FIDLER ON THE MOVE
New York’s city council member Lew Fidler (D/46th council district/Brooklyn), stood on City Hall’s steps today (MLK Day), to announce that he will be accepting the nomination of both the Democrats and the Independence political party, to contest the upcoming special election for Brooklyn’s 27th senatorial district. This vacancy was recently created when the previously elected state senator (Carl Kruger) pleaded guilt to federal bribery charges.
Fidler was first elected to the council in 2001. He is a lifetime resident of the East Flatbush/Midwood area. His parents were well-known community activists with good connections to the black and Caribbean-American community. His father was once vice-president of the community board. His mother was an active PTA member and quite politically active.
Fidler is also a vibrant member of the Brooklyn delegation in the city council. He is a key player amongst Brooklyn democrats. He simultaneously holds the position as district leader from the 41st AD. I am predicting that he will win the special election quite handily. For purposes of full-disclosure, let me state that I have pledged to attend one of the fundraisers being held for Fidler by my good friend Wellington Sharpe. I have also promised to bring a few contributors. After all, I am a democrat (no matter how politically frustrated).
I do have a few issues with Lew. They aren’t personal. In fact -on a personal level- I want to believe that Lew and I are “awright” (as they say in the hood). We have been on opposite sides of many a political race; but that’s just how politics go. We have many mutual friends. And we have always been respectful, communicative, civil and cordial to one another.
My question for Lew is this: are you going to oppose the movement to bring twelve-year term limits to both Albany and Congress?
In 2008, Lew was one of the cowardly council members who voted to overturn the people’s will, by amending the old term limits law voted in by plebiscite. His vote helped give Mayor Bloomberg a third four year term in office: now we have an illegal-occupation of Gracie Mansion. Lew Fidler is still to publicly apologize for this self-serving vote. He is still to demonstrate that he understood his vote was a slap to the face of all those who value democracy and the spirit of the democratic philosophy.
Standing on City Hall’s steps today, Lew Fidler outlined his personal political philosophy. He summed it up in four words (all starting with the letter “C”). These words are: “common-sense”, “communication”, “character” and chutzpah”. Common-sense to make the right decisions as an elected official; keeping open communicative channels with your constituents; having the requisite “character” needed of electeds (and by this I assume he was taking a dig at the perpetually corrupt New York political landscape); and chutzpah to stand up to powerful people (like mayor Bloomberg) when the cause is right and just. His speech was short but to the point.
I was impressed by the fact that Lew personally reads every letter he receives from constituents and finds time to have his office (or himself) respond. This is commendable. And yet, I wonder if Lew is just like most other electeds who believe that community-service is their main responsibility to this city/ state/nation. It isn’t. It is only one of many responsibilities.
Recently, someone used my name to go up on the Politicker blog, with the claim that I am supporting Frank Seddio to replace Fidler in the city council: this is totally untrue. It is unfortunate when people use your name fraudulently to convey something within their own personal agenda. Just for the record let me state that I will be supporting a Haitian-American community-activist: her name is Mercedes Narcisse. In the race to replace Lew Fidler in the city council, I expect a black person to represent this district for the first time in city history. The area is heavily Caribbean-American. My journalist friend Michael Roberts should pick up the phone and call me before responding to garbage on the blogs. I have told people for years to ignore all the lies viciously spread out there: a simple phone call will get all the answers you need. I am not afraid to tell it as it is or call it as I see it.
Lew Fidler is a relatively decent councilman. He should make a relatively decent state senator. My only hope is that he joins the movement to reform the politics of this city/state/nation, and not be another one of those go-along-to-get- along electeds. It’s time for a new brand of political leadership; and I hope Lew is up to scratch. It would be nice if he could join John Sampson and lead a movement out of Brooklyn to term-limit electeds at all three levels of government. If Lew is serious about the “character” aspect of his political philosophy, then he would do just this; since most polls consistently show that at least three out of every four voters, support the idea of term-limits on elected officials at all three levels of government.
Character in an elected comes from not only being incorruptible, but also from facilitating the expression of the people’s will. Character also comes from showing contrition and making atonement. Character is developed by doing the right thing. I am hopeful that Fidler will do the right thing once elected. I am keeping my eyes on him while I quietly (and tepidly) support his run for the senate.
Lew Fidler is a skilful politician. He knows the political game well. He has been involved in politics and community-activism practically all his life. He comes to this race with impeccable credentials. He is also an attorney. I hope he has a progressive vision for the district, state and country. I am willing to take my chances right now. I am hopeful that he could emerge as a key player in Albany. It’s time for electeds from Brooklyn to start making deeper imprints on City Hall, Albany and Washington, DC.
Stay tuned-in folks.
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