On the trail: Democratic White House hopefuls take aim at Bloomberg

first_imgUS Democratic presidential candidates took aim on Thursday at a rival whose name has not yet appeared on the ballot in the early-voting states, but whose television ads have blanketed the airwaves: former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.Former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who trailed in contests in Iowa and New Hampshire, targetedBloomberg over past policing tactics in the United States’ largest city and his comments about a mortgage practice widely seen as racially discriminatory.A late entry to the presidential race, Bloomberg drew crowds of hundreds of people in North Carolina, one of the 14 states that vote in March 3’s Super Tuesday contest, where he will first appear as a declared candidate. Voters at those events said they were evaluating whether Bloomberg, a self-made billionaire, could beat Republican President Donald Trump in November.”I think Mike Bloomberg can stand up to Trump,” said Maureen Scott, 68, a retiree in Winston-Salem.Below are highlights from the campaign trail on Thursday:NEVADA UNION WILL NOT ENDORSE Nevada’s largest labor union, Culinary Workers Local 226, on Thursday said it would not endorse any of the eight leading Democrats ahead of its state’s caucuses, de-escalating a war of words with Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.The 60,000-member union, with outsized influence in a state heavily dependent on tourism, opposes Sanders’ proposed Medicare for All government takeover of healthcare funding, amid fears of losing members’ hard-won union health coverage.The union’s criticism of Sanders plan in recent days raised the possibility it could have endorsed a centrist like Biden over Sanders.The Las Vegas Weekly endorsed both Biden and a fellow Democrat, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, both moderates.Several current or former Democratic officials were more decisive on Thursday. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, U.S. Representative Ted Deutch of Florida and former North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue all endorsed Bloomberg.TARGET BLOOMBERGBiden, a moderate whose early front-runner status has been dented by poor performances so far, said he planned to debate Bloomberg on his record on racial discrimination, while Warren slammed the former New York mayor’s past defense of a discriminatory housing practice known as redlining.Bloomberg, who is self-financing his campaign, has come under fire for comments he made in 2008 that tied a collapse in the U.S. housing market to a ban on redlining, a practice in which banks decline to make mortgage loans to entire neighborhoods.”Once you started pushing in that direction, banks started making more and more loans where the credit of the person buying the house wasn’t as good as you would like,” Bloomberg said in remarks that resurfaced in a report by the Associated Press.Redlining has long been associated with racial discrimination, although Bloomberg’s 2008 comments described the practice as banks avoiding poor neighborhoods.Biden suggested he would challenge Bloomberg on the matter and on Bloomberg’s past support for a policing strategy known as “stop and frisk” that Bloomberg employed as mayor and which ensnared disproportionate numbers of blacks and Latinos.”I’m going to get a chance to debate him on everything from redlining to stop and frisk,” Biden told ABC’s The View.Bloomberg has not yet qualified for the Feb. 19 Democratic debate in Nevada, which will be held just ahead of the state’s Feb. 22 nominating contest.Bloomberg is not competing in Nevada or South Carolina, which votes on Feb. 29.Warren also attacked Bloomberg on redlining.”We need to confront the shameful legacy of discrimination, not lie about it like Mike Bloomberg has done,” she wrote on Twitter.The Bloomberg campaign declined to comment on Biden and Warren’s statements. Bloomberg apologized for stop and frisk in November a few days before announcing his candidacy.BLOOMBERG TAKES AIM AT TRUMPAt a coffee shop in Winston-Salem, Bloomberg said he had called Trump a “con man” before his 2016 election, adding, “He’s worse than I thought.””I am a New Yorker. I know how to deal with New York bullies. I’m not afraid of Donald Trump,” he said.Trump on Thursday lobbed a fresh series of insults at Bloomberg, calling him a “loser” on Twitter.Bloomberg’s personal fortune, estimated at around $60 billion, dwarfs that of the president.Several voters in the crowd in Winston-Salem said they wanted a moderate candidate who could beat Trump in November. Some said they were looking for an alternative to Biden after becoming concerned by his debate performances and weak showings in the first two voting states.Cassaundra El-Amin, a black voter, said she was concerned about Bloomberg’s stop-and-frisk policy but felt his apology was sincere.”I just feel like he might be able to beat Trump,” she said.Topics :last_img read more

