The Intellectual Dishonesty And Political Pimpwork of Morgam Pehme and Alexis Grenell

This week's intellectual dishonesty award goes to Alexis Grenell’s “Rosa Parks And Redistricting In Williamsburg,” a despicable piece of political pimpwork appearing in “City and State News” which shamefully desecrates the memory of a civil rights hero to advocate that a despised minority group be politically disempowered.

“City and State News” Publisher Morgan Pehme, a former activist in City Council hopeful Lincoln Restler ’s political club, New Kings Democrats, published this piece by political operative Grenell, a sponsor of Restler fundraisers, in support of Restler’s political self-interest, without either of them disclosing their connections.

Further, in this piece, Grenell disgracefully makes allegations of bigotry in Hasidic voting behavior which I have recently refuted with actual voting data.

Despite my well known differences with the Satmar Hasidic community on their anti-Zionism as well as their positions on abortion, tuition tax credits, social coercion, child sex abuse, regulation of circumcision, same sex marriage and probably dozens of other matters (some of which Ms Grenell surely knows nothing about), I think the Satmar are entitled to be treated fairly in redistricting, while Ms. Grenell advocates that their community of interest be split because she doesn’t like their political views.

Ms. Grenell's disingenuous attempt to refute the indisputable fact that the Greater Williamsburg Hasidim are one political community of interest consist entirely of pointing out that the Redistricting Commission is political, which is undoubtedly the major factor in all their decisions citywide---but that fact does not refute the truth, however inconvenient that truth might be to people Ms. Grenell gives money to.

The Greater Williamsburg Hasidim are one community of interest. Nothing Ms Grenell says refutes that truth. In fact, all her screaming about what she (and I both) consider to be the Satmars’ backward social views virtually proves the point that they are a natural community of interest.”    

If Ms. Grenell had even one solitary shred of honesty, she’d admit that that is exactly what her problem with them is.

But Ms Grenell has no reluctance about lying. Here’s just one whopper:

 Irony alert: the Hasidim—specifically the Zalmanites, the dominant sect—had no problem re-electing Lopez after he was censured for sexually harassing several female employees.”

Actually, there aren’t that many Hasidim in Lopez’s district. They are almost all in the neighboring 50th AD, which Ms. Grenell surely knows, because she lives in the 53rd and even wrote in Lincoln Restler for Assembly in the last election.

Whites make up 23% of the 53rd AD and Hasidim make up for far less than half of that. Since Mr. Lopez got about 90% of the district’s votes in the general election, the only election last year where Mr. Lopez faced a challenge, and the district is prohibitively Democratic, and Mr. Lopez’s Republican opponent was a brain dead cipher, all of which Mr. Grenell surely knew, the citing of Hasidim and only Hasidim for their general election votes for Lopez is pretty fucking despicable.

Should Latinos and blacks also be split because they voted for Mr. Lopez as well?   

"Irony Alert": Ms Grenell is the only person in the world willing to support Vito Lopez's preposterous assertion that the meaningless 90% of the vote he got in the November general election has any larger meaning whatsoever.    

Vito should send her a love note.

Further, though the data refuting the lies about Hasidic bigotry in their voting behavior appeared in a piece Ms. Grenell undoubtedly saw (in fact, I am told that she was specifically asked to write her piece so there would be a document on the web which could be cited to counter mine), one must assume, based on the “points” Ms. Grenell asserts to be factual, which any reputable writer, after doing their homework, would know to be outrageous untruths, that Ms Grenell must have known she was purposely making accusations of racist behavior she knew to be lies.

Making knowingly false accusations of bigotry against an entire ethnic group comes pretty close to the definition of “blood libel”

Further, like her friend Mr. Restler, Ms. Grenell, a political consultant, who surely knows the truth, nonetheless lies about the new district’s numbers in a shameless manner.

Nowhere does she answer the assertions in my piece.

Ms Grenell cites with approval the embarrassingly silly and discredited testimony by the embarrassingly silly and discredited Judy Stanton of the Brooklyn Heights Association:

As Judy Stanton, president of the Brooklyn Heights Association, testified at a recent public hearing, the voting patterns of the commission’s proposed 33rd District are such that it would be highly unlikely to elect a minority, gay or female representative.”

Stanton’s testimony is laughably preposterous.

Stanton talks about the district’s “history of diversity,” even though since the 1960s everyone of its Councilmembers has been a white Jewish male (everyone of them straight, except for one who was closeted)

Of course, I could be mistake. Perhpas Ms. Stanton is talking about the "diversity" of Brooklyn Heights, which, after all contains both White Anglo-Saxon Protestants and Jewish Anglo-Saxon Protestants. 

In actuality, the Heights is virtually all white, while the Williamsburg Hasidim live in an area with a fair amount of racial integration. 

Stanton actually has the nerve to spew the slander that adding Hasidim to the 33rd CD would hurt landmarking efforts citywide, even though the Williamsburg Hasidim have never interfered in the land use issues of any neighborhoods other than their own, and even with the proposed the changes, the Councilmember for the 33rd would be ill-advised not to be a leader on landmarking issues.  

As I proved, since the 80s, the Williamsburg Hasidic community has had no problems voting for female candidates, even when they were prohibitive underdogs, in races where “Progressive” Brooklyn Heights supported males, and supported minority candidates in races where “progressive” Brooklyn Heights supported whites.

Even the allegations that Hasidim won’t vote for gay candidates are a wild exaggeration.

The repugnant, shameful and disgusting beard bashing of Ms. Grenell’s hate-piece against Hasidim permeates the pile of excrement pouring from her computer:

The bottom line is that the commission’s proposal would leave an otherwise progressive district hostage to the whims of an extreme religious sect.”

Ms. Grenell apparently feels that being “progressive” requires that people whose religious beliefs she disagrees with should have their communities divided to ensure that only right-thinking people get representation.

This is exactly the thinking of the Republicans trying to fix the next presidential election. The GOP even shares with Ms. Grenell the determination to minimize the influence of ethnic groups whose members might hold views different than they do.  

A different liberal Democratic political operative, who, though he has had his own long (longer than Ms. Grenell’s been alive) and angry series of differences with the Williamsburg Hasidim had this response to the “Bottom line” section of Ms. Grenell’s screed:  

I wonder how she would feel if someone subsisted the following for the first line of her last paragraph -

“The bottom line is that the commission’s proposal would leave a religious minority that has lived in the community for decades to the whims of a bunch of gentrifying newcomers.”

Grenell is the also main communications consultant for Common Cause. So it is not merely that she's pushing undisclosed propaganda on behalf of her friends through a column.

She's also getting Susan Lerner of Common Cause, an official “good government” group to talk trash:

Packing Hasidim into the district seems to be counter to the trend of the area, which is towards greater diversity,” said Susan Lerner.


As I’ve noted previously, this is an abject distortion of the truth. With the exception of Gowanus Houses and Wyckoff Gardens at the district's south end, everything in this district outside of the Hasidic area is getting richer, whiter and more similar.

Expanding the number of Hasidim doesn't make the district less diverse, it makes it more so.

Lincoln Restler must be a great guy, because his friends are willing to do anything for him, regardless of what it does to their reputation for integrity.

As Grenell likes to say:  “The success of an issue or idea is not necessarily based on its merits, there is a strategy around what turns into reality. And that’s politics.”

She proves it nearly every day.