THE RACE FOR BROOKLYN’S ELEVENTH CONGRESSIONAL IN 2012.
Since I am in my seventh year blogging in NYC, I am going to introduce a new format shortly, to supplement my “Vines” column (which I hardly do anymore anyway). I will call it “People Are Saying”. It will bring you some choice tidbits of political gossip, from my many wide and varied sources: developed after thirty nine and a half years in NYC politics. I will try to make it a quarterly column. So strap in when you see it show up. I will try to debut said column later this month, or sometime next month. I am still working it out in my head. If you have lively items you believe to be newsworthy then give me a call.
In this column today I will focus on the 11th congressional primary which is about to go down hard. I will eventually get around to the 10th congressional; but that’s some ways away. Expect some surprises in that column folks.
People are saying that Sylvia Kinard’s challenge to congress-woman Yvette Clarke (11th District) is Bill Thompson’s worst nightmare. Why? Well, they say it’s because Bill Thompson is the last person on earth who should want to see his ex-wife challenge Yvette.
For obvious reasons relative to full disclosure, let me say that I am seriously angling towards fully endorsing Bill Thompson for mayor. I have made this known in at least two or three columns over the past year or so. Thus these whispers are troubling.
Here is the skinny: word is that that there are so many skeletons and rotting corpses buried beneath that nightmare marriage and contentious divorce, that once this race gets to mud, shit could back up from the sewer and hurt Bill’s mayoral ambitions. There is real concern that after this race Bill may withdraw from mayoral contention: if enough (or too much) stuff hits the fan so to speak.
I have heard that there are rumors of Newt Gingrich-like “open-marriage” requests, inclinations or insinuations; two wives all living under one roof; innuendos of “wild-life activities” and strange “proclivities”; cheating and adultery; questions over who is straight or gay; questions over who was gold-digging or not; etcetera; etcetera. I am told that there is enough here to start a new soap opera series on ABC to replace “One Life to Live”.
I am also told that Una Clarke will do anything to protect her daughter’s seat. And Una is a mud-wrestler and a maroon when pushed. When you “Google” things you never know what you find about political opponents. It is expected that Una and Michael Roberts (one of Yvette’s political strategists) will slash and burn their way to victory while taking no prisoners: if Bill Thompson and Sylvia Kinard are casualties then so be it.
A little birdie (pro-Una Clarke) told me that Sylvia Kinard-Thompson was once Una’s attorney; and this is a treacherous challenge. But then look what happened in 2000 when Una challenged Major Owens; some thought there was perfidy behind that challenge. In a democracy, people have a right to challenge incumbents: it’s that simple. And yet, what goes around comes around; no?
Already the pro-Clarkes-crowd is saying that this is a Jewish-backed cabal. They believe that Kinard is a pawn in the bigger chess game. They say Yvette’s votes on Israeli/Palestinian issues should have nothing to do with this district/race: but it does. They further believe that it’s all about punishment for perceived slights to Jewish-interests. There are some in the Caribbean-American basin who believe that this seat (11th) belongs to them (going back to Shirley Chisholm). This race could lead to a rift between two established communities in this area, if Kinard is tied to Jewish-interests adverse to the Clarkes.
When I first wrote about this about two years ago, some folks dismissed my sources and the speculation. Maybe I had the candidate wrong (Mealy); or maybe I didn’t elaborate enough. I told you folks that there were people out there looking for a candidate to challenge Yvette. You know how I knew that? Well I concluded it after viewing three or four different angles; plus some feelers were even sent my way. I kept repeatedly telling strange folks in strange phone calls that I had no interest in running for Congress. Sure I write all sorts of shit in my “Vines” columns/lol; but running for Congress was just stuff written to fuck with all those who love to come up on the blogs and make my life miserable here.
I have tremendous respect for the political successes of the Clarkes. I am not an enemy but I will never kiss their asses either. I don’t do that: period. I am an independent political agent thus there aren’t many alliances which handcuff me. I can support whoever I want in any race I want.
This has always been the case. For example: if someone runs against Nick Perry this year (as is rumored); then I will be supporting that person once it is someone palatable and relatively qualified for the spot. Nick has pissed me off again. I am hoping it is either Colin Moore or Pam Miller who runs against him; or Marcia Massado; or Wellington Sharpe; or Gale Reed-Barnett. Nick hasn’t had a primary in 14 years, and yet he cries a river whenever a possible opponent is mentioned. He wasn’t born to own that friggin seat (58th AD). This sense of entitlement that electeds carry around is outrageous. That's why they often put in their sons, or daughters, or husbands, wives, nephews, neieces, brothers or sisters, to replace them; usually after they plead guilty of corruption.
I believe all incumbents should be challenged every election cycle. They should be forced to make the case to their constituents as to why they should be re-elected. I believe that those who have been in office over twelve years should seriously consider voting in the twelve-year term limit legislation I am pushing.
What can Nick Perry still be aiming to accomplish after 20years in this seat? What could be on his legislative agenda after all this time that he has failed to achieve? Why? And where is that community center he promised us for this district way before he even got elected; way back when he headed up the community board? What district concerns are so pressing that he has to take more than two decades (already) to fix or tackle successfully?
Anyway, enough about Nick: this is what I know about Sylvia Kinard-Thompson.
I have been told that she was once a Republican, and that she once worked with the Pataki administration. I met her way back in the nineteen nineties. She was running for school board in the Fort Greene area of Brooklyn. Back then Sylvia Kinard was a very impressive candidate. She won one of the school board spots.
There were at least three very impressive candidates in that district that year: Chris Owens and Eric Blackwell were two others who spring to mind after almost two decades. All three mentioned here won election to the board. Chris impressively garnered the highest number of first place votes while running alone (with no ticket). Kinard and Blackwell also did well in the rather crowded race.
Kinard was a very impressive member. For some reason she didn’t last long on the board (as far as my memory serves me). I think she left to pick up some appointment somewhere. I also remember someone saying she worked in the city council as an attorney (or was it at Corporate Counsel?). Back then I was a member of the board of directors of the Fort Greene Community Action Network (CAN). Peregrinating that area was something I did while writing for the local newspaper.
Point is this: Sylvia kinard is a viable opponent for Yvette Clarke. She is qualified, experienced and can surely articulate the needs and issues of this district: at least I suspect she can. But I do have a downside with her candidacy and I will elaborate further.
Before doing that let me tell you I have no dog in this hunt: none whatsoever. If I move back to Brooklyn later this spring, then I will have to vote in either the 10th or 11th congressional races. That’s when I will decide who to endorse and support in either race. Until then I am just an impartial observer with a blog column: whereby hundreds of thousands of readers (worldwide) check in for a viewpoint every month.
Back in 2006, I endorsed Chris Owens over Yvette Clarke for one specific major reason; and for a few other minor ones. That endorsement has caused me enough grief within the Caribbean-American political community since then. I have no regret.
Right now I haven’t found good reasons to endorse against Yvette as yet. As such, my interest in this race is purely academic to this point.
I am always leery about a challenger for Congress who wouldn’t do the prerequisite fittings in the races down-ballot. By that I mean this: where is the Kinard ticket? Who is running with her? Who is on her petitions? Are there candidates mounting challenges in any or all of ADs # 41, 42, 43, 44, 55, 56, 57 and 58? Or in the senatorial districts numbered 18, 19, 20 and 21? Who will be carrying her within their Election Day operations? Who will be carrying her on their petitions? Will there be district leader challenges, county committee members, or even judicial delegates: all aligned with the congressional insurgent? There; now I am offering advice for which I should be getting paid a fee.
I don’t see all the requisite activity. I don’t hear it or feel it. As such, my suspicion is that this is being backed from some high-falutin perch and not from some serious grassroots activity. This could just be ambition gone wild; since congressional challenges are the hardest hard. Or, it could be something being solidly backed by forces unknown.
Look folks, we have about two weeks left before the petition process starts, and I don’t see heavy public relations campaigns announcing this insurgent. In this district she is up against a big surname (Clarke). There is no real buzz on the street. It’s more like a ho-hum. There is more activity in the 42nd AD race than in the 11th congressional. Hopefully I will get around to writing about the 42nd AD soon. It’s hot.
Ms. Kinard will have to explain her motivation here. Where has she been over the past dozen years or so, when there have been many political fights within this congressional district? Who has she supported for say, congress, or the state senate, or the assembly, or for city council, or even for district leader, within the eleventh’s catchment area? So you see, there are some questions to be answered.
It’s not that I am so enamored by Yvette’s performance over the last six years; truth be told: I am not fully sold. Especially when she couldn’t nuance the answer to the PBS question: are you a Caribbean-American? Given it took Caribbean-American voters to deliver her into every office she won. But it’s not like she has fallen on her face and publicly embarrassed Brooklyn either. Therefore I am not going to jump on any challenger coming down the pike just because I am a rebel without pause.
I guess I should try to land interviews with both candidates here. What do you think?
Stay tuned in folks: just in case I decide to pursue this further.
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