Mayor Bill de Blasio and many other New York City elected officials joined a Harlem rally Saturday demanding the renewal of rent regulations. Hosted by Assembly Housing Committee Chairman Keith L.T. Wright, the rally drew a modest crowd of about 200 people. Speakers included the Rev. Al Sharpton, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James, Rep. Charles Rangel, State Senator Adriano Espaillat, Assembly Members Brian Kavanagh and Guillermo Linares, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Council Members Inez Dickens, Vanessa Gibson, Ben Kallos and Jumaane Williams.
With the legislative session rushing toward conclusion next week, expiration of the soon-to-sunset state laws governing rent stabilized and rent controlled apartments is an ever-increasing possibility. While it’s still likely that they’ll be renewed, the prospect of expiration is driving City Democrats into increasingly frantic efforts to renew and expand those laws. For Mayor Bill de Blasio it’s both an essential part of a core focus of his mayoralty and yet another chapter in the story of his friction-filled relationship with Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Governor Andrew Cuomo called in to the Rev. Al Sharpton’s Martin Luther King Day celebration today. While other elected officials, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Tish James and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand joined Sharpton, Cuomo participated by phone. His call suffered some technical troubles, with a first attempt scrubbed. Here is his second attempt, which began with technical problems but which eventually worked.
Update: Here are photos from the National Action Network King Day celebration.
Mayor Bill de Blasio joined the Rev. Al Sharpton for Sharpton’s annual Martin Luther King Day celebration this afternoon, happily sitting with Sharpton in a duel appearance aimed at rejecting critics of their relationship. Sharpton’s celebration featured many elected officials but contrary to his typical practice Sharpton initially invited only de Blasio to join him on stage.
In a lengthy introduction and opening remarks, Sharpton rejected the notion that he is anti-police and the notion that de Blasio’s relationship with him is either unusual or untoward. After describing his relationships with past mayors and governors, Sharpton said of de Blasio “we didn’t want a flunkie we wanted a mayor, and we got a mayor that will talk to us and respect us.” Here are his full opening remarks:
Mayor de Blasio saluted Martin Luther King and praised Sharpton as continuing King’s work. de Blasio also indirectly rebutted critics, offering praise for police while emphasizing the crime reductions in 2014 under his administration. He criticized anyone “saying something vicious and vile to a police officer”, saying that anyone doing so is “holding us back.”
The Rev. Al Sharpton and members of Eric Garner’s family this afternoon visited the site where NYPD Detectives Rafael Ramon and Wenjian Liu were murdered, placing wreaths in their memory. Sharpton and the Garner family travelled from the National Action Network’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration in a bus caravan with a few hundred supporters. Sharpton spoke briefly before placing the wreaths:
How has the Rev. Al Sharpton remained a central political player for more than 20 years, with close ties to the president of the United States and the mayor of New York City? It baffles many who follow politics casually, especially those who are primarily familiar with his missteps, from Tawana Brawley to Freddy’s Fashion Mart to his tax problems, but not familiar with much of what he does.
His communication skills are a central element, but it’s more than his speaking talents. Key to his longevity is his creation and filling of an institutional role. Sharpton gave his own effective description Thursday during a press conference discussing the Eric Garner case, Sharpton’s call for federally “centralizing” investigations of civilians killed by police and a planned march in Washington, D.C.
The Rev. Al Sharpton today called for “federal intervention” to “centralize” criminal investigations and prosecutions of police officers. Declaring that the “grand jury system is broken” in “dealing with police … questions of criminality and killings” Sharpton urged federal government action akin to the mid-20th century actions on enforcing civil rights.
Speaking after a meeting of approximately 25 organizations, Sharpton also briefly outlined plans for a December 13th march in Washington, D.C. The focus of the march will be “addressing a broken system.” Here’s Sharpton’s statement:
Speaking a press conference on Wednesday evening, Sharpton briefly mentioned that he and Eric Garner’s family had spoken with Governor Cuomo. Today I asked Sharpton about that call. By his description of their call, the governor “support[s] the federal government coming in.” Here’s Sharpton’s full answer:
The Rev. Al Sharpton hosted Eric Garner’s wife, mother and three of his children for a press conference at Sharpton’s House of Justice. Addressing the grand jury decision to not indict the police officer who caused Garner’s death, Sharpton “connected the dots” of other cases of African Americans or Latinos killed by police, from Anthony Baez and Abner Louima to Michael Brown and Akai Gurley, urging action. Among the actions he discussed is a march in Washington on December 13th.
Esaw Garner, widow of Eric Garner, responded harshly when asked if she accepted the condolences offered by Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo. Garner spoke during an appearance with the Rev. Al Sharpton at National Action Network’s House of Justice.
At a press conference addressing his tax troubles and the pending grand jury decisions in the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Missouri and the Eric Garner case in Staten Island, the Rev. Al Sharpton was asked whether Rachel Noerdlinger, who worked for Sharpton before becoming chief of staff to Chirlane McCray, is welcome to return to working with Sharpton. His reply included dismissively raising rumors that he is the father of Noerdlinger’s teenage son. His response clearly treated those rumors as false, although Sharpton did not expressly deny it.
At a press conference addressing the Rev. Al Sharpton’s tax troubles as well as the pending grand jury decisions in the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Missouri and the Eric Garner case in Staten Island, a reporter identified himself as being from Fox 5, the local Fox station. Sharpton responded by launching into a description of News Corp’s love, or at least money, for him and his past Fox appearances.
At a press conference which mostly focused on his tax troubles, the Rev. Al Sharpton also addressed the pending grand jury decisions in the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Missouri and the Eric Garner case in Staten Island.
Sharpton criticized the length of time that each grand jury has been working without a decision and what he termed grand jury roles that “appear to be improperly expanded to where it is about trying to prove or disprove the accused rather than to see if there’s probable cause to go to trial”. Sharpton stated that he has “pledged to the mother and father of Michael Brown that I will be there with them when the decision is announced.” He also said that National Action Network has organized “vigils and nonviolent demonstrations” at “federal buildings” in 25 cities to call for the federal government to “begin formal criminal investigation on Officer Darren Wilson.”
In response to the sole press conference question on these cases (posed by Henry Goldman of Bloomberg), Sharpton described Ferguson as “very tense” and Staten Island as having “tension” but not “as high yet as Ferguson.” He observed that a lack of indictment in Ferguson “could inflame Staten Island and incidents around the country.”
Here are his complete remarks on Ferguson and Staten Island:
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