Rock Hackshaw's blog
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.
Last week I took a deserved "spring break", since being out of the city for a bit is always re-invigorating. Thanks for the e-mails and phone-calls from those of you who missed me here and were concerned. I am fine , except for a lil hypertension- which is genetic. I must admit that I was surprised (and no, Gatemouth wasn't one of them), it tells me that people are reading "Room 8". So let's take our hats off to Ben Smith and Gur Tsabar. Real pioneers in this day and age.
I walked right in to the poll showing Spitzer still leading big, and yes I am a bit taken aback that Suozzi hasn't cracked the twenty- percentile as yet. I am still hopeful though. I hate coronations even more than I hate royalty. I like a good old- fashioned horse race. After all, in November we democrats will be all lining up behind our nominee, to ensure that another Republican like Pataki ( "Potato-head") doesn't trick us anymore.
There are things that happen in this city, that elicit an immediate outcry from black leaders, once they occur. And then there are things that happen, where these same leaders stay awfully quiet, when they shouldn't. Last week we saw this play out once again.
On East 125th Street in Harlem, a young white male was struck by a car, while running to avoid being robbed and beaten by a group of young kids of color. The young man subsequently died from the injuries he suffered. He happened to be a student of New York University on his way home.
Yesterday was Palm Sunday, and true to form -like on most holy days - the "Christian" volcano within me started rumbling again. I must be truthful in saying that I have been long estranged from my christian roots. In fact, I presently consider myself a non-conformist. However, on days like these ( significant in religious lore), perspicacity seems to always set in, and before you know it, I am off on some excrutiating mental journey. Yesterday was no different. And yes, my religious mama did say that there would be days like this. She did.
Last week, in a Brooklyn Court House, far removed from the glare and scrutiny of the New York media, Senator Kevin Parker squared off with his political nemesis Wellington Sharpe ( through lawyers of course), once again. The last time these two had squared off was fall 2004, when they both attended a birthday party for NYC council-member Kendall Stewart, at Cafe Omar in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. This is where Sharpe claims that Parker physically assaulted him for the second time that year. And for the second time Sharpe made a complaint to the NYPD. The first complaint had come a few months earlier, after they had attended an event in Brooklyn sponsored by Haitian-American activists. Don't expect these two to be exchanging Christmas gifts any time soon folks.
Back in Trinidad when I was in high school, I fancied myself a boxer. So I would go to the gym on many an afternoon, trying to emulate the moves of the many great professionals that I had seen or read about. Sometimes I would showboat (hot-dog) , because I had quick hands and feet. To my chagrin, the coach would always admonish me to "keep it simple". I hated to hear him say that: "just keep it simple, no need for all that fancy stuff".
Then I left high school and found that coach's words could be applied to life, and usually that the simpler you keep it the better. So after doing my research on the latest Cynthia McKinney news-making incident, my old coach came to mind.
An excited Charles Barron called early this morning, to inform that he has raised more money in 2 months running for Congress, than he had raised in 2 years running for Mayor of New York City. Barron said that when he files for his congressional committee next week, it will show a total of around seventy-five thousand dollars raised in the last 2 months ( Feb. and March/2006). In his excitement, he forgot to mention that he had personally loaned the campaign twenty thousand dollars to kick-jump its late start. He stated that he finally made his mind up about entering the race on 1-22-2006, and has been fundraising mainly over the phone ever since. He still has no official fundraiser and is running a typical unorthodox "Barronesque" campaign, relying heavily on grassroot popular support and committed volunteers.
Whilst the US Congress debates the thorny issues of immigration and national security, all rolled into one great immigration reform package , the silence in Brooklyn of so-called Caribbean - American leaders is deafening. But then: what's new? In 1996 President Bill Clinton signed a supposed anti-terrorism bill, that turned out to be the worst piece of legislation afflicting the Caribbean, in the then 220 year history of this country. Ten years after this signing, the "islands" ( and all the mainland countries touching the Caribbean Sea), are suffering a crime-wave of anarchic porportions. For those unfamiliar with the issue, the US government started a systematic deportation of lawbreakers, with no regard for the impact. It has been devestating, especially in Trinidad, Haiti,Jamaica and Guyana.
Everyone surely knows by now that Assemblywoman Diane Gordon ( 40AD/ East New York/Brooklyn), has been directly linked to the whole sordid Clarence Norman corruption mess. What is also known is that Ms. Gordon had failed to file campaign finance reports for almost 6 years or so. Rumor has it that Ms. Gordon is close to an indictment for various political money shenanigans , especially when she pleaded "the fifth"on the stand, as a witness during one of Norman's trials. It was stated some time aback that Ms. Gordon asked for immunity when Norman was before the Grand Jury. It was also stated that DA Hynes refused to grant her request.
Guess who ended up as David Patterson's Campaign Manager for his Lt. Governor run (coronation)?
YES, you guessed it: LUTHER SMITH. The former chief-of -staff to C.Viriginia Fields ( ex-Manhattan Beep ) was last seen working on Freddie Ferrer's Mayoral campaign, as a Special-Assistant to the candidate himself (post-primary). This likeable, hard-working and competent guy, was rumored to have hooked up with Bill Lynch's consulting firm. From where we stand at this moment in time, it looks like a 'piece of cake " for Luther. Score one for the nice-guys.
Gubernatorial candidate Tom Suozzi is in Brooklyn today making the rounds. Among those he is scheduled to meet are Wellington Sharpe ( announced candidate for the 58th AD), and NYC councilmember Charles Barron- who is running for Congress in the 10th Congressional District.
Suozzi whose candidacy is considered a longshot by many, has a lot of catching-up to do against his opponent AG Elliot Spitzer, relative to the black vote. Polls show him as a relatively unknown amongst black voters. He will be well advised to work very hard in Brooklyn.
Last week, the publisher of "Footnotes" newspaper (Maurice Gumbs), had a lengthy conversation with Assemblymember Nick Perry. From this encounter Gumbs has stated emphatically that Nick is running for the 11th Congressional seat. This surprising news item comes amid speculation that Perry was a late scratch from the crowded field. It further bolsters a recent report in the Caribbean Life newspaper, wherein Perry was quoted as saying " reports of my political demise ( regarding this race)are grossly exaggerated".
Today there is even more speculation that the late scratch will be Yvette Clarke instead, since Ms. Clarke is widely seen as hitting the same voting base ( Caribbean-Americans) as Perry. There is also speculation that Ms.Clarke is having fundraising issues. My feeling is that Yvette is determined to contest this race no matter what.
Candidates from Brooklyn's 10th Congressional race faced off in a public debate last weekend. NYC council member Charles Barron, Assemblyman Roger Green and Hip-hop entrepeneur Kevin Powell appeared before an audience of about sixty community residents at Grace memorial Baptist Church. One week earlier, candidates from the 11thCongressional District appeared before the same crowd, as Pastor Underwood continues to hold these forums, in hopes of awakening public interest in the upcoming races.