at $25,000 an acre. At the time, Newark was trying to tempt the federal government into building an army base within city borders, and the land in question was deemed essential, Ellenstein said. Rather than hiring another appraiser, it was decided to pay a mean of the two other estimates. 71 After thirteen hours of jury deliberations, jurors went to bed without rendering a decision at 1am one day in April. That night, one of the jurors, an Orange resident named Michael De Rosa, was diagnosed with appendicitis and operated on at Saint Michael’s Hospital. The way New Jersey courts then operated, the sudden illness meant a mistrial had to be declared. A suspicious group of taxpayers looked into the ill juror’s background and immediately turned up a heretofore unknown fact: De Rosa had a criminal record. 72 Within weeks, another trial began concerning a Belleville man named Frank Matt, who had been charged with trying to bribe Xavier F. Du Mont, another juror in Mayor Ellenstein’s trial. Matt allegedly offered $100, then $1,000, and fi nally $2,000 “to go easy on a verdict, especially where Mayor Ellenstein and Jules Tepper were concerned,” Du Mont testifi ed. (Tepper Tuttle, B. R., & Tuttle, B. (2009). How newark became newark : The rise, fall, and rebirth of an american city. ProQuest Ebook Central http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from rutgers-ebooks on 2021-09-01 03:38:13. Copyright © 2009. Rutgers University Press. All rights reserved. 110fal l was a former corporation counsel for Newark.) During negotiations with Du Mont, Matt reportedly pointed out Michael De Rosa, the juror with the illness responsible for the mistrial, saying, “He’s taking it. Why don’t you?” 73 In light of jury-fi xing suspicions, judges brought in an outside jury, from Somerset County, for Ellenstein’s retrial. After another twelve weeks of testimony, Mayor Ellenstein and his codefendants were found not guilty of all charges. An overjoyed Ellenstein shook hands in the packed courtroom and mounted the platform where the judge sat to address the crowd. “I am gratifi ed for a just verdict,” he said. “I will demonstrate by my conduct in offi ce that the faith and confi dence expressed by the jury in the verdict was justifi ed.” 74 Voters pronounced a different verdict in the spring of 1941, when Meyer Ellenstein failed to be reelected to a third term. By then, a new round of scandals—kickbacks on everything from car-towing operations to laundry services at city baths—had blackened the city’s reputation. Through it all, Newark offi cials had consistently taken a “prove it” stance, in the words of theEvening News. 75 Four years after Ellenstein’s ousting from City Hall, however, among a fi eld of thirty candidates, he netted enough support to regain a commissioner’s seat. Four years after that, in the election of 1949, Ellenstein was again the most popular politician in the city. He received more votes than any other man up for commissioner. 76 Late on the evening of Wednesday, October 23,1935, after the dinner crowd had come and left Newark’s Palace Chop House and Tavern mostly empty, four grim-looking men walked through the seventy-fi ve-foot barroom and settled in at a backroom corner table. Arthur Flegenheimer, aka notorious bootlegger and racketeer Dutch Schultz, selected the seat backing up against the room’s green walls and facing its narrow entryway. After months on the run from authorities, Schultz had turned himself in at Perth Amboy in late September to face charges for income-tax evasion. He’d since taken up residence in Newark’s Robert Treat Hotel, around the corner from the Palace and a few blocks from the many court appearances he’d have to make. As had become custom, Schultz and his three bodyguards gathered for steaks. Schultz’s wife, Frances, who met her husband while working as a hatcheck girl in a Manhattan speakeasy, stopped in to see the boys at a bit after 9 pm. Soon thereafter, the eight booths surrounding Schultz’s party emptied out. Dull electric lights fi lled the smoky room with a yellow haze. The muffl ed sounds of a jazz trio could be heard from the cabaret operating one fl oor above. 