Fresh from trouncing two council opponents in last month’s Democratic primary, Brooklyn state senator Kevin Parker is fired up and not taking it any more.
Parker has been a regular at recent City Hall press conferences of foes of Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal to overturn term limits. Here’s a sample of the fire and brimstone he’s preaching these days: “[Bloomberg] has turned out to be the worst kind of petty little grubby politician,” Parker told a press conference on the steps this morning.
He had more, too:
Bloomberg, Parker said, has been “an absolute, unmitigated failure.” Parker blamed the mayor for the slow progress of construction at Ground Zero and the failed initiative for congestion pricing.
Parker also took a swipe at Bloomberg pal and council member Simcha Felder, who will be in the drivers’ seat later this week as he chairs committee hearings on the term limits bills now pending before the council.
Parker beat Felder and a fellow term-limited council member, Kendall Stewart, last month in the race for his seat. “Every member of the city council has a conflict of interest [on the term limits legislation],” said Parker, “and him [Felder]more than most. The mayor raised a significant amount of money for him.”
As soon as Parker gave up his spot in front of City Hall, it filled with bout 20 black and Latino clergy members who presented themselves as a self-mobilized group in favor of the mayor’s proposal. The ministers were led by Reverend Gregory Robeson Smith of AME Zion Church in West Harlem.
“The mayor has shown the kind of leadership we need,” said Smith. “Education has improved, crime has diminished. We are for giving the mayor an opportunity to run again.”
The minister’s press conference was abruptly short-circuited after a member of the group suggested that term limits were bad for minorities. “No more questions, that’s it,” shouted a white man in shirtsleeves who distributed a press release containing an open letter to the council urging support for the mayor’s term limits change.
Asked for his identity, the press minder refused to say and fled up the steps into City Hall. He was last seen turning left towards the mayoral offices.
Reached later at his church, Rev. Smith said he had no idea who the man was. “We reached out to the mayor’s office to get permission for the rally and spoke to someone there,” said Smith, “but I have no idea who that guy was. All I know is he agreed to pass out our release.”
Smith insisted that he has no self-interest in the outcome of the term limits fight. “We don’t have any entitlements here. We’ve got a small daycare program and we’ve had it since 1972,” he said.