Grapevine #2007-001

To the person(s) who attempted to do a satire of this column, here on Room 8 over the Christmas holidays, let me say that imitation is truly the sincerest form of flattery. Oh, sure I am pissed, but then I saw it as nothing but another thinly veiled attempt to ridicule me (as per usual) by my detractors on the blogs; needless to say, I blog on none the less. It never ceases to amaze me, when countless folks walk up to me at events and say how much they enjoy reading my blog. I am yet to encounter anyone who was hostile. So: happy New Year to all my detractors; and a happy, healthy, fantastic, wonderful and stupendously successful New Year to all my fans/lol.

So with all due respects to Letterman and his folks, here’s the top ten list of grapevine/ pumpkin-vine items:

Item#1. Thank God for Tom Suozzi and his gubernatorial campaign. He sure made Eliot Spitzer a better campaigner and probably a better governor-elect. Think back to the pre-Suozzi challenge-when Spitzer hardly said anything of substance- many of us were quite frustrated with Spitzer’s “rose-garden” strategy. Then Spitzer adopted (or is it pilfered) Suozzi’s reform stance, and the rest is history. Did you listen to Spitzer’s inaugural speech? It was as if Tom Suozzi was his shadow-speech writer. When Eliot spoke about redistricting (gerrymandering), I was glad that I had broken down and voted for him. I hope like hell that Spitzer could pull of just half of his ambitious plans- New York will then be a better place to live, do business, work and bring up kids. You go Eliot; and while you are at it, please give your homeboy (Patterson) something significant to do. TYVM.
Do you all agree with me or what?

Item#2. Speaking of David Patterson; did you know that he made history? As far as I know, he is the first black to hold the office of Lieutenant Governor in New York State. His campaign manager (Luther Smith) also made history by running that campaign. Smith now moves on to join Kevin Wardally at Bill Lynch’s consulting firm; expect them both to resurface on some presidential campaign later this year. Rumor has it that both are going to be working on the campaign of Jennifer James-who is running in the special election for Yvette Clarke’s old council seat. We will see (it’s just a rumor). Uncle Luther will probably cut off my allowance for this tidbit; he hates being mentioned in the blogs.

Item#3. Presidential politics: Barack Obama should run for the presidency. I am not saying this because I believe he will win, but because I am a lil bit pissed at the fact that they have already started to do the “mud” thing. They first went after some silly real estate deal of his, that was of no significance; then they went after his middle name (Hussein?), because it’s Arabic/Muslim; then they tried to link his wife to Wal Mart- just because she serves on the board of a business entity which has Wal Mart as its main client; then they drug up his marijuana and cocaine usage in high school and college; and now they say he is inexperienced (as if JFK was the most experienced senator in the congress before running for the presidency). Then of course came the perfunctory “liberal” smear; and sometime last week or so, CNN called him Osama (by mistake they claim) in a news item; so now we are left to wonder what all this is about (as if we don’t know). Maybe a run from Barack “been” Obama, will help show how far we in this country still have to go, in facing up to this insidious cancer called: RACISM.

Relative to the race itself let me make some early predictions: firstly; Rudy Giuliani is “dead man walking”. So too is George Pataki. I doubt either will make it beyond the first rounds of the presidential primaries (if they do get so far). Secondly; the best chance of regaining the white house for the Dems will be if they nominate Al Gore.

Item #4. Activist/educator Stanley Kinnard called to inform that contrary to rumors, he has not made a decision to challenge Junior Boyland next year in the 55thAD. Kinnard-fresh off of managing Charles Barron’s congressional challenge in the 10th congressional district-is intent on playing the same role for Barron next year when he challenges Towns again. Stan admits that many people have been encouraging him to take another run at the Boylands. He said that he will decide by summer.

In the mean time: what’s this thing about Junior Boyland running for City Comptroller in 2009? Are they serious? What do you think?

Item #5. Speaking of Brooklyn’s 40th council district and the special election (Feb20th); Lew Fidler is now supporting Wellington Sharpe. Fiddler and Sharpe go way back, so this is not really surprising to folks in the know; except for a fleeting moment there when Fidler was the hot topic of discussion-relative to the only white candidate in this race. For full public disclosure, let me inform that I am now serving in the capacity as Deputy Campaign Manager of the Sharpe campaign.

