3:44 pm Jun. 22, 2012
One day after he received the unsolicited support of David Duke, Councilman Charles Barron announced endorsements from two New York elected officials and an environmental advocacy group.
At a press conference outside of City Hall, Barron was joined by City Council members Diana Reyna of Brooklyn and the vice-chair of the Sierra Club's New York City chapter, Irene van Slyke. The campaign also said City Council member Annabel Palma endorsed Barron, although she was not in attendance. (A spokesperson for Palma later told me she was in a budget negotiating meeting.)
"He is a people's candidate and a man whose words resonates among many households," said Reyna of Brooklyn. She acknowledged Barron had abrasive rhetoric, but said it served to "reminds all of us [in the City Council] what communities, what communities are voiceless.
Van Slyke said Barron was an early and outspoken critic of the Atlantic Yards project and attended the group's endorsement meeting. "His opponent has been absent, not sometimes, but all the time, including not showing up at neighborhood debates and the Sierra Club endorsement interview," she said, with Barron's hand on her left shoulder.
Later, Slyke said "Mr. Barron showed up when it really counted" on Atlantic Yards, "when we needed political support to fight a project that was totally out of control."
Barron, she said, "spoke out when it really counted. Mr. Jeffries came after all the decisions had been made. It didn't count anymore. It was just recently."
A spokeswoman for Jeffries said the Assemblyman may not have attended as many rallies about the Atlantic Yards project, but has introduced legislation to increase oversight of it each year he has been in office. The spokeswoman also said the Assemblyman's job requires him to travel to Albany, taking him out of the district at times, unlike Barron, whose work as a Councilman primarily requires traveling only to Manhattan.
I asked Barron how he thought Obama and the White House would react if he's elected.
"Ask him. Ask the president, I have no idea," he said. "I am going to be a benefit to the people. I'm not trying to benefit Congress. I'm not trying to benefit a president. I'm trying to benefit the people of my district," he said.
A reporter from the Huffington Post asked if Baron was "running against President Obama."
"No, that's a foolish question," Barron said.
As Barron was walking away, I asked if he was supporting anyone in the 13th district congressional race, where Rep. Charlie Rangel is seeking re-election. "No," Barron said.
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