Newark City Council issues rebuke for racial slurs
Published: Thursday, January 05, 2012, 8:58 PM Updated: Friday, January 06, 2012, 7:38 AM
NEWARK — The Newark City Council reprimanded East Ward political boss Joseph Parlavecchio today, months after FBI surveillance tapes revealed him making racist comments.
“We’re asking the Democratic National Committee, we’re asking the state Democratic Committee, we’re asking the Essex County Democratic committee to reprimand him or censure him or both,” said West Ward Councilman Ron Rice, who sponsored the motion.
In 2006, Parlavecchio was taped discussing Newark minority contracts with disgraced demolition giant Nicholas Mazzocchi. The tapes were played in September at the corruption trial of former deputy mayor Ronald Salahuddin. When he referred to convicted contractor Sonnie Cooper, he used a racial epithet referring to African Americans.
“Cooper transitioned nice from (expletive) Sharpe to this guy,” Parlavecchio said, referring to former Mayor Sharpe James and Mayor Cory Booker. “For one reason, he’s a (racial epithet).”
Along with Rice, council members Mildred Crump, Darrin Sharif, Luis Quintana, Carlos Gonzalez and Council President Donald Payne voted to censure Parlavecchio. Councilmen Augusto Amador and Ras Baraka were absent from the vote.
“After thinking about it a lot and talking to a number of progressive Dems around the state, I thought we needed to say something on the council,” Rice said after today’s meeting. “This is a guy who many of us have worked with over the years.”
Parlavecchio is closely tied to Amador and played a role in Booker’s two mayoral campaigns. Booker declined to comment.
“Even though I do not approve of that type of behavior, Joe Parlavecchio was my friend yesterday and continues to be my friend today,” Amador said.
Parlavecchio could not be reached for comment.