Bill Thompson was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of hard-working parents, an educator and a judge.
He’s lived almost all of his life in Central Brooklyn.
He grew up in Bedford Stuyvesant on Putnam Avenue between Stuyvesant and Marcus Garvey Blvd. (then Reid Avenue) in the house his grandparents William and Louise Thompson succeeded in purchasing 70 years ago. They were the second Black family on the block. They later took pride in their grandson being an acolyte at St. Phillips Episcopal Church on Decatur Street.
Mr. Thompson’s mother, Elaine Thompson, who taught at various public schools, including P.S. 262, was a member of a team of compassionate educators — Almira Coursey, Elaine DeGrasse Perkins, Virginia Pope, June Fleary and others — who privately pushed young strivers to reach their potential. And they never took public credit for it.
Over the years, Mr. Thompson has lived in Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights, Prospect Heights and other areas, before finally returning to his boyhood home where he resided until last year; he now lives in Harlem.
And while the years have been good to him, he has not forgotten where he came from or where most hard working New Yorkers are coming from.
“My parents taught me to work as hard as you can, do the best job you can, and know that no one is going to give you anything; you have to go out and earn it.”
And Mr. Thompson has earned it.
In fact, the best man for the job of Mayor of New York City — it’s being decided by admirers from the tony penthouse apartments on the Upper East Side to the brownstones of the Comptroller’s old neighborhood — is Mr. Thompson. Plus, they say, he is asking for your vote based on his ability to lead and to talk eye to eye. He’s not paying for it.
In 2001, Mr. Bloomberg spent $74 million to run in the mayoral race. He said then that his spending was “obscene” and that he would not spend that much on a campaign ever again.
In 2005, he spent $85 million for his re-election bid in 2005.
This year, his spending is estimated upwards from 100 million dollars, pointing out not so much how powerful he is as much as how fearful he may be of Thompson’s power.
In some respects Mr. Bloomberg’s wealth is not the central issue; after all, it is his money. “No matter how much money is spent, our votes can’t be bought, that’s the message,” Thompson has said, and adds in a reference to Mr. Bloomberg’s successful push in reversing term-limits rulings. “Eight is enough.”
This Tuesday, November 3rd Central Brooklyn will have an opportunity to vote for new leadership. If this does not happen, apathy will win the election, not Mr. Bloomberg.
– Bernice Elizabeth Green