Rock Hackshaw's blog
It was somewhere around this time (early June) a few years ago, while musing with a political crack head, I hinted that each new petition-drive was becoming more and more mundane. His answer felt like a bucket of cold water thrown into the sleeping face of a political addict. He told me that he looked forward to every new election-cycle with eager anticipation and excitement, since each New Year in politics, brings unique personalities, situations, events and occurrences. He was right. And although I fall off the wagon from time to time-especially when these somnambulant black electeds piss me off (which is often) - I always remember his words around this time. You see, this is when the phone starts ringing non-stop, as people recruit help or references while putting together late campaigns. This year however is slightly different. This is the year of the withdrawal(s). Lots of candidates are withdrawing, and by the end of this article you will get the inside scoop on some more withdrawals upcoming. Some may or may not surprise you.
Irish legends suggest that a leprechaun is a mischievous elf, who resembles a little old man. He possesses gold-which he hides away- and is very very lucky. Sometimes, he even touches things and they turn into gold, literally or figuratively. So looking back at Mayor Bloomberg’s personal life, his business and political career, I now posit the question: Is Mayor Bloomberg a leprechaun?
By his own admission he got lucky in business. He even admitted to skirting around the peripheries of ethics and public-safety (my words), while conducting business in the early days. This can be extrapolated from the many things written about his business conduct. Some say that brilliant people make their own luck, so maybe the guy is brilliant. And as such, he should be admired.
Every fortnight from here on in I will try to produce a column called: “The Grapevine”. I suggest you fasten your seatbelts for this the first column. What this column will do is breakdown the things that are being said in “out- there-land”, better known as the political grapevine. The reason I choose to do it on a bi-weekly basis is because I don’t want to be known as the Cindy Adams of NYC politics. It wouldn’t just be about political-gossip. I do intend to track down sources/players, and also ascertain the veracity and plausibility of the stories I report. I will try to inform not ridicule. It will be all about “the story behind the story”, if you catch my drift.
When I first broke the news (1-22-06) on the Politicker, that Charles Barron was challenging Ed Towns for his congressional seat, some callers thought I was smoking crack. Well, I may be a political-junkie, but I don’t smoke crack. Never did. Never will. I took a lil “toke” on some reefer here and there- during my younger days- but I never went further. I never liked the idea of cocaine and other drugs even then, and nowadays I have zero tolerance for drugs, period. Anyway, after their initial shock-on ascertaining the truth of my post- the detractors argued that Barron would pull out, just like he did in his mayoral bid. Even after he filed his committee and showed close to a hundred thousand dollars being raised in a couple months, many detractors still insisted that he wasn’t in the race for the long haul. Well get over it detractors because Charles Barron is for real in this race.
Now that Nick Perry is out of the race for the 11th Congressional District, I predict that Yvette Clarke will make major changes within her campaign team. Yvette, who has now emerged as the favorite to win the seat, will bring in a new campaign manager/ management team soon. Her current manager will be either axed or reassigned, if it hasn’t been done already. Note that this is the same manager who came in, with lots of fanfare about four months ago. Word is that Yvette wants to shift gears and move into winning stride. It’s her race to lose. She will revamp the campaign as a way to invigorate a soporific start.
As far as I know Noah “Nick” Perry was never a math teacher-and I have known him for about 20 years. He is educated, resilient, crafty, and tenacious. Over the years he has also demonstrated some political ambition, and he has never been afraid to articulate it. Back in 1998, when I was leading an insurgent charge in Brooklyn, he and I almost came to blows at the Board of Elections on Adams Street. He was attempting to knock one of our guys off the ballot, and while overhearing his conversation, I found him to be abusive and threatening (verbally), thus we got into each other’s face- so to speak. Now this was uncharacteristic of Nick, since he is usually mild-mannered and does possess the desired decorum of an elected official, however he is Jamaican–born, and there is a tendency amongst most Jamaican men not to back-down when confronted, for fear of being labeled a “pussy”. Maybe that fear has kept Nick in the race for the 11th Congressional District all this time. Very few people think that he has a chance of winning, and even a third grade student knows, that when you run for congress from an assembly seat that you have held for 12 years, you must subtract your old seat. It’s simple arithmetic.
So another poll came out today from the Quinnipiac people telling us what we already know: that Elliot Spitzer is leading in the gubernatorial race. In the immortal words of one former Nets basketball-player, “whoop-dee-damn-doo”. To me this is where New York’s politics appear trite. Of course, it’s an artifact of the “silly season”.
