Assembly and Council Endorsements
This article will skip over the 54th AD race, which deserves an article of its own. Hope I get to it.
In a 2006 general election endorsement piece, I said:
ASSEMBLY: "The Times" advocates a symbolic vote against all Democrats (with limited exceptions, although they could only think of Pete Grannis themselves). I understand the sentiment, and certainly, it could be argued that Eliot Spitzer might actually prefer that Shelly Silver not hold his current veto-proof majority.
Nonetheless, I have a number of problems with this advice…I guess it might be safe to cast a protest vote for a Republican candidate for the Assembly, but given what they stand for, I’d be hard-pressed to recommend any who might actually merit support.
Last year, by contrast, I noted that Andrew Cuomo would agree with Spitzer, “and in these time, I see no advantage in Shelly getting his two thirds.
A traitor-proof Democratic majority is good enough for me, and Shelly will have that regardless, but if a liberal Democratic governor finds some program too expensive under the current circumstances, my inclination is to assume he’s right.
Moreover, I no longer see good reason for blind endorsements in Assembly races in order to help the State Senate Democrats. They’ve not earned such an indulgence.
However, that being said, I’m still hard-pressed to recommend Assembly Republican candidates who actually merit support.”
I actually found five, one running against Dov Hikind (and I certainly regret that he lost).
But different years require different standards. While I agree with a lot more of the Governor’s agenda than many of my liberal compatriots, I think that a strong Governor requires a strong counterweight—in this case a strong counterweight to his left.
The closest thing we have to that is the Assembly, and it does not seem a good idea to thoughtlessly diminish its strength.
But, it would be nice if we got some thoughtful and independent members as well—ones who might even push Shelly on process reform.
For several years, the 73rd AD on the Upper East Side was well served by Jonathan Bing, who was not afraid to courageously stand up to the Teacher’s Union.
Unfortunately, Bing has left for a job in the Cuomo administration.
The Democrat running for his seat, Dan Quart, has an outstanding record of community service, issue activism and pro bono legal work.
By contrast, his Republican opponent, Paul Niehaus, can only say that he served on his co-op board and did some coaching for his kids’ teams. In an area where Republicans have often run blue-ribbon candidates, Niehaus’ record is a big disappointment, as are his tired platitudes about lower taxes.
Quart’s CV makes it seem unlikely be will divert from party orthodoxy as much as Bing, but he does seem to have an ability to think out of the box.
Truthfully, Quart would be an outstanding candidate in any district.
Gatemouth endorses Quart.
A resignations in the 27th AD has led to a Special Election which highlights the problems with the system for nominating such candidates through Party Leaders instead of through primaries.
No one knew Anthony Weiner was going to send out dick- pics and no one knew Queens County Clerk Gloria D’Amico was going to die, so one can hardly blames the polls for pre-arranging the vacancies those events caused.
But Nettie Mayersohn had to know last year when she ran for re-election that she was planning to leave her seat to an aide, Michael Simanowitz, without giving voters a real choice.
Shame on her.
Though I sometimes had problems with Nettie Mayersohn’s record, her story is one of a kind.
In 1982, as a female leader, Mayersohn defied her Co-Leade,r Donnie Manes, who was then at the height of his power as both Borough President and Queens Democratic boss, and got their local club to dump Manes' handpicked Assemblyman (and virtually lock Donnie out for the summer), and then she cleaned his clock in the primary.
As an Assemblywoman,. Mayersohn continued her record of not going with the flow, often in ways that annoyed her conference and her leadership. More often than not, I disliked Mayersohn’s dissents, but in Albany, even their existence was worth noting and admiring.
But Mayersohn chose to end her career by circumventing democracy and facilitating a choice by bosses instead of the voters.
In others words, Nettie Mayersohn ended her career with a repudiation of every last thing which made her notable.
By contrast, when Audrey Pheffer left her seat in the 23rd AD to take D’Amico’s place, the choice was totally unexpected: political operative Phil Goldfeder, a former Bloomberg and Schumer aide, seemingly imposed from above.
It appears that longtime community people were muscled out of the special election by a former Schumer staffer and the usual suspects.