77Tuttle, B. R., & Tuttle, B. (2009). How newark became newark : The rise, fall, and rebirth of an american city. ProQuest Ebook Central http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from rutgers-ebooks on 2021-09-01 03:38:13. Copyright © 2009. Rutgers University Press. All rights reserved. dead weight111 Broad-nosed and broad-shouldered, with thin eyes and a formidable chin, Schultz had been born into a German Jewish immigrant family in the Bronx. As a troublemaking kid, he occasionally joined in smalltime thefts and schemes, serving time for the burglary of a Bronx apartment in 1919, when he was seventeen. Coming of age in the Prohibition era, he took advantage of the criminal opportunities available, running numbers rackets, demanding kickbacks from restaurants and saloons, and smuggling kegs of beer into New York via ferry. Adopting the name Dutch Schultz—which sounded tougher than Arthur Flegenheimer—he emerged as one of the biggest gangsters of the late 1920s, spreading his control from the Bronx to Harlem and Manhattan’s Upper West Side. No matter how much money Schultz made, though, he proudly refused to pay more than $50 for a suit, and always looked, in the words of celebrated reporter Meyer Berger, “like an ill-dressed vagrant.” 78 Schultz retreated to the Palace’s washroom a little after 10 pm, about the same time three men wearing dark overcoats and fedoras pulled low strode through the restaurant’s main entrance on East Park Street. Moving briskly toward the backroom, one of the men eyed the bartender and said, “Lie down on the fl oor and stay there.” Seconds later, a fl urry of gunshots erupted, followed by the retreat of the three men, who quickly jumped into a black sedan that sped off. Two of Schultz’s bodyguards pursued as far as the bar, but in their condition—one had been shot twelve times—only managed to fi re off a few errant rounds, one into the cigarette machine, another into plaster above a window. Another bullet was lodged in the Public Service building across the street. 79 Schultz had been shot only once, in the belly, either while still in the bath- room or just after reentering the dining room. When the police arrived, he was propped in a chair saying, “I don’t know nothin.’” All three bodyguards died. Schultz held on until the following evening, when he too became delirious and passed away. The lone bullet that passed through Schultz had pierced his liver and caused internal hemorrhaging. 80 Before dying, Schultz and his men provided no clues regarding their killers. It was widely believed that Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Longy Zwillman, and the rest of the Big Six ordered the hit. The group had allowed Schultz to run his rackets for years, but the Dutchman had recently been seen as a liability. By 1935, Schultz had been arrested a dozen times on charges that included gun possession, felonious assault, and homicide, but he’d only been sent to prison the one time, for burglary. The current charges, however, seemed likely to stick. The Big Six denied Schultz his request to kill Thomas Dewey, the ambitious young prosecutor from New York (and later, state governor) who relentlessly harassed Schultz and other gangsters. A high-Tuttle, B. R., & Tuttle, B. (2009). How newark became newark : The rise, fall, and rebirth of an american city. ProQuest Ebook Central http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from rutgers-ebooks on 2021-09-01 03:38:13. Copyright © 2009. Rutgers University Press. All rights reserved. 112fal l profi le assassination like that would attract too much attention, mob leaders thought. They decided to silence the unpredictable Schultz, who’d previously killed business associates without warning. Schultz might try to knock off Dewey without their blessings, they thought, or perhaps become a witness for the prosecution and implicate them in any number of crimes. 81 Newark, of course, was Zwillman’s territory. Longy, who was conspicuously miles away from the city on the night of October 23, reputedly engineered the killings. The city may have garnered a reputation for widespread corruption during the trials of Mayor Ellenstein, but the Palace shootings brought Newark to the heights of notoriety for gang activity. All the attention brought on by the Schultz assassination apparently didn’t change much for Zwillman, who continued on as Newark’s undisputed underworld boss through the 1940s. After Prohibition was repealed in 1933, Zwillman discovered he didn’t need bootlegging so long as he continued to control city offi cials, judges, and cops. For a long stretch, Zwillman lived in a luxurious East Orange apartment building where Wall Street and corporate executive types were his neighbors. He later moved into a twenty-room mansion in West Orange. 