COUNTDOWN TO THURSDAY’S PRIMARIES (SOME SURPRISES HERE

It’s Monday morning (09-10-2012) as I start this column. Hopefully it will be published before Thursday’s primary elections. This year’s primary is being held on Thursday 13th September, 2012. The reason is simple: avoid the “09-11” clash with all its painful reminders. I have been told that in the future, New York will hold federal, state and local primaries in June: starting next year with the city council elections.  This is something that was long overdue.  Hopefully New York electeds will now turn their attention to twelve-year term limits for ALL elected offices in the state. Don’t you agree?  

Anyway, let me just quickly make a few new endorsements to add to the three I have made so far this year (HAKEEM JEFFRIES/Congress, TONY HERBERT /55AD and TERRY HINDS/58AD).

One thing I have noted from an earlier endorsement is a bit troubling in I what it augurs.  I endorsed Hakeem Jeffries early on, and even called upon Ed Towns to resign (he eventually did). I took many hits for this. It wasn’t an easy call on a personal level; but I did it because I thought it was in the best interest of the polity. Nowadays, I can’t even get Hakeem Jeffries to return my phone calls: which is nothing new really; since it has been like that for years. And this is a guy (Jeffries) who received comfort from insurgents when he was a rookie running around challenging Roger Greene more than a decade ago. During that time he was even making some horrible choices/mistakes in his personal life, which we all kept close to our vests.  I guess that only time will tell the quality of Hakeem’s congressional tenure. Interestingly enough, his uncle (Leonard Jeffries) endorsed his opponent. (Just a morsel for you political junkies to ponder over).

 

In Brooklyn’s 42nd Assembly District, I am going to endorse the Haitian-American political activist named RODNEYSE BICHOTTE for the assembly. In her short political career Ms. Bichotte has demonstrated the acumen of a political sage. It’s either that or she surrounds herself with solid political people whose advice she executes brilliantly. Whatever the answer, she has really impressed many of us longtime activists/political operatives in a very short span. After 34 years in the seat, it is simply time for Ms. Rhoda Jacobs to retire. Those who want to defend the status quo here, need to remind us of the last new public policy idea which emanated from the Jacobs camp; eventually you just have to make way for the young folks. You may not like it, but that’s just the way it is.

In the male district leader race there are four candidates. Here is a rundown. Ed Powell is a longtime community activist who has lived in this area since Adam was a toddler. He is the consummate civic-minded resident: active in near every aspect of the district’s civic, cultural, social and political life.  We need more of his kind in all 150 ADs in this state. Anthony Alexis has paid a lot of political dues and this may be his time for “moving on up”. My fellow Trinidad-born operative has run unsuccessfully before; however, he does have a good shot here: depending on the election-day alliances. Beyond all this, he is relatively young enough to bring some good energy to the leadership spot. Guyanese-born Victor Jordan is a political newcomer with quite an uphill task relative to winning.  If he does win it will be a shocker. These races come down to campaign execution, endorsements and alliances. The other candidate is supposedly a cousin of Bichotte. His name is Josue Pierre.  In a district where many Haitian-born voters reside, the Bichotte/ Pierre ticket could be formidable in these crowded fields.  

In the race for female leader in this district, the endorsement is simple: Ms. MARY HOBSON. She is a beautiful human being with a wonderful disposition. Her demeanor and deportment leaves nothing to be desired. She is simply a classy lady. I hope she recaptures her old position.

I always caution readers that my endorsements are not predictions. They simply mean that I would vote for these individuals were I to reside in said district. These are the people I would vote for: that’s all. Objectively speaking (and relative to logistical factors inherent in each race) I don’t expect many of those I endorse to actually win their respective contests; but I do support their runs nonetheless; and I am hopeful that my endorsements may positively sway a few voters their way.  

In the 55th AD I have already endorsed Tony Herbert for the assembly. One of the other candidates (David Miller/senior) is a good friend, but he has always disappointed me in terms of the quality of the effort relative to his campaign plans, strategies and tactics. His executions always appear to leave a lot on the cutting-table. He is a very intelligent individual and a very capable technician; but ostensibly he never puts together a complete campaign wherein he executes all the pertinent elements needed for a victory. I am going to endorse his son (David Miller junior) for male district leader. The reason for this endorsement lies in the fact that democrats in Kings County need to attract new blood to the base.  The young Miller has a popular public-television variety show which regularly draws hundreds of youngsters. The hope is that a young district leader like him can do a lot in terms of enlargening the party’s base by bringing in younger voters (much needed) to the fold.   

In the race for female district leader I endorse my old boss Darlene Mealy -the current leader. Her opponent Miriam Samad is well meant, and has been involved in the politics of this area for many a year.  However, Ms. Mealy has spent a lot of time learning the political-ropes (so to speak) and is probably more capable now than at any time before in making the correct political decisions within Brooklyn’s leadership conference. I expect her to be re-elected comfortably.

