Incoming Police Commissioner Bill Bratton this morning tried to turn the page on soured relations between police and many minority communities, promising “freedom and equality for all” in his first public appearance since his appointment.
Mr. Bratton, who also served as top cop under Rudy Giuliani, vowed to “get it right” in a city where many communities of color feel under siege following a dramatic spike in stop-and-frisks that rarely lead to arrests. He was speaking with Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio in front of the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network at a memorial for the late anti-apartheid fighter Nelson Mandela in Harlem.
The Tall Man Cometh
After a full week without public events, Bill de Blasio emerged Saturday morning at Rev. Al Sharpton’s weekly National Action Network rally in Harlem, where the new mayor-elect rallied cheering supporters with a promise of “aggressive” progressive change.
Walk this way
Mayoral front-runner Bill de Blasio today backtracked on his claim that he is a “fiscal conservative,” saying that he should have dubbed himself “fiscally responsible” instead.
During a speech yesterday in front of the Association for a Better New York, the Democrat—who has run the race as a liberal progressive, vowing to raise taxes on the rich and address growing income inequality—claimed that he is, in fact, a “progressive activist fiscal conservative, but … still a fiscal conservative.”
It was a meeting that would have been unimaginable 15 years ago.
Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota, who served as deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani, tonight sat down with Rev. Al Sharpton, the civil rights leader who maintained an infamously antagonistic relationship the Giuliani administration.
But everything went smoothly enough today. The pair emerged following a 30-minute meeting to a room full of press, but offered few details of the exchange, which Mr. Sharpton described as “cordial and candid.”
Rev. Al Sharpton welcomed “presumptive” Democratic mayoral nominee Bill de Blasio to his Saturday National Action Network rally this morning, where he declared that the identity politics of 20 years ago had given way to a new reality.
“What the election showed the other night is that a lot of the identity politics of 20 years ago, 30 years ago, has now become identity politics of policy,” he told the audience. “Bill Thompson did very well in some white areas, Bill de Blasio did well in some black areas. You can no longer take yesterday’s maps for today’s politics.”
The mayoral candidates made their final pilgrimage to Rev. Al Sharpton’s House of Justice this morning, making their case to Harlem voters as they scramble for support in the campaign’s final stretch.
All of the Gracie Mansion hopefuls have been aggressively courting black support, crisscrossing black neighborhoods and vying for the endorsements of prominent black leaders. But one of the biggest prizes–Mr. Sharpton himself–has chosen to stay mum–a decision that has been seen as a particular blow to Bill Thompson, the only black candidate in the race.
The overtones were impossible to ignore this morning as Mr. Sharpton took pains to stress that he wasn’t playing favorites and tried to convince those in the audience that there was no bad blood between him and the five candidates present: Bill de Blasio, Christine Quinn, John Liu, Anthony Weiner and Mr. Thompson.
Last Friday night, huddled together at the corner of 111th street and 5th Avenue in Harlem, a circle of about thirty individuals held hands. Their eyes were closed in prayer. The orange glow of the headlamps formed neon smudges against the black night sky. Two NYPD officers stood nearby, arms crossed, waiting. Opposite a church on the corner of 129th Street and 7th Avenue, a similar crowd looped around a stage, surrounded by blue lights and peace signs painted gold. Some youths lined up to perform raps and songs, which they had written themselves.
This was the last weekend of Occupy the Corners, an initiative created in response to the recent wave of shootings and organized by National Action Network (NAN), a not-for-profit civil rights organization. For the past four weekends, community activists, politicians, church leaders and local civilians have stood in solidarity at the most dangerous corners in New York, watching for any signs of violence.
On Friday, NAN founder and president, Reverend Al Sharpton, joined the campaigners.
Tamika Mallory, the 31-year-old executive director of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, has some words of warning for African-American reporters. On Friday, Mallory wrote a column titled “Time For Black Journalists To Stop Criticizing Rev. Sharpton.”
Mallory’s column, which was published on NewsOne.com and linked on National Action Network’s web site, Read More
Calendar: “Michael Bloomberg’s 12-year tenure as mayor ends in exactly 1,000 days.”
2012: Sharpton, asset or liability? [Ron Scherer]
2012: Sharpton is ” ‘the president’ of black America,” says Dominic Carter. [Politico]
2012: Obama creates traffic for New Yorkers. [AP]
Education Money: Cuomo warns of Read More
Al Sharpton is starting off his annual Action Network conference with a panel discussion about politics, asking panelists what’s the most pressing issue in the 2012 presidential campaign.
Former Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford Jr., said it’s about jobs, the debt and external Read More