Laurie Cumbo, the head of the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, is looking at potentially leaping into the race to replace Councilwoman Tish James. Ms. James is currently running for Public Advocate, leaving her Fort Greene- and Clinton Hill-based seat vacant behind her.
“First and foremost, I would say that the political arena is in need of totally new, different of types of thinkers,” Ms. Cumbo told Politicker earlier today, stressing that she is merely exploring a run and has yet to make a decision. “I feel that that the arts and cultural community has not had a voice in government and I feel that there are many voices and important voices in government, but there has never been that creative, imaginative new way of thinking, out-of-the-box thinking, that has been a major voice in the political arena. I’m looking to fill that void.”
Khari Edwards, an aide to Senator John Sampson who previously worked for Governor David Paterson, looks like he’s ready to move out of Albany politics and into City Hall.
On Wednesday evening, Mr. Edwards is holding a campaign kickoff event for Councilwoman Tish James’ seat. Ms. James is widely expected to run for Public Advocate in 2013, leaving a vacant seat behind her for aspiring politicians in her Central Brooklyn district.
The issue of co-locating charter and public schools in the same building is a contentious one, and at an education hearing discussing the topic yesterday afternoon, the first two Council Members to speak thoroughly attacked the proposals in their districts.
“Co-location has been nothing but chaos,” East New York Councilman Charles Barron declared while criticizing the poor graduation rate among black and Latino students. “If you go into some of the schools in our district, you will see that the battles around co-location are taking away from serious educational approaches to our children.”
At today’s City Council hearing on the co-location of public and private schools, Councilwoman Tish James declared she was in the room to “advocate” as she walked in.
“Tish James said that she is ‘advocating’ here, indicating that she may be running for Public Advocate,” the head of the education committee, Councilman Robert Jackson, joked later, referencing her public campaign for the citywide office.
Reshma Saujani, a former aide to Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, has formally registered a campaign committee that would allow her to campaign for Mr. de Blasio’s own position in 2013. Mr. de Blasio is expected to run for mayor, leaving the citywide position vacant for aspiring politicians.
Although the committee doesn’t specify exactly what office she is seeking, it’s been widely reported she’s most interested in the Public Advocate’s Office.
Councilwoman Tish James looks to be firmly moving her campaign for the Public Advocate’s office forward. A reader forwarded a fundraising invitation directly stating her intentions to run for the seat in 2013.
“As I prepare to campaign for the anticipated vacancy in the Public Advocate’s Office, I am excited by the prospect of expanding my service to the people of our great City — but I need your help,” the letter reads.
Ms. James goes out to tout her record and suggest readers visit her new website, www.LetitiaJames2013.com. The website further extols her accomplishments in areas stretching from cultural arts to budgetary matters.
Over the weekend, Crain’s reported Reshma Saujani is leaving her position as deputy advocate in the Office of New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio in order to potentially run for Mr. de Blasio’s job herself in 2013. Mr. de Blasio is widely expected to run for mayor, which would leave his position vacant for aspiring politicians.
Confirming Crain’s report, a source familiar with the situation told The Politicker Ms. Saujani is departing Mr. de Blasio’s office on March 16th and is indeed expected to open a committee that would allow her to campaign for the position. However, the source noted a citywide campaign would be just one of multiple options she is considering for her next career move.
Ku Klux Kontroversy
Last Friday, Gay City News reporter Andy Humm printed a column accusing Councilwoman and likely candidate for Public Advocate Tish James of defending “KKK access to schools.” The story was based on a testy exchange about the controversy over whether churches should be allowed to hold worship services in public schools when class is not in session that took place between Ms. James and Ms. Humm after a public forum on stop-and-frisk at the LGBT Community Center where both were speaking. Ms. James, who supports allowing religious organizations access to school buildings, gave her side of the story to The Politicker and clarified her position on the controversial issue.
“The comment was made in jest, and apparently, it was taken very seriously by a reporter who obviously was very disappointed in my position regarding allowing access to organizations of faith, who have used and want to continue to use public schools on days that schools are closed,” Ms. James said.
Mr. Humm’s story, which was subsequently picked up by other media outlets, quoted Ms. James as saying the Klan is “entitled to equal access.” Ms. James, who said she knows Mr. Humm, described her interaction with Mr. Humm as a conversation that devolved into a “shouting match” and said she made the remark in an attempt to end the argument:
The past 12 months have not been good for assemblyman William Boyland Jr. In March, he was arrested on federal corruption charges. In July, it was reported he was playing computer games when he should have been in session in Albany. In August, his GMC Yukon was shot at as he drove through his neighborhood of Brownsville—though this last event seems to have been random.
There was moment of hope when Mr. Boyland was acquitted in November. But no sooner had he settled back into life as a free man—nearly three weeks later—than FBI agents arrived at his home, and he was arrested on a second set of corruption charges. According to the indictment, the bureau had him on tape, soliciting bribes.
(He declined to be interviewed.)
Should he be convicted of the charges against him, Mr. Boyland will be the last of a nearly-40-year-long Brooklyn political dynasty.
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.