Tackling The Draft and Other Issues

As I sit here in limbo pondering my future on the blogs (including Room8/ given that the editors are yet to issue a policy missive), I decided to tackle some issues left outstanding. For example, to the “Draft Rock for the 40th Council seat campaign”, I have to say: thanks, but no thanks. I am not a candidate for this race; neither now (April), nor in September and/or November (primary/general election). I am honored and humbled that some people could think that highly of me to submit my name for a “draft”; but at the present time it would be rather difficult to attempt to undertake a race with this short advance notice. So I will pass.

I must admit though, that something did come out of this “draft” campaign, and that is: I have decided to consider a run for Congress in either 2008 or 2010. I am moved to attempt a true grassroots campaign demonstrating people power; a campaign that will rely more heavily on human involvement than on obscene amounts of cash infusions. Maybe I am naïve, but I still think that this type of effort can be successfully replicated and resurrected. We will see.

By now near everyone who is regular to this site knows of my long-standing issues with ‘anonymous’ bloggers, who take tremendous liberties with the truth, and who believe that they have carte-blanche to write vicious things meant to smear, slander and character-assassinate; things not meant for constructive critique and debate. Well earlier this week another painful example surfaced to rear its ugly head. Someone, attempting to earn some points in their argument with Daily News columnist Errol Louis, mendaciously raised Errol’s wife as a link to Governor Spitzer. It was a low moment in the history of Room 8. Again, it was someone writing behind the cover of anonymity; a cover I equate with the KKK masks.

For Errol to be up at 1:00 am, scouring the threads of these blogs in order to defend his wife’s political honor, is something that no journalist should have to go through; if this is an epic of things to come, then count me out. I had a life before blogging, and I will have a life after I am through.

Anonymous or not, no one has the right to bring someone’s spouse into the discourse-especially when what is said or inferred is horrendously untrue. The only way to get responsibility on this site is to set up the system I have requested. Not even queuing up the responses/comments will do for me. If there is no change I am done. If I feel like it- and an issue moves me- I will do like Maurice Gumbs, who occasionally pops up from time to time, to write about ‘education’ issues mainly.

Speaking of Gumbs, he recently suffered a stroke while vacationing in the islands. He is back at home recovering. Another person dealing with illness is Joan Gill. I reported before that she has her own struggle going; well the New York Daily News finally got to her story, and printed it last Monday. From the depths of my heart I wish them both, very speedy recoveries.

When I first entered Columbia University over 27 years ago, my first political science professor told me to be leery of politicians and community activists who don’t return your phone calls (even not using staff members to do so), and he also said that it’s a barometer to measure people by: their sensitivity and their sense of courtesy and consideration. Well, years ago, this was one of the knocks on Hakeem Jeffries, from many in the insurgent corner who supported his runs against the then incumbent Roger Green. Despite Hakeem’s impeccable academic and professional credentials, many thought that when the time comes he will disappoint; without reservation, I defended him a lot in certain circles.

I honestly hoped that Hakeem would display some independence when he got to the Assembly, given his experiences as an insurgent; and also given the things that the status-quo stood for. Thus, it was very disheartening for me to hear that Hakeem voted against Ms. Starks in the state comptroller battle against Mr. DiNapoli, showing a willingness (not reluctance) to be Shelly Silver’s ass-kisser. This display of cowardice by Hakeem has him now on my watch list. I hope he gets back in line soon. If I am wrong here then Hakeem can always correct me.

Speaking of that battle; anyone who is blind can still see that Ms. Starks was better qualified for the job, many times over. This is another example of white boys and their racial and gender– insensitivity; plus their large egos when it comes to power-sharing. Silver would rather keep down a qualified black/ Hispanic woman, than appear to lose out to Spitzer in a silly food fight. And for those who try to say that Spitzer had no right being involved in the selection process, let’s be reminded that there was an agreement between the governor and the leaders of the legislature, and that the ex-comptrollers would make the recommendations based on credentials, ability and so forth. Spitzer was 100% correct in this fight. Sheldon Silver is an embarrassment, and he needs to go away; very far away. We also know that Eliot Spitzer has a long memory. Good. We are where we are in this state because of ass-kissers in the legislature; likewise in the city council by the way.

