2006_11_toothpickvoodo.jpgMTA executive Gary Dellaverson has had some explaining to do. Last week, when discussing the possibility of a Metro-North strike, the MTA's labor negotiator told Metro, "Negotiation is about compromise," before joking about "putting needles in my Roger Toussaint doll." Oh, dear.

am New York reports Representative-elect Yvette Clarke believes Dellaverson's remarks were insensitive and that he should resign or be fired, noting, "There's a cultural significance in respect to many cultures of the Caribbean when one mentions voodoo dolls. It's been used historically, particularly in the American context, as a reflection of being primitive." And the Reverend Al Sharpton said, "He should resign. He's stereotyping African- Caribbean culture, the same as if he said I want to stick pins in my Al Sharpton watermelon."

Dellaverson said, "My joking comments made towards reporters while insipid were neither racist or insensitive. The simple reality is Toussaint is fighting for his political life and manipulating whoever he can, whenever he can, to his political advantage. ... In my 27 years representing the public in labor disputes, I've been called an infinite number of names but never a racist."

The Transit Workers Union is facing a nasty election this year. Toussaint, who has been raising campaign money by selling autographs and other tchotchkes, claims he's loved by the people and actually made a deal with the state unknown to the public during the transit strike last year.

You can buy your own voodoo toothpick holder