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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Gov. race: Erie's Collins drops out; Suffolk's Levy lashes out

Just some catchup: Republican Erie Executive Chris Collins dropped as expected out of the scrap for governor, after blunders on the trail.

Meanwhile, Suffolk Executive Steve Levy managed to perpetuate fallout from his “Shaniqua” reference and gave his side in defense of it -- pretty much along the lines that he has been quoted in Newsday.

But Levy also said in an interview with Fred Dicker in Albany: “Welcome to my world, Fred, and welcome to Newsday and some of these liberal far out columnists who have an agenda. If you’re not saying it the PC way they prefer they try to demonize you.”

He said this as if the MLK event hadn’t generated its own buzz.  He said this as if to pretend Joye Brown, who broke the story on Sunday, hadn’t done it in a nuanced way, stating:

The Rev. Roderick A. Pearson, pastor of St. Mark Remnant Ministries in Central Islip, said people at his table were stunned too. "They looked at me," he said, "and said, 'Did he really say that?' "
Pearson said he began to receive phone calls from people of different races saying they had been offended.
Pearson, who heads the Central Islip branch of the NAACP and Levy's African American Advisory Committee, said he has a warm relationship with Levy - which is why he talked to the county executive about the complaints by telephone later in the week. "I think that in trying to be humorous, there was a lack of sensitivity because of the stereotyping of who and what 'Shaniqua' is," Pearson said. "That stereotype is insulting to black women."
In an interview on Friday, Levy told me, "I had no idea that that name was any different than any other name in the African-American community."
He said that he would not use it again when talking about the county's housing law. But Levy also stressed - and there were those at the breakfast who agreed with him - that he intended no offense.
"What shouldn't be lost here is that I was using the name to drive home the point that discrimination will not be tolerated," Levy said.
He said he had selected a series of ethnic sounding names in his remarks - as he has done in the past, he said - to say that housing must be open to everyone, no matter their background.
The Rev. Charles Coverdale, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Riverhead, which has run the memorial breakfast for 25 years, said that neither he nor members of his church that he had talked to found offense in Levy's remark.
"I think that by using that personal name that he was saying that Shaniqua was not going to be left out," said Coverdale, who noted that he has a young woman in his congregation named Shaniqua.
He said that whenever different people of different backgrounds come together there are bound to be misunderstandings. "If we are to make any headway, like Dr. King wanted," he said, "we have to understand that what is a nuance to us is not necessarily a nuance to anyone else."

Really makes you wonder who’s trying to demonize whom.

Here is a followup to the story.

Liz B., also, records Charlie King’s remarks blasting Levy, not that he'd have a political agenda.

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