Supporters of Brooklyn City Councilman Charles Barron are denouncing a possible attempt to remove the politician from his chairmanship of the City Council Higher Education Committee.
The news stems from the organization Democracy Now, which
Democracy Now was planning to hold the press conference to urge City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to remove Barron as Higher Education chair after his shouting match with City University of New York trustee member Jeffery Wiesenfeld.
“The press conference regarding Councilman Charles Barron’s interruption of a recent ceremony, originally scheduled for Monday, December 14 at 10 a.m. at NY City Hall, is being temporarily held in abeyance,” the statement said. “At this hour, we have received assurances concerning the reorganization of the New York City Council’s committee structures upon the expected re-designation of Speaker Christine Quinn during the first week of January 2010.”
The organization goes on to call Barron “obnoxious, racist and anti-Semitic,” highlighting a long list of his history they deemed negative, including his defense of his chief of staff. Viola Plummer, and petitioning for the removal of a painting of Thomas Jefferson from City Hall.
Calls made by the AmNews to Democracy Now were not returned by press time.
On Wednesday, several of Barron’s supporters rallied at City Hall to speak out against the alleged removal. The Rev. Al Sharpton, who organized the rally, said that removing Barron from his post would be a hurtful to the city because he’s been so productive.
“This chairman has raised reforms that need to be raised and has challenged the present speaker,” Sharpton said. “It is our hope that Mr. Barron will be speaker, but he certainly should not be penalized based on politics.”
Others, including the Rev. Herbert Daughtry, housing advocate Nellie Bailey and Dr. James [[EDITOR: GIVE FULL NAME.]] of BMCC were also present at the rally and highlighted Barron’s achievements in making improvements to the CUNY system. Protesters threatened that if Barron is, in fact, removed, there would be action.
Barron, who wasn’t present at the rally, told the AmNews that his supporters informed him about Democracy Now’s demand for him to be removed. He also said that while he knows Quinn would never publicly say she would remove him, she would do it behind close doors.
“It would be war at City Hall,” he said. “I’ve been the best chair ever in the history of the council. Everyone knows I’ve brought millions of dollars to CUNY students and lowered the cost of textbooks. I’ve been a true champion of CUNY.”
Barron added that while he is aware of the possibility of his removal, his focus is on becoming the new City Council Speaker and getting Quinn out.
A spokesman for Quinn told the AmNews that he wasn’t aware of the statement Democracy Now made on its website and that no assurances and no decisions have been made about any committee chairs.