Floyd Flake in today's NY Times

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Floyd Flake is prominently featured in today's NY Times. I'm sure this article will raise a few eyebrows. See the article below. QED

January 3, 2005 Bloomberg Gets Endorsement From an Influential Black Minister By MIKE McINTIRE Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg traveled to the Allen A.M.E. Church in Jamaica, Queens, yesterday to accept the endorsement of Allen's influential pastor, the Rev. Floyd H. Flake, a former Democratic congressman who backed Mr. Bloomberg's opponent, Mark Green, in 2001.

Mr. Flake said he was backing Mr. Bloomberg because of his record of improving the city's schools and his leadership in the years since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"I like the mayor because he just goes about the business of doing his work," Mr. Flake said at a news conference, held after the church service at a nearby center for the elderly. "He has not pandered to blacks, to whites, to Jews or any race. He has stood firm and spoken on behalf of the citizens of New York. He is the best representative, I think, that we could possibly have."

For his part, Mr. Bloomberg was content to bask in Mr. Flake's kind words. He did not take any questions, and made only a few remarks.

"I'm not quite sure what to say," the mayor said. "I'll start with, 'Thank you.' I said to the reverend when he told me he was going to endorse me - I didn't call him and ask him; he called me - I said, 'All I can promise you is I will work as hard as I possibly can and do what I think is right.' "

Nowhere is Mr. Bloomberg's awkward connection to nonwhite voters more evident than on his visits to the city's black churches, where he almost always sits placidly, hands folded on his lap, as everyone around him leaps and sways to gospel music.

Yesterday, sitting in the front pew at Allen, Mr. Bloomberg, once again, was the last one on his feet clapping to the beat. But politically, at least, he seemed to find his rhythm with Mr. Flake's endorsement.

Mr. Flake's announcement was not surprising; the minister had signaled that it was coming two years ago during an earlier visit to Allen by the mayor, who, only half-jokingly, called it "my first endorsement for re-election." But it was significant nonetheless, given that Mr. Bloomberg has struggled to improve his standing among nonwhites since getting about 25 percent of the black vote in 2001. According to a recent Marist poll, Mr. Bloomberg received a 52 percent approval rating among whites, but only a 36 percent rating among blacks.

Douglas A. Muzzio, a professor of political science at Baruch College, said Mr. Flake's endorsement signaled that Mr. Bloomberg was not content to cede the votes of African-American and Hispanic New Yorkers to the Democrats.

"Clearly, he needs to cut into that vote," Mr. Muzzio said. "He needs to pick off votes, and the middle-class, homeowning black voter in Queens and other places in the city is a ripe target for the mayor."

Democrats seeking the nomination include Charles Barron, a city councilman from Brooklyn; Fernando Ferrer, a former Bronx borough president; C. Virginia Fields, the Manhattan borough president; Gifford Miller, the speaker of the City Council; and Representative Anthony D. Weiner. In addition, Steve Shaw, an investment banker from Manhattan, has announced his intention to challenge Mr. Bloomberg for the Republican nomination.

For Mr. Flake, who endorsed Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani in 1997, backing a Republican candidate is nothing new. His sermons are heavy on the same theme of personal responsibility that Mr. Bloomberg likes to hit upon, as the mayor did again yesterday during remarks to worshipers at the church, where his promise to crack down on disruptive students in city schools drew loud applause.

Mr. Flake credited the mayor's "business acumen" for helping the city come through the economic downturn following Sept. 11, 2001, and said there were lessons for black voters in Mr. Bloomberg's emphasis on private initiatives and management style, as opposed to continued reliance on government programs.

"We can no longer as a people, and I'm speaking specifically now to African-American people," Mr. Flake said, "consider our plight and our future to be merely one where we will get what we want based on social and political processes. There must be an understanding of economics, and I don't think that anyone who will enter this race or is in this race has the ability to see the economic realities of this city better than the mayor who stands beside me today."

Mr. Flake's warm endorsement was also leavened with a dose of pragmatism: He openly thanked Mr. Bloomberg for his support of major redevelopment projects sponsored by Mr. Flake's church, including $1.8 million in city housing funds, awarded last fall, for a housing and retail development in Jamaica, and zoning approvals needed for construction of the senior center where the press conference was held.

