A day after Governor David Paterson said he would not run for a full term, his core supporters gathered at Sylvia's Restaurant in Harlem on Saturday to say the governor's lingering scandal would not prevent him from addressing issues pertinent to urban communities. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.
The Reverend Al Sharpton gathered leaders of Governor David Paterson's political base in Sylvia's Restaurant in Harlem on Saturday, one day after the governor said he would not campaign for a full term.
Despite recent calls for the governor to resign, the group of mostly Democrats of color that gathered in Harlem said Paterson should stay in office.
Reports say Paterson and the state police contacted a woman who claimed she was the victim of domestic violence at the hands of one of the governor's top aides, David Johnson. State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the man looking to be Paterson's successor, is currently investigating the incident.
"We had a president that was able to lead in 50 states while he was being in a grand jury, while he was being under impeachment proceedings. If he can lead 50 states, then surely our governor can lead one state," said Brooklyn Senator Eric Adams.
"What we're looking to do is to work with the governor for the remaining 307 days that he has and try the best that we can for the people of the State of New York," said Queens Congressman Gregory Meeks.
Saturday's group of politicians and civic leaders focused their discussion on what they called an "urban agenda," representing the communities they serve. They said Paterson, now freed from electoral politics, should return to those key issues, even though the state Legislature's divisions could complicate hopes for an on-time budget.
"We're very concerned about job creation, about education, about entrepreneurial development, as well as health care," said Sharpton.
The appearance of City Comptroller John Liu turned some heads, as on Friday he had called for Paterson's resignation.
Asked whether he still thought Paterson should resign, Liu answered on Saturday, "I think that was an incredible coalition that was in there, a tremendous amount of leadership, and the bottom line is the issues."
Participants said there was not much mention of Andrew Cuomo, who had previously made a failed bid for governor against former State Comptroller H. Carl McCall in 2002. As a result, Cuomo still has yet to win over some in the group.
"If Andrew Cuomo is the candidate, and if Andrew Cuomo shows a commitment to the issues that are important to the communities that are represented here today, then we will support him vigorously," said McCall.
For now, Cuomo is probing Paterson, but participants cautioned they did not want the attorney general to pull his punches. As one attendee said, the group is praying for Paterson and praying the governor did nothing wrong.