It’s official — state Sen. Kevin Parker blows us off!
Parker — the pugilistic Flatbush pol known for a laundry list of personal and professional missteps and an alleged attack on a New York Post photographer — said this week that he’s too busy to attend a primary debate sponsored by this paper, yet the other day, his supporters were showing off Parker’s attendance at a pre-Rosh Hashana event featuring the eight-year Democratic incumbent blowing the ceremonial shofar.
We offered Parker 12 time slots over four dates, but a spokeswoman for the incumbent’s campaign said that Parker wanted to “invest his energies elsewhere,” rather than defend his headline-grabbing actions and discuss his platform with our readers.
“Thanks for the invitation but we are going to pass,” Parker spokeswoman Mutale Nkonde said via e-mail.
Since his arrest in 2009 for allegedly jumping shutterbug William Lopez, Parker has declined interviews with reporters, even after his assault trial was pushed back until October, thanks, mostly, to challenger Wellington Sharpe’s son Wynton, who’s job at the DA’s office forced the case to a new venue just in time for the primary.
Parker’s refusal to meet with reporters didn’t bother a group of Orthodox Jews during the photo op and campaign stop in Borough Park last week.
“Although it was the first time he was introduced to this tradition, the senator took the hallowed horn of the ram and, with no rehearsal, was able to blow consecutive blasts as a pro,” said Alexander Rappaport, who sponsored the gathering of 50 Orthodox leaders. “Those who attended were surprised and amazed at his talent.”
Parker’s alleged misdeeds are well documented. He was arrested in 2005 for attacking a traffic enforcement officer, although those charges were dropped when Parker agreed to take anger-management classes. Since taking the classes he’s been accused of roughing up an aide. He’s also wigged out at a recent Senate hearing, calling Republicans “white supremacists.”
Sharpe said he was surprised that Parker turned down a chance to address the voters.
“Something must be wrong if you don’t want to debate,” said Sharpe, a perennial candidate who, over the last 10 years, has run for Council twice, state Senate twice and the Assembly once.
But at this point, Sharpe’s plans to unseat Parker is looking more and more like payback: Although he never reported it to police, Sharpe claimed Parker attacked him during a previous campaign. He even hit Parker with a $500,000 civil lawsuit for injuries he sustained from the assault and received a default judgment in his favor when Parker failed to respond to the charges.
Sharpe also filed a $10-million defamation lawsuit against Parker after the incumbent told us that Sharpe was purposefully inserted into his 2004 Democratic Primary to split the black vote so his white challenger — former Councilman Noach Dear — would win. The case was ultimately settled when Parker agreed to publish a retraction.
Sharpe accepted our invitation to debate, saying that he wanted to ask Parker why he voted against a 2007 bill that would require psychiatric evaluation and supervision for convicted sex offenders. Parker also voted against making the death penalty a punishment for cop killers, Sharpe said.
“I think [Parker’s] anti-woman,” he explained. “He voted against an act that could have protected the women and children in his district. He’s also anti-law enforcement. I’m not a supporter of the death penalty, but I find it fitting when certain murders are committed and the murder of a police officer is one of them.”
Parker didn’t respond to Sharpe’s allegations.
The primary election is Sept. 14.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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