About the same time Attorney General Andrew Cuomo was announcing his urban agenda in Harlem in a closed session with several Black elected officials and community leaders on Monday, Councilman Charles Barron was delivering his urban agenda plan in Brooklyn.
In an interview a day after his press conference, Barron, who is running for governor on the Freedom Party line, spoke in detail about his plan.
“What I’m proposing is a progressive taxation plan that includes a commuter tax,” he began, noting that someone showed up at his press conference with research data to validate his position of lowering transit fares and abolishing the MTA.
Much of his plan was published last week in Barron’s op-ed piece in these pages, so we won’t take up too much space on that, but allow him to address how his campaign and platform differs from those of Paladino and Cuomo. Again, some of this was spelled out in the op-ed piece.
“What you have with Paladino is one who insults the Black community, while Cuomo ignores us,” Barron said. “Paladino is a sick, racist lunatic. Cuomo’s approach to us is one of racially benign neglect. We in the Freedom Party have issues with both of them.”
Barron said both Paladino and Cuomo are recipients of corporate funding– neither will tax the rich and that both will freeze wages, cut back on pensions and enact bills that will empower the law enforcement agencies, which will lead to more stop-and-frisk incidents and police brutality.
“Both are advocates of tax-free bonds that will allow developers to further gentrify our communities,” Barron said. “Neither has said anything at all about the foreclosure epidemic. Both will cut the budget by 20 percent, which will create more layoffs and curtail vital services.”
Barron wanted to know how Cuomo could go to Harlem and spend all the media time talking about Paladino. “That’s an insult to the Black community,” Barron charged. “That’s insulting to a community that is experiencing 50 percent unemployment for Black men, where the infant mortality rate rivals those in third-world countries, where HIV and AIDS and life expectancy all fall within the misery index. In other words, our votes are more critical than ever. It’s a life or death vote.”
If Paladino or Cuomo is to get the Black vote, Barron continued, “They will have to earn it. They can’t use scare tactics or manipulate us as both parties have done in the past.”
A vote for the Freedom Party, Barron explained, “will give us the leverage we need as we go forward. It’s time to end the lesser of evils option. It’s time to realize that your vote today is literarily one of life and death.”