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Letter to the editor
     published by the Newark Star-Ledger, March 12, 2003

Newark's needs

Bravo for your Feb. 28 article about how the gap between city and suburbs in public health and income is much greater for Newark than for other cities. Newark needs investments that attract people with money, and its suburbs should provide housing for more of the poor.

Columnist Fran Wood had a different message on March 2. Newark and its mayor, she said, should be happy if investment for a new arena goes to the Meadowlands instead of Newark. She says that Newark should spend money available for capital investment "to fix those broken sidewalks, repair those damaged curbs and build long-overdue bus shelters." She suggests launching a summer program in which high school students make wooden street signs. I doubt Wood means to condemn Newark to perpetual underdevelopment, but her logic claims for the suburbs the serious capital investments that can regenerate the city.

Are Newark's needs really different from those of the communities around it? I urge Wood and thoughtful people in Essex County to think about Newark as they would any other town. Every other town and city in New Jersey needs development. Newark does too.

Glenn Shafer, Newark

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