Friday, September 10, 2010

NY Daily News for Smikle and Levine

The NY Daily News with spot-on endorsements for Basil Smikle ( and Mark Levine (

Smikle for Senate: Send a smart school reformer to clean up Albany swamp

Wednesday, September 8th 2010, 4:00 AM

By waging war against the expansion of public charter schools, Manhattan state Sen. Bill Perkins fought to deny low-income city kids the quality educational options available to richer kids.

Democrats in the 30th District, covering Harlem, the upper West Side and Washington Heights, should now deny him reelection in the Sept. 14 primary. They should send to Albany Basil Smikle, a fresh-thinking former aide to both Bill andHillary Clinton.

The district's children have long been forced to attend failing public schools. But in recent years, hope arrived with an influx of high-performing charter schools that are delivering tremendous academic results.

Doing the bidding of the teachers union, Perkins kicked the gift horse in the rear. He ran a cynical "oversight" hearing that cherry-picked charter school horror stories to distort the record. And he resisted the push to lift the state charter school cap until it was clear the bill would pass.

Smikle, who has also been a political consultant to Mayor Bloomberg, is poised to serve the district well. A friend of charter schools, he was involved with One Hundred Black Men when it founded the Eagle Academy in the Bronx, the first all-male high school in the city in 30 years.

Crucially, Smikle has signed former Mayor Ed Koch's pledge to support key reforms in Albany. Perkins claims that he's similarly a reformer, but he backed elevating the odious Pedro Espada to majority leader.

Finally, Perkins also showed himself a hypocrite by voting to swipe promised revenue from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority - and by then attacking the MTA for the service cutbacks that resulted.

Smikle wins hands down.

In the 31st District, stretching from the upper West Side into Washington Heights, Inwood and Riverdale, four candidates are vying for the seat being vacated by Eric SchneidermanMark Levine - a sharp, reform-minded former public school teacher - is the class of the field.

After a stint in the classroom, he oversaw Teach for America in the city, founded a 4,000-member credit union and has most recently run the Center for After-School Excellence.

By far Levine outshines the other well-known candidate in the race, Adriano Espaillat, who is trying to jump from the Assembly to the Senate. Vote for Levine.

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