It is hard not to pity poor Charlie Rangel.
Not because his golden years have been besieged by trouble, some of it his own making, some of it the usual thrust of a hyper-partisan political culture. Not because he is now—and has been for the past several years—hounded by plausible challengers at an age when most politicians are busy buffing the stones on the sides of buildings that bear their names; not because he continues to contend with suspicions that he is on the cusp of retirement.
No, instead, Mr. Rangel deserves some sympathy because after four decades in the House of Representatives, building a political machine that has seen scores of friends and protégés win high office, serving a district that has been represented by only two people since World War II, he is now presiding over that district’s dissolution.
Mayor Bloomberg’s education policies have come under fire in recent weeks due to the closing of several city schools. After the mayor’s preliminary budget presentation today, Department of Education Chancellor Dennis Walcott defended mayoral control of city schools and said he doesn’t “buy into” criticism the city hasn’t been transparent enough about school closures.
“Mayoral control has worked, it’s worked well, and we are continuing to improve and refine it to make sure it’s even better,” Mr. Walcott told Politicker.
Assemblyman Keith Wright said the Department of Education’s plan to close the middle school at Wadleigh Secondary School of Performing Arts is the final straw that has convinced him to propose a bill that would repeal mayoral control of city public schools.
“People are up in arms. They are quite frankly tired of the dictatorial and despotic policies coming out of City Hall where they just arbitrarily and capriciously decide that they’re going to close schools,” Mr. Wright told The Politicker. “This is the Alamo as far as I’m concerned right now. This is the absolute Alamo and I’m not going to take it anymore.”
New York City’s lawyers are currently asking the U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower court’s ruling against the FDNY’s hiring policies calling the judge in that case media-obsessed and biased. Assemblyman Keith Wright, who doubles as the Chair of the Manhattan Democratic Party, blasted the city’s move this afternoon and placed the blame squarely on Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“In the epitome of contradiction, Mayor Bloomberg has accused Federal District Judge Nicholas Garaufis of bias after his ruling for federal oversight on the over four year old litigation concerning diversity in the New York City Fire Department. He even went so far as to ask for Judge Garaufis’ removal from the case,” Assemblyman Wright said in a statement.
A reader passes along the follow letter from Manhattan Democratic chairman Keith Wright, urging members of the local county party to cross the river (a big ask for Manhattanites) to help get out the vote for David Weprin the closing days of the Congressional race between Weprin and Bob Turner.
The letter is further proof that the race for this Brooklyn-Queens seat is closer than expected. Want further proof? According to a source, the powerhouse political operation over at SEIU 1199 is meeting today to decide whether or not they need to get further involved in the race as well.
Wright letter after the jump.
Rep. Charlie Rangel said Governor Rick Perry’s job creation accomplishments in Texas are nothing to be proud of because they pay such low wages “it’s one stage away from slavery.”
Rangel’s harsh assessment comes the same day a New York Times review of Perry’s record concluded “Texas has one of the highest percentages of workers who are paid the minimum wage and receive no medical benefits.”
It also comes one day after former President Bill Clinton called Perry a “good-looking rascal” whose anti-government platform was “crazy,” during a speech to firemen in midtown Manhattan.
Perry — the longest serving governor in Texas history — formally kicked off his presidential campaign on Saturday, largely on the strength of having created more jobs in Texas since 2009 than any other state in the nation.
Starting in Harlem tomorrow morning, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will make a Schumer-esque, five-borough tour in less than 48 hours.
The slew of events will touch on everything from employment, to same-sex marriage, to first-responders, to the military — and will give her a chance to rub elbows with more than a dozen downstate elected officials.
It all begins with an Urban Jobs Act event alongside Congressman Charlie Rangel, Assemblyman Keith Wright and the National Urban League.
Some Democratic infighting is deepening, with Assemblyman Keith Wright, Danny O’Donnell, Robert Rodriguez and Guillermo Linares accusing State Senators who voted against rent regulation extensions of voting “politically rather than practically.”
The Assembly members called it “totally irresponsible to leave these tenants without protection for even one minute.” They also said it was “absolutely ridiculous that these Senators chose not to extend the current law in order to make a political statement.”