Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Anti-"Atlantic Yards" Candidates Coalescing Around Batson

With the race for the 57th Assembly District in the spotlight of the "Atlantic Yards" debate, in the past week we've seen two anti-"Atlantic Yards" Congressional candidates cross-endorse the only "Alantic Yards" opponent in that race–Bill Batson.

This week's Brooklyn Downtown Star discusses the endorsements that have come from Chris Owens and Charles Barron for Bill Batson:
"You just keep being you," City Councilman Charles Barron told State Assembly candidate Bill Batson on the steps of City Hall this past rainy Sunday afternoon. "If you do," continued Barron, who is running for a political promotion himself this fall - to federal Congress, "then you'll have nothing to worry about. Don't sell us out, but I know you won't."

The two candidates have known each other a long time, having protested together in the wake of the Amodou Diallo shooting over seven years ago. Since then, Barron, a former Black Panther, has taken his street militancy inside the halls of municipal power. He has represented east Brooklyn in the City Council since 2001.

"Charles knows," admired Batson, "that we have to fight on the streets and in Albany and Washington. A lot of politicians go off to the corridors of power and disappear. I want to be like Charles. I want my constituents to hear me and see me."...

...In Batson, Barron sees a kindred establishment-bucking spirit. "The two other candidates in his race," decried Barron, speaking of Freddie Hamilton and Hakeem Jeffries, "are tied to the machine. Bill is the only independent, real, progressive voice in this race for the assembly."

Barron then endorsed Batson in his quest to succeed Roger Green in the 57th Assembly District, and Batson returned the gesture by endorsing Barron against Green and incumbent Ed Towns in the 10th Congressional District.

"I like Charles," explained Batson, "because he was a leader before he was an elected official. Just because you're an elected official doesn't mean you're a leader, and for decades he has been a seasoned and skillful organizer."

Earlier in the week, Batson had held a similar cross-endorsement press conference with Chris Owens, a candidate for the 11th Congressional District. ...

...One thing Barron, Owens, and Batson all have in common - that Clarke definitely does not - is their opposition to the controversial Atlantic Yards development. "Atlantic Yards," reasoned Owens, "is an example of the conflict between the direction we all would like to see this city go in and the corporatized development approach that the other candidates in our races are beholden to."

Owens went on to clarify that, unlike his opponents, Batson's opponents - Jeffries and Hamilton - "are not corporate tools, but they also haven't distinguished themselves as leaders in the fight against them."


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