Indicted Assemblyman Eric Stevenson will today lose his executive post with the Assembly’s Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Caucus, multiple sources told Politicker.
Mr. Stevenson, arrested in April for allegedly accepting $20,000 in bribes to steer legislation, is not seeking re-election as second vice president of the caucus. He must submit a letter of resignation to officially quit the caucus altogether, however.
Assemblyman Karim Camara, chairman of the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus, is “deeply shocked and outraged” by his fellow lawmaker Dov Hikind’s “black basketball player” Purim costume. In his statement on the costume, Mr. Camara described it as “insensitive,” compared it to the “blackface minstrel show” and demanded an apology.
“I am deeply shocked and outraged by the insensitive actions of Assemblyman Hikind, to dress as a black basketball player complete with tanned skin and an Afro wig,” Mr. Camara said. “We, as leaders have to be extremely careful that we foster understanding amongst our different cultural groups and not use the images of one as a tool for humor. In speaking with many African Americans both leaders and average citizens, the outrage is widespread.”
After months of rumors, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer has officially decided to run for City Comptroller next year. He was previously considering a campaign for mayor, but he said his experience exploring that race convinced him to run for the city’s top financial office. Mr. Stringer spoke to Politicker about his decision earlier today and said he will formally launch his campaign in three weeks. Rather than an avoidance of the crowded mayor’s race, Mr. Stringer characterized his entry into the comptroller race as a move to confront the most crucial issues currently facing the city.
“What’s needed right now is an experienced hand who can partner with the mayor when it’s in the best interests of the city, but also someone with the independence and backbone to stand up to special interests, to call out wasteful spending and to safeguard the city’s pension funds,” said Mr. Stringer. “That is what I’ve done my entire career and that’s what im going to as comptroller, so I’m not dropping down, I’m stepping up.”
Assemblyman Karim Camara, who was for a time the one hope reformers had to block Frank Seddio from succeeding Vito Lopez as the head of the Kings County Democratic Party, officially backed Mr. Seddio this afternoon in a move to unify the party right before the vote to replace Mr. Lopez. Barring a large meteor striking the planet or a something of that magnitude, Mr. Seddio now seems all but certain to be the new leader of the Kings County Democratic establishment.
meet the new boss
Last Thursday, Walter Mosley was elected to succeed Hakeem Jeffries in Brooklyn’s 57th Assembly District. Mr. Mosley was supported by Mr. Jeffries, who left the seat to run a successful congressional campaign, and the race was largely seen as a referendum on Mr. Jeffries’ ability to deliver for another candidate in his Central Brooklyn base. Politicker sat down with Mr. Jeffries yesterday to get his post-game analysis on Mr. Mosley’s campaign and the endorsements that didn’t go their way. Mr. Jeffries also talked about his plans for moving to Washington, his thoughts on the future of the Brooklyn Democratic Party in the wake of the Vito Lopez scandal and discussed ringing the opening bell at NASDAQ on the first anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street protests.
innards of kings county politics
Last night, Brooklyn’s African American district leaders met in an effort to emerge with a united voice for Assemblyman Karim Camara to replace Assemblyman Vito Lopez as the chairman of the borough’s Democratic Party in the wake of his sexual harassment scandal. According to multiple accounts of people familiar with the meeting, this effort was unsuccessful.
The plan was to consolidate a significant number of district leader votes for Mr. Camara, which would provide a counterweight to the establishment favorite Frank Seddio for Mr. Lopez’s job. However, a substantial number of African American district leaders did not attend the meeting, Mr. Camara apparently wasn’t making the necessary calls, and not everyone agreed that all the stops needed to be pulled out for Mr. Camara’s candidacy.
The race to replace Assemblyman Vito Lopez as the head of the Kings County Democratic Party wages on tonight.
Supporters of Frank Seddio are privately very confident they have secured enough votes, but those hoping for a win by Assemblyman Karim Camara are meeting right now to plan their upset and capture the needed majority of the county’s district leader vote.
The plan in question is effectively a double-bank shot.
With Assemblyman Vito Lopez’s announcement that he will not seek to continue his leadership in the Kings County Democratic Party, the race to replace him has currently shifted its focus to three names: District Leader Frank Seddio, Assemblyman Karim Camara and District Leader Jo Anne Simon. Mr. Seddio, an establishment favorite, is currently the frontrunner, and sources told Politicker that county insiders believe he’s already secured the necessary number of votes.
Ms. Simon’s and Mr. Camara’s paths to challenging Mr. Seddio are not equally steep, however.
Ms. Simon is most aligned with the reform-minded wing of the party, which controls roughly three votes out of the fifty-three total district leaders. On the other hand, Mr. Camara could potentially unite the reform vote with many of the African-American district leaders, eager to have their presence felt. While Mr. Camara, who endorsed the Lopez-backed candidacy of Councilman Erik Dilan when he challenged Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, isn’t the typical anti-Lopez reformer, he has shown some breaks with the establishment and has stature as the chairman of the Legislature’s Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus.
A number of New York City and State elected officials are in Washington D.C. this afternoon to address their concerns about the NYPD’s controversial stop and frisk policy. They are calling on the Department of Justice to investigate the NYPD’s use of stop and frisk as a civil rights violation. The NYPD stopped a record number of people last year, the vast majority of whom were minorities.
“New Yorkers are fed up with this policy that continually targets our communities,” Assemblyman Karim Camara, Chairman of the New York State Black Puerto Rican Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus said in a statement. “The numbers tell a tragic story. One recent report said that more young black men were stopped than actually lived in the city. We cannot get away from the fact that there is implicit racial bias in this tactic used by the NYPD. Since City officials refuse to listen, we are taking our cause to Washington. It’s time for some high-powered back up to advocate for the civil rights of New Yorkers.”
Assemblyman Karim Camara, who heads New York State’s Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus, announced his caucus’ opposition to the legislative redistricting plan and suggested many legislators will vote to send the plan back to the drawing board today.
Mr. Camara argued the State Senate’s plan violates the Voting Rights Act because it splits minority communities in Long Island, as well as other places, where they could be kept whole.
“We expect it to come to a vote today and we expect … it will have significant opposition to it. But our concern isn’t whether this bill passes or fails,” Mr. Camara told Fred Dicker on his radio show this morning. “Our concern is to use every legal recourse available, including the courts, to challenge the lines, which would include a strong possibility of a lawsuit by the caucus against the lines [regardless of] whatever happens today.”