Speaking of the city council; Leroy Comry- whose mama should be calling him home by now- convinced enough members to pass a silly and unconstitutional resolution about the word “nigger” recently. My “friend” Lew Fidler waded in to defend Comry on this blog too booth. I wonder if Lew would support me if I were to introduce similar legislation, in order to ban : “hymie”, “spic”, “sambo”, “kite”, “wop”, “coon”, “coconut”, and so on, and so on. This was one of the most ridiculous resolutions passed in the history of the council. It appealed to people’s emotions rather than their intellects. The dangers inherent when legislatures are involved in banning ‘free-speech’ is something that Lew (a rabid defender of Jewish issues, and one quite knowledgeable on Jewish history) should be acutely aware of. So you have to wonder what his motivation was; given that he is not a fool, as many of the others who signed on to this. Boro Prez Lew? We know that Comry was seeking press for his future run for Queen’s Boro Prez; what’s your excuse Lew?

Staying on that topic; many people in media refused to touch the issue because of the hyper-sensitivity surrounding the word. This is nothing new. Sometimes when sensitive black issues are raised, people of all ilks get frozen up. For example, take Bill Cosby and his comments on black civic-irresponsibility; despite the inherent truths behind Cosby’s remarks, many media types shied away; similarly when Minister Farrakhan said some stupid and racially-insensitive things. Cowardice is not helping the “black-cause”; in fact, it’s hurting it.

Over the past two years, I have observed on the blogs that most anonymous attacks come after I take some elected official to task. The painful thing is that the attackers rarely (if ever) use my arguments or the substance of my assertions/ analysis, to refute me. Instead, they call me names, question my credentials, poo-pooh my history/experiences, challenge my sexuality, critique my personality, attempt to ridicule me, try to put me down, make unqualified assertions about my character, and the like. Whenever I try to defend myself by raising my experiences, family-ties, credentials, personal accomplishments, personal social/civic ties, knowledge or history, I am then accused of being either boastful or intellectually snobbish. Sometimes I am told that I am elitist, narcissistic or egoistic. Some make false claims that they assert I made; when I ask for the proof in any of my writings on file here on Room8, they never cite any. It’s very frustrating.

Earlier this week, “rwallnerny” claimed that I was not outraged (enough) by Diane Gordon’s re-election to the Assembly, and that I was part of the problem. When I cited columns I did (and dates), displaying not only my outrage, but also my history of political and community involvement with this area/district; and when I also showed where I worked many hours on a campaign trying to unseat her; he never acknowledged my truths. Instead of offering an apology as I requested (since I usually put my money where my mouth is), he started another tirade about my professing to be an elections expert (something I have never claimed to be). He even at one point attacked my photo; unbelievable. Prior to this, he has attacked near everything about me, from my content to my style. What do you do when this happens? I didn’t start it; I don’t even know who the person is.

It’s tough to reason (or try to) with unreasonable people; or with people whose IQs can probably be measured in single digits. Chris Owens has implied before, that I not tackle every person who comes at me on the blogs; maybe he was right. He also said that I should refrain from profanity, maybe he is correct there also; but that’s tough, for me, that’s real tough.

Let me move on to other things political in nature : there is a split in Charles Barron’s camp, but it’s a good one. Barron’s organization is called “Operation Power”, and a few of the members are also members of the nationalist group “December 12th”. Some members of both groups want Barron to tackle Ed Towns (again) next year, for Congress (10th District); others want him to go for either Brooklyn’s Borough Presidency or for the Public Advocate job (city-wide). What’s happening is easily readable; as Barron approaches the end of the line (term-limits), his supporters feel that his voice shouldn’t be lost to the political arena. There are even some suggestions that he challenge Diane Gordon for the Assembly seat (40th), and at the same time relieve Earl Williams of that district leadership. Some others are even suggesting that he go after John Sampson’s senate seat. Expect a lot of heavy negotiations between now and June next year, folks. Last year, Barron got almost twice the number of votes that congressman Towns got in the 40th district. He also whipped Diane Gordon by about 40%. His margin over Williams (on the raw vote count) was even higher than his margin over Gordon.