Item#6. Let’s stay on that race: at the last count there were 18 potential runners seeking the open seat. Here is the “grapevine/ pumpkin-vine” that you won’t see in the mainstream media: lots of “shit” going on behind the scenes. For example; the Haitian-Americans are fighting amongst themselves in order to find one candidate to represent that community. Ferdinand Zizi is rumored to have won the Haitian-American “consensus” forum, only to have a rebellion on his hand. Word is that Yvette Clarke has now withdrawn her support for her fundraiser Jennifer James, and is currently supporting another Haitian-American (Matthew Eugene); and that this candidate has an inside track towards getting the support of the powerful health-workers union: 1199. Rumor also has it that Una Clarke has withdrawn her support for Joel Toney (St.Vincent), and will also line up behind Matthew Eugene. If this is true, I feel for Joel. He will be surely sorely disappointed. Remember in 2001, the same union supported another Haitian-American (Jean Vernet) in this said seat, bypassing Yvette Clarke, then. Some seem to think that since the union’s point-guard on these issues (Patrick Gaspard) is Haitian born, we can expect the union to work hard to secure a victory for Eugene. Haitian-Americans want to make history by electing one of their kind to the council for the first time. They have elected Haitian-American public officials in Florida I am told.

I know Patrick Gaspard quite well- having worked with him before (Barron/2001) - the last time I spoke to him on this race (pre-Christmas), he informed me that the union has made no selection as yet. If 1199 goes with a candidate here, expect that candidate to be formidable. They don’t play. However, in this race they will be tested, no matter who they support; this is a tricky race folks. Trust Cousin Rocky when I say this; it’s a very tricky race.

Still on that race; so far there are only seven candidates picking up signatures as of yesterday. Petitions are due in by Jan.16th, 2007. Maybe some have already dropped out. Word is that Jesse Hamilton will get the endorsement of DC37. Word is that Leithland Tulloch is being supported by both assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs, and district leader Booker Ingram of the 42nd AD. Where the female leader of that district (Mary Hobson) will line up is unknown at this point. The same is being said for the district leaders of the 44th AD (Jacob Gold and Lori Knipel). Kendall Stewart is behind Wellington Sharpe; so too is Senators John Sampson and Eric Adams ( I am told). Where is Assemblyman Camara in all this? Do you know? And what about assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries?

Charles Barron has lined up with candidate Gerry Hopkins (Grenada born/I think), and is supposedly bringing his organization “Operation Power” to the campaign; while his adversary Congressman Ed Towns is said to be lining up with Wellington Sharpe. Former district leader (43AD) Moses “Mussa” Moore is also said to be lining up with Sharpe. Where is the Democratic Party’s county-leader (Vito Lopez) going at this point, is anyone’s guess. He must decide soon; the election is six weeks away.

The other big player presently missing in action is Nick Perry. Expect that Nick will come in and support a candidate here folks. There is too much action here for Nick to stay away. In this race, Nick has more angles than a protractor. He can even mend fences with Sharpe. If Wellington Sharpe continues to pick up endorsements like he has been doing, don’t be surprised to see an avalanche of late support for him folks. Latest word is that Sharpe is seeking the support of Frances Purcell, who finished second to Yvette in 2001. Purcell would have made a fine candidate in this race folks; but she chose not to run. If she comes out for Sharpe it will be a big plus.

Yesterday, both ACORN and the Working Families Party held their endorsement interviews for this race. WFP also invited some activists and also some political clubs from downtown Brooklyn to take part. The questions posed were quite interesting; to say the least. Some of the candidates who were said to have been seen there include Zenobia McNally, Jesse Hamilton, Anthony Alexis (Trinidad), Yvon Alexis and George Bousiquot (both Haitian-Americans), Karlene Gordon and Wellington Sharpe (both Jamaican–born), and Gerry Hopkins. Lots of islanders in this race folks.

