Grapevine #8

No folks, I am not gone (at least not yet/ if I ever do go/lol); my time hasn’t been good for blogging lately, but I thought I would slip in a grapevine column during downtime this weekend, since stuff is always going on in Brooklyn’s politics. Especially on the other side of the tracks where I peregrinate. So here goes.

There is serious in-fighting going on behind the scenes, to find the replacement for Yvette Clarke in the City Council. This will be after she goes to Congress; since we all know that the only way she loses in November, is if she is caught having sex with a dead boy or girl. Yes, in politics, necrophilia is more fatal than resume-padding. Anyway since that is not going to happen, I will give you a list of ALL the names (replacements) that have been floated since her primary win last month. Before I do this however, let me just say for Yvette’s supporters –who have been verbally beating up on me- that I have said on this site: the people have spoken. I do wish Yvette well in her new endeavour. Her supporters need to let it go. I called the race the way I saw it. As an educator I couldn’t endorse her, not after her faux-pas. As I always say: I tell the truth the way I see it, then I duck. She has won; now move on. I have.

Now, some of the names I will give have already made their intentions known: they are not running. I will do those first. Then I will give the names of those who appear (at least for now) to be serious. Remember: you don’t have to live in the district to run in a special election; you move in after you win-within a specific time.

The envelopes please/ thank you very much.

In the category of “non-runners whose names were called” are; Chris Owens, Yvonne Graham (Deputy Borough President), Carl Andrews, Gail Yvette Davis, Moses Musa Moore, Frances Purcell, Edward Roberts esq., Ernest Emmanuel, Gloria Waldron (Acorn), Jean Vernet, Terry Hinds esq., Rubain Durancy, Yvon Alexis, Wellington Sharpe, Carl Thomas (dead), Lola Pouissant, Joyce Stewart, Colin Moore, Alethia Alleyne, Geoffrey Davis, Samuel Nicolas, Michelle Adolphe, Hazel Beckles (CSS), Roy Hastick and Una Clarke (both Roy and Yvette’s mother were heavily rumored to be running at various points/ both are said to have decided against it). You can also add my name to this list, since I was questioned by three electeds as to my intentions. NO WAY, JOSE. The only thing that I am running these days is my mouth. I don’t believe that there is a single black elected official in Brooklyn who will HONESTLY endorse me for a race.

In the category of “names being called and seriously considering the race” are; Jesse Hamilton (District leader in the 43rd AD), Jerry Hopkins, Kirsten Foy, Zacary La Reche, Tania Campbell (from Bill Thompson’s office, I am told), Jennifer James (who did fundraising for Yvette Clarke, I am told), Zenobia Mcnally (who garnered over 30 % of the vote in her run against Yvette last year), Lithlend Tulloch (former treasurer of Community Board 17), Karlene Gordon, Chris Hylton ( NYC City Council staff), Anthony Alexis ( former Tracey Boyland staffer), Joel Toney(Vaughn’s uncle), John Crowe ( local TV show producer), Ken Pierre(St. Mark’s Church), Peter Pouchon (local TV show producer), Mohammed Ravi, Dr. Matthew Eugene, Rita Joseph, George Busico and Emmanuel Roy (a Haitian-American from Joe Hynes office, I am told). If there are any more serious runners, you guys out there can let me know.

So now; we have twenty names in the “serious” category, and then there is always a possibility that someone from the first category will change their mind and re-consider running. This is really really interesting folks. I will get deeper into this race after the general election next month.

One last tidbit about all this: Haitian–Americans are aggressively demanding that one of their ilk be elected to this seat. There is a group of doctors (including Dr. Compas and Dr. George Kasimie/ I hope I have spelled these and other names correctly today/lol) who have pledged “big money” to support a Haitian-American victory. There are also other groups (and individuals) with the same objective. The Haitian-Americans even had a meeting in Queens, where I am told that either Congressman Meeks or his staff facilitated some type of candidate–forum discussions. I am also told that the meeting broke down in disarray. They are having a candidate- forum in Brooklyn today (Sunday), where the last four persons named in my second category are exclusively invited. The objective is to arrive at a consensus candidate from that community. Word is that they are fighting among themselves (so what’s new), in this endeavour. I am told that they even met with Yvette in an attempt to convince her to support one of their candidates. Stay tuned-in to this folks. There is a story here.