The best race in Brooklyn takes place in the 57th AD. Here we find three solid runners. Ola Alabi, Walter Mosley and Martine Guerrier are the candidates. Ms. Guerrier is a quality newcomer, who personifies the political aspirations of many Haitian-Americans living in this city. Unfortunately, I suspect she will wind up last in this contest. Ola and Walter have been running around this district for years. Walter’s mother (Marilyn Mosley) has been around the politics of Brooklyn since the Age of Discovery. She is a tremendous asset to her son.

I had originally decided not to endorse a candidate her since I hated to lose a friend (either way). However, after much agonizing I must endorse WALTER MOSLEY. Here is my reason.  I really think the district will be well served no matter who wins. However, Walter Mosley endorsed me when I ran for city council three years ago, and my conscience dictates that I reciprocate.  I could only hope that Ms. Alabi understands this. It’s nothing personal; just reciprocity. That’s one of the reasons why I had advised Ms. Alabi to run for district leader again -even while running for the assembly.

In the race for female leader in the same AD there are three solid candidates (again). Rene Collymore is the prolific and indefatigable activist who is driven. She is aggressive and fearless and would be an interesting district leader. I suspect she could be pleasantly troublesome to many of the complacent leaders in this county.  I make her the favorite to win. Ms. Faye Moore comes from a trade-union background and has more than a puncher’s chance of winning. However, I do enthusiastically endorse WENDY WASHINGTON for this seat.

Wendy Washington is an academic. She is a university lecturer who is a dissertation short of a doctorate in sociology. She is not only bright, she is sharp too. Unfortunately her chances of winning are rather slim since she started off way too late for this race; but I would vote for her nonetheless. I am glad she ran, and now that her feet are wet (politically speaking) I could only hope that she sticks around and does it better next time out.

In East New York, Brooklyn, there are some interesting races taking place quietly in the 60th AD. Charles Barron is running for district leader (Dems) after pooh-poohing the idea for fifteen years. I know this because I gave him the idea in 2007 -after he lost his council challenge to then incumbent to Pricilla Wooten. I wonder if he is aware of the ramifications of a defeat here. He should win this but he had better be careful and make sure the Election Day operation is top notch. There are folks rooting for another loss. I am enthusiastically endorsing CHARLES BARRON here because we need him to shake up those soporific monthly district leader meetings of Kings County Dems.   

I will also endorse his wife (INEZ BARRON) for re-election to the district leadership. Her opponent Diane Gordon is unfit to hold any kind of office anymore. It’s that simple. Diane has always been colorful and lively but she is a convicted felon.

Relative to the race for the assembly, I make no endorsement. Chris Banks has challenged Inez and that’s good. I haven’t had the time to study his platform and/ or public-policy ideas, so I cannot endorse him willy-nilly. I wish him luck. I hope he is in for the long haul even if he loses here (which is highly likely).

 I know Inez Barron has a heart that’s in the right place (so too Viola Plummer/ contrary to many of her detractors) but I am unimpressed by Mrs. Barron’s tenure in the assembly. Viola -being her chief of staff - has failed to carve out a niche for Inez as a legislative leader in a dysfunctional body.  That’s rather disappointing since both women are well educated and tremendously experienced in political activism. Hopefully (one day) objectivity will set in on the Barron camp; until then I can only wish them luck; but time is running out for Barron’s “movement”. 

In the 54th AD district leader race (female), I will endorse my friend DARMA DIAZ.  She has been around the block a few times and this will be very helpful. In the 56th AD district leader race (male) I will emphatically endorse ROBERT CORNEGY. Robert has been quite impressive even before he assumed the leadership spot. His opponent (Wilshire) has paid lots of dues in Brooklyn’s politics over the years, but he should retire at his age and at this stage. 

Don’t forget to vote for TERRY HINDS in the 58th AD folks. It is time for new blood in most (if not all) these assembly races.  In that district there is an interesting race going on down-ballot. Dems district leader (male) Weyman Carey is being challenged again by Corey Provost (a former student of mine). I will make no endorsement. I hope the better man wins. They are both friends of mine.

In Queens, I have to endorse James Sanders for Senate, despite the knowledge that he has disappointed as a council member. His opponent should have never been in that seat in the first place. I am sure there were many qualified youngsters available when that seat opened up a few years ago; instead she was handpicked (Huntley) because she had paid dues to the machine over the years; not because she had the talent or energy. Now she has turned out to be an embarrassment. This is why I constantly attack the black political leadership in this city. Whether it is in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx or Staten Island, they appear to be individually and collectively brain-dead.  That we now have to settle for the disappointing James Sanders means that there is probably a paucity of quality young leaders in South-East Queens: just as in the other five boroughs. Dems don’t nurture young leaders.

Relative to the verbal faux pas of congress woman Yvette Clarke (Dutch slave owners in 1890’s NYC), I will say nothing beyond this: one should always strive to graduate from college once started; since graduation will most likely help one avoid the kind of embarrassing moments Yvette recently encountered in media.

Stay tuned-in folks.