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We have a new Democratic presidential administration on the way in January. Senator Hillary Clinton has been appointed Secretary of State. Both events have turned The Bronx political scene into a resume rush, with elected officials scrambling to fill a high-level spot in the Obama administration or even replace Clinton as New York’s junior Senator.
One name that continues to be tossed around is that of Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr. Despite having no real accomplishment to hang his hat on, Carrion has been pushed forward as a credible candidate for a cabinet position.
Reports have circulated across Bronx political circles that Carrion has been considered as a possible head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The idea that Carrion could be tapped to fill a cabinet post probably even surprised the borough president, yet this is a serious rumor. But there has been no overwhelming housing boom in The Bronx, at least not one that Carrion could take any credit for. As for urban development, the major projects that have moved forward in The Bronx during the past seven years were all generated out of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office.
Carrion has shown no real initiative to rebuild The Bronx’s economic standing, and at best has stayed out of the way while other offices worked. The Bronx’s unemployment rate is still the highest in the State, and its poverty rate is still one of the highest in the nation. That was true when Carrion came into power, and that remains true today. Has Carrion been effective in changing that? Clearly, the answer is no.
Carrion’s name has also been floated to head the Small Business Administration. While this might make more sense than HUD, we still think Carrion is not at all qualified to run such an important office. If Carrion has done very little to develop housing in The Bronx, he has done nothing to develop small businesses. The “hot sheet” motels that clutter the Northeast Bronx still sit there, choking any potential redevelopment of that area. One of Carrion’s most high-profile moves several years ago was to demand that the small businesses along the Grand Concourse be removed from their spaces to preserve the residential character of the street. At a time when their businesses were already struggling, the affected merchants greeted this proposal with disgust. From what we can tell, Carrion’s chief interactions with small businesses in The Bronx have been to ask for campaign checks.
Now that it’s crystal clear, in our minds, that Carrion can be trusted with neither HUD nor SBA, we must turn out attention to the Senate. When pundits have mentioned Carrion as a replacement for Clinton, they chiefly mention his ethnicity and the need for Governor David Paterson to satisfy the State’s Latino population with such an appointment.
No one ever mentions Carrion’s accomplishments. No one ever says he deserves the position on the merits. They point only to his ethnicity.
Carrion has no accomplishments, and his resume would not merit his election to a citywide office, let alone a state or federal position. As much as we’d like to rid The Bronx of him, when it comes to Carrion’s potential elevation to such high positions we only have two words for President-elect Obama and Governor Paterson: No way.