Black Student Assembly showcases student talent at GearFest

first_img“The idea with ‘Ascension’ was that we wanted everyone in attendance to feel like being at the event put them in line with their future,” Chilaka said. “I wanted the event to be bigger, to ascend into a bigger thing so that it continues.” Performers and attendees flocked to McCarthy Quad on Saturday. where the Black Student Assembly’s Creative Experience Committee hosted the 10th annual GearFest. This year’s theme, “Ascension,” served as the festival’s mission statement: to elevate and empower Black students, artists, musicians, performers, creatives and vendors to find their higher calling. The music festival component of the event primarily highlighted student talent, save for the headliner — Maryland-born, Los Angeles-based singer Brent Faiyaz — and special guest Troi Irons, a Los Angeles-native musician. The lineup included performances from student artists Ayoni (Ayoni Thompson), Kabwasa (Etienne Kabwasa Green), JAiRUS (Jairus Edwards) and Vietta (Stephenie Lawrence).  For photo ops, the committee set up a reflective, three-tiered pedestal with a wicker chair beside it to evoke an iconic photograph of Black Panther Party leader Huey Newton.  Since summer, the Creative Experience team has been working to make this year’s GearFest a reality. Creative Experience co-director Gogo Chilaka developed the theme as early as last summer. Chilaka, a senior majoring in business administration, spearheaded the event alongside her co-director Kionte Hickman, a junior majoring in architecture. GearFest featured more than just music. In line with the event’s name, the festival hosted a fashion show in which students sported gear made by stylists from the USC community. A month before the event, Creative Experience crowdsourced its models by sending out a casting call on Instagram. Tents lined the quad displaying artworks, crafts and clothing made by students and community members. Companies like The Dublife Co., which creates Western clothing with African aesthetics and BLEX, which features prominent Black figures on their clothing, sold their products to festival goers.  Opposite the quad from the stage, Creative Experience set up installations, including a chalkboard for attendees to write how they will ascend and an immersive experience dubbed “Vibe Check” where students could have their tarot cards read in a tent made of holographic, multicolored material.  Attendees were satisfied with how the festival met its goals through art, culture and community. “USC, how y’all feeling?” Faiyaz asked the crowd of USC students gathered at McCarthy Quad. “This is a good ass crowd, I’m fucking with y’all. Appreciate the love, for real.” “It was really nice to see such a diverse and inclusive cast of models being represented at USC,” said Netra Bhat, a freshman attendee majoring in mathematics. “The clothes in the show were unlike anything I’d ever seen before.” “I feel happy — it went well, I’m really glad,” Chilaka said. “To have gone through that whole process to get [Faiyaz] here and then to have been there felt really good, felt very full circle.” One of the standout student sets of the day came from JAiRUS, accompanied onstage by a nine-person band composed of Thornton School of Music jazz students and alumni, brought a soulful energy indicative of his musical origins — he grew up singing in his church. When Faiyaz took the stage for his headlining performance, he seamlessly transitioned between songs from his latest release “Fuck the World” and select cuts from his 2017 project “Sonder Son.” He played nearly every track from “Fuck the World,” including crowd favorites “Been Away,” “Let Me Know” and the album’s title track. “There was a lot more participation with student artists [and] vendors selling stuff, so I like that in comparison to last year,” Hickman said. “We had three community vendors that we reached out to and then we had six student vendors that reached out to us.” “I’m really pleased with how everything came out and everything that I heard,” said JAiRUS, a junior studying music (jazz voice). “The crowd’s energy was really great and I thought it was a pretty groovy time … I tried to apply [this year’s Ascension theme] to my own message that I like to give about love, so taking love to the next level.” Thornton junior Jairus Edwards, who performs under the name JAiRUS, brought his R&B style to an audience of hundreds during the music festival portion of the event. (Caleb Griffin | Daily Trojan )last_img read more