Ghosts of leadership's past

It was a political event in the heart of downtown Syracuse at Perseverance Park, next to Chase Bank near Salina and Washington streets. Khalid Bey announced his candidacy for the 4th Common Council District seat previously held by Charles Anderson, who was in attendance to introduce the candidate and give his full support.

Standing with Mr. Bey at his announcement was an array of community, business and political leaders, including former Onondaga County Legislator Clarence "Junie" Dunham, neighborhood activist Charlie Pearce, National Action Network's Walt Dixie, and Common Councilor-at-Large Lance Deno. About 40 others listened and applauded while standing in the cool drizzle that began right before the event.

There was an air of confidence, even exuberance, in the crowd as Khalid -- now older and seasoned, two years after his previous run for the Syracuse Common Council failed -- delivered a message of hope, placing emphasis in his speech on the possibilities.

"Ladies and gentlemen... Syracuse is the heart of New York and the 4th council district is the heart of Syracuse."

Before Mr. Bey and his supporters start their cakewalk to election, a Democratic primary may be looming ahead, (since a Republican can never win this district; it's like Washington D.C.) There was an ominous sign at the recent Good Friday's Coalition of United Pastors 10th Annual Passion Week Revival services at Tucker Missionary Baptist Church on April 22.

The coalition is made up of 21 churches and as visiting pastor Chauncey D. Brown recognized dignitaries who were in the sanctuary that afternoon, he introduced Jesse Hurt: "Brother Jesse Hurt will be running for the 4th council district seat."

The introduction of a challenger in the 4th district race has the potential to turn this election upside down.

With support coming from within Democratic Party leadership and membership at one of the larger black churches, this summer will be all but quiet if Mr. Hurt decides to wage a primary battle against Mr. Bey, and the ghosts of leadership's past.

Ken Jackson is the editor of Urban CNY and a weekly columnist for The Eagle. Reach him at kjackson@urbancny.com.

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