Posted by: vote4claxton | January 1, 2009



4 Veteran City Workers Ready Runs for Council; 2 Each From NYPD, Correction

At a time when Mayor Bloomberg plans to shrink the size of the NYPD through attrition and he and Governor Paterson want to decrease benefits to new uniformed city employees, two former cops, a Correction Captain and a former Correction Department lawyer, have announced plans to run for City Council in 2009.

WON’T BE A GO-ALONG GUY: Marquez Claxton, a retired Detective who is one of the founders of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement, promises to be as outspoken about city government as he has been about the NYPD. ‘There is a desperate need for elected officials to respect the will of the people instead of playing patronage games with the Mayor,’ he said regarding the term limits extension.

The three members of 100 Blacks In Law Enforcement Who Care who are running — Carlton Berkley, Marquez Claxton and Jerome Rice — are calling for change on the heels of Barack Obama’s election as the nation’s first black President in November, though all three said they would have run for the Council regardless.

Jerome Rice, a soon-to-be retired Correction Captain, is running for the 12th Council District in The Bronx, currently held by Larry B. Seabrook.

Gang, Affordable Housing Issues

Mr. Rice vows to fight to take back the streets because “none of the candidates in any of the districts is taking on gangs.” He also said home affordability was a big problem in his Baychester neighborhood in The Bronx, where homes go for $400,000, but the average resident makes just $60,000 a year. “In these tough economic times, we don’t need that,” he said. He said he also believed he could help bridge the gap between youth and police in the neighborhood.

The Correction Captain intends to challenge Mr. Seabrook on his vote to extend term limits for city elected officials to three terms. “If the President of the United States can adhere to term limits, then the Mayor and everyone else can, too,” Mr. Rice declared. “Eight years is enough.”

Retired NYPD Detective Carlton Berkley has launched a campaign to unseat Manhattan City Councilwoman Inez E. Dickens, who also voted to extend term limits. The Harlem native is running on a platform opposing the gentrification and rezoning of his neighborhood. “What are we left with?” he said. “People who have lived in Harlem forever have been displaced to God knows where, and it’s not right.”

Wants Equal Treatment by Cops

Mr. Berkley said his experience as a police officer for 20 years gave him an insight into how the department works that would be helpful as a Councilman. “The first thing I would do is meet with every commanding officer in the precinct and say the disparate treatment of residents and community members has to stop,” the member of 100 Blacks said.

One of the co-founders of the organization, Marquez Claxton, has also announced his candidacy for the City Council. Mr. Claxton is making a bid to unseat James Sanders Jr., who represents District 31 in southeast Queens. “My basic platform is to return the power back to the people,” he said. “There is a desperate need for elected officials to respect the will of the people instead of playing patronage games with the Mayor.” Mr. Sanders voted to extend term limits.

Mr. Claxton emphasized his practical knowledge of public safety and emergency services would shape his tenure. The retired Detective remains critical of his former department. “The NYPD has been using manpower as a crutch and an excuse for not providing adequate service across the city,” he said. “At times when manpower is down, you have to redefine your deployment. We can’t say, ‘We can’t do the job because manpower is down’ — that is a cop-out.”

A former Correction Department lawyer, Jacques Leandre, is also challenging Mr. Sanders. He worked as a legal coordinator for the city before going into private practice. He plans to run on a platform stressing youth development and elder services. “I believe this is the time that our community needs leadership to enact the changes Barack Obama has so eloquently put forth,” he said.

In what will likely be a refrain of many City Council challengers, Mr. Leandre slammed Mr. Sanders for his vote in favor of extending term limits despite two previous public referenda setting a two-term maximum. “He sided with the Mayor in a very undemocratic way,” he said. “The country has spoken for change. Change is not only reserved for the presidency.”


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