We had not planned to offer any endorsements this year, but we picked up a Mark Pollard Democrat for State Senate card, and referring to State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, it reads, “After 13 consecutive terms and 26 long years, it’s time to welcome in new independent leadership that understand the needs of our changing community and can get the job done.” What a lot of nonsense! First, seniority rules in the State Senate. And during the most of Senator Montgomery’s 26 years in th Senate, the Republicans were in control, but now things have changed. With the Democrats in the majority, the Senator is now Chair of the Committee on Children and Family Services and has changed the way incarcerated children are handled and has partnered with a host of non-profits who were able to update and activate projects on behalf of children, the shackled, the beaten down. These are not people who contribute to political campaigns and yet that is who the Senator is energized about helping.
On the other hand, looking at the $5,000 and $6,000 contributions to the Pollard campaign from hedge fund managers with Park Avenue and Central Park South addresses, we are certain it is not because they’ve followed Mr. Pollard’s many community activities. Rather, it’s because Pollard advocates for charter schools, and tax laws permit hedge funds to make millions of dollars and that is their interest. The overall education of the community’s children is of no concern to them. In fact, if these multi-millionaires could remove the community-centered sensibility and seniority power of Velmanette Montgomery and replace her with someone who can vote for hedge fund interests, so much the better. These same funds took the equity from neighborhood homes and turned it into gambling chips, and now they would take the political equity that the African-American and progressive communities have built up and toss it for someone who would be starting at the back of the seniority line. No thank you. This will be a low-turnout election and those can be dangerous. That’s why we want Velmanette to win.
In the 10th District congressional race community activist Kevin Powell is taking another run at another long-serving representative Congressman Ed Towns. There are many ways to judge a representative, but bringing home the bacon is a time-honored metric to use.
Out of a total of $19,120,000 in earmarks listed at opensecrets.org, an organization that analyzes political data and presents it in readable form, Edolphus Towns sponsored or co-sponsored 24 earmarks totaling $19,120,000 in fiscal year 2010 ranking 193rd out of 435 representatives. Of that total the Brown Thurgood Marshall College Fund Minority Energy Science Initiative, accounted for $3,000,000.
Locally, the Brown Memorial Baptist Church, MLK Strivers After School Program received $150,000, and the Fountain Avenue Community Develop Corp., an After School Program, received $100,000.
Disappointedly, there were no other African-American-led institutions listed that served the urgent needs of the community. Congresswoman Yvette Clarke delivered three times as much to the grassroots organizations in her district. Those are the earmarks we should be looking to get.
Recently, I saw a young couple and their daughter visiting registered voters and telling them about Kevin Powell. I think organization and passion are going to win this race. Both campaigns make their case starting on page 4.