As thousands of residents of New Jersey‘s largest city received bottled water this week amid a contamination crisis, its former mayor — Democratic presidential contender Cory Booker — faced renewed backlash from critics who claim he mismanaged the city’s water commission during his time at City Hall.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency urged local officials last Saturday to administer free water bottles to Newark residents after nationally certified filters in two of three homes tested showed the filters were not removing lead from drinking water as planned.
Officials handed out 38,000 filters last year to Newark residents who were potentially at risk of having contaminated drinking water due to outdated lead piping in the city’s water system.
Critics claim Booker, a U.S. senator who served as Newark’s mayor from 2006 to 2013, failed to exercise proper oversight of the city’s water commission, making him partially responsible for the current water crisis.
“Booker has no credibility, especially on water,” Brendan O’Flaherty, an economics professor at Columbia University who put together a 2011 report on the commission, told the Washington Times. “He did not leave a legacy of a well-functioning water treatment plant and engineering