Sharing the op-ed page with George Will again today (he inadvertently makes the perfect argument for legalizing marijuana in his review of a book sitting in my Amazon.com delivery box right now: “Last Call”…) In my column this week, I talk about the Jeff Greene foray into Black Miami, and the implications for Kendrick Meek. A theme: black candidates running statewide are, in some ways, hampered by their gerrymandered, heavily urban districts, and the struggling, increasingly impatient communities therein… A clip after the jump.
Last week, Eric Thompson and local politico Roy Hardemon, veterans of the effort to reelect and re-reelect indicted District 5 Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones, went rogue and endorsed Greene. Their Liberty City Democratic Network has no party charter and couldn’t endorse in a primary if it did. Still, they plastered Liberty Square’s Helping Hands Youth Center with Jeff Greene signs and brought out roughly 30 volunteers, some of whom struggled to explain why, in the heart of Meek’s district, they were for Greene.
Sarah Smith, the feisty 49-year-old volunteer who runs the Liberty Square resident council, and who introduced Greene, had no such trouble. “People want to work,” she said. “But what they don’t have [are] job opportunities.
“It’s nothing personal,” Smith added. “We need people that’s gonna go up there [to Washington] and produce.”
Thompson, a lanky Trinidadian with long dreads, said many in Liberty Square’s two voting precincts “feel they personally got Barack Obama elected.” Now, they want change at home.
That means pushing aside not just Meek, but also County Commissioner Dorrin Rolle, and putting a newcomer, Rudy Moise, in Meek’s Congressional seat.
The odds of doing all of that seem long, but that didn’t dampen Thompson’s and Smith’s enthusiasm. They plan to put out a slate. They’re almost like, well, a tea party.
And while the Greene campaign said they didn’t fund Thompson’s and Hardemon’s group, the campaign didn’t rule out hiring some of its members at get-out-the-vote time. Jobs, jobs, jobs.
Thompson said he admires Meek’s mother, former U.S. Rep. Carrie Meek, but “we need a new face, and new ideas.”
“We have some of the highest unemployment, some of the worst housing, we have no economic development, no affordable homes, the worst schools,” he said. “It hasn’t worked.”