With phrases like “yenta,” “dictator” and “plantation politics,” it’s clear that the Senate Democrats' opposition to renewing mayoral control is tightly wound up in their personal dislike of Michael Bloomberg.
During their protest outside City Hall on Sunday, I asked them about the support mayoral control has received from the top education official for Barack Obama, the popular Democratic president that they all supported for election.
“We’re not going to engage in beating up of our president that we love,” said Hiram Monserrate. “But what we will say is that irrespective of the opinions of those who are not operating here in the state government, that the New York State Senate is very clear and our message to the mayor [is] 'come to the table, enough with the name-calling and threats, let's work out a deal that works for the 1.1 million children of the city of New York.'”
Bill Perkins, who said he “loved Obama,” jumped in.
“Let's be clear,” he said. “What we have right now is not what he may be thinking we have. We have mayoral dictatorship. We do not have a school governance that is Democratic and allows for input. I don’t think anybody in their right mind in a Democracy celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People would want to have the kind of system that we have here right now. I don’t think they’ve had the opportunity to look at it. They’ve taken the mayor’s word for it. Actually, I’m 100 percent sure that upon closer review that they would not appreciate the kind of torturous experiences that the families and the people of our communities are going through under this system.”
Perkins went on to say, “I don’t think Barack Obama would want to see a segregated school system as we have in New York City.”