After having been invited to participate with all the other mayoral candidates in the “One Per Cent for Culture” forum at Teacher’s College, Columbia University last Tuesday, and in a mayoral forum sponsored by The Concerned Citizens of Laurelton held at The Linden Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Laurelton, Queens last Thursday, today, CUNY security dragged me off stage when I sat down in an empty chair (in which Christine Quinn would have sat had she bothered to attend) at the long table at AARP’s 10 AM Hunter College mayoral forum.
Before I ascended the stage, I hobnobbed with city election staff, one of whom asked if I would help her get a job as an adjunct at CUNY. She was also the one who told me that Hazel Dukes had informed her that Quinn would not be participating. When the call came for the candidates to take their seats, I went on stage and shook hands and passed out campaign literature to the four ethnically diverse debate moderators, one of whom was Herb Boyd of the Amsterdam News. The Chinese moderator asked for another brochure for her colleague who was filming the event. When I sat down in the seat reserved for Quinn, CUNY security came for me.
Anthony Weiner said, “Let him stay,” as did another candidate whom I do not remember since I was on the floor at that point. While this was going on, Doe Fund Republican mayoral aspirant George McDonald taunted Weiner with “You’re disgusting,” as if nothing else was going on. He had verbally attacked Weiner in Laurelton until the moderator warned him that he would be ejected if he persisted.
As security hustled me out, I picked up one after another of the microphones placed on the table for each candidate, and identified myself as the Green Party candidate for mayor, protesting that I was not being allowed to take part. As I picked up each mic, it was switched off, until I was finally physically prevented from continuing to do so. I had originally called Chris Widelo, Associate State Director of the New York State AARP office to tell him I would be attending. He never got back to me.
Outside on the street, in addition to the half a dozen CUNY security involved in my ejection, were New York City police officers, and Widelo, who stated that he had been “on-site” and unable to return my calls. I specifically asked Widelo about being asked to attend after the primaries. He responded, “if you meet the criteria.” One of the other AARP officials outside (each of whom took a brochure) went inside after I requested to be seated in the audience and solemnly promised with a handshake that I would not utter a peep. He rebuffed my request, so I went around to the front of the building to hand out brochures to Liu supporters.
The only casualties of the day were a sore left calf and the loss of one of my pens, but I did get the Green message out this morning