Does Charles Barron have your attention now?

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Briefing: Barron. (Azi Paybarah via flickr)
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What's happening with Charles Barron?

The unapologetically confrontational councilman and former Black Panther is running for an open congressional seat against Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, a moderate African-American Democrat with broad support. 

Barron is well-known and generally well-liked in his Council district. Everywhere else, though, he's best known for calling Robert Mugabe a hero, and comparing Israel to Nazi Germany, and saying he wants to slap "the closest white person." 

In an editorial, the Daily News summed up the race as much of the media, and the political establishment outside the majority-black district, see it: "One man in this contest is a class act. The other is a malignant clown."

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And a number of former and current Jewish Democratic officials, most of whom also live outside the district, went beyond "clown" directly to "monster."

Barron isn't new, though, and his positions are no secret. He's been on the Council for more than a decade, where he is well marginalized by the Democratic leadership, and his previous runs for higher office went nowhere.

Plus Jeffries has massive advantages in money and institutional support: He has the backing of the machine Democrats and reformers, and from organized labor and charter-school proponents.

But Barron has a couple of things going for him that arguably complicate the "clown" narrative in a way that didn't apply to his previous run for Congress against incumbent Ed Towns, or to his very unsuccessful run for governor against Andrew Cuomo. 

For one thing, Towns, who is retiring, is supporting him. For another, he's landed some public-sector union backing.

Noting this, the neoconservative Commentary magazine wrote, "Democrats are rightly terrified about how Barron's nomination would reflect on their party."

The liberal American Prospect wrote a headline that said "Public Employee Union Endorse (And Help) The Guy Who Supports Dictators," with the subhead, "This may not be the public employee union's smartest move."

News columnist Juan Gonzalez wrote, with some satisfaction, that the "money people in Manhattan are suddenly worried."

Charles Barron finally seems to have their attention.

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Events

Andrew Cuomo is in New York City and has no public schedule.

10 a.m. Christine Quinn joins colleagues to discuss a bill to combat sex trafficking, on the steps of City Hall.

12 noon. Bloomberg makes an announcement at the Eastchester Heights Apartments, at 3480 Seymour Avenue in the Bronx.

12 noon. Councilmen Jumaane Williams, Brad Lander and others discuss legislation to create more independent oversight of the NYPD, on the steps of City Hall.

1 p.m. Quinn has a Q&A with upcoming bills in the Council in the Red Room inside City Hall.

1:30 p.m. Quinn and Councilwoman Gale Brewer present a proclamation to Gloria Steinem and the founders, editors and staff of Ms. magazine on the publication’s 40th Anniversary in the Council Chambers at City Hall.

6:40 p.m. Quinn speaks at the New York-Belfast Conference at 140 West 62nd Street.

8 p.m. Councilwoman Gale Brewer greets audience at Shakespeare in the Park's Manhattan Night performance of "As You Like It" at the Delacorte Theater, Central Park at 81st Street.

The Numbers

Quinnpiac:

50-39: approve / disapprove of Bloomberg's job performance, among N.Y.C. voters

49-22: approve / disapprove of Bloomberg's job performance, among Democrats

57-34: approve / disapprove of Bloomberg's job performance, among white voters

39-46: approve / disapprove of Bloomberg's job performance, among black voters

50-40: approve / disapprove of Bloomberg's job performance, among Hispanic voters

63-18-18: approve / disapprove / don't know of Christine Quinn's job performance, among Democrats

45-13 -41: approve / disapprove / don't know of Bill de Blasio's job performance, among Democrats

45-29-27: approve / disapprove / don't know of John Liu's job performance, Democrats

46-51: support / oppose Bloomberg's ban on large sugary drinks

49-46: support / oppose Bloomberg's ban, among people ages 18-34

50-49: support / oppose Bloomberg's ban, among people ages 35-49

43-51: support / oppose Bloomberg's ban, among people ages 65 and over

2012

Mitt Romney is jumping up and down on Barack Obama's statement about the private sector. [Michael Barbaro]

NY-13

Adriano Espaillat was endorsed by El Diario:

"[O]ur democracy is a dynamic representation [and] changes when voters want, not when the owners decide."

