Charles Barron, the bombastic Brooklyn councilman who lost a contentious congressional primary to Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries this summer, now has his eye on the city’s second highest elected office–Public Advocate. Mr. Barron, who will be term-limited out of his current seat next year, is also, as has long been speculated, considering running for the assembly seat currently held by his wife, Inez, who may campaign to succeed her husband in the City Council. If Ms. Barron were successful in that effort, a special election would be held to replace her position in the State Legislature.
A tipster informed Politicker Mr. Barron has recently made a round of calls to test the waters for a potential Public Advocate run. When we reached the councilman today, he confirmed he has been discussing the possibility with members of his “inner circle.”
“I’ve been talking to my inner circle about it, but I haven’t been making calls outside of my inner circle,” Mr. Barron said of a possible campaign for Public Advocate. “I’m definitely considering that and also considering, you know, my wife is considering a run for the City Council and I’m considering her seat as well. Those two things we definitely have open.”
For decades, the barriers that have separated the people of New York and Hart Island have been nearly as insuperable as the boundaries between the living and the dead.
Visiting the city’s potter’s field—one of the few in the country that is still in active use—has been almost entirely forbidden, with family members of the approximately 850,000 people buried there granted highly-restricted, and some say grudging access, to a small, fenced-off area by the island’s ferry dock. The city purchased the 101-acre island off the coast of City Island in the Bronx in 1868 and designated it “a public burial place for the poor and strangers.” Although the island once housed a reformatory, a workhouse, a convalescent hospital and a prisoner of war camp, the Department of Corrections, the island’s caretaker, has always cited security concerns in defense of its strict closed-off policies. Prisoners from Rikers perform the burials.
Now the City Council is considering two likely-to-pass bills (introduced by council member Elizabeth Crowley, who chairs the Committee on Fire & Criminal Justice Services) that would make Hart Island a more open and accessible place. Read More
The campaign for Manhattan Borough President fields the entire range of geographic diversity, with council members from the Upper East Side, Upper West Side and Harlem all running–or at least mulling doing so–as well as Downtown’s Julie Menin.Well, Ms. Menin, a former community board chairwoman, appeared to be reaching into the turf of her Uptown rival, Councilman Robert Jackson, where she held a “Menin Meetup” house party last night hosted by former Community Board 9 Chair Larry English, current CB9 Chair Rev. Georgiette Morgan-Thomas and Matthew Washington, Chair of Community Board 11. Local district leaders Marisol Alcantara and Theresa Freeman were also in attendance.
Ruh roh: Disgraced lobbyist Richard Lipsky, previously convicted of bribing ex-State Senator Carl Kruger, was sentenced to only 3 months after facing a maximum of 10 years. This came after the politically connected Mr. Lipsky started working with federal authorities, presumably naming names. Are indictments of New York elected officials around the corner? Seems like it.
It’s time for the latest installment of our weekly scorecard for next year’s potential mayoral candidates, rating how they’ve been doing in recent days. Overall, the candidates seemed generally pretty active on the issues they cared about, with the biggest change possibly being a Wall Street Journalreport discussing Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s feelings and meetings with the candidates. But at Politicker, we’re really just interested in Lady Gaga. That’s something you’re just going to have to deal with.
Watch out Maggie Gyllenhaal, in certain districts of New York City, local elected officials are not cool with you right now. The problem at hand? Her new movie, Won’t Back Down, where she portrayed the role of frustrated public school parent using the local “parent trigger” law to take over the failing educational institution and turn it around. A group of public school advocates have already released a video entitled “Educating Maggie” outlining their beefs with the film, but now politicians are getting on Ms. Gyllenhaal’s case as well.
“No matter what some Hollywood movie says, this ‘Parent Trigger Law’ is a dangerous ruse to undermine public education in the United States by systematically weakening the relationship between parents and schools, and our communities cannot and will not allow it to happen,” Councilman James Sanders said, for example, in a press release put out by the group New Yorkers for Great Public Schools.
President Barack Obama took some heat for not scheduling a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while the latter leader was in the United States for the U.N. General Assembly this week. The president (sort of) addressed that criticism today by making time to meet Mr. Netanyahu (via telephone). According to a “readout” of the conversation distributed by the White House Press Office, “the two leaders discussed a range of security issues, and the President reaffirmed his and our country’s unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.”
In advance of the upcoming elections, the women’s magazine Marie Claire got a look inside the purses of several prominent female candidates for their “Running in Heels” feature. Based on their findings, iPads and other Apple gear are must-have accessories on the campaign trail, but a few of the women in the article apparently tote less standard fare including one candidate with a heavy energy drink habit and another who’s packing heat.