Flatbush state Sen. Kevin Parker — who has a history of violent and aggressive outbursts — threw his hat in the ring on Wednesday to run for city comptroller in 2021, saying he would seek to fix a multi-billion dollar COVID-19 budget crisis by focusing on issues of housing, police reform, and economic opportunity.
“Now more than ever we need people who have leadership and who can bring practical solutions to the table to get us out of this pandemic,” Parker said in a Nov. 11 interview with Inside City Hall anchor Errol Louis.
The 18-year state Senator said his experience in Albany’s upper chamber would make him an ideal fit for the role of comptroller, which serves as the city’s chief auditor to assess the financial performance and viability of various government agencies.
Parker, while remaining light on concrete details during his TV appearance, said he would assemble various stakeholders to work on a financial path forward as the Five Boroughs face a $9 billion deficit over the coming two years.
“The first thing I would do actually is pull together a task force of business leaders, labor leaders, non-profit leaders, community leaders, clergy to examine what has happened during the context of COVID, and figure out what are the things that the city needs to do in order to get ourselves there,” he said.
The would-be fiscal watchdog said he would train his scrutiny on the New York City Police Department, though the pol opposed “defunding” the Boys in Blue and instead pushed for “accountability” and “transparency.”
“We’re talking about defunding the police, and although I don’t think that that’s the way that we should go, we certainly need to understand what the functions are, and how do we get our best bang for the buck,” he said. “[We need to make sure] we set our police department on a course in which they’re serving every single community, but also doing that with dignity and respect.”
In Albany, Parker was the sponsor of four out of 10 police accountability bills the legislature passed this summer, including the right to record law enforcement, giving state troopers body cameras, making it a hate crime to fraudulently call 911 in order to get Black people in trouble, and creating a governor-appointed law enforcement inspector general.
Now joining a hotly-contested citywide race, Parker will surely be faced with questions and criticisms from his opponents about his history of losing his cool.
Most recently, in 2018, he told a Republican flack to “kill yourself” in a Twitter post, after the spokeswoman accused him of placard abuse.
He also got a criminal mischief conviction for attacking a New York Post photographer outside his East Flatbush home in 2009, and cops charged him for assaulting a city traffic agent in 2005, before dropping the latter case after the pol agreed to seek help for anger management, the New York Times reported.
In 2010 he reportedly “charged” and shouted expletives at his colleague, Coney Island state Sen. Diane Savino, during a closed door session when he argued against expelling the corrupt and violent Queens legislator Hiram Monserrate, according to the New York Daily News.
Parker is the second Brooklyn politician — and the second with jurisdiction over Park Slope — to enter the race to replace Scott Stringer as the city’s chief bean counter, coming months after Councilman Brad Lander entered the contest. Manhattan state Sen. Brian Benjamin and Queens Assemblyman David Weprin are also gunning for the citywide seat, which will see a Democratic nominee crowned in June 2021.