Rangel And Paterson Ethics Inquiries Stun Harlem

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From the Washington Post:

NEW YORK — Few will deny that the political landscape here in Harlem has yielded rich and galvanizing story lines. The arcs of those narratives have been taught and shared in classrooms across America.

Adam Clayton Powell Jr. and Charles B. Rangel became chairmen of powerful congressional committees. David N. Dinkins became the first black mayor of New York City, and David A. Paterson became the state’s first black governor. Percy Sutton and Basil Paterson, David’s father, became genuine power brokers, rolling between downtown and uptown with a sophisticated ease. The accomplishments gave Harlem a swagger and also a sweet pride.

Then came last week.

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In what seemed like a double-barreled whammy of political shock and setback, Rangel stepped down as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee because of an ongoing ethics investigation and Paterson’s reign took on a tick-tock, tick-tock echo as many — supporters and foes alike — called for his resignation because of allegations that he interceded on behalf of a staffer in a domestic abuse case and accepted free tickets to a baseball game.

“I think it’s been catastrophic for the black community in America and particularly in Harlem,” said Bill Lynch, a political consultant who played a major role in Dinkins’s historic 1989 election victory. “Harlem’s seeing their political favorite sons go down. And what I’m worried about is that this could set our community back decades.”

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