"The mayor's office, as you know, is one that can have a lot of impact," Mr. Flake said, adding, "We just praise God for the opportunity to be an instrument that the mayor can use to help better the community and better the city."

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-- Anonymous, January 03, 2005


Pastor Flake is right on target! I've been preaching personal responsibility for 35 years and more. My mother preached Personal Responsibility to me and now I have three sons and a daughter who is doing the same. It is good to know that I am not alone.

As many of you know, Pastor Flake had his beginnings in the Projects of Houston Texas, But look at him now!

His stance may not set well with some of our AME Bishops but I stand foursquare with him.

Be Blessed pastor paris

-- Anonymous, January 03, 2005

Pastor Flake is an intelligent, articulate, and gifted Pastor of a significant Charge in our Zion. He didn't get there by accident and he sure has not survived this long without good sense. Obviously the mayor has, up to this point, been responsive to the vision of this leader and to the corresponding needs of the Church that flow from that vision. Pastor Flake has rewarded the Mayor's attentiveness by way of his support. That sounds like practical, pragmatic leasership. He owes no one, least of all me, an apology nor any futher explanation. Should the mayor cease to be responsive to Pastor Flake's vision and to the needs of the people that he is responsibile for leading, then I am very sure that Flake will adjust his support and endorsements accordingly. As a Pastor and an advocate for the people of Allen AMEC, he can have no permanent political allies nor permanent political enemies, only permanent issues and causes that address the needs of the people that he has been called to serve.

Yours in the Joy of Jesus, Mike Barta

-- Anonymous, January 03, 2005

Mike, Are you suggesting that Pastor Flake dosen't believe what he teaches? Allen AME was not built on the gratuties of the relationship between Pastor Flake and the mayor. The article states that Pastor Flake supported his opponent in the previous election. Why do we need the assistance of men when we have Christ? Somehow you still don't get it. The times, they are achanging.

Be Blessed

pastor paris

-- Anonymous, January 03, 2005

Parson Barta opines -

"As a Pastor and an advocate for the people of Allen AMEC, he can have no permanent political allies nor permanent political enemies, only permanent issues and causes that address the needs of the people that he has been called to serve."

If our distinguished Orange County, CA AME Pastor will allow me some editorial discretion I would change "he" to "we" to reflect that this truism applies to all of us :-) QED

-- Anonymous, January 04, 2005

Professor Dickens,

I could not agree with you more. I fully embrace the editorial change from "he" to "we" and I pray that I will always have the good sense and wisdom to model it im my ministry.

Yours in the Joy of Jesus, Mike Barta

-- Anonymous, January 04, 2005

I am sorry Pastor...what is it that I dont't supposedly get? Pastor Flakes beliefs are not new to him. He has not "converted". They are the same beliefs that he preached to the people of Allen while he was a Congressman and a Democratic Party leader.

I maintain that he is a gifted pragmatic leader...which by the way,is a compliment in my book. Yes he endorsed Bloomberg's opponent in the previous election (a Democrat). But Bloomberg got elected and has since (as the article and Flake himself pointed out) demonstrated himself to be attentive and responsive to Pastor Flakes vision for Allen AMEC and the people of the surrounding community. What should Flake do in response? Throw his support behind an unproven challenger because of party labels? Give me a break! My momma always said "one in the hand is better than two in the bush". If he were dumb enough to do that, what would his relationship be over the next four years should Bloomberg be re-elected. What motivation would Bloomberg have to be attentive then...?

Pastor Flake has always been bold enough to cross party lines when it comes to municipal elections (he supported Giuliani in the past) and even on issues (School Choice/Vouchers)when he felt that it was in the best interest of the people that he Pastors, to do so. Good for him. I doubt very seriously that I will see him with any "AMMEND THE CONSTITUTION-RE-ELECT BUSH IN 2008" signs anytime soon, but if I did, I respect him enough to believe that he would have his reasons.

Yours in the Joy of Jesus, Mike Barta

-- Anonymous, January 04, 2005

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