To those who doubt me, please ask yourself what the odds are that, without major outside pressure, you could Joann Shapiro, Frank Gulluscio, Lew Simon and Geraldine Chapey in a room, and they'd come up with Phil Goldfeder as their candidate?
Phil reminds me of former Brooklyn Assemblyman Jules Polenetsky all over again (right down to the kippah and the work for a GOP Mayor), and he’s a nice boy too, like Jules, but still, he’s just one more Schumer clone on the rise in a year when another took a spectacular swan dive.
My main agenda here is holding the 9th CD seat in Congress, and I’m not sure how much these guys help.
Goldfeder’s base in Far Rockaway is not in the 9th, and his Republican opponent, Jane Deacy, is strong in all the communities where Bob Turner needs a big vote.
Simanowitz is also Orthodox.
The question is, do these guys pull out votes who then check the box for Turner?
Normally, I wouldn’t give a damn if these guys won.
But, in the current climate, I do not want to see any GOP victories in the 9th CD which might contribute to the national GOP narrative of thoughtless reaction and mindless hatred.
So, I urge a vote for Simanowitz and Goldfeder (who, given his work for Bloomberg, especially does not deserve to benefit from Democratic partisanship).
Just to keep things in perspective, both these young men also seem to be more qualified than their opponents.
But, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for them to initiate (or aggressively support) any process reforms.
Unlike the other races here, this is a a primary, rather than a special election.
But that's practically the only reason one can be thankful for this race.
For years, the 28th CCD has had the worst candidates and the worst representation possible.
Last year, when incumbent Tom White died, I felt compelled to ask how they could tell.
Sadly, Allen Jennings, the man who White replaced, who in turn replaced White, is a total loon.
Jennings once threw a metal object at a reporter on live TV. He placed ads in Chinese language newspapers declaring his love for a dancer and his hatred for his wife (as she was then). He threatened another Council member using verses from the Bible. He used Council envelopes in pursuit of real estate business.
Jennings was censured by his colleagues s for sexually harassing two female staffers and forcing them to remain quiet. The women sued and received a $300,000 settlement from the city. He owes the City $45,000 in fines for various campaign finance violations, and $5,000 from an unpaid fine levied by the City Council relating to his sexual harassment charges.
Seeking his old seat, Jennings is now using his campaign finds for what seem to be daily living expenses.
According to City Hall News, on May 9, for instance, Jennings tipped a waiter named $100. He also spent $29 that day for a “meeting” at an tire dealer/auto repair shop, one of five meetings he held there. Jennings has also held “meetings” at gas stations in various locations, including the Garden State. Other meetings subsidized by his campaign were held at KFC, Cold Stone Creamery and McDonald’s.
Jennings is running against interim incumbent Ruben Wills, who once threw a punch at Jennings the Queens Board of Elections.
That may be one of the few things I can say in Wills’ favor.
Wills is currently awaiting trial on a 14-year-old petty larceny charge, and another misdemeanor charge from 2002. The other charges include criminal trespass, and criminal mischief.
Wills is also a five digit child support deadbeat.
Last year, the field featured not only Wills and Jennings, but another candidate who lived in Amityville, as well as Albert Baldeo, who, in a prior race for the seat, was accused of aiming a gun at rival and demanding that he drop out of the race. Another candidate in last year’s race, Charles Bilal, an Imam who works as a Chaplain at a New York City jail, was recently arrested for allegedly propositioning an undercover police officer posing as a prostitute.
This is also the area that sent Ada Smith to the State Senate until she lost her seat for attacking an aide with a hot caffeinated beverage. Smith’s successor, Shirley Huntley is currently under investigation, as is another area State Senator, a Congressman and at least one member of the Assembly.
There are two other candidates in the race.
Michael Duvalle is a self- important eccentric, who’s run for Assembly countless times as a candidate of both the GOP and the Independence Party. His efforts to run as a Democrat from time to time have usually resulted in his being thrown off the ballot, sometimes for fraud. Duvalle is also the author of the extremely ponderous trivia book, The Complete Book of Historic Presidential Firsts”.
The remaining candidate, Clifton Stanley Diaz, Chairs the Board of Rochdale Village, a huge local apartment complex, and has served on both the local Community Board and School Board. He seems both relatively sane and inoffensive.
Gatemouth endorses Clifton Stanley Diaz.
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