ALWAYS INTRIGUE IN BROOKLYN’S JUDGESHIP RACES (PLUS SOME OTHER JUICY STUFF).
My haters in blog-land do have one legit gripe: I focus too much of my writings on the Brooklyn political scene. Look; it’s my prerogative. Brooklyn is always in flux. The Brooklyn political scene is like Sam Malone’s love life: never boring.
I really tried to stay out of this one; I really did. And, as usual, I will get slapped upside the head (politically speaking) for writing this short column: but here goes.
Presently, there is a race for a county-wide judicial spot in Brooklyn (Kings County) between Cheryl Gonzales and Sharon Hudson. It has heated up over the months. I mentioned it briefly in my recent “Vines” column because Ms. Gonzales was born in my homeland (Trinidad and Tobago); and I did wish her luck. I stopped short of an endorsement, since I wanted to stay out of this brouhaha. I have friends on both sides of this fight. And when you have political friends on both sides of the equation, it is usually prudent to stay out. Well….maybe.
H. Rap Brown once said that when there is fighting going on all around you that you should always choose up a side; since you may get mowed down in the crossfire. I suspect behind this judicial race there is the potential for lots of little squirmishes later on. This little race that couldn’t now has the makings of being a preview of what’s coming up over the next two years, in certain political segments of Brooklyn. Strap on your seatbelts folks: don’t say Cousin Rocky didn’t warn you.
Behind this race there are quite a few other fights being quietly waged. For example: Towns vs. Vito Lopez (for control of Kings County Democrats); redistricting and the redrawing of the Brooklyn’s political map(s); Hakeem Jeffries vs. Ed Towns (10th Congressional/2012); plus whatever is going to happen with the congressional seats of both Nydia Velasquez and Yvette Clarke’s (11th congressional).
Furthermore, you can add these little doozees: Ola Alabi vs. Renee Collymore (57th AD female leadership); Ola Alabi vs. Walter Moseley (57th AD; if Jeffries jumps Towns). Then to further make this calaloo stir and taste right, add the current fight to replace Darryl Towns in the 54th AD. It has gotten messy but it could have been much worse. Plus the battles being waged in the 55th AD (Junior Boyland’s seat/remember he is indicted) with about a dozen active candidates already running; then there is the leadership races there (both male and female) where the infighting started last year.
Let’s go farther: there are currently moves underway to seek consensus candidates to replace both Darlene Mealy and Mathieu Eugene. Plus a replacement for Al Vann- with the aim of stopping another Annette Robinson switch-back to the city council. Then there are questions around the political ambitions of Chris Owens, Tish James, Bill DeBlasio, Eric Adams and David Yassky; plus there is word of challenges for Joe Lentol, Nick Perry, Kevin Parker, John Sampson, Rhoda Jacobs and Helene Weinstein; then the Lew Fidler aspect (relative to replacing Senator Krueger). Plus questions around whether or not Inez Barron’s assembly seat will end up in Queens (Howard Beach); and whether anyone can stop the switch between the Barron husband and wife team; vis-à-vis Albany and City Hall.
Plus there are questions around the political ambitions of attorney Terry Hinds, Ricky Tulloch, Wellington Sharpe, Dr. Dexter McKenzie, Lori Knipel, Rudy Daly, Corey Provost, Michele Adolphe, Zacary LaReche, Weyman Carey, and community activist/businessman Delroy Wright.
These are just a few folks: I tell you that more stuff is shaking; and other stuff is shaping up and being evaluated. When the lines are finally redrawn expect a flurry of activity in all the predominantly black and Hispanic areas. Expect some activity across the tracks too (the predominantly white areas). It is usually dormant over there, but this time around things might just be different.
So far my sources are telling me that only safe electeds at the moment are Eric Adams, Karim Camara and Jumanne Williams. These three aren’t under the microscope (as yet). I hear Jesse Hamilton is being targeted. I also hear that Weyman Carey and Melba Brown also have bulls-eyes on their backs. You can also expect more than a few district leader races next year folks. You can also expect that the action to pick up after next Tuesday (Election Day). I may touch briefly on one or two of these races in this column; but for now, let me get back to that judgeship race between Hudson and Gonzales.
Shit started when the county judicial selection panel rejected the county favorite. I am told it was Jesse Hamilton’s wife. Jesse is the district leader in the 43rd AD. Eventually a few political people lined up with Cheryl Gonzalez. Ms. Gonzales is a presently a judge in the Housing Court. She has held that post for about six years.
That group includes a Trini like me: Jennifer Joseph (a venerable Brooklyn political operative). It also includes Ola Alabi, the female district leader from the 57thAD. On the other side (Sharon Hudson) you will find my homeboy Taharka Robinson (Annette’s controversial son). Taharka is now an ordained minister so I need to step lightly on him/lol. Anyway, let me put it this way: Taharka is as tough as nails. He plays to win. I have a suspicion that Cheryl’s people are running scared that Taharka may steal this race from them on Election Day. (Just a suspicion). On Ms. Hudson’s side you will also find Walter Moseley, the male district leader from the 57th AD.
