Coalition For Ferrer: Too Little, Too Late?
Coalition For Ferrer: Too Little, Too Late?
By John Toscano
After a series of talks last week, Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer apparently was finally going to get the Black/Puerto Rican coalition that he so desired. The coalition would serve as the vehicle to carry him to City Hall as the city’s next mayor and would have boosted Ferrer’s goal of becoming the city’s first Puerto Rican mayor.
But as the pro-Ferrer movement headed by Congressmember Charles Rangel (D–Harlem), the city’s most powerful black politician, appeared to stall over the weekend, it also became evident that even if the minority coalition came together, it probably wouldn’t have the force necessary to win Ferrer the mayor’s chair.
In truth, Ferrer hoped by starting earlier in the campaign to put together the winning black/PR combination with the help of the Rev. Al Sharpton. He failed. The other candidates each won a share of the endorsement of black leaders and organizations throughout the city.
The Rangel-led movement, if it ever succeeds, will merely give Ferrer a portion of the city’s black political structure.
The other mayoral contenders have equally prominent black leaders in their camps. Public Advocate Mark Green, said to have the most black grassroots support, boasts former Mayor David Dinkins, Assemblymember Herman T. ("Denny") Farrell, Manhattan Democratic leader, and the Rev. Calvin Butts in his corner, among others.
City Comptroller Alan Hevesi, after a faltering start in the black community, has the Rev. Floyd Flake, a former Congressmember, mobilizing black support in southeast Queens. Flake’s successor, Congressmember Gary Meeks, might also be coming aboard the Hevesi bandwagon. In Brooklyn’s heavily black areas, Assemblymember Clarence Norman, the borough’s Democratic leader, is backing his former Assembly colleague. And Abner Louima endorsed Hevesi recently as did the Guardian Association, the organization of black police officers.
The final candidate, Council Speaker Peter Vallone, has been endorsed by 22 black ministers who can use their pulpits to try to win support for the Astoria lawmaker. Vallone has also been endorsed by among other groups, DC 37 the city’s largest municipal union which has a considerable black membership.
So all the Black/PR coalition would accomplish for Ferrer is merely give him part of black leadership support, which includes state Comptroller Carl McCall at present.
MOYNIHAN FOR FERRER: As expected, Ferrer picked up the endorsement of former United States Senator Daniel P. Moynihan last week.
VALLONE PUSHES HEALTH CARE: Releasing another television ad featuring former Mayor Ed Koch, Vallone zeroed in on health care for children and seniors, which he will continue to stress heavily as the primary campaign winds down to Sept. 11, just 27 days away.
"The right to health care for our children and our seniors is the right thing," Vallone says in the commercial. "It’s visionary and it’s long overdue."
Green also campaigned on children’s health and the city’s troubled hospital system last week.
HEVESI SOFTENS STANCE: As he indicated early last week following a controversial session at the Campaign Finance Board, Hevesi said the next day that he will try to negotiate with the CFB to get whatever he could of the $3.2 million in matching funds that the board withheld from him and will not pursue the matter in the courts. Hevesi said the controversy ignited by Hank Morris, his longtime friend and consultant, was giving the impression that he was not complying with the law. "This should not be the issue of the last month of the campaign," Hevesi stated.
BLOOMBERG TO ADDRESS ROTARY: Republican mayoral candidate Mike Bloomberg is scheduled to address the Rotary Club of Flushing tomorrow, Aug. 16, at 12:15 p.m. at a restaurant on Roosevelt Avenue in Woodside.
GOV’S GESTURE RAISES EYEBROWS: The city’s Independence Party has made Republican Mike Bloomberg its candidate for mayor, too, so Governor George Pataki would be expected to get chummy with the Indy group. That’s what the governor has done, allowing himself to be listed as a special guest for the Independence Party’s $2,500-a-ticket fundraiser next Wednesday evening at the Yale Club.
However, one of the highly placed officials in the minor party is Lenora Fulani, who has been criticized as antisemitic by the Anti-Defamation League. Apparently the governor and his advisors were aware of the dangers involved in getting anywhere near Fulani, as indicated by an admission from a Pataki spokesman that, "Obviously, there are concerns there, serious concerns."
Talk about politics making strange bedfellows.
OBIT LEMISHOW: Al Lemishow, the colorful, outspoken Forest Hills Republican Party leader, died Apr. 29 at the age of 75, his son Bruce and colleague John Veccione report. Lemishow, an accountant, served as a district leader or state committeeman for about 25 years, during which time he often clashed with top party leaders. He also ran for elected office several times, never successfully.