MSNBC host and civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton released a statement this morning reacting to former Mayor Ed Koch’s death. In his statement, Mr. Sharpton noted he eventually came to “understand Koch,” though he was initially a staunch critic of the mayor and received his “first arrest” protesting the Koch administration.
“I am saddened to hear of the passing of former Mayor Ed Koch,” Mr. Sharpton began. “Throughout his twelve years of being mayor, I was one of his most vociferous critics. In fact, my first arrest was leading a sit-in on him about summer jobs for youth in 1978. We later united and worked together around the country in a national campaign for nonviolent drug offenders to give them a second chance in life, and we ended up getting to know and understand each other.”
Florida Congressman Allen West appeared on Fox & Friends this morning to discuss a campaign commercial released by his rival that shows him punching an old white woman in the face. Mr. West, who is African-American, said he believes the ad is evidence of a double standard where liberals are not rebuked for making racially charged attacks that would get conservatives in hot water.
‘Think about this, think about if the Republican Party or a conservative PAC ran a picture of a black Democratic politician or congressman punching white women and white seniors. I’m sure that MSNBC, NBC and the Huffington Post and everyone would be going apopleptic right now,” said Mr. West. “But once again, there are different rules.”
Mr. West said liberals feel like it is open season for them to target black conservatives because the Democratic Party has African-American activists, specifically the NAACP and the reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, “well-placed.” As evidence of this, he cited the fact that none of these activists came to his aid when the controversial ad was released.
Harlem restaurateur Sylvia Woods was a legendary chef, but she was also a key figure in the Uptown political scene. At her funeral service at Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon today, many of the high-powered regulars from Woods’ eponymous restaurant showed up to share their remembrances and pay tribute to Woods as a pioneering African-American businesswoman, an ally in the civil rights struggle and, of course, a superb chef.
“Every protest, every movement, every plan, every law started with a breakfast, or lunch or a dinner at Sylvia’s,” former Governor David Paterson explained.
Among the thousands who turned out to march down Fifth Avenue in protest of the NYPD’s stop and frisk policy Sunday were several prominent political opponents of the practice, which saw police stop over 685,000 people, the vast majority of whom were people of color, while collecting 780 guns. Likely candidates in next year’s mayoral election have focused on reforming some elements of the controversial policy, but many of the leaders who participated in the march explained to The Politicker that they want stop and frisk ended entirely.
“I don’t know how you can keep it and take the quotas and the profiling out of it and, therefore, I think they need an entirely new program. I don’t know how you mend something based on quotas and race,” said Reverend Al Sharpton, one of the organizers of the march.
Today, political types experienced déja vu and marveled at Al Sharpton’s weight loss. Here’s our roundup of the day’s best Tweets from the campaign trail.
As Albany moves forward with its budget negotiations, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Reverend Al Sharpton made sure to tout a recent agreement to reform juvenile detention centers. The changes will allow New York City to place young offenders in facilities closer to the city, and it appears likely this reform will ultimately come to pass.
“For too long, too many of our City’s young people have been shunted off upstate – hundreds of miles from family, school and community and far from the support they need to get back on course,” Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Sharpton said in a statement this afternoon. “Today’s budget agreement includes a landmark overhaul of our juvenile justice system, paving the way for young people in the system to receive services close to their families and more easily transition back into their communities and productive lives.”
Martin Luther King Day has passed us by, but Al Sharpton became the latest political figure to invoke the late Civil Rights hero in the fight between Cablevision and their employees in Brooklyn who want to unionize with the Communications Workers of America. Mr. Sharpton made his comments about MLK while speaking to Cablevision staffers yesterday.
Demonstrating the traction that the issue has among elected officials, a plethora of prominent officials have signed a letter to the CEO of Cablevision, James Dolan critical of what they feel are anti-union efforts on behalf of the company. The list includes several top 2013 candidates in Comptroller John Liu, Speaker Chris Quinn, and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, as well as other notable names like Reverend Al Sharpton, Minority Leader John Sampson, Congress Members, Council Members and more.
“We are very disappointed that Cablevision refused to participate in the public, union-management debate this past Wednesday, over the merits of union representation for your Brooklyn workforce,” the letter begins. “This debate would have provided an opportunity to bring conversations about joining the union out of the darkness of your ‘captive audience’ meetings and into the public where Cablevision, union organizers and workers could have an open discussion.”
Law & Order
Several New York City Council members want to wade into the battle over Arizona’s controversial illegal immigration law, SB1070. Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Councilmen Ydanis Rodriguez and Daniel Dromm plan to introduce a bill today urging the Supreme Court to uphold a federal injunction against the law. SB1070, which was originally signed into law by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer in April 2010, mandates immigrants in Arizona to carry their federal registration documents at all times and requires police officers to detain those they suspect are here without authorization and verify their immigration status “when practicable.” Three months after SB1070 was passed, the Department of Justice successfully sued in federal court to stop enforcement of the law before it took effect. Arizona appealed the injunction, and on December 12, the Supreme Court announced it would hear the case.
“New York is a town founded by immigrants, built by immigrants and today nearly 40% of our population are immigrants,” Councilman Rodriguez said in a statement announcing the bill. ”So when we in the Council see other parts of the country stripping immigrants of their rights, there is no question that we have to act. As the Supreme Court gets ready to decide on the Justice Deparment’s challenge to SB1070, we want them to know that New York City stands with the immigrants of Arizona in saying that this law has got to go.”
As the deadline for the taxi bill enters the 11th hour, Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s office is pushing the support of it from an influential quarter: Rev. Al Sharpton.
According to the release:
Reverend Al Sharpton, President of National Action Network, and one of the country’s foremost leaders for civil rights, along with the National Action Network’s Board of Directors, are appealing to NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign the historic five-borough taxi legislation saying it is about fairness and justice: fairness for all of the neighborhoods that the yellow taxi industry has refused to serve for decades, and justice for 40,000 livery drivers who would finally be able to earn a living without hiding in the shadows.