82 Zwillman’s former rival Richie Boiardo likewise fared well through the Depression and World War II eras. He literally built himself a castle in the First Ward’s center of activity, the corner of Summer and Eighth avenues. Offi cially, Richie’s son Anthony “Tony Boy” Boiardo served as proprietor of the family’s lavish restaurant and banquet hall, Vittorio Castle. Behind the building’s intricate red-brick façade—complete with four prominent turrets—murals lined the walls and only the fi nest white linens lay across tables. Politicians and celebrities were regulars. Yankee great Joe DiMaggio, who always seemed more comfortable in Newark than in the bustle and glitz of New York, periodically dined at the Castle with teammates Phil Rizzuto, Yogi Berra, and Joe Page, or perhaps with Richie Boiardo himself. Like Longy Zwillman, Richie “the Boot” left his Newark residence for an estate in the suburbs. (David Chase, creator of the HBO series The Sopranos, loosely based the show’s fi ctional suburban gangster family on the Boiardos.) Decorating the grounds of the family’s Livingston mansion, which was built with stone imported from Italy, were wrought-iron gates and elaborate sculptures—including busts of the family and one rendering of the patriarch himself atop a white stallion. 83 The average Newark family, by contrast, experienced more than its share of hardships through the 1930s. Jobs funded by the federal Works Progress Administration for improving the airport, streets, parks, and sewers were snatched up quickly, often with the assistance of political connections. Tuttle, B. R., & Tuttle, B. (2009). How newark became newark : The rise, fall, and rebirth of an american city. ProQuest Ebook Central http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from rutgers-ebooks on 2021-09-01 03:38:13. Copyright © 2009. Rutgers University Press. All rights reserved. dead weight113 Cheering for the Newark Bears proved a fi ne distraction. Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert bought the International League club and its Ironbound-area stadium in 1931 and immediately assembled fi rst-rate rosters with soon-to-be Major Leaguers like Yogi Berra, Red Rolfe, and Joe Gordon. The Bears’ 1932 and1937 teams are regarded among the all-time best minor league squads. The latter squad featured hard-hitting slugger Charlie “King Kong” Keller, who would go on to be a fi ve-time All-Star with the Yankees. 84 Local charity groups, often organized along ethnic lines, helped Newarkers through the lean years. Over a twelve-month period in 1939 and 1940, for example, the newly formed Community Employment Service (CES), a Jewish welfare association, arranged jobs for 649 clients, including 90 refugees fl eeing Nazi persecution in Europe. “I am only in this country 17 months,” one refugee wrote in a letter of gratitude to CES. “If I look back I have accomplished a lot in this short time. Despair, misery, on the brink of suicide—and now I have found a wife, and built a home, and together we look forward to a better future.” 85 Even Abner Zwillman and Richie Boiardo dabbled in philanthropy, funding soup kitchens, delivering turkeys to churches, buying clothes for orphans, covering funeral expenses, and supporting entire families through rough streaks. Zwillman also employed a hard-nosed gang of enforcers, led by a stout, stogie-smoking former boxer named Nat Arno, to confront Hitler supporters in the 1930s. Armed with rubber hoses, clubs, and iron pipes, Arno’s band overwhelmed Nazi sympathizers in street brawls in Newark, Irvington, and Union City. Whether the measures taken by Zwillman and Boiardo were motivated by genuine concern or calculated strategies for snag- ging political and popular capital didn’t matter to most people. Criminals or not, Longy and Richie were viewed as neighborhood benefactors and protectors, even heroes. 86 As with the rest of the country, no amount of effort in Newark could bring an end to the all-encompassing economic slump of the 1930s. Newarkers from all walks of life decided to take their chances elsewhere, making the 1930s the fi rst decade in the city’s history when population declined, from 442,337 in 1930 to 429,760 in 1940. The trend of the city’s wealthy leaders deserting the city never ceased. Only 22 percent of Newark’s Chamber of Commerce offi cers and board members lived in the city during the mid- 1930s. With the onset of the 1940s, the fi gure dipped below 15 percent. 87 As of 1925,40 percent of lawyers with offi ces in Newark lived in the suburbs; by 1947, the fi gure spiked to 63 percent. 