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Politicians Step Out For West Indian Day Parade

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TWC News: Politicians Step Out For West Indian Day Parade
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The floats were out at the West Indian Day parade along Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn Monday, and so were the elected officials, offering thoughts on the Stephen Goldsmith controversy and the troubles of organized labor. NY1’s Josh Robin filed the following report.

Monday heralded another year of politics and the parade, Caribbean-style.

"The spirit that you see along Eastern Parkway is, I think, reflective of people from around the world who come here," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

"Thank you for sharing your culture, your language, your music, your food, your diversity," said Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Labor got top billing.

"Our union's actually growing, but labor is under attack," said Michael Mulgrew of the United Federation of Teachers.

Cuomo backed up another embattled idea: government itself.

"What's really going on in Washington, and the enemy of President Obama, is really those voices who say we don't need government. Government is the problem and not the solution. Well, not for us here in New York, not for the people in this parade," said Cuomo.

As for the mayor, he again called for federal action on guns amid a spate of shootings.

He also tried to douse controversy over former top aide Stephen Goldsmith. When he resigned last month, City Hall didn't report that Goldsmith was arrested on domestic violence charges.

"I don't see any reason why we should go on and try to get headlines by going out and talking about something which we really don't know what happened," said Bloomberg.

Political opponents disagree.

"This is not a private matter where a mayor has the luxury of saying we're respecting the privacy of an employee,” said City Comptroller John Liu.

"I have no comments on anything that anybody else says," said Bloomberg.

Calls for City Council hearings don't appear to be going anywhere. Speaker Christine Quinn isn't interested, and she's backed by a harsh Bloomberg critic, though City Councilwoman Letitia James does say Bloomberg should apologize.

"Why should we waste taxpayer dollars, particularly at this time when our focus really should be on jobs and trying to revive our local economy?" said James.

Even as controversy stirred, there was time for fun. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly took some time to play the drums on an NYPD-branded float.

"I would never think of quitting my day job, I'll tell you. These guys are good," said Kelly.

The commissioner joked that his family is from an island, just not one in the Caribbean.

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