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Boro clergy hear Thompson

The Rev. Ernestine Sanders (l.-r.), Bishop Charles Norris, mayoral candidate Bill Thompson and U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks sit down at a breakfast hosted by Thompson. Photo by Rich Bockmann
TimesLedger Newspapers

Bill Thompson picked up the check for breakfast early Tuesday morning in St. Albans, where he stopped by to gather the support of community leaders in his bid for the 2013 mayoral election.

Thompson hosted a relaxed, catered breakfast attended by members of Clergy United for Community Empowerment, U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica) and a contingency from the United Black Men of Queens County, all of whom threw their support behind the former city comptroller.

“I am running for the mayor of New York City, and with your help I will be the next mayor,” he said to the two dozen or so guests at the Robert Ross Johnson Family Life Center on Linden Boulevard.

The former city comptroller said his 2009 run for the office was hampered by the poor chances the media gave his campaign and the spending advantage of his opponent, Mayor Michael Bloomberg. This time around, though, he said the numbers will be in his favor.

Thompson pointed out that “56 to 85 percent of the vote is going to be minority. We have the numbers, and I’m not just getting votes in the minority community.”

After reminding attendees he has his own contest coming up in the June 26 Democratic Party primary, Meeks said Thompson’s track record spoke for itself, and he urged the leaders to go back to their communities and stump for the candidate.

Thompson, who was also the former president of the city Board of Education, spent his time speaking on issues of education, police and supporting small businesses and those owned by women and minorities.

“So many of our kids are graduating school but can’t get into college because they can’t do college-level work,” said Thompson, adding that he believed the Bloomberg administration’s push for more charter schools is misguided. “That should not be the discussion. It should be about how do we prepare 1 million children to do well.”

CUCE Executive Secretary Bishop Charles Norris said Thompson was a fair BOE president and lamented the state of city schools under mayoral control, but Thompson said he did not support reinstating the board.

“You can’t go back to do that,” he said. “We need to work with the tools that are there now.”

On the matter of stop-and-frisk, Thompson said the policy needed to be reformed so that it does not target minorities.

“I support the police and I support stop-and-frisk, but not the way it’s being used now,” he said. “Someone shouldn’t be stopped just because of what they look like.”

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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