Things got heated in the City Council yesterday as former Black Panther and Council Member Charles Barron squared off against Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who had removed the name of Sonny Carson from a list of people to be honored with having streets named after them. Sonny Carson was an activist who railed against Korean grocers and, not wanting to limit himself to an accusation of anti-Semitism, said he was anti-white in general. Quinn feels that Carson was a divisive figure in New York's history and Barron thinks he was an important individual who united his community.
Earlier this week Barron and a state Asemmblyman from Brooklyn independently renamed Linden Park in Brooklyn "Sonny Abubadika Carson Park" despite the Parks Department's insistence that no such name change was going to be recognized. Barron said "This is official, because I am an official" and Mayor Bloomberg was quoted saying naming anything after Sonny Carson was one of the worst ideas in recent history. The Parks Department said that it would remove the signs that Barron had affixed around Linden Park and the Council Member promised to just keep putting more up. The bizarre park incident was the precursor to yesterday's Council event, which included a vote to amend the bill by re-adding Carson's name to the list of proposed street names.
The event was not amicable, as the amendment failed 25-15 in the 51 member body. Barron's aide Viola Plummer heckled Quinn during the meeting and later vowed to end the career of Leroy Comrie, a black council member who abstained from voting on the amendment, using the term "assassinate him". No black council members voted against the amendment. It sounds like a racially acrimonious meeting and NY1 thinks that it could eventually injure Quinn's aspirations for higher office.
(Photo of Charles Barron by Bebeto Matthews/AP)