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As Carrion Downshifts to Race for NYC Comptroller, Human Rights Disinvestment Balanced by Returns

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee: News Analysis

BRONX, NY, December 13 -- As Bronx borough president Adolfo Carrion spoke at the Grand Hyatt Thursday morning, quoting from James Joyce and Emma Lazarus' poems on the base of the Statue of Liberty, he seemed inexorably to be moving to declaring himself a candidate for Mayor. In the audience were generations of Bronx elected officials, Jose and Joel Rivera, the Yankees' Randy Levine and a table bought by the Bronx Zoo, Herman Badillo at a table of lobbying firm Tonio Burgos and Associates. The real estate industry was making introductions, and filling the ballroom. There was no talk of rising rents, only of rising hopes. And then Carrion declared for... Comptroller.

            In the media scrum that immediately followed, he was asked "why not run for Mayor?"  His answer was "I've got kids," and that there are other young talents running for Mayor, two on whom he said he would call with the news: Christine (Quinn) and Anthony (Weiner).  He shifted to say that New York's economy is doing well, even with the subprime lending crisis. He said there are "ten to twelve thousand families with subprime mortgages," an estimate that readily-available Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data calls into question. But he's not yet Comptroller.

Adolfo Carrion, looking up but only slightly

            Looking ahead, Inner City Press asked Carrion for his views on using the city's pension fund and investment to advance human rights. "It's one of the strongest instruments municipalities have," Carrion said, "to go to enterprises, to multinational corporations or funds, and say we are uncomfortable with practices in parts of the company, in countries, the treatment of workers."

            Inner City Press asked if he would divest from specific countries, and from companies doing business in them, using as examples what other government subdivisions have targets, Sudan and Syria. "Anywhere human or workers rights are violated, we need to rethink strategy," Carrion said. He went on to say he would "also take into consideration the return for pensioners." So if human rights violators are profitable? We'll see.

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Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

  Because a number of Inner City Press' UN sources go out of their way to express commitment to serving the poor, and while it should be unnecessary, Inner City Press is compelled to conclude this installment in a necessarily-ongoing series by saluting the stated goals of the UN agencies and many of their staff. Keep those cards, letters and emails coming, and phone calls too, we apologize for any phone tag, but please continue trying, and keep the information flowing.

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

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Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-07 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540