Mayor Michael Bloomberg got a major boost from the African American community in Queens Saturday when he won the endorsement of the Rev. Floyd Flake of the Greater Allen AME Church in Jamaica.
“His serving a third term is a necessity for the city,” Flake said, praising Bloomberg’s economic knowledge and the mayoral control of the city’s schools. “The success of public education in New York would not be what it is without Mayor Bloomberg.”
Flake, an influential former congressman who also serves as president of Wilburforce University in Ohio, supported Bloomberg in 2005, but this year he endorsed him over city Comptroller William Thompson, the most prominent black candidate among 11 men competing for the office.
“Race is not necessarily going to be predominant,” Flake said, noting he initially supported Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election.
Thompson spokeswoman Anne Fenton downplayed the importance of Flake’s endorsement.
“New York City has thousands of churches, synagogues, mosques and many other houses of worship,” she said. “One minister does not speak for all of them.”
Flake, who said Thompson is his friend, said he and the comptroller spoke the day before Flake announced his endorsement.
“I think he’s a bit disappointed,” he said, “but I would not say it’s sour grapes.”
Bloomberg, who visited briefly with Flake inside the church before walking across the street to an affordable housing project owned by the church, paused before a news conference to press the flesh with a few starstruck passers−by. He called Flake’s endorsement “humbling” and touted the benefits southeast Queens would see from his efforts to create new jobs, transform public schools and increase affordable housing.
When asked about what he regarded as his most significant achievement in the area, he pointed to the reduction in crime.
“Some things we clearly have a lot to do still,” he said. “Flooding is an issue.”
Bloomberg also got a boost from state Assemblywoman Barbara Clark (D−Jamaica), who heads the Education Committee of the Legislature’s Black and Puerto Rican Caucus. Clark hailed the mayor for his work on the city’s education system.
“I have not had such a warrior to fight by my side for the schools of New York like Mayor Bloomberg,” she said.
Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e−mail at JeWalsh@CN
©2009 Community News Group
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