If Barron tackles Towns next year, then expect Stanley Kinnard to tackle Junior Boyland for the 55th AD. Also, expect to see André Mitchell (40thAD) running again; this time for one or both spots in the district (assembly member and/or district leader). Expect also to see Barron’s ex-chief of staff Paul Washington surface. Washington has been sitting on a race for over a decade. Is a senate run in the cards? Or is it congress? Some are saying city council in 2009; I say those are delusional.

In Brownsville, I am being told that community-activist and TA president Reginald Bowman has retired from politics. They are saying the same thing about Danny King. Can anyone give me the 411? They are also saying that activist Miriam Samad is still without a job since running for the city council two years ago. Samad, who worked for NYCHA, had to quit her job in order to run. She did this despite advice from many (including yours truly), and only garnered just over one hundred votes out of about eleven thousand cast. She got barely over one percent. Samad reasoned that many people in the community came to her and requested that she run. Wow! Karlene Gordon said that her church will support her run for the 40th NYC council district; when it was over she got less than one hundred votes; similarly a little over one per cent. Who tell these people to run; the same folks trying to draft Rock Hackshaw/lol?

In Bedford-Stuy, people are asking who will replace Al Vann- once his eight year pre-retirement leave party comes to an end in two years (term limits) - in the NYC council. Some folks are leery that he would pull the switcheroo with Annette Robinson again. Is Sheronie Perry ever going to run for that seat? Does anyone know?

On the other side of that seat we find Darlene Mealy. This attractive young lady has been out of her element in the council for the past 15 months; to the extent that some are wishing that someone (anyone) will come along and put her out of her misery next election. Expect a crowded field here peeps; last time there were about a hundred candidates (hyperbole/lol).

Is Rhoda Jacobs ever going to retire? Many are asking this question as Michele Adolphe seeks to challenge her in the 42ndAD. Some others are speculating as to when Zacary LaReche sticks his head out. They are saying that the Adolphe vs. LaReche feud is really a personal grudge with emotional undertones, and this is why neither will step back for the other to get a clear shot at Ms. Jacobs. And still others are asking where are James Connolly and George Dames. Some folks feel that Anthony Alexis will re-emerge if Rhoda retires. What about Haitian-American activist Samuel Nicolas? And what about Rock Hacksaw/lol?

Speaking of former challengers to Ms. Jacobs; word is that Anthony Agard was sighted in Queens, and that he isn’t doing well. If anyone reading this knows where Tony is, then tell him to call me. He will know how to get me.

In the 57thAD, word is that Eric Blackwell is considering a run for district leader next year. Eric, who was whipped by Tish James for the 35th council seat in 2005, has been flexing of late. He has feigned running for this seat before, only to be a late scratch. Maybe this time he is serious. What do you think? Is he going to come back at James in 2009? While we are downtown; what’s this thing with Tony Herbert changing back to democrat from republican? Tony has changed parties one or two more times than Brittany Spears has changed panties. I still think he is “dead man walking”. What do you think?

Questions are being asked about Moses “Musa” Moore in the 43rd Assembly district. Moore- the former district leader- lost his spot to Jesse Hamilton last year. Given that Jesse did poorly in last month’s council special election, it is expected that Moore will challenge him next year. Also expected to be challenged next year are Nick Perry and Kevin Parker. Nick who was seen supporting Mathieu Eugene (40th council district) at the recent non-press conference/ demonstration/ rally at city hall, is getting a beating out there, in out-there-land. It’s the worse I have seen in the 16 years Nick has been elected. As for Parker, the word is that Kendall Stewart is going to tackle him soon enough.

Expect challenges in the 39/59/60 ADs. The 41st district leadership may be tested again (first time in 12 years). Nothing much shaping in the other areas. Lots of blacks have moved into the 41st AD, it is said that the demographics have tilted. In the 40th AD, Keith Kinch, Carlos Bristol, Kenneth Evans and Winchester Keys are all staying alive with hopes of running for some office in the short-term. Tony Forman-who once worked for Ed Towns- a Mr. Bradley and a Ms. Huggins, are also said to be staking out the spoils of this area. There are some other names being bandied around, but I am still to get some more clarification on some of them.