"Rangel's Democratic priorities, however, are similar to those of Espaillat...There is no reason to prevent someone new [from starting to build up] seniority in Congress."

NY-08

Commentary is concerned for the Democrats over Charles Barron. [Alana Goodman]

The American Prospect is, too. [Abby Rapoport]

The "money people in Manhattan are suddenly worried" that Barron could win this. [Juan Gonzalez]

2013

Most of the mayoral candidates called for creating a chief diversity officer position in City Hall. [Jill Colvin]

John Liu was the moderate on yesterday's panel, where the other mayoral candidates "want to return to the old-fashioned 'fix" of "quotas and favoritism" when awarding contracts. [Nicole Gelinas]

Quinn "slams" and "ripped" Bloomberg on his record of doing business with minority companies. [Reuven Blau]

"Quinn declined to vilify Mayor Michael Bloomberg." [Kate Taylor]

1199 President George Gresham: "There’s no way that we could endorse anyone for mayor that doesn’t believe this stop-and-frisk is a failed policy as we know it. It must end." [Jim Dwyer]

Washington

Kirsten Gillibrand, the first New Yorker to sit on the Senate agriculture committee in 40 years, is helping shape food policy. [Andrew Grossman]

Gillibrand's bill wold make "humane and sensible changes" to food stamp funding. [New York Times]

Albany

The Committee to Save New York's "evident game plan is to help Cuomo achieve objectives by building up his popularity and political capital. The right way to pursue that strategy is through a political committee — where donations would be limited and disclosed." [Bill Hammond]

A three-way deal on cyber-bullying is in the works. [Associated Press]

A key figure in the fight to legalize same-sex marriage, hedge fund manager Paul Singer, faced a setback in his push to get a bill passed that would allow him and others to collect on debt that Argentina defaulted on in 2001. [Jacob Gershman]

City Hall

Starbucks C.E.O. Howard Schultz offers equivocal support for Bloomberg’s soda-ban objectives. [CBS News]

Limit the size of popcorn too? [Sally Goldenberg]

Bloomberg should stop fighting the taxi lawsuit and put it up for a vote in the Council. [Bill de Blasio]

The taxi drivers union wants a morning rush-hour surcharge. [Sally Goldenberg]

"[U.F.T. president Michael] Mulgrew is the poster boy for obstructionist unionism and enduring failure in city schools." [New York Post]

City Council

Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras' bill to raise penalties on livery cab drivers who help transport prostitutes is expected to pass the Council today. Also, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn will announce a deal with Delta and American Airlines to combat sex trafficking in airports. [Vivian Yee]

Policing 

A bill to create an inspector general for the NYPD will be introduced in the Council today. The I.G. would be appointed by the mayor and have subpoena power, but the budget for the office would be set by the Council.

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said it "may sound good to the sponsors on paper, but it appears to the department to be just redundant." [David Chen]

"Most of the time when I get stopped, I'm walking down the block. They never say this is why I'm stopping you," said Tyquan Brehon of Brooklyn, who said he was stopped more than 60 times before turning 18. [Julie Dressner and Edwin Martinez]

Tyquan Brehon's video. [Julie Dressner and Edwin Martinez]

Real Estate

The real One World Trade Center looks a little bit different from the rendering unveiled in 2006. [David Dunlap]

Technology

Curious if the subway is running this weekend? There’s now an app for that. [AMNY]

From Capital

Scott Stringer's office was annoyed not to have gotten credit for a food-policy initiative announced yesterday by Bloomberg and Quinn. [Dana Rubinstein]

Rep. Charlie Rangel and State Senator Adriano Espaillat debate the virtues of longevity in Congress. [Azi Paybarah]

Casino magnate Steve Wynn said that limiting the number of casinos in a state is what leads to corruption. [Dana Rubinstein]

Huffington Post's new iPad publication hits Apple stores tomorrow. [Joe Pompeo]

"Brooklyn is home to four of the top 25 fastest gentrifying zip codes nationwide." [Dana Rubinstein]

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