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Aide: Indecision and no focus - in an otherwise puff piece

In an otherwise embarassing puff piece by NY Post's Frank Edozien, a former longtime aide of Fields is quoted as saying, "She doesn't run a tight ship. There is not a clear direction of what you want to get done. Things get dropped in the middle for any number of reasons."

Another former aide stated, "Getting a decision can take months, years. She is indecisive, inconsistent and invisible."

For the entire piece, click below. Prepare to gag.

NY Post
by Frank Edozien
May 2, 2005

She hates to be underestimated, or even to be branded as an underdog, but that has been the hallmark of Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields' political career ever since she first ran for City Council back in 1989.

Tonight, she and the dean of New York's congressional delegation, Rep. Charles Rangel, buoyed by consistently rising polls, will prod deep-pocketed Democrats at a dinner to infuse her mayoral campaign with funds and spread her message that she'll be a mayor for all New Yorkers.

"This is a very serious race for me," Fields said from the central Harlem brownstone that serves as her campaign headquarters.

"I never considered myself an underdog. I got in those races for the right reasons - using government to address the needs of people. This is who I am; this is what I will do."

Fields has long been a protégé of the powerful Harlem triumvirate--Rangel, former Mayor David Dinkins and former Manhattan Borough President Percy Sutton. Her story is inspirational to many.

In 1963, a 17-year-old Virginia Clark, of Birmingham, Ala., marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., staring down police dogs with other marchers. She got arrested and tossed in jail for six nights. Upon her release, she helped register black voters.

The youngest daughter of a steelworker and seamstress ended up with a graduate degree in social work from Indiana University, and by 1971, Fields had relocated to New York with her husband, Henry Fields.

She moved to Harlem in 1978 and became a tenants' advocate and active in local political clubs.

Her stunning victory against incumbent Councilman Kenneth Clark - by a 3-1 margin, as she proudly points out - laid the foundation for what would become a career marked by deliberation and political calculations.

In 1997, when Fields ran for borough president, she crushed the five others in the race, grabbing 42 percent of the total votes.

Now she hopes to follow the lead of former Mayors Dinkins and Robert Wagner, who used the borough presidency of Manhattan as a springboard to the mayoralty.

"Blacks see her as a favorite daughter running, and women are beginning to realize there is a woman running," Joe Mercurio, her top strategist, told The Post as news of her latest spike in the polls was released.

A Fields victory would give the city its first female mayor and only second black mayor.

"If the question is: Is she competent to be mayor? The answer is yes," Dinkins said, stressing that he hasn't made an endorsement yet.

"Philosophically, she certainly pleases me," he added, saying that the city would be ready for its first female mayor.

"Were they ready for me? Were they ready for the first Jew? If she gets more votes than anybody else, then the city is ready."

One former staffer who lives in Harlem said Fields had cultivated relations with the political machine there for years.

"She's very astute politically. She's been active in politics on the most local levels, so she understands it. She understands how to relate to people, and she knows the basic laws. She's a student of politics."

Over the years, she's been seen routinely strolling uptown and talking to local Democratic activists. But some newcomers who know of her would like to see more of her among them.

"There been a huge change of population in the last three years, a lot of gentrification," said Derrick Briggs, 35, a Harlem homeowner. "It wouldn't hurt her to come in front of young professional audiences and shake hands."

Fields frequently points to her 16-year experience in government. In that time, the always elegantly dressed Fields has nurtured an image as a conciliator, a listener and someone approachable.

Many like her. Many more voters love her. Few are loath to openly criticize. But there are critics.

"She doesn't run a tight ship. There is not a clear direction of what you want to get done. Things get dropped in the middle for any number of reasons," said one former longtime top aide.

Another who served under Fields for nearly three years called her management style invisible. "Getting a decision can take months, years. She is indecisive, inconsistent and invisible," she said.

All agree that her political instincts are razor sharp and that she's very caring.

"She's cautious and she's deliberative, and its worked for her. But at the same time, it's hard to identify Virginia with a single issue. At a certain point, you need to go out and takes risks," said one former senior staffer who worked with her early in her career.

"She can be hard if you leave her. That's for damn sure. I don't think she holds grudges, but you're not supposed to leave. Period. You can leave but you damn well better be out of politics," another said.

Fields wears the deliberative tag as a badge of honor and said the city would be better served by a deliberative mayor, and that's the problem with the Bloomberg administration.

"Deliberative, yes, indecisive, no," she said. "One of the issues that I have is they are not deliberative in terms of being inclusive. To hear other points of views . . . other than their own."


"Deliberative, yes, indecisive, no" says Fields about herself. Is this why it took her 6 years to decide that the killing of Diallo was "a crime"?

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