Mary Alice Miller's blog
Relax. Alton Maddox is alive and well. As usual, he is engaged in cerebral fights on several fronts.
The most under-reported story in Black media was the fact that Alton Maddox and Al Sharpton were within feet of each other as they stood at the steps of City Hall last week in support of Charles Barron's bid to become the next Council Speaker. This is remarkable, considering the once inseparable allies have been at each other's throats for almost two decades. Like many long term grudges, one is hard pressed to pin-point the exact reasons why.
For years, any visitor to the United African Movement's weekly forums would be informed Sharpton's name could not be mentioned. As a persona non grata, Sharpton was not welcome in the premises. The kindest reference to Sharpton was the disparaging “HNIC.”
“No new taxes,” was Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson's response to a question regarding the state's budget reduction negotiations.
“We are holding the ground on midyear school cuts. We are trying to mitigate or minimize the cuts to health care. We are looking at things we are trying to cut across the board with respect to agencies,” said Sampson, and “also making a sweep of those authorities that have additional capital and monies in those areas.”
All weekend, I have been mulling over whether I should post this. As someone who tries not to allow myself to be easily manipulated, I had to make sure I was not being goaded into reacting instead of responding. I have come to the conclusion that the person in question is not that smart. So here goes.
Geoffrey Davis apparently thinks everyone is as stupid as he is. Yes, the same Geoffrey Davis who has lived in his mommy's house all his adult life, has never accomplished anything on his own, has been pimping the death of his brother, Council man James Davis, for financial gain, has out of wedlock children and a criminal record, has issues with domestic violence while holding monthly DV forums, and is positioning himself to run for Tish James' council seat in 2013, as if the police records will disappear.
Barron is serious. At a recent meeting of the United African Movement, Barron told the audience that he would soon make a formal announcement of his campaign to be elected Council Speaker. After two terms in office, Barron says he has the skills for the position: a working knowledge of the budget process, ability to write legislation, and management experience.
In the history of the council, Barron said, there has never been a minority speaker. With minorities – Black, Latino, and Asian – in the majority of council seats, Barron said it is time to elect a minority as Council Speaker.
Increased taxes, fines, fees, and surcharges.
Yesterday, a bodega owner told me of a notice he just received from the City. The cost to renew his license to sell cigarettes is now one thousand dollars ($1,000.00). Last year the license cost one hundred and ten dollars ($110.00).
No matter what you think about stogies, is this the way to support small business, the main path for job growth?
Chapter 1: Blame It on Al
Al Vann, after 35 years in elected office, is at risk of being displaced. If Vann loses, it will be his own fault. Among other missteps, Vann voted himself a 25% pay increase (for a part time job) and supported Bloomberg's ruinous extension of term limits.
Vann has relied on the support of his base developed when he was an “education activist” during the era of community control of schools, which he and his cohort couldn't protect or figure out how to make work for the benefit for school children. Many of his long term friendships have morphed into sycophants. (Friends should pull friends coat when they are wrong; too many don't. What are friends for?)
More than a week the question on Capitol Hill was “Who are these clergy and where did they come from?” More than 100 clergy, members of Brooklyn-based Churches United to Save and Heal (CUSH), descended upon Capitol Hill Wednesday, Oct. 21 to press Congress for comprehensive immigration reform (CIR).
Two buses made the one-day trek from the 11th congressional district in Brooklyn and were hosted by Rep. Yvette Clarke. CUSH clergy, with ties to more than 2 dozen Caribbean and African countries, lobbied on behalf of tens of thousands of their parishioners. Clergy from Maryland and Illinois joined the group.
Fed Up New Yorkers has released an Open Letter to New Yorkers, a preamble to what the contributors call “our review of Michael Bloomberg's ruinous eight-years a mayor of New York City.” According to the writers, “It describes the facts of that record in detail and contrasts them with the spin that the mayor and his publicists have employed to tell a different story.”
The open letter publicly thanks Democratic candidate Bill Thompson “for having the courage and determination to take on New York's richest, most powerful man and his vast network of allies.”
Michael Bloomberg v. The People of New York City: The Spin v. The Facts, is a clear-minded, sober account of what the publisher Neil Fabricant calls “Bloomberg's Luxury City” which is “controlled and managed for the benefit of the rich.”
You will not read it in the NY Times, Post or Daily News. Word on the streets from the common voter -- you know, the ones pollsters and opinionators don't reach -- is that Michael Bloomberg is the most divisive mayor in recent memory. When the words “mayor” and “divisive” are in the same sentence, the reference used to be Rudolph Giuliani, who was known to be an over-the-top piece of work all by himself, particularly on the subject of race. But Bloomberg's term limits power grab, defying the will of 70% of voters in 2 referenda, has divided New Yorkers across racial, class, religious, language, and neighborhood boundaries in ways Giuliani could only dream of.
