Anthony Weiner discusses campaign platform at National Action Network meeting

HERB BOYD Special to the AmNews | 6/20/2013, 11:21 a.m.
Anthony Weiner discusses campaign platform at National Action Network meeting

As if taking his cue from the Rev. Al Sharpton about a lack of vision and policy from the crop of mayoral candidates, former Rep. Anthony Weiner laid out his plans if elected as New York City's next mayor last Saturday at the National Action Network.

"I'm trying to build a campaign on the ideas I grew up with in Brooklyn," Weiner began. "I want affordable housing, good schools, decent jobs and health care for all."

These were among the top priorities, Weiner said, in his blueprint of 64 ideas, including his strong opposition to the current stop-and-frisk policy. "Stop-and-frisk is a racial tool," he blasted to great applause. While he expressed his appreciation of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, he took exception to a policy that has disproportionately impacted Black and Latino young men. "There are too many stops without hardly any arrests," he added.

Given his color and ethnicity, he said the possibility of his being stopped and frisked "is virtually zero."

Weiner also asserted his concern about the proliferation of violence. "We have to make sure the city is a safe place, and we have to get the guns off the street," he said. He praised the stiff gun control laws that exist in New York City, but insisted that something had to be done in states such as North Carolina that provide a conduit for the flow of illegal handguns and other weapons.

The candidate said nothing about his social media "sexting" scandal that forced his resignation from Congress, but, as usual, the rostrum belonged to the reverend, and he used it to expound on some of the issues Weiner had broached. On the policy of stop-and-frisk, he said, "probable cause cannot be the color of your skin."

Sharpton made extensive comments on the fact that private schools are replacing public schools; the abrogation of our civil liberties and the differences that arise from the government's policy of privacy versus national security; fair immigration reform; and even the brouhaha around his role as a national commentator on the nightly news. "Rather than complaining about me being the only Black hosting a show after 5 p.m., they ought to be mad that there are not others," he said.

The Trayvon Martin case has also been a key agenda item for Sharpton, and he explained the importance of public outrage and pressure to get things done. "It was because of the pressure we applied that forced them to get a special prosecutor on this case," he said. "We did what we had to do to bring about this change."

Among the critical issues facing the nation in the coming weeks, he said, were Supreme Court decisions on affirmative action and Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

"Now is the time to be active," Sharpton charged. "While many of you are busy watching 'Basketball Wives,' the Supreme Court may be stripping us of affirmative action and our voting rights."

After congratulating activist and attorney Chokwe Lumumba on his mayoral victory in Jackson, Miss., Sharpton closed his speech/sermon with a rousing reminder to his congregation that "whatever you do, don't stop fighting!"