COUNTDOWN (Part Two): WITH A DEEPER LOOK INTO THE CHRIS BANKS v. INEZ BARRON RACE
Since I had some unfinished business relative to Thursday’s primaries, I thought I would do another pertinent column. Here is the big story: sources are saying that Chris Banks can upset assembly woman Inez Barron (60AD) in East New York. I am told that Chris got around 1500 votes two years ago as a judicial delegate candidate (without lifting a finger). Is that an epic of things to come this year? I am also told that the Barron brand in East New York is worn out from fatigue. The supporters of Chris Banks are displaying a lot of confidence folks. They expect him to do well. I am quite surprised by their bravado and enthusiasm. I am going to keep my eye on that race.
Let me preface what I am about to write with this: I recently endorsed both Inez and Charles Barron for district leaders in this AD. I stand by those endorsements since I do believe the leadership of the Dems in Kings county needs shaking up. If Charles and Inez are elected to those roles, they should be able to work with other progressive district leaders to bring about many needed changes and reforms in the way the party operates and functions in this borough.
Anyway, as a political writer/ freelance journalist, here is the skinny on what’s going on over in East New York. These are some of the things that my many and varied sources in this district has briefed me on. As usual, I expect to be attacked here by Barron’s many sympathizers and followers. This normally happens after I write about him: no matter what; good or bad.
Charles Barron’s opponent in the last congressional race (Hakeem Jeffries) has endorsed Chris Banks, and apparently this endorsement has been quite helpful to the Banks cause. Could that be payback for some of the verbal attacks Hakeem personally suffered from Charles Barron’s mouth over the years?
Chris Banks is an advocate for East New York seniors and has built up quite a large senior constituency. I do remember him from some public service commercials they regularly ran on local television. He has raised enough money to be competitive here, while Inez only showed four thousand dollars in her last filing. Included in that tally was three thousand five hundred dollars coming from the husband and wife pair themselves. Inez is usually late in filing her financial statements anyway, so it is difficult to truly ascertain just how much she really tallied.
So here are the million dollar questions: who the hell is Chris Banks? And is he ready for prime time? Can he deliver if successful?
This is what I have been able to dig up.
He is a young black man who is about thirty years old. He has been a member of both the community board and precinct council for five years now. He is well known and well liked. He has developed an active multi-racial grassroots coalition, after fighting against the building of two homeless shelters in the area. He has worked with seniors for many years now.
Banks has raised money from a broad coalition of businessmen in the district, plus civil servants, developers, young professionals, seniors and others. His supporters claim that the Barrons are no longer effective in terms of solving the many problems facing the district. They say the Barrons have alienated too many fellow electeds with too many verbal attacks and gaffes (especially Charles). They sat that Inez voted no on the tax bill last December and that cost many summer jobs for the city’s youth. They claim that vote also cost monies in terms of foreclosure-prevention.
Look; anti-Barron sentiment is at its zenith in this district. For the first time in the 15 years since Charles started running for office, he was unable to carry his own home electoral district (ED) in last June’s primary. This becomes even more puzzling when you realize he was the block president on the street where he has lived for decades. This was a shocker to near all observers.
Some voters claim that he has falsely taken credit for the renovation of Linden Park, when his predecessor (Pricilla Wooten) actually acquired the funding. Banks’ supporters further claim that the primary last June, produced the lowest numbers ever for Charles Barron (in this district). They are smelling blood folks.
I have not endorsed anyone in this race. This very summer, I was supposed to interview Chris Banks and get a deeper sense of who he is, where he has travelled, what he is about, and what his public-policy ideas are; unfortunately that didn’t happen due to the many health-challenges I have been facing family-wise. I do wish him luck though.
Moving to other parts of Brooklyn let me formally endorse Joanne Simon (a wonderful lady) and Lincoln Restler for re-election to their respective district leader posts. I am sure this will make Howard Gatemouth very happy; and as we all know: when Gatemouth is smiling the whole world smiles with him. I also would like to endorse the following leaders for re-election: Lori Knipel, Chris Owens, Jake Gold and Jesse Hamilton. I have already endorsed the re-election of Robert Cornegy, Darlene Mealy, Mary Hobson and Inez Barron. That’s as far as I would go with district leaders in Brooklyn: and so much for the other side of the tracks too/lol.
In the 55th AD I am told that despite the many candidates on the ballot, the campaign itself has been tepid; with no mailings as of last Friday. If this is the truth then expect the incumbent to prevail. I have endorsed Tony Herbert for assembly; David Miller (junior) for district leader male; and Darlene Mealy for district leader (female). It’s time for a political change over there (Brownsville/ Ocean Hill) folks.
Word out of the 42nd AD is that Rhoda Jacobs is panicking for the first time in a long long time. There is a lot of phone-banking going on trying to get her supporters motivated. It’s going to come down to the pull-operations of both sides folks. Rodneyse Bichotte is running a strong race. She even picked up some union endorsements. She got a major endorsement from the Transport Workers Union (TWU/Local 100). Her supporters are quietly optimistic of pulling off this major upset.
Another panicking incumbent is Nick Perry in the 58th AD. Attorney Terry Hinds has run a steady campaign and is poised to make it real close folks. Can we expect some upsets on the black side of Brooklyn politics this year? I say stay tuned-in folks.