Borough President Marty Markowitz’s endorsement of Mayor Bloomberg is not sitting well with Brooklyn’s Democratic leaders.
Twenty-four hours after Markowitz endorsed the Republican for his bid for a third term on the steps of Borough Hall (209 Joralemon Street), dozens of elected officials and Democratic District leaders, led by Assemblymember Robinson, held a counter-endorsement rally on October 2, for City Comptroller Billy Thompson, the Democratic Party nominee for Mayor.
“I am outraged that the leader of this borough would stand up and endorse a chameleon,” said Annette Robinson (D-Bedford Stuyvesant).“We don’t know what stripes he is wearing.Enough is enough.We don’t like what you did and it is out of bounds when you do not stand by a Democrat.”
Many elected leaders said they were blind-sided by Markowitz’s decision to endorse the mayor and questioned why he would not endorse Thompson, who was born and raised in Central Brooklyn.C
“I don’t understand the Borough President,” said Barron.“How on God’s earth does Marty Markowitz endorse the Mayor?Party Marty.Much as you like the Party, I thought you would stick with the Party.”
Councilmember Letitia James (D-Fort Greene) said she was disappointed with the Borough President’s decision but said that Thompson would win regardless.James said that Markowitz called her office several hours after making his endorsement,explaining that he made his decision for financial reasons.
“He called me that afternoon, saying that he did this because of his budget.He said he was hurting and he did it for the benefit of his office,” said James.“Did the Mayor restore the funding on his own?If he did, he must have a cadre of money that he uses for political favoritism.”
When asked about that conversation, a spokesperson for the Borough President stated that he was referring to a list of ongoing development projects that the Bloomberg administration has enthusiastically supported over the past several years.A spokesperson with Bloomberg’s campaign did not return calls for comment by press time.
“Regarding Brooklyn’s future, the Mayor and I are working together on many projects, from the development of Downtown Brooklyn, to the revitalization of our waterfront, to the creation of a stunning Brooklyn Bridge Park, to progress on the Coney Island Plan, to building and preserving affordable housing, to keeping our environment sustainable and to transforming education in this city,” said Markowitz, on October 1, at the Bloomberg endorsement event.“As a lifelong Democrat and Brooklynite, I am proud today to give my endorsement to a man whose ideas, vision, skill and dedication are truly befitting of both our city’s grand history and its bright future: Mike Bloomberg.”
The Borough President’s Capital Budget has been reduced from $88.7 million in Fiscal Year 2009 to $37.8 million in Fiscal Year 2010, though a BP spokesperson noted that this was based on a predetermined formula, which was part of citywide budget cuts instituted earlier this year.
“Marty has consistently been Brooklyn’s most vocal advocate,” said Mayor Bloomberg on October 1. “He has been a partner in the progress we’ve made throughout Brooklyn over the past eight years. We are creating jobs, seeing higher test scores and graduation rates, and our streets are the safest they have been in over 40 years. I am grateful for Marty’s endorsement and together we will continue to make Brooklyn a place that all Brooklynites are proud to call home.”
Thompson did not attend the rally.A spokesperson for the Thompson campaign said the event was held independent of the campaign and Thompson was receiving the endorsement of Local 3 IBEW at City Hall at the same time.