88 Years of economic malaise, city scandals, fi scal mismanagement, and a steady loss of rich taxpayers left their mark. In the spring of 1941, Newark Tuttle, B. R., & Tuttle, B. (2009). How newark became newark : The rise, fall, and rebirth of an american city. ProQuest Ebook Central http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from rutgers-ebooks on 2021-09-01 03:38:13. Copyright © 2009. Rutgers University Press. All rights reserved. 114fal l residents viewed the prospect of what was then the city’s highest-ever tax rate, $5.88 per $100 of assessment. Just six years before, the rate stood at $3.36. To theNewark Evening News, there was no mystery surrounding the exorbitant tax rise: “It is the fruit of years of bad government.” Not only had hundreds of Newark factories closed during the Depression, the city was losing the competition for new industrial developments to neighboring towns with lower taxes and more available land. A General Motors plant, for example, which had been expected to be built in Newark, instead went to Linden. In 1940, when Kearny’s tax rate was just $3.82, it issued more industrial construc- tion permits than Newark, as did Linden, Belleville, and Elizabeth. 89 While 20 percent of all New Jersey workers were employed in Newark in 1909, by the end of the 1930s, the fi gure stood at just 11 percent. Blue-collar jobs in particular had evaporated. As manufacturing of leather, shoes, and other traditional goods had slowed, factories making electronics, plastics, and other modern products took their place—but they often relied heavily on machines and equipment rather than manpower. In 1927, for example, the chemical industry’s output matched the dollar value of textiles, yet chemical companies employed only one-third as many workers. As a result of the changing business landscape, only 34 percent of Newark’s workforce made their living in manufacturing in 1940, compared with 50 percent two decades earlier. 90 An economic reprieve came in the form of World War II, in which Newark’s factories and shipyards kicked into action on a never-before-seen scale. Within weeks of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, the federal government purchased the Submarine Boat Corporation and began spending millions to modernize the World War I-era facilities. In the course of the war, the operation built $250 million worth of destroyers, escorts, and tank-landing ships. During peak times, it employed nearly twenty thousand mechanics and laborers and ran shifts twenty-four hours per day. The feds likewise took over Newark Airport, which served as the gateway for Europe-bound aircraft, gasoline, and millions of tons of cargo. Newark manufacturers hired thousands to keep up with colossal orders for radios, telephones, tents, and other goods. Newarkers themselves, of course, joined the cause, with some eighty thousand men and women serving in uniform. Tens of thousands more volunteered in Newark by babysitting children whose mothers worked in factories or dancing with servicemen biding their time before being sent into action. 91 The war-related boost couldn’t last forever. After the crowds packing downtown Newark’s Four Corners to celebrate V-J had gone home, and the delirious excitement of victory had faded, the city had to face grim realities. Tuttle, B. R., & Tuttle, B. (2009). How newark became newark : The rise, fall, and rebirth of an american city. ProQuest Ebook Central http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from rutgers-ebooks on 2021-09-01 03:38:13. Copyright © 2009. Rutgers University Press. All rights reserved. dead weight115 Taxes remained prohibitively high, and the city needed still more money to improve badly neglected schools and streets. An infl ux of workers had pushed the city to around 450,000 people, yet jobs in the future would not be nearly as abundant as in the war years. Not only was there a housing shortage, but a disturbing percentage of residences were in deplorable condition. Many poor families still lived in crumbling tenements that had been built in slipshod manner during the city’s turn-of-the-century growth spurt. The taint of pervasive corruption in politics and business had also never disappeared. In the fall of 1939, for example, news broke that the Newark Housing Authority (NHA) had hired a contractor for a demolition job, and that company in turn had subcontracted the work to Richie Boiardo. The Boot’s crew, essentially, was on the city payroll. Longy Zwillman also got involved with several NHA projects. Using various dummy organizations, Zwillman supposedly fi nanced NHA construction jobs with the proviso that building materials would be purchased by the city from his brickyards. 