Other news in the grapevine include Charles Barron’s spin, that his 37% second–place finish (to Ed. Towns who got 47%/ Roger Green got 16%)), in the tenth congressional district primary, was really a victory; especially since he spent less than 150 thousand dollars and Towns spent around a million bucks. Charles had the media eating out of his hands while spinning this result; it was really a brilliant maneuver. I am told that he is angry at me for calling him a coward (amongst other things); well, here goes: Charles Barron needs to grow up and fulfill his true potential (but I doubt that he would; I am slowly reaching the point where I am starting to believe that this is all –politics- way over his head and large ego/ and of course he is an intelligent guy). Personally, I think he has lost his way. He needs to re-inject himself with doses of imagination and creativity. He is heading for mediocrity-which in itself is disappointing- when he had the potential for greatness. Unless he goes through some kind of metamorphosis, he will break many more political hearts. But then, what do I know; you tell me what you think. Generally, he tends to dismiss my initial ideas/analysis, before re-cycling anyway. I have nothing vested here.

In the 58th AD, people are surprised that Gale Reed-Barnett lost her leadership. Word is that she is coming back for it in two years. Poor Gale (and I do like her even though she is an elected/lol); she learned the hard way that Nick Perry is not someone to play around with when he is coming after you. Nick ran a rookie and won the seat. Now the word is that he pissed off top players in the district even more. Here is a question for you all in outhereland: who is running at Nick Perry in two years? Is it Kendall Stewart, Wellington Sharpe or Terry Hinds? What do you think?

While you are musing over that question and its ramifications, let me pose another one: who is running against Senator Kevin Parker in two years? Is it Kendall Stewart, Vaughn Toney, Wellington Sharpe or Terry Hinds? Tell me what you think and I will tell you what I know. But more on that in a later column. One thing for sure folks: there will be challenges in both seats. So stay tuned-in folks.

Word on the street is that Rhoda Jacobs will do her last term in Albany in this go-around. This rumor has been circulated for decades however, so don’t be surprised when you hear this. But seriously folks, is it finally the curtain call for Ms. Jacobs? Some folks have been reaching out, wanting to buy me some running-shoes for a race in the 42nd AD (again) in two years. What do you think? I believe that if Ms. Jacobs resigns, it will be a blood-bath in the 42nd AD. But then, what do I know? My detractors think I am full of hot air. What do you think?

Word is that Junior Boyland is getting a challenge in two years (55AD). They are saying that he won’t get anymore “free rides”-like he did this time around. Word is that the “Boyland dynasty” is in its last days- they have suffered back to back defeats in consecutive years. If Barron tackles Towns again in 2008 (and this seems highly likely), expect the community–activist, educator and journalist Stanley Kinnard, to run against Junior Boyland. It makes sense. Kinnard could get lucky here if he got some good help from his friends.

Word on the street is that Yvette Clarke will get a challenge after her first term. I am just telling you what I am hearing a folk; that’s all. I am not at liberty to give out the names that I have heard mentioned. All I can say is that there are folks out there who are not satisfied with the results from the 11th congressional race. I have counseled them that we all need to give her a chance in the position, to prove her metal. That’s what I will be doing.

There was another rumor out there that Velmanette Montgomery will run for Congress next; what’s that about? Do you know? She had a handy victory against Tracey Boyland last month, which must have raised her stock a bit. Is this being floated just like her Boro Prez ambitions?

Lots of folks are pessimistic about Hakeem Jeffries becoming being a reformer of note in Brooklyn’s future. They argue that he is never out on issues and never has been. They also argue that he is somewhat mysterious. Some militant black-nationalist types say that he didn’t come from a similar background like his uncle (the professor). No one can recall seeing him in any police-brutality protests in the past. They don’t seem to think that he is a progressive in any true sense of the word. All I can say is this, I have supported Hakeem all along (since his first run/and you can ask him if you want to verify this), and I even endorsed him in one of my columns earlier this summer past; I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt and hope that he turns out to be an outstanding elected official. He CANNOT be worse than those who have been holding down these offices for the past two decades. Plus: he is exquisitely educated.

