The Week That Was – TW2 Minority Review, September 9


Photo credit - Stephen D. Cannerelli/The Post-Standard

The Syracuse Post-Standard profiled NYS Assemblyman Samuel Roberts, one of two Central NY freshmen assemblymembers. Roberts represents the 119th district covering the towns of Salina, DeWitt, Onondaga and the city of Syracuse. The paper wrote that Assemblyman Roberts went to Albany in January without specific ideas about making new laws.

Michael Bloomberg’s suggestion that Councilman Jumaane Williams work out his differences with the NYPD over a beer was not well received by Williams, who says he does not even drink beer, the Daily News said.

The NY Post cheers NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly for refusing to apologize for controversial anti-terrorism tactics that some have accused of being racial profiling, arguing that his first job is to keep New Yorkers safe:.

The Daily News calls on the NYPD to get to the bottom of Councilman Jumaane Williams‘ detainment at the West Indian Parade, saying that if an apology is warranted, it should be given.

Witnesses to the dispute on Monday between City Councilman Jumaane Williams and NYPD officers, during which Williams was thrown to the ground and placed in handcuffs, question whether race had played a role, the New York Times reported.

 City Hall News reported that a volunteer for former City Councilman Allan Jennings‘ campaign in the 28th Council district wandered into enemy territory, and almost didn’t make it out. The volunteer, Frank Perero, was passing out negative literature about the current councilman, Ruben Wills, at South Jamaica Houses, where Wills grew up and some of his family still lives. According to a source from Wills’ campaign, a group of angered residents surrounded Perero and demanded that he stop. Eventually, Wills had to make a call to the angry mob to tell them to let Perero pass. (CHN)

Freshman Queens City Councilman Ruben Wills has had a surprising number of dealings this year with Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance‘s office, including a well-publicized larceny charge and a less well-known elections investigation.

The Gotham Gazette describes the contest to fill an Assembly seat in Bushwick features a battle between two political dynasties, the Towns’ and the Dilans, and a grassroots organizer.

Rev. Al Sharpton’s new show, PoliticsNation, on MSNBC was panned as “messy” by New York magazine.

Crain’s Greg David touts City Facts which emphasizes how much the Bronx still lags the rest of the city. The unemployment rate, at 12%, is much higher than even Brooklyn. Almost a third of the households have incomes of less than $19,000. And its Parkchester ZIP code, which has the largest number of national chains in the borough, ranks only 25th citywide. One positive note from City Facts: A little under 40% of Bronx businesses are owned by Hispanics, ranking the county fourth for Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States. Read more here.

The week couldn’t go by without at least one story about Pedro Espada, the embattled former state senator, who is fighting to save the Soundview Health Center from closure: Former State Sen. Pedro Espada, Jr., and his son are defending themselves against charges of fraud and money laundering by blaming their accountants. The Espadas’ defense lawyer, the Daily News reports, is claiming the men assumed their use of taxpayer funds from the Soundview Health Clinics they controlled–to pay for things like sushi restaurant tabs and birthday party pony rides–were legal because the expenses were approved by an accounting firm.

Crain’s polled readers if the stop-and-frisk lawsuit should go to trial after a federal judge declined to dismiss the case. The lawsuit claims the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy is unconstitutional and racially biased. The suit, filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of several New Yorkers who were stopped, claims that quotas encourage police officers to stop suspects without proper cause, and that blacks and Latinos are unfairly targeted. The NYPD stopped and frisked more than 300,000 people last year, 85% of them minorities. The city has argued that the tactic reduces crime.

About SquarePegDem

A former state legislator turned NY Post editorial board member, thought-leader, public affairs consultant and commentator, columnist and blogger. Michael has appeared on Al Jazeera America Tonight, NY1/Inside City Hall, FoxNews.com LIVE, YNN/Capital Tonight, The Brian Lehrer Show, The Fred Dicker Show, The Capitol Press Room, and The Daily Show. His op-eds have appeared in the NY Post, City and State, The Legislative Gazette, Bronx Times, The Troy Record, Buffalo News, and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. To schedule speaking engagements, email MBenjamin9@optimum.net.
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