His lame-duck status on the City Council certainly has not tempered the fiery Charles Barron.
The term-limited Brooklyn Councilman blasted Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio and the City Council’s Progressive Caucus in an interview on NY1’s Road to City Hall last night, accusing Mr. de Blasio of being a faux-liberal and the caucus of reinforcing a white male power structure.
“We was sitting there for eight years. Did he ever vote against Mayor Bloomberg and Christine Quinn’s budget? No,” Mr. Barron told host Errol Louis of his former council colleague, Mr. de Blasio. “Did he ever vote against any development that came that way? … He has never defied the mayor except the flip-flop he did on term limits.”
Mr. Barron had even harsher words for the Progressive Caucus, a left-leaning group of council members who have banded together in an effort to crown the next council speaker, among other goals. Accusing the group of acting as a front for the Working Families Party, Mr. Barron claimed the current speaker selection process, now dominated by both the county Democratic organizations and the emboldened progressives, was unfair and even racist.
“As we speak, I am certain that the county bosses who usually pick the speaker are now going to start negotiating with the Working Families Party and their leadership that is now trying to pick the speaker,” he charged. “We don’t want to trade bosses. It’s time for the black, Latino and Asian members of the City Council to stand up.”
In a list, Mr. Barron proceeded to decry Brooklyn Councilman Brad Lander, co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, and various WFP leaders including Bob Master, Dan Cantor and Bill Lipton.
“The Working Families Party … their leadership is Bob Master, white male, Cantor, white male, Lipton, white male, and then they putting forth Brad Lander, another white male. [They] could sit down literally with two other white males and pick the next speaker,” he alleged.
And even if they “give” a Latino or African-American the spot, he charged, the traditional bosses would still control the important committees chairmanships they covet in the deal.
“We don’t want to trade from one set of masters–the county leaders–to the Bob Masters,” Mr. Barron quipped, urging the large but loosely-organized Black, Latino and Asian Caucus of the council to independently choose its own speaker.
Mr. Barron further pointed to the fact that the elected leadership of the state and the city will be overwhelmingly white and male next year, arguing that having a white man as city council speaker would leave the minority community empty-handed in political power.
“It’s not me. If you look at the structure of … New York State: the governor is a white male; the lieutenant governor is a white male; the attorney general is a white male; the comptroller in the state is a white male; the head of the Assembly is a white male; the head of the Senate, Skelos–a white male; the mayor–white male; the comptroller of the city–white male. We have the public advocate’s position and you know that’s not a position where you wield any power,” he said. “So we have to look at that structural racism.”
Mr. de Blasio and the Progressive Caucus did not immediately return a request for comment, but at least one of Mr. Barron’s colleagues, Queens Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. voiced his protest while watching the show on television last night.
“next time barron gets gets to waste time on @RoadToCityHall we should drink every time he spits ‘white male’ #10minuteswe’llnevergetback,” Mr. Vallone wrote on Twitter.