Rabble-rouser Al Sharpton is developing an unusually friendly alliance with billionaire technocrat Mayor Bloomberg. In the fallout from the Sean Bell shooting, there has been something of a romance (“Mutually beneficial flirting” Sharpton calls it) going on between the Reverend and City Hall, where for so long he was deemed persona non grata. In preparing for an editorial-board meeting with the Washington Post last month, Sharpton says he sought advice and data from the mayor’s education experts, and they gave it. Then, last week, Sharpton and the new director of his National Action Network, Charlie King, had a private sit-down at City Hall with Bloomberg and his political director, Kevin Sheekey. During the meeting, Sharpton wondered whether Bloomberg was running for president. Bloomberg’s reply: “Are you?” Sharpton’s not, but he admits that he likes the leverage his chumminess with Bloomberg gives him with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, who are vying for his endorsement. If Bloomberg chooses to run for president, he gives Sharpton another option. After the City Hall tête-à-tête, Sharpton joined Bloomberg at a press conference calling for a waste-transfer station to be built in Chelsea. His interest in the issue? “Environmental justice,” he says. It’s one more example, Sharpton says, of how “we’ve always managed to never go to the prom as each other’s dates, but we find a way to dance together before the night’s out.”
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