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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Bumper Crop of News Pols in Brooklyn

Two articles over the weekend about Brooklyn politics in the New York Times provide a rather stark contrast to affairs here in the Bronx.
The first one highlights the fresh crop of new, and relatively young, elected officials poised to take office in the City Council, the state legislature and Congress. Only one of them, Yvette Clarke, is the offspring of a politician. Six current Bronx elected officials either inherited their parent's seat or were elected to a different office with the strong support of mom or dad. The article stresses the professional backgrounds of the Brooklyn rookie lawmakers. Eric Adams, who won an open state Senate seat, was an NYPD captain and leader of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement. Hakeem Jeffries, a new assemblyman, was a lawyer for CBS. Darlene Mealy, elected to the City Council last year, was an executive assistant and NYC Transit. This new crop of officials has kept Brooklyn machine politics at arms-length if not much further.
The second one, about the race to replace Clarke, who served in the Council until her recent election to Congress, reports that there are at least 18 potential candidates for the post.
Now, why is it that so many people think they are allowed to run for office in Brooklyn? Do they have better textbooks on democracy in Brooklyn schools? Has the departure of Clarence Norman shaken the borough's Democratic machine that badly that so many people actually think running for office isn't just folly.
One wonders what seat in the Bronx would attract a quarter of that interest. If State Sen. Efrain Gonzalez steps down in a plea deal with prosecutors, as seems likely, will there be anyone other than the usual suspect lining up to replace him? Or will the machine just annoint Council Member Maria Baez and that will be that?
Please post a comment if you have any thoughts on this or anything else.


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