Stephon Johnson | 4/12/2011, 4:37 p.m.
There he stood. Dressed in a dark blue suit with a white shirt and baby blue tie. Speaking to the residents of New York State, Gov. David Paterson released a series of television ads reintroducing himself to the masses. "Some say I shouldn't be running for governor," he said in an ad titled "Some Say." "It might have been easier if all I thought about was running for governor. But I think it's important to do what's right for the people of New York."
Recent Quinnipiac polls show Paterson's approval rating at a dismal 30 percent, so Paterson and Co. decided it was high time to let people know what he's all about. Councilman Charles Barron approves of this approach.
"I think Paterson needs to get to work right away," said Barron. "I think he needs to state his case early and strong. I don't agree with him on some things, but we need him because if we get Andrew Cuomo, it will be worse for Black people." In a hypothetical Democratic primary matchup, Cuomo holds an over 40-point lead against Paterson. Another politician who Barron feels should lend his support to Paterson in the race for 2010 is President Barack Obama. Obama recently caused some controversy with a letter directed to Paterson that suggested that he not run in the gubernatorial election. According to Barron, Obama owes him one.
"We need to put pressure on Obama to not throw [Paterson] off the bus," stated the councilman. "He owes us one since he didn't campaign for [mayoral candidate] Bill Thompson." Obama also received some flak for not directly coming out in support for Thompson before Election Night last Tuesday. Paterson's camp used the same media company that created ads for Obama during his race to the White House.
But what is it about Cuomo that would make things bad for Black New Yorkers?
"We will never be his focus or priority and never will be," said Barron. "It'll be great for white folks and people with real estate interests. I've had my criticisms of David [Paterson], but I'd rather have him in there than Andrew Cuomo. I've seen the things that Cuomo has done while he was the head of HUD [Department of Housing and Urban Development]." Barron and Cuomo clashed from time to time on the issue of affordable housing.
In the second ad, titled "When," the narrator discussed the ups and down of being in public office. "When you become a governor, you learn you will make mistakes," he said. "But in the depths of a historic recession you take what you have learned and have the strength to do what's right." While some consider the move to "campaign" early as a high risk, Paterson's approval ratings and pressure from the Washington say otherwise. Councilman Barron hopes that people stay united and support Paterson for the benefit of not only Black people in New York City, but Blacks all across New York State.
"We already have a city now where we don't have a Black person in any power position," said Barron. Mayor, speaker of the City Council, public advocate. What about Black people? We're 2.3 million strong. It's time for us to have our fair share of power."
"We can't afford to dump any of our folks," Barron continued. "We've got to build a movement to hold them accountable to a Black agenda."
Just when you thought the election season was over, Paterson reminds New Yorkers across the state that it's only just begun.