Most political pundits are saying that the race will come down to three candidates: Jesse Hamilton (district-leader 43rdAD); Wellington Sharpe (superior name-recognition, formidable campaign-team, experience and cash); and whichever candidate the Clarkes and 1199 agree to line up behind (together/ not splintered); if such a thing happens. The Flatbush Progressive Democrats (supposedly Yvette and Una’s political club/ correct me if I am incorrect folks) is said to be still holding off their endorsement. I am told that the Grenadian-born journalist and political activist/operative Michael Roberts, was approached by the Sharpe campaign and chose to hold out and work with/ for said club, and whoever they go with. Roberts will be salivating for this race, since I am sure he will love to whip Omar Boucher (Sharpe’s campaign manager) here, given their friendly rivalry. Mike has developed himself into becoming a formidable operative over the years folks; his candidate of choice will be competitive here, especially if it’s the same one that Yvette, Una and 1199 selects. Shoot, he probably would like to whip my ass too here/lol.

Item#7. Former state comptroller Allan Hevesi is due back in court for sentencing later this month. Now, let’s look at two black electeds who were convicted-Roger Green and Clarence Norman- their sentences seem to be worse than what is expected for Hevesi. Why? Isn’t Hevesi’s crime much worse than either of these two? You tell me. Anyway, let’s wait and see; okay? All I know is that justice should be color blind; but it’s not.

Item#8. Speaking of courts: Diane Gordon (40thAD) is due back in court later this month also; just like Hevesi. It seems like birds of a feather fuck with the courts together folks. Rumor has it that Earl Williams -the septuagenarian male district leader- is interested in replacing Gordon upon her conviction. Williams who has survived at least two heart attacks (I am told), is surely pushing his luck. Maybe he knows that assembly members don’t do much work; they seem to be always taking it easy, don’t they? What do you think? Why is Earl looking to do this to himself?

Meanwhile, Kenneth Evans-who came in second to Gordon in the last primary- is gearing up for a special election and/or a primary next year. He has picked up the support of Carlos Bristol- a longtime activist in this district- who is intent on running for Barron’s council seat in 2009. Evans-a health expert- is currently working on some district-wide health initiatives.

Item#9. Albany sightings at the inauguration: Michelle Adolphe (running for the 42ndAD). Michelle has started early folks. Maybe it’s true that Rhoda Jacobs is retiring next year. Last time I counted, there were over a dozen folks lined up to run if Rhoda retires next year. Also sighted in Albany: Marlene Tapper (Barbados). Marlene is looking at many options folks (City Council 2009; or Assembly, Senate or maybe even Congress in 2008). She is a brave young lady, so expect her to resurface in some race soon.

Item #10. Rumor has it that Senator Kevin Parker (21SD) wants to run for the City Council (45th district) in 2009. Rumor also has it that he will be challenged for his Senate seat next year. Rumor also has it that attorney Terry Hinds is intent on making another political run in the near future. Hinds- fresh off his runner-up finish to Kendall Stewart for district leader in the 58thAD- is said to be looking at all his options in this area. It will be interesting to see who he supports in the race to replace Yvette Clarke next month. Hinds is one of the young bucks moving in to replace some of the old dead-heads in the district.

SIDEBAR(S): Some folks are suggesting that John Sampson should run for Brooklyn Boro Prez in 2009, and not take on the District Attorney race; as far as I know Sampson wants a repeat with Joe Hynes. Some folks also say that the district leadership in the 57thAd is ripe for the plucking, and that Eric Blackwell should make that run.

Moses “Mussa” Moore said that he lost his leadership to Jesse Hamilton (43rdAD) because he didn’t focus on his own re-election. Moore-who is a erstwhile political operative- claims that he was busy working for some judge candidates (and other positions too) while his own campaign floundered. Expect a rematch between Moore and Hamilton next year.

Taking a rare run across the tracks; Frank Seddio is said to be leaving his surrogate judgeship post. Suspicions are that things aren’t so rosy, since investigators are on his ass; is this true? Or is this just rumor? What do you know? Tell Cousin Rocky in the comment section.

Who is Tiffany Raspberry? And why is her name being spread as the replacement to Al Vann- Winkle? And where is Taharka Robinson in all this? Last time we saw Taharka, it was only his picture on a milk cartoon. Hey Taharka: call home if you read this/lol. Anyway, it seems that Al Vann and Annette Robinson are not going to do the switch again (hopefully). This reminds me of the near fatal switch between Ben Hur and Ben Him; you see Ben Him was Ben Hur’s sister. Anyway, she resisted the switch since she felt too many people would start calling her: Ben Gay. (LMAO).

But seriously folks: stay tuned-in.