City Dem Chair Rennia Questions Mayor’s Calls to Condemn Social Justice Group
Civil disobedience is a cornerstone of our democracy. At times, it is divisive, controversial, and inconvenient. As leaders of the local Dem Party, we share PLOTS’ commitment to racial justice. Although, we may not always agree with their tactics and social media posts, we will not issue blanket condemnation of a group, particularly one led by people of color, that continues an American tradition of agitation and civil disobedience in the name of racial justice. We certainly won’t do so simply to please the mayor’s Trump-like mandate. So, instead of condemning these concerned community members, we are calling on the Mayor to show some leadership, listen to their concerns, and try to facilitate dialogue.
In 2011 the City of Binghamton passed a law establishing a Human Rights Commission that could have been a place to help address these community wounds (and maybe also address some of the disturbing allegations against members of Mayor David’s Administration raised over the past few years). Unfortunately, from his earliest days in office, Mayor David expressed outright hostility towards the volunteers serving on that Board; eventually removing every single member and establishing a system whereby he alone controls appointments. As of today, every single position remains vacant.
Mayor David’s “call” is a transparent attempt to take attention away from the issues that concern the majority of Binghamton residents, such as the costly debacle at the Joint Sewage Treatment Plant, the recent raise he received outside of the traditional budget process, the questionable reassessment of his own downtown property, and numerous other shady dealings. Perhaps the biggest disappointment, however, is that it takes attention away from the need to address the multiple deaths that have occurred at the Broome County Jail, the issue that drove these activists and residents to risk arrest in the first place. It’s worth noting that PLOT was not the only group involved in yesterday’s protest, yet it is the only group the Mayor is attacking. So, while Republicans and Democrats all across the country are finally starting to unite to fix our broken and racist criminal justice system, we remain well-behind the curve here in Broome.
Once again, the despicable tactics of Mayor David and Republican Chair Bijoy Datta mirror what we have sadly come to expect from Republicans at the national level – instead of addressing corruption and systemic injustice, they are trying to smear strong women entering the public arena. Salka and Aviva are two outstanding candidates who are working to serve their communities, so often ignored by our Republican Council and Mayor.
Our community deserves better than Mayor David’s Trump-like approach of division and bigotry. We are truly disappointed.