For his latest man-on-the-street video, conservative filmmaker Austen Fletcher, or Fleccas, headed to Newark, New Jersey, where Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) was once mayor, to document a clean-up effort by some of the residents who said they were inspired by a similar project in crime-ridden and “rat and rodent-infested” Baltimore. What Fletcher found were some folks who were not big fans of Booker or the politicians tasked with helping maintain the violence-plagued and trash-strewn area.
In the video, posted on Monday, Fletcher talks with some residents, some of whom are involved in a much-needed clean-up effort in a particularly neglected part of Newark. Several of them have some rather direct comments for political leaders, including Booker, who has moved on from being the mayor of the city to being the U.S. senator who is supposed to be representing it on a federal level.
“They call this the end of the world down here,” one minority resident tells Fletcher regarding an apartment complex that’s become a ghost town filled with drug abuse and other criminal activity. Asked why Newark has declined, one young African American man who’s helping out with the clean-up tells Fleccas that “honestly, a lot of it has to do with the representation.” An older gentleman explains: “When they get into office, they don’t do much. They talk a good talk, but they forget all about what they said they were going to do.”
“We are the people who vote the mayors in, and we be telling them we need help to get the crime rate down,” says one elderly African American woman. Asked if she’s a fan of Sen. Booker, the woman says emphatically, “No, no! That’s a definite no! Cory Booker’s not for the people. Cory Booker is nothing — I wouldn’t even vote for him to become president or anything else.”
“To be honest with you,” says the young man helping with the community effort, “if you go into any suburban neighborhood in this country, and you had even a fourth of what you see here, there would be an uproar and people would be fired from their positions immediately, and they’d make sure the city got fixed.”
One woman in an American flag shirt, who’s also volunteering on the project, notes that the mayor of the city wants to make it a “sanctuary city” and says flat-out that they simply “can’t afford that,” adding, “They are not putting their citizens first.” Asked if she has a message for political leaders, she says tell them to “stop focusing on hating Trump and look at the people who put you into office.”
Fleccas — who makes no bones about believing “Trump’s not that bad” — makes sure to draw the residents’ message to the Democratic senator’s attention. “The people of Newark have spoken, @CoryBooker,” Fletcher posted online along with his new video. “They want you to: Prioritize the American citizens in your district instead of those in the city illegally. Stop focusing all of your energy on hating Trump! Your district needs help!”
Fletcher’s tweet and full video below: