Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Bill Thompson And Black Community Support

This NY Times article looks at Thompson and de Blasio on stop-and-frisk and finds most people just don't buy Thompson's position:

Mr. Thompson, a former city comptroller, enjoyed overwhelming support among blacks when he ran against Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in 2009. But this year, he must win over voters like Anthony Padgett, 55, a father of two who works as a housekeeper at a Brooklyn hospital. Mr. Padgett, who had seen Mr. de Blasio’s television ad, said the candidate’s outspoken stance on the stop-and-frisk tactic had helped secure his support. 

Mr. de Blasio, currently the public advocate, “knows what’s going on out there,” Mr. Padgett said as he rode a G train on Monday. “I know he would raise holy hell if his son got roughed up because he has an Afro.” 

By contrast, Mr. Padgett said, Mr. Thompson had been “wishy-washy” on the stop-and-frisk practice, adding, “No one knows where he stands on the issue.” 

In fact, Mr. de Blasio’s and Mr. Thompson’s aims are not far apart: they both want to reform the stop-and-frisk practice, which this month was found by a judge to be violating the constitutional rights of minorities. Both candidates say they would reduce the number of police stops, particularly in neighborhoods with predominantly black and Latino residents. 

But Mr. Thompson had long shied away from the more heated remarks of his rival, even warning of an “overreaction” among the tactic’s critics. And Mr. de Blasio has gone further in his policy proposals, supporting police oversight measures passed by the City Council that Mr. Thompson has said are the wrong approach. 

In interviews on Monday with African-Americans across Brooklyn, where Mr. Thompson and Mr. de Blasio both have roots, there was a clear gap in perception of the candidates’ positions, with many residents saying that they felt uncertain about where Mr. Thompson stood, and that they supported Mr. de Blasio because of his forceful statements and his persuasive advertising. 

Vincent Tolliver, 60, said that he had been frequently stopped on the street by the police, and that he would vote for Mr. de Blasio “for the simple fact that he has a real stance on stop-and-frisk,” adding, “He doesn’t want his son going through the same thing that other black kids do.” 

Belinda Becker, 48, a D.J. who lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant — “the heart of stop-and-frisk country,” she called it — said Mr. Thompson did not seem as committed as Mr. de Blasio to changing policies she associated with Mr. Bloomberg. And Robert Pressley, 50, a public-housing employee, said Mr. de Blasio’s ad with his son had deeply affected him. “My son and daughter are biracial,” Mr. Pressley said. “It made me think of my family.” 

Even Mr. Sharpton, whose endorsement — not yet made — is coveted by the candidates, acknowledged that the de Blasio commercial had made a strong impact with black voters. 

“I’ve probably heard more about that ad than any ad in the campaign,” Mr. Sharpton said. 

The CW is that Thompson will over-perform his poll numbers, especially with black voters, as he did in 2009.

But what if his incoherence on stop-and-frisk undercuts that support?

What if de Blasio's biracial family helps de Blasio with black voters.

The ad with de Blasio's son has resonated with voters, especially black voters.

It will be interesting to see if Thompson can pull in the support from the black community that he got in 2009.

He certainly needs to if he wants to make the runoff.

Unfortunately for him, he thought he had the black community vote sewn up, so he tried to straddle the middle ground on stop-and-frisk and now he's paying for that strategy.

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