There has been some speculation that some folks want to challenge the leaderships in Brooklyn as a way of challenging Vito Lopez; it’s in the speculative stages folks, but you never know. I will keep my ears to the ground if I am still around; if I am not around, then look for me on a beach in Trinidad, Tobago or Puerto Rico.

On election night (2/20/07) of the special election in the 40th NYC council district, Gatemouth introduced himself to me. No kidding. He happened to be in Wellington Sharpe’s campaign headquarters. Gatey (of NYC blogging fame) was correct when he had said that he had met me before. In 2000 he was one of many trying to knock me off the ballot; I survived/lol. He requested that we exchange numbers, but when I called him to discuss this “anonymous commentors thing”, he didn’t return my call/lol.

That election day I drove around to some of the campaign offices just to get a look see. Joel Toney put up a good Election Day fight, but as I mused with some of the people with me, I felt it was too much, too little, too late. It took Joel too long to get fired up and angry. He was the main candidate to bring up residency as an issue in the race; only to no avail. On Election Day, Joel Toney still had much too much literature stacked in his campaign headquarters; this meant that they missed timelines; maybe the snowstorm of the last week hurt them. On election night they even stole some of his votes- check the recount- and credited them to Ms. McNally. Many candidates, including Gordon, Tulloch, Hopkins, Schiffman, and McNally, had no Election Day operation of worth. Mo Ravzi brought a political heavy-hitter from the Bronx to run things; his name was Michael Nieves.

Also on Election Day, there was definitely Haitian-American energy on the streets. Some people were calling a Eugene victory as early as 4pm. Jesse Hamilton put up a rear-guard action by pulling out some very energetic workers from DC37very late in the afternoon. Their gallant efforts fell short. Wellington Sharpe had a good operation, but many voters seemed truer to their union-endorsee than say a candidate with name-recognition. Jennifer James had a decent operation based on Nostrand Avenue, in the identical location where Frances Purcell carried a similar operation in 2001; coincidentally, both operations came in second.

Still speaking of the 40th city council race and the pending re-run, expect the field to be down to about four or five candidates. I hear that Zenobia McNally, Mo Ravzi, Wellington Sharpe and Harry Schiffman are all returning; so too Mathieu Eugene-who will be a heavy favorite. I heard that there were many conversations going on amongst most of the runner-ups, but at this point the alignments are inchoate. Jennifer James put out a release stating that she isn’t running now, but implying that she may run for this seat again in September; with Leithland Tulloch, Joel Toney and Gerry Hopkins all staying home this go around. Karlene Gordon is supposedly supporting Eugene this time around. Jesse Hamilton isn’t going either. It was said today that Jesse is presently neutral in this race.

The question in this upcoming race is whether or not Eugene has damaged himself with all the hoop-la of the post-election period; this question leaves one to second-guess the decisions of the runner-up Jennifer James and her team. When I suggested in my last column, that James should go to court with an injunction stopping the re-run, and requesting that the court put her in the seat since Eugene relinquished his selection like a wimp, many thought I was on some banned/and/or controlled substance. Think about it; isn’t it better to challenge the inchoate rules, than to have the city undertake the expense of a re-run for this; especially if Eugene wins again (something that is quite likely)? Who do you think will look like the hero here? James of course, since she will be saving the money of overburdened taxpayers; but then, who ever listen to Cousin Rocky? Plus, who do you think gets all the press? This was a ground ball folks.

The least James should have done was run; after all, she was the runner-up. If not, she needed to support one of the runners against Eugene in order to build some allies for the future. Even if Eugene wins the re-run, he still has the word “self-destruct” written all over his forehead. Anyway, we will know soon enough; I hear the race will be re-run on Tuesday 24th April, 2007.

Stay tuned-in folks; whether I am here or not. It’s your civic duty; it’s your civic responsibility.