Yellen at the Top of My Lungs
At the request of Daily Gotham’s Mole333, I’ve come out of retirement for the rare cause on which we both agree.
The race between Noach Dear and Karen Yellen in Brooklyn’s 5th Municipal Court District is the most unambiguous choice available in this year's Brooklyn judicial elections, and it has been ignored for far too long in favor of a forest of dead trees written about the far more ambiguous Surrogate's race (I’m voting for Simpson, but to explain why would require more of my time than the race merits). Residents of Bay Ridge, Kensington, Sunset Park, Windsor Terrace, Dyker Heights, Borough Park and portions of adjoining communities should run, not walk, and vote early and often for Karen Yellen.
Yellen has ten years experience as a Civil Court Judge, and currently tries cases in Family Court as a Referee. One must also not forget her heroic role as chief witness in the most important Clarence Norman trial. Let’s not overstate it; Yellen is no Louis Brandeis, but she’s miles more qualified than Dear.
Is there a reason to vote for Dear? Borough President Marty Markowitz has raised the spectre of Yellen’s “