A City Council hopeful says he was “insensitive” when he called on minority leaders to oppose a “white/Jewish” candidate.
Democrat Thomas Lopez-Pierre, who wants to win the district being vacated by Upper Manhattan Councilman Robert Jackson, sent a November email to local leaders and activists warning that Mark Levine could be elected “like a thief in the night” because the black and Hispanic vote would be divided among many candidates. He called on those communities to try to narrow down the field. Jackson called the email “racist.” A second e-mail, however, cited similar concerns.
In a new mass email to supporters on Dec. 15 Lopez-Pierre said “ I would like to express my regret to those of the Jewish faith … I accept that the tone of my emails was harsh and that I failed to appreciate the emotional grief that my emails might have caused those of the Jewish faith.
He said he changed his point of view after consulting with “business associates, political supporters, and even a few ex-girlfriends who are Jewish to better understand their concerns and objections.”
Lopez-Pierre, who is of both Haitian and Dominican heritage, said he would still work to empower African American and Hispanic voters but “I will do so without using language that targets any other racial groups or religions.”
Levine, also a Democrat, said on Thursday he found the apology “hard to take seriously. He is running on an incredibly divisive vision and actions speak louder than words. If he becomes a candidate running on a positive and inclusive vision, I will congratulate him, but I haven’t seen that yet.”