If Hakeem Jeffries runs against Ed Towns for congress, then there will be a helluva fight in the 57th for his seat. This fight will be between Alabi and Moseley. It will be hand to hand combat. It has already started folks. One of Ola’s natural enemies (a former ally) is now apparently entrenched with Moseley. Her name is Renee Collymore. She challenged Ola last year and is intent on coming back for round two.
There have been questions as to whether or not Ms. Hudson is Vito Lopez’s candidate in this race. The Gonzales forces say that Hudson and her folks have tried to hide this half-open secret, since Vito is bad news as it relates to judge-races in Brooklyn, now that he is being investigated by the feds.
In this race there have been lots of lil back and forth bitching and moaning going on, since way back in late winter and early spring. No big thing; this is par for the course in Brooklyn’s politics. I chose not to get too deep into this since my summer was already mucked up with all kinds of extraneous stuff; and since you folks out there hate to read my political gossip/LOL.
Anyway, there was some infighting over who got whose endorsement from which elected official (especially the black electeds) all across the county. And there was some funny stuff during the petition process. Hudson had petitions made up showing some rather interesting people on her committee on vacancies. Remember this: both Cheryl Gonzales and Sharon Hudson are black.
Hudson had Frank Seddio (a major Lopez ally), plus his law partner (Carrone), plus Malave Dilan, and also Henry Bolus (president of the Thomas Jefferson political Club), on her sheets. This strongly signaled she had Vito Lopez’s support. Then she lined up with county’s candidate in the 54th AD race (to replace Darryl Towns). She also had the candidate (Espinal) circulate her petitions. Remember Vito Lopez and both Dilans (father and son) are supporting Espinal as the county (Dems) candidate.
So here comes the home stretch. USPS mailings have gone out from both candidates and from some of their supporters. Private and public e-mails, public announcements/pronouncements, newspaper stories, newsletters, etcetera and etcetera, started touting who is lining up in whose corner relative to Election Day.
Then last week, Ms. Hudson sends out a mailing listing a whole heap of electeds (especially black ones) as supporting her candidacy. This came behind an article by Mary Alice Miller in “Our Times Press” weekly newspaper, which claimed that Senator Eric Adams was supporting Hudson. I hear that Adams was livid when he was told that his support for Hudson was in the newspapers. Adams claims to be neutral in this race; just like quite a few of the black electeds.
Here is the skinny: Eric Adams, Ed Towns, John Sampson, Hakeem Jeffries and a host of other electeds listed on Hudson’s endorsement piece, claim not to be supporting her.
They all claim to be neutral in this race.
Add to that list, Velmanette Montgomery, Weyman Carey, Nick Perry, Kevin Parker, Melba Brown (58AD), the Unity Political Club, and others. I have been told that Carey, Parker, Perry and Brown are all supporting Ms. Gonzales. The others claim to be neutral.
So what’s really happening here? Is it political tricks? Is it desperation (win at any cost)? Or is it just a form of chicanery?
Look; claiming endorsements that you never officially got is nothing new in Brooklyn’s political cesspool(s). It happens more often than many people know.
Ms. Gonzales has been endorsed by both the New York Times and the New York Daily News. She also snagged the endorsements of the Amsterdam News and the Transport Workers Union (Local 100). The Daily News was a bit harsh on Ms. Hudson in that they questioned whether or not she has the requisite training in ethics for the bench.
Ms. Gonzales has been also endorsed by both CBID and IND political clubs. One is based in Park Slope, and the other further downtown in Brooklyn. She has also been endorsed by LAMBDA.
In the race for the 54th AD, I am going to make a late endorsement for Deidre Towns. I know Gatemouth may slap me around for this trite endorsement, but let me say this: I feel it is an opportunity to get the state another female legislator; and we do need more women in Albany. So yes I am playing the gender card. Between her brother (Darryl) and adopted father (Ed), this Black-Hispanic woman will be steered right in the state legislature. Let’s take our chances with Ms. Towns.
I am not going to predict the outcome of that race. I am hearing it is up for grabs. I hear that the Election Day operations will determine the winner by dusk. Most people I spoke to, expect a very low turnout. I am not going to predict the outcome of the judge race either. I suspect that’s also close.
Look; relative to the other juicy tidbits, you folks will have to wait for my next Vines column. I keep hearing that Hakeem Jeffries is really going for Ed Towns next year. I am also hearing from some solid folks that Ed can be whipped like soft cream or butter. I am starting to really reconsider my analysis of that potential race since I am being told a lot of intrigue and subterfuge is in the works here.
Stay tuned-in folks.