More than 400 students and local residents gathered at York College on Tuesday to hear the Reverend Jesse Jackson announce his endorsement of mayoral candidate Fernando Ferrer. He was joined by the Reverend Al Sharpton and other Queens Democratic elected officials.
Jackson compared Ferrer and Bloomberg to David and Goliath. “The battle between Ferrer and Bloomberg boils down to what side of history you are on. Fernando Ferrer is the proverbial David versus the gigantic, well-funded money machine of a Goliath. No matter the odds, when David shows up with courage and the right commitment and the right values, he will win.”
Jackson asked the crowd whose side they were on. He painted a picture of Bloomberg as being a close Bush ally and a major donor to right-wing Republicans.
“On one side, we have the largest investor in the Bush/Cheney agenda, one of the largest stakeholders in the Tom DeLay political groups. And on the other side, we have Fernando Ferrer, who has been supported by people like Charlie Rangel, Hillary Clinton, Percy Sutton, John Edwards, Virginia Fields and Dennis Rivera.”
Jackson described Ferrer’s supporters as a team that has fought to expand the middle class and to help Americans overcome poverty.
“In a city where black male unemployment is at a crisis level and the poverty rate is increasing, the poor and middle class need a man in City Hall who will make a forceful case for inclusion. Ferrer is that man and that is why I am proud to join him in this fight,” he said.
Sharpton, who endorsed Ferrer last month, blasted Bloomberg and echoed some of Jackson’s comments. He said the mayor thinks he can distract the city with his money and fancy campaign fliers.
“Bloomberg says he’s with us in advertisements on television and on the radio, but in the back rooms he snubs our debate and hides his links to Bush and right-wing Republicans,” Sharpton said.
He described Bloomberg as a Rudy Giuliani with a smile. “Just because you are nicer than Giuliani doesn’t mean that you are administering the policies that would bring this city together. We do not need Rudy with a smile. We need someone like Fernando Ferrer who has proven he will stand for all New Yorkers, not just one side of town.”
Sharpton said he has always known where Ferrer stood as a politician. “We’re too smart for Bloomberg’s parlor games. We’re too smart for a mayor who thinks he can pull the wool over our eyes,” he added.
Ferrer was honored by Jackson’s endorsement. “I am honored to be up here with a leader like Reverend Jackson, a fighter for truth and justice and a committed leader for his community. Today we face a clear choice in this election. We’re a great city, but we can be greater. We can rise above the status quo. Reverend Jackson and I believe that we can make this the city we always knew it could be,” Ferrer said.