While we are in that neck of the woods; let me say here that this is not personal in any way (what I am about to say), since I have no axe to grind (even though I did support Eric Blackwell in the last race); but Tish James has a lot of PR work to do if she is to get to higher office. There are lots of people out there who don’t like her. When questioned for an explanation, they seem to not like her on a personal level, not on a political one. I think she is a bright woman (who I even supported once) that needs a personality transplant and an image consultant. If her supporters who read this blog don’t believe me, then let them go back into the archives (last 2 years) of some of these blogs (Politicker, Room 8 and Daily News /Ben Smith), and read the comments sections whenever her name is brought up in any story. They will be surprised. Uncle Rocky is observant folks.

Something not being talked about too much is that Freddy Hamilton lost both the Assembly race (57thAD) and her district leadership. Truth be told; I was informed by some serious players that she was going to lose the leadership to Ola, way back in April or so. I should have bet the rent money. When I ran into Ola (1199), she seemed to be pretty confident that she would do well; after all she was once the district manager over there.

So, Chris Owens is considering a run for Brooklyn Borough prez after Marty Markowitz is term limited in 2009. To Chris, I will say only this: sometimes a wise man can be solemnly counseled by a fool, and as such you need to consult/talk to people beyond your inner-circle for perspective sometimes. Anyway, I do wish Chris lots of luck in any future endeavour. Talking about that race (3 years away); I already told you guys that Nick Perry is considering the run, well last week I was informed that some folks have already started to discuss this race with Eric Adams– who will be the senator from the 20th senatorial district, when the first of January rolls around next year. I am told that Eric has many options, including Congress and Public Advocate. Word is that he has a bright future in politics. He won with more than three quarters of the vote turnout, in his first time on the machine. He has big “name-recognition” beyond his district, and is quite popular in many circles.

Talking about Owens: the father and soon to be former-congressman/ not the son. Won’t it be a major personal political disappointment for “Big Daddy”, if the democrats win the House next month? Didn’t he argue that his seniority was crucial when he ran against challengers in the past? Well c’est-la-vie.

In the 40th AD, word is that Kenneth Evans is coming back to finish the job he started when he challenged Diane Gordon last month. Fresh off a second-place finish, Evans is committed to another run. Evans who has an organization working on health issues in Starett City, has been meeting with lots of activists and electeds in the area. He has met with Charles Barron, Earl Williams, Andre Mitchell, Carlos Bristol, Adineke Huggins, Carol Faisant and Dacosta Headley in recent weeks. He is making the rounds folks. Hopefully he meets with Ed Towns soon. Word on the street is that Diane Gordon is going to jail; directly to jail, not passing go and not collecting any money for it. With that in mind, the expectation is that there will be a special election to find a replacement for her.

Still in this district; there have been no sightings of Winchester Keys lately. Also, Candace Randolph is a said to be no longer working for Charles Barron’s office. Word is that she was fired. Was she? Word is also, that she supported Key in last month’s primary, pulling a disappearing act relative to Barron’s race against Towns. Is this true? Does anyone know?

People are already talking about who will inherit Al Vann Winkle’s seat after he is term limited. They are saying that a switch with Annette Robinson again, might be in the cards. What do you think?

Lots of people have told me that I was absolutely “on-the-money” with my Roger Green articles of this past “silly season”. They also say that my grapevine columns were high in accuracy-though not perfect. I am running into more and more folks who read this blog, and their words of support have been quite touching/ also quite encouraging. Many have expressed sorrow with the departure of Maurice Gumbs (from writing on Brooklyn’s politics); some are even hoping I pick up the slack. Let me state unequivocally that I have no intention of filling Maurice’s large shoes; I am me, and I do my thing differently. I am hopeful that “Big Mo” will return occasionally to Room Eight. I will miss his articles more than you know; I have been a reader (and contributor/informer) to “Footnotes”, for more than 20 years. Let me also state (EMPHATICALLY), that all the detractors who swear that Maurice Gumbs is a “bitter” man because he lost his runs for higher office (he was elected to the school board on numerous occasions), are tragically wrong. Maurice has been driven by his ideals, his civic sensibilities and his morality. Philosophically, he has always been consistent. Intellectually, he has always tried to arrive at the truth (without much help sometimes); and he has more compassion in his pinky than most politicians have in their whole body. I have known the man for over thirty years. I love him as a brother. The void created by his departure is a large one indeed. There are very few blacks in politics who have dealt with racial-issues better than Maurice. He deserves an award for the time he put into the hustings.

With that, I am outa here. Stay tuned-in folks. Until the next time- if I do find time- Uncle Rocky sez: be good, and if you can’t be good, then be careful. And to all my detractors : PEACE AND LOVE.