92 Some Newark politicians didn’t even bother to hide their association with gangsters. In 1950, Mayor Ralph Villani, who had campaigned with Meyer Ellenstein in the previous year’s commissioner election, was a guest at the wedding of Tony Boy Boiardo. The First Ward’s Saint Lucy’s Church hosted the ceremony, and a 1,500-person reception was held at the Essex House, where a ten-piece band played and the decorations included a four-foot block of ice sculpted into a heart. Peter Rodino and Hugh Addonizio—both congressmen at the time, the former to preside over the Watergate hearings, the latter destined to be Newark mayor—also attended, alongside at least one Essex County freeholder and several City Hall underlings. 93 A series of inquiries in the early 1950s shed some light on the web that ensnared politics and organized crime in Newark and other cities. A report summing up the famous Kefauver Committee hearings, which were televised for weeks, stated there was “evidence of corruption and connivance at all levels of government—federal, state, and local.” The committee unearthed count- less incidents around the country of criminal rings paying bribes directly to law enforcement offi cials so they would ease pressure on gambling or other illegal activities. Known gangsters contributed thousands for campaign efforts of politicians, sheriffs, and judges. Politicians and cops blatantly protected organized crime operations, which were sometimes run by their relatives. Police offi cers, city commissioners, and other public servants could inexplicably afford $100,000 summer homes and other extravagances. 94 Longy Zwillman was among the hundreds of witnesses called to testify in Washington at the Kefauver hearings on organized crime. Zwillman admitted to bootlegging, but said he had long since operated exclusively in trucking, Tuttle, B. R., & Tuttle, B. (2009). How newark became newark : The rise, fall, and rebirth of an american city. ProQuest Ebook Central http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from rutgers-ebooks on 2021-09-01 03:38:13. Copyright © 2009. Rutgers University Press. All rights reserved. 116fal l cigarettes, and other legitimate businesses. He came off as an earnest, polished businessman, especially compared to the other dim-witted thugs testifying. Yet in the hearing’s aftermath, the government ordered Zwillman to pay nearly $1 million in unpaid taxes. 95 Another Senate hearing, begun in July of 1951, subpoenaed Meyer Ellen- stein as its fi rst witness. He admitted to knowing Zwillman, but said the two never discussed business. In a follow-up appearance, Ellenstein discussed his fi nances. Ellenstein’s commissioner salary was only $10,000, but he said he normally earned in the neighborhood of $70,000 annually. Seeing no confl ict of interest, Ellenstein made the bulk of his money from public relations and consulting with corporations on labor problems. (Once Ellenstein was on a company’s payroll, it had been discovered, strikes that had seemed likely were invariably called off.) Most of his clients conducted business in Newark. Prudential, for example, paid Ellenstein a $10,000 annual retainer, plus extra compensation for whatever hours he worked for the company. Ellenstein also received an automatic commission each time Anheuser-Busch—which Ellenstein had recently convinced to build a $20 million dollar brewery near Newark Airport—did business with a restaurant, furniture supplier, security agency, construction outfi t, or any other fi rm introduced by him. 96 Ellenstein denied any of his business relationships were improper. Inves- tigators asked how he was able to do his job as city commissioner in light of all his other activities. Ellenstein said that his city responsibilities rarely required him to be present in City Hall, or anywhere in Newark. “I operate by remote control,” he explained. 97 In the World War I era, Newark’s reformers had believed a new form of gov- ernment could be the solution to graft, patronage, political-boss control, and other urban ills. Three decades later, the commission system hadn’t solved any of those problems for Newark—and in the meantime, new concerns and deeper levels of corruption had arisen. Perhaps, the latest round of reformers argued, yet another change to the government could be the remedy. Meyer Ellenstein squeezed out yet another political victory in the May 1953 commissioner election, garnering the fi fth most votes in a fi eld of twenty-six candidates. Mayor Ralph Villani ran a poor sixth, due in part to the city’s most recent scandal: the previous month, Villani was in court responding to charges he’d harvested campaign contributions through a “systemic shake- down” of city workers. 