There is a crisis of leadership in this city. Beneath the glitzy, well-financed spin machine and calisthenic contortions for coins by those who unabashedly touch their toes for “the one”, it is there for all to see – if we care to look.
Four days after Vionique Valnord was killed by off duty Officer Andrew Edwards -- who by his own admission drank at least 6 to 8 beers before taking the wheel of his Jeep Cherokee and was on his way to yet another bar for more alcohol – Mayor Michael Bloomberg belatedly weighed in. According to the NY Post, Bloomberg “just wanted to address a terrible tragedy that is being actively investigated by the NYPD.” Bloomberg characterized the incident as “a tragedy that deserves the closest scrutiny, and if true the allegations of a DWI hit and a cover-up are reprehensible.”
The political climate in the 41st Council District must be questioned. Of all the political clubs and associations that purport to exist in the district, none felt it necessary to host a candidate forum open to the public. Voters had to rely on cable television to obtain a flavor of the candidates. A forum hosted by Dominic Carter on NY1 was indicative of the sorry state of politics in the 41st.
Caveat: my fingers could not transcribe Mealy's numerous grammatical errors. That hoped for grammar tutor must have run away from home. At a base salary of $112,500 per year, plus thousands in ancillary pay and other perks, is Mealy worth another half million in tax payer dollars over the next four years?
The Primary Edition of Fed Up New Yorkers displays “the emperor's new clothes” adorning the Mayor and City Council Speaker in a manner so graphic, it's... indescribable. (pdf)
The edition's hard political analysis features a Wall of Shame – pictures of council members who blatantly voted against two referendum in favor of extending term limits for themselves. Also targeted are members who voted against term limits, yet are cynically running for a third term (Brewer, Gennaro, Barron, and Oddo), as well as Yassky and Katz, who voted in favor of extending term limits for their fellow council members as they run for Comptroller.
This post was originally going to be titled “MJ, de Blasio, and the Black/ White Wealth Gap.” I was going to explore how some successful Black men like Michael Jackson haphazardly form family with seemingly no awareness of the role they play in the Black/ White wealth gap. For instance, some Black males date, marry, and mate with white women. There is nothing wrong with that. But they cannot then complain about the lack of intergenerational wealth in Black communities when they take their resources out of the Black community via mating with women outside the race. Some of these men say they could not find a Black woman on their level to marry. Well, what was Michael Jackson's excuse? He married his dermatologist's assistant. He couldn't find a Black woman with a working class job? Considering the children were allegedly conceived by sperm donation, they are not even genetically his. Yet they will be the beneficiaries of MJ's inherited wealth. Another wealth loss to the Black community. And too many Black women live their lives without ever having been married, even though they would like to.
Rock Hackshaw's campaign office is painted an optimistic, bright yellow. The requisite picture of President Barack Obama is perched above his desk. I asked Rock if he is elected to the 40th Council seat, would he promise to continue blogging and provide us with transparency into the inner workings of City Hall.
Rock's response: “My hope is that, being a councilor would not be destructive in terms of my ideals relative to blogging and letting people be informed and aware of what is going on.”
“I always say I try to tell it as I see it. I try to be as honest as I can,” he said. “Then I put it out there and I duck. And I expect to do the same thing [in the Council].”
Rock hopes “my colleagues will understand that if I get elected, that doesn't mean the end of my responsibility as a journalist to inform the public as to what is going on behind the scenes. I take that seriously.”
Wouldn't that be fun? And funny.
Theory heard while out and about: the Comptroller's race will be decided in a runoff.
All contenders – Council members John Liu, David Yassky, Melinda Katz, and David Weprin – seem to poll about 25%. Yassky is seen to have Manhattan; Katz, the Bronx; Weprin, Staten Island; and Liu, of course, Queens.
The wild card is Brooklyn.
Liu is seen to have the edge in central Brooklyn due to the Asian and minority vote. Al Vann was an early supporter of Liu (although Vann may himself be vulnerable in his bid for a third term due to his vote in favor of extending term limits). Vann has been joined by an increasing list of Liu supporters, including Assembly member Rev. Karim Camara, Council member Tish James, Female District Leader for the 57th AD Olanike Alabi, and 57th Male District Leader Walter Mosley. Reverends Daughtry and Waterman are among clergy support for Liu. Fort Greene's Progressive Association for Political Action endorsed Liu after their candidate forum which only Liu and Yassky attended. (According to Mosley, Weprin had a swine flu matter in his district to deal with. Katz didn't come nor call.)