Monday, October 12, 2015

THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN VOTE IN STATEN ISLAND: NOT TO BE TAKEN FOR GRANTED (BY THE DEMOCRATS); NOT TO BE IGNORED (BY THE REPUBLICANS). THE RACE FOR DISTRICT ATTORNEY. THE POLICE BACKED CANDIDATE IS DEMOCRAT MIKE MCMAHON. WILL REPUBLICAN JOAN ILLUZZI ADDRESS THE POLICE KILLING OF ERIC GARNER?

UP FRONT News   October 10, 2015
"The paper that won't be bought and can't be sold."
Published by Tom Weiss
Andrew Mazzone - Media Representative and Economics Advisor
Steven Gradman - Political Consultant
Allen Smith - Economics Reporter
www.tomsupfrontnews.blogspot.com   tomfreejournalist@gmail.com   tomsupfrontnews@yahoo.com
  The views expressed in UP FRONT News are those of the publisher or of the contributing writer and do not necessarily represent the view of staff.
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  THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN VOTE IN STATEN ISLAND: NOT TO BE TAKEN FOR GRANTED (BY THE DEMOCRATS); NOT TO BE IGNORED (BY THE REPUBLICANS). THE RACE FOR DISTRICT ATTORNEY. THE POLICE BACKED CANDIDATE IS DEMOCRAT MIKE MCMAHON. WILL REPUBLICAN JOAN ILLUZZI ADDRESS THE POLICE KILLING OF ERIC GARNER?
     In 2010 Congressman Michael McMahon, the Democratic Parrt Machine candidate seeking re-election and being challenged by Republican Michael Grimm, campaigned heavily in Staten Island's African-American communities, e.g. Stapleton and Tompkinsville to see to it that black voters, most, but certainly not all of whom are enrolled Democrats - get to the polls and vote in a Congressional district that is home to a lot of Republicans. While campaigning for the African-American vote Mr. McMahon made certain not to mention his political behavior when he was in the New York City Council regarding a Council resolution that had been introduced in Councilmember Al Vann (D.-Bklyn.) that called for the renaming of several blocks of a street in Bedford-Stuyvesant after the late African-American activist Sonny Carson. A number of neighborhood community organizations in Brooklyn, very appreciative of Mr. Carson's activities in battling drug traffickers and also in the development of Medgar-Evers College, had urged the Council to honor him with the street name change.
   Mr. Carson had a history of confrontations that pitted him against white and sometimes Jewish landlords and political interests and his rhetoric used the language of black power and nationalism. He was depicted as anti-white and sometimes as anti-Semitic. He denied the latter accusation.
   In the days and weeks preceding the Council vote, a number of politicians, in particular Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his #1 ally in the Council, Speaker Christine Quinn  (who some years later did some heavy arm-twisting to get the Council to agree to allow Bloomberg to run for a third term) went on an anti-Carson campaign, depicting the late activist as the equivalent of a black Hitler. Among those who most vigorously counter-attacked was then NYC Councilmember (and now NYS Assemblymember) Charles Barron (D.-Bklyn.)
  As I was outside City Hall on my way to attend the Council meeting at which Mr. Vann's resolution was to be debated and voted on I encountered NYC Councilmember (and now NYS Senator) Tony Avella (D.-Queens). Mr. Avella and I had become quite well acquainted politically when, at my urging, he introduced a NYC Council Resolution which called for the removal of the 2008 Olympic Games from China because of the brutal occupation of Tibet. (That resolution, whose co-sponsors included then NYC Councilmember and now NYC Public Advocate Letita James, was killed by Speaker Quinn, an act of de facto political loyalty to her pal, then U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton who, like her husband, places her ties to the corporate China Lobby on a higher priority than human rights in Tibet.) As Mr. Avella was entering City Hall grounds I asked him how he was planning to vote on the Sonny Carson resolution. He said he hadn't decided. He agreed to listen to my views. I told him that, as far as I was concerned, aside from the fact that the Bloomberg/Quinn bombast was way over the top, the issue was one of self-determination and that the communities affected, e.g. Bedford-Stuyvesant, had a right to honor their heroes. I urged him to vote in favor of the resolution.
  I sat in the packed balcony in the City Council Chamber and noted with interest as Councilmember Barron, chatted, apparently amiably, with then NYC Councilmember (and now Staten Island Borough President) James Oddo (R.-S.I.). Mr. Avella then went over and had a fairly long chat with Mr. Barron - out of earshot from the balcony.  
