A fiery rally in support of NYPD reform legislation was the latest stage in the heated dispute between Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City Council, only one hour before the outgoing mayor held his own press conference condemning the measures. But despite Mr. Bloomberg’s passionate arguments, a lead sponsor of the act sees an ulterior motive.
“My personal belief is that for some reason he believes this is a challenge to his legacy. That is the only possible thing I can believe,” Councilman Jumaane Williams told Politicker.
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Over the weekend, the influential Working Families Party announced their support in a number of key races across the city, sending a signal of labor support as candidates vie for a seat in the City Council next year.
“New Yorkers have a huge opportunity to decide the direction of our city. It’s time to choose whether we’ll be a city that caters to the rich and powerful 1%, or whether New York City can work for all of us,” Bill Lipton, the party’s deputy director, said in a statement. “Every day New Yorkers can count on WFP-endorsed candidates to stand up for all of us.”
Kirsten John Foy, the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, has left that post in what several sources said was in anticipation for an upcoming campaign for term-limited Councilman Al Vann’s seat in 2013.
Mr. Foy rose to political prominence after his seemingly unwarranted arrest — along with Councilman Jumaane Williams — during the West Indian Day parade last year. Using that experience as an amplifier, he’s become a voice for reforming NYPD policies, especially stop-and-frisk, giving televised interviews and attending rallies on the topic, which the former aide to Rev. Al Sharpton has been active in for more than a decade.
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Kirsten John Foy, an aide to Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and president-elect of the Brooklyn chapter of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network is holding weekly vigils to push for prosecutors to take action in the death of African-American teenager Ramarley Graham, who was shot by police at his home in the Bronx last month. Starting tonight, Mr. Foy, representatives from the National Action Network, and Mr. Graham’s parents will stand in front of the 47th Precinct every Thursday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. Mr. Foy says they won’t stop until the district attorney or the U.S. Attorney takes up the case.
“We’re hoping that the district attorney does a complete, thorough investigation and concludes that these officers committed a crime, as most of the community now believes,” Mr. Foy told The Politicker. “Worst case he decides theres no value in the prosecution and then the U.S. Attorney decides to look into this, because what went down here was egregious and criminal.”
Public advocate and likely 2013 mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio issued a statement asking the Bronx District Attorney’s office to speed up its investigation into the shooting of Ramarley Graham, an unarmed teenager who was shot and killed by Richard Haste, a narcotics officer, after running into his home to evade the police.
“As our community continues to mourn the loss of Ramarley Graham, our city must remain vigilant in its investigation into this tragedy. Time is of the essence; the Bronx District Attorney must expedite his investigation into the incident,” Mr. de Blasio said in a statement.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and Councilman Jumaane Williams held a press conference outside City Hall yesterday where they called on Mayor Michael Bloomberg to end the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy in the wake of a report by the New York Civil Liberties Union showing the police department stopped and interrogated a record number of people last year. The NYCLU report showed the NYPD conducted stop-and-frisks 684,330, the highest total since the department began collecting stop-and-frisk statistics in 2002 and a 603 percent increase since that year. About 87 percent of those stopped and frisked were black or Latino.
“This report, I think, makes it very clear that it is time to end this policy of stop and frisk as presently constituted,” Mr. Stringer said. “Communities of people who are caucasian, people who look like me, never worry about their child or grandchild going to the store for a glass of milk. They’re not worried about the police, they welcome the police on their street corner.”
This afternoon, Bronx Councilman Fernando Cabrera will be marching across the Brooklyn Bridge to ask Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Department of Education to reverse the upcoming ban on religious institutions using public school buildings on weekends for meetings and worship.
“We stand firm on our position. Equal access for houses of worship makes New York City communities better. Mayor Bloomberg and the Department of Education need to see just how many people are on this side
of the debate,” Mr. Cabrera said in a statement announcing the March.
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A number of elected officials and community activists rallied for “recommitting to police accountability movement” this afternoon, in response to issues ranging from the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices to an offensive Facebook page. The rally was hosted by Councilman Jumaane Williams and the Public Advocate’s Director of Community Affairs, Kirsten John Foy, who were both infamously arrested last year. “If you’re not going to acknowledge that the NYPD has treated us like second-class citizens, has created a system of apartheid in the city of New York, we’re going to show you that there will be no peace,” Mr. Foy said to applause.
Councilman Williams placed special emphasis on Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s upcoming State of the City speech. “If the Mayor does not acknowledge the NYPD accountability issue in this city at the State of the City address next week, what he’s saying is that he doesn’t care about most of the population of the city,” Mr. Williams announced. “He doesn’t care about the black community. He doesn’t care about the Latino community. He doesn’t care about the Muslim community. He doesn’t care about the poor among us.”
Mark Winston Griffith, who ran for City Council in 2009, just registered a committee to run again in 2013, a strong step forward to making an eventual run for the seat. The incumbent Mr. Griffith challenged last cycle, Councilman Al Vann, is term-limited out, creating an open seat and a prime opportunity for local aspiring candidates.
Currently Mr. Griffith is a member of the Adjunct Faculty at CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism and is particularly passionate about bringing more progressive leadership to Central Brooklyn. “I don’t think Central Brooklyn has been adequately represented in progressive campaigns and addressing some of the deepest needs in our neighborhoods,” he said, citing the Living Wage Bill and education issues in particular.
The prospective candidate also sounds eager to shift the broader City Council’s relationship with whoever New York City’s next Mayor will be in 2013. “I think we need to build a progressive force within the City Council that has the ability to go toe-to-toe with the Mayor,” he said while explaining his vision for the office. “Really try to build a progressive agenda.”
Republican voters in Iowa will gather at 8pm EST tonight for one of the biggest days of the presidential primary campaign. Here are some highlights:
Here’s a direct explanation of how the caucus works.
While here’s a “Survival Guide” for tonight.