98 Most importantly in that 1953 election, by a seven to one ratio voters approved the authorization of a committee to assess the commission-Tuttle, B. R., & Tuttle, B. (2009). How newark became newark : The rise, fall, and rebirth of an american city. ProQuest Ebook Central http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from rutgers-ebooks on 2021-09-01 03:38:13. Copyright © 2009. Rutgers University Press. All rights reserved. dead weight117 government system and recommend changes. The resulting study, released in September, unambiguously condemned the commission as a failure. “Municipal government in Newark has proved to be wasteful, extravagant, uncoordinated and not responsive to the basic needs of our city,” the report stated. “There has been an overemphasis upon patronage, political bickering, and unwarranted appeals to racial and religious interests. The long range interests of the city have been sacrifi ced to political expediency.” 99 According to the report, the commission government had crushed “civic pride and the morale of municipal employees.” The system “frustrated the efforts of good men in public offi ce and has been a ready vehicle for those less mindful of their public trust. Many good citizens have been discour- aged from even seeking public offi ce.” Nearly all the people testifying before the committee strongly advised a complete abandonment of the system. “No patchwork efforts can remove the inherent weaknesses of commission government,” the report advised. 100 Among the criticisms: the commission basically established fi ve separate governments, which meant a duplication of staff and higher costs. The city’s overall budget was essentially the sum of fi ve different budgets, which were each created with minimal oversight. In 1952 Newark hit what were then all-time highs in terms of tax rates, personnel, and payroll (even though the city’s population was about the same as in 1920). Newark’s per capita spending in the early 1950s was $67.50, far higher than the average of $53.88 in U.S. cities run by a commission. Cities operating under council-manager or mayor-council forms of government, on the other hand, averaged expen- ditures of slightly over $34 per capita. 101 Two months after the report’s release, voters approved a change to a mayor-council system by a margin of about two to one. As a result, Newark was divided into fi ve wards, in which each elected a councilman. An additional four councilmen were elected at large. All elections remained nonpartisan. Leo Carlin, a labor leader and reform-minded commissioner who called for an end to commission government at least as early as 1945, was elected as the new system’s fi rst mayor. In the most visible sign that change had taken place, Irvine Turner became Newark’s fi rst African American elected to a top position in city government as Central Ward councilman. 102 The committee that had recommended the switch to a mayor-council system predicted a more transparent, ethical, and altogether superior system of government. “As never before, the citizens of Newark will have an oppor- tunity to work together under the new charter to provide better local services and to seek solutions to the important problems of their city,” the report had stated. “The attraction of new industry to the city and the realization of Tuttle, B. R., & Tuttle, B. (2009). How newark became newark : The rise, fall, and rebirth of an american city. ProQuest Ebook Central http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from rutgers-ebooks on 2021-09-01 03:38:13. Copyright © 2009. Rutgers University Press. All rights reserved. 118fal l its full economic potential” was anticipated to follow. The progress already being made in post–World War II Newark would also certainly continue, the committee promised, especially the exciting work rebuilding entire neigh- borhoods. With the transformed new government, the report guaranteed in particular the “further development of the programs for rehabilitation of blighted areas and for slum clearance.” 103Tuttle, B. R., & Tuttle, B. (2009). How newark became newark : The rise, fall, and rebirth of an american city. ProQuest Ebook Central http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from rutgers-ebooks on 2021-09-01 03:38:13. Copyright © 2009. Rutgers University Press. All rights reserved.

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