The Public Deserves
The Facts on Carl Andrews
To the Editor:
I have just read the Danielle Douglas article on Carl Andrews, and note that I have been cited by name. Ms. Douglas mentions the article on my Web site, FOOTNOTESNY, which carries information about congressional candidate Carl Andrews. I assume that Ms. Douglas is a legitimate reporter and not a friend of his or on his payroll. In which case, readers have the right to expect her to check information and do research before publishing statements as fact and to do something more useful than repeating false information and self-promoting statements made by a political candidate. I bring your attention to some of the more flagrant errors of fact.
1. “Gumbs, who admittedly did not serve with Andrews, accuses him of a lackluster performance during his tenure….”
FALSE: Evidently, Ms. Douglas did not research this matter, and didn’t even take the time to read the article referred to, and certainly didn’t attempt to contact me. In my article, I clearly stated that I served on Community School Board #17 with Carl Andrews for 8 years. That is a matter of fact.
2. “He (Andrews) goes on to point out that while Gumbs was on the school board the body was twice taken over by two different chancellors for ineffectiveness.”
FALSE: Chancellor Joseph Fernandez briefly suspended District 17’s School Board because there were flaws in the management of the Funded Programs unit.
In case he did not indicate this, Carl Andrews was one of the 9 board members at the time. The board was reinstated within months as I recall. There was no suspension by any other chancellor during my 8 years with Carl on the District 17 School Board.
FALSE: My article did not state that Carl’s performance as a school board member was lackluster. I said it was abominable and disastrous.
My article boldly indicates that during those 8 years District 17 had an outstanding record of academic achievement and almost every school experienced substantial improvement. This is a matter of record. Did Carl Andrews tell Ms. Douglas that this was untrue?
If Ms. Douglas knows anything about the political history of the area, then she must be aware that Carl was not just a very close personal friend of Clarence, but his closest political associate. The suggestion that Carl was not aware of what Clarence was doing, and was not involved in the corruption is laughable.
Ms. Douglas mentions Jack Newfield. “Newfield even accused Andrews of obtaining his position in the attorney general’s office through a one-hand-washes-the other agreement between Norman and Spitzer.” Evidently, Ms. Douglas didn’t do her homework on Newfield’s concern about Carl Andrews. She should consult with Errol Louis. Newfield was most concerned and indignant about Carl getting the majority of receiverships in the Surrogate Court of Judge Feinberg.
Jack believed that Carl Andrews was totally corrupt and that he and Clarence were plundering the estates of orphans, widows, children and the helpless. The Inspector General’s Fiduciary Report pretty much says the same thing. And this should have been required reading for Ms. Douglas.
As for Carl’s contribution to his community. According to Carl, Shirley Chisholm apparently issued a challenge to him in 1974. He finally became a State Senator in 2002, 28 years later. Carl ran against Marty Markowitz and lost. And so did I. And Marty Markowitz also ran ahead of Al Vann when they both ran for borough president. Carl ran for City Council and lost. So did I.
Errol Louis also ran for office and lost. So all three of us have reason to be bitter, right? Carl probably does not remember, but although he ran for school board with the support and endorsement of Clarence Norman, Major Owens, Al Vann and others, and I had no endorsements, by the time we had spent two terms in office I was getting substantially more votes than he was in school board elections. That certainly did not make me bitter.
If Ms. Douglas does her research she will discover that Carl was nominated as the Democratic candidate for the position of State Senator by a county committee controlled by Clarence Norman. He did not win his seat in an open election. And Ms. Douglas is probably aware that Democratic incumbents do not lose in Brooklyn.
Ms. Douglas could have asked this congressional candidate what exactly it was that he did for his community during the 28 years between 1974 and 2002. The fact is that Carl was nothing more than a political hack during those years, getting a series of political hack jobs from a variety of elected officials including Al Vann, Major Owens, Clarence, Martin Connor, and Eliot Spitzer. Not one of them was one of genuine service to his community.
Carl likes to mention that he was a member of the 71st Precinct Council. I was an active member and co-president of the 71st Precinct Council for many years. These were years when the area was engaged in mortal conflict with dope dealers. I do not recall Carl ever being at those meetings except when Jackie Ward came around with him at election time to collect signatures for candidates. I doubt he would lie about it.
And finally, has Ms. Douglas taken a look at Carl’s Campaign Finance Report published by the FEC? And has she checked out Carl’s handlers, the lobbying firm of Bolton St. John’s. That certainly looks like a story waiting to be told.
And, incidentally, although Carl accuses me of being bitter, he will probably remember that he, Al Vann, Bill Banks came to my political club to ask for my support in a runoff election against Una Clarke. I graciously agreed, and we worked hard for Carl.
And indeed, when Carl decided to run for Congress, he sent numerous messages to me by mutual friends, asking me to meet with him. Clearly, he thought highly enough about me to want me on his campaign. And frankly, I like Carl as a human being. I just happen to think that Carl as congressman is the worst possible thing to happen to Brooklyn at this point.
PS: If you are providing readers what is purported to be factual comments made in a publication, it would be a courtesy and a service to these readers to provide them with a link where they can read it for themselves. For example, I found out about this article through a link to Our Time provided by Ben Smith in his blog. In addition, Errol Louis, Stan Kinard, and the editors of Our Times are on my mailing list, and I am surprised to find that I am being quoted and discussed in an article without being contacted for comment.
Dear Mr. Gumbs,