   During the debate, the most vigorous support for Mr. Vann's resolution came, not at all surprisingly, from Mr. Barron. Several African-American and Latino councilmembers expressed their opposition to the resolution, generally in moderate language, as did most of the white members. As I recall there was silence when Mr. Avella, one of two non-African-Americans to vote in favor of the resolution the other was Rosie Mendez (D.-Manh.), announced his support..
   Councilmember McMahon's quite impassioned speech mirrored the denunciations of Carson that had had been voiced several times, with major media coverage, particularly in the tabloids.
   The resolution was defeated - although the vote was much closer than had been anticipated in a Council that Quinn ruled Vladimir Putin-style.
   And inasmuch as the Staten Island Advance is known more for the political news that it suppresses rather than for the sometimes intentionally biased and inaccurate articles it publishes, I wrote some articles in UP FRONT News about McMahon vs. Sonny Carson and made certain to reference that in a talk I gave before a full house congregation at Rev. Dr. Demetrius S. Carolina, Sr.'s largely African-American First Central Baptist Church in Stapleton. It is a fact that numbers of African-Americans understandably boycott the Advance, a paper has has been correctly described by Dr. Carolina as "controlled" and also characterized by the well-known Staten Island African-America political activist Kelvin Alexander as "the most racist paper in New York." I've been dealing with the political reporters and editors at the Advance for years and as far as I am concerned the unstated mission of that multi-billionaire- owned paper is to protect the politically entrenched regardless of party and thereby to cover up political corruption (some of which involves for example NYS Senator Diane Savino (D.-S.I./Bklyn.) her explosive Chief of Staff Robert Cataldo and the Mob). Politically speaking the Staten Island Advance is arguably the most dishonest newspaper in New York. There are plenty of African-Americans who read UP FRONT News. (That is also true in the Jewish community in S.I.)
    As noted in McMahon's re-election campaigning at First Central he somehow made no mention of the Sonny Carson matter.
    Incumbents rarely lose elections in New York. Michael McMahon lost to Grimm in a close vote.
    I doubt very much that many African-Americans voted for Grimm. And I believe that Michael McMahon got far fewer black votes than he and his pals in the Democratic Party machine anticipated.
    It is incredible to me that an election for District Attorney in Staten Island, where Eric Garner was in fact lynched by a member of the New York Police Department, a matter mishandled by the grand jury, is not being addressed in the campaign for District Attorney to replace Dan Donovan, who may very well know that P.O. Daniel Pantaleo lied to the grand jury.
    Michael McMahon has been endorsed by the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, led by Patrick Lynch, who is on record as having praised Pantaleo as a great cop.
    Some weeks ago I visited the campaign office of Republican candidate Joan Illuzzi. Setting politics aside, there is no question that, at least with me, her manners are far better than those of the high-handed McMahon or some of his belligerent (former?) staffers such as Bill Taitt, who has harassed me physically on two occasions.
  During what was a perhaps 15 minute conversation I had with Ms. Illuzzi and her campaign manager Nick Iacono, I expressed my view that Pantaleo may be getting away with murder and that she should at least consider my suggestion that she urge Pantaleo to come clean with his own statement, which he could do by press release or at a very well guarded press conference - which I would be ready to attend.
   Ms. Illuzzi is a Republican and has lined up the support of Rudolph Giuliani. That will not help her get African-American votes.
   Mike McMahon is definitely going for the African-American vote and very definitely not talking at all about being endorsed by the PBA or his record vis-a-vis Sonny Carson. I am not voting for Mike McMahon.
   I hope that Joan Illuzzi agrees that justice as not been served in the Eric Garner case, and takes a second look at the videotape and at P.O. Pantaleo.
                                                                                                           * * * * * * *
c.c. Erica Garner 
      Joan Illuzzi
      Nick Iacono

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