There are few people who would deny that Elliot Spitzer has done a decent job as Attorney General of New York State. I would think only a handful maybe, and probably Republicans mostly. Some of his detractors say he is a bit aggressive and “macho”, others say he is a bully. Others yet claim that he is an “alpha–male” all the way, possessing too much testosterone. Point being, there is no real attack on his competency and/or capability. In most regards, this is good for Spitzer.
The only area where Spitzer seems vulnerable is the one where his relationship with Albany legislators can be gauged. The least you can say is that he has been quite accommodating. Can anyone find the public attacks on Albany (from Spitzer) in the past decade? And for sure, most elected officials are lining up in droves to endorse him. Not surprisingly, his endorsement list will be an Albany “who is who” list.
Last Thursday night, at the endorsement meeting of Brooklyn's Independent Neighborhood Democratic Political Club ( IND), Charles Barron almost did the unthinkable: he came within a handful of votes from winning the club's endorsement for the 10th Congressional race. Observers ( both black and white) claimed that he blew away the group with his presentation. He did so well that it took 3 ballots for the club to end up with a " no endorsement". Don't forget that the chairperson of this club is a Towne's staffer.
Most people there were surprised that Barron could connect so well with a white audience, and this was dismaying to many of his detractors. If this is an indication of how tough this campaign could get for the incumbent, then it's imperative that all of you in "out-here-land", keep your seat belts on.
Jerry Skurnik is probably the most academic of all the resident bloggers here, and that’s good. His columns are factual and insightful. He backs up his positions with stats and verifiable info. He hardly moves to those fudgy areas of innuendo, speculation and political gossip, where most bloggers move on occasion, and where a few actually reside permanently. And that’s good.
I have commented on the race for the 20th Senatorial district twice in the past 5 weeks, and what I have written is there for everyone to see. That's why I blog openly. I use my full name because I want to be responsible for what I write. I refuse to take the coward's way out, and hit someone from behind a sobriquet. I don't hide because I am not afraid. Politics should brook no coward, but alas, cowardice abounds in this "game".
Stupidity also abounds, but thats somewhat understandable given today's educational climate, with standards perpetually deteriorating. Too many people leave school unable to think critically, or even rationalize well. It's unfortuneate, but "c'est la vie". I do believe that candidates for public should be able to differentiate between common sense and stupidity, and when their supporters make stupid statements, the candidates should immediately move to correct them. With all this as a backdrop, I hope that Eric Adams and Anthony Alexis would get a grip on their supporters like immediately.
Back in the 80's, Clarence Norman beat back a few challenges from islanders. In 1984 he faced two, Carl Roberts and Maurice Gumbs. Two years later, Gumbs backed off to let Roberts tackle Norman. It didn't matter, Clarence held serve. Then there was a lull on the front, until Joan Gill stepped forward to challenge Clarence. Joan was born and bred in Brooklyn, just as James Davis was. She tackled Clarence twice; in 1992 and 1996. I managed her last campaign, and found out for the
The 20th Senatorial District mainly covers pieces of Crown Heights, Flatbush, Kensington, Clinton Hill and Park Slope. It is roughly 63% black, 18% white, 13% hispanic and 6% other. For about two decades, current Borough President Marty Markowitz was the incumbent. When Marty was elected Boro Prez in 2001, a special election to fill the created vacancy, saw Carl Andrews (Dem.) defeat Frances Purcell (Rep.); he successfully defended the seat later that year, in a primary election against Wellington Sharpe and Mickey Haller. Last year Andrews had no primary challenge, and we really don't have to discuss what happens in Novembers in this district. It's a foregone conclusion that once you have the Dem. party line, you win the general election.
Ten years ago, Bill Clinton signed into law an anti-terrorism measure, that has turned out to be one of the worst pieces of legislation impacting on the Caribbean and Latin-America. One of its provisions included repatriating immigrants-both legal and undocumented- for infractions here. It also expanded deportation programs which targeted those undocumented, even though undocumented aliens are amongst the most law-abiding (with the obvious exceptions, of course) of people living here. Within a year, some were deported for as simple a thing as jumping the subway turnstile in New York City. Initially, there were many who seemed to see no problem in all this, after all, if you are residing in a host country, it behooves you to obey the law - probably, even moreso than if you were still residing in the country of your birth. Well, not really. Only one country saw the deeper problem that this new policy would manifest. That country was Argentina.