COMMENTARY | As the dust from the fall of the Twin Towers rolled uptown, New York mayor Rudy Giuliani stepped forward and became a legend. Dubbed “America’s mayor” by Oprah Winfrey within two weeks, Giuliani demonstrated leadership, resolve and a steadiness that all Americans seemed to treasure. Despite a rocky tenure as mayor, he will be remembered for the final months of his term in office and the actions he took.
There is another mayor who may take Giuliani’s title away. Cory Booker is the Democratic mayor of Newark, N.J. Elected in 2006, he has faced all of the difficulties that other mayors of large cities face in this century, including violence, declining tax base, poor schools and budget shortfalls. He has also faced the weather.
When Hurricane Irene struck Newark in August 2011, Booker took charge. Moving rapidly about the city in his SUV, he toured evacuation zones, urging residents to leave. Actively using Twitter as he moved, he posted phone numbers, shelter locations, damage reports and he seemed to be everywhere.
Just over a year later, Booker has continued his leadership. As the storm surge from Hurricane Sandy rushed into his city, he was on the move. His Twitter feed, @CoryBooker, has story after story reflecting his energetic leadership during this catastrophe.
- I’m in ur area now with crew who is clearing trees. Lots of folks working hard RT @badazz_ant: When are they fixing the s. ward / chancellor
- Great meeting you and one of the cutest babies of the day. Hope the supplies help during this difficult time. @PlayBoyBunnny
- At command center getting briefing. We are having some Carbon dioxide incidents. Please take care to avoid incidents 4 info call 973 7334311
- It wasn’t as of a few hrs ago. I will go by and check in on them soon RT @gglover77: is the power on at the senior building on west kinney
- Heading to 1 Court St and 2 Nevada, more senior citizen high rises to help deliver food & supplies.
- Just left senior center. We’re dealing with the failure of their generator. Trying 2 replace it. If not we will have 2 move many seniors out
- Alerting my team now RT @TEParkerJr: Can someone please get the tree up on 18th and west end. people are going the wrong way on West End
- Spent last hour or so around Waydell St, one of our hardest hit areas. Very strong families facing difficult challenges with flooding & more
Booker is not sitting in his command center. He is delivering food and supplies, meeting with residents in the hardest hit areas of Newark and personally passing on information about street conditions. He is actively involved in the relief and recovery efforts in Newark.
As the days pass, Booker is showing how to be a great mayor. It may be that Giuliani’s reign as “America’s mayor” is coming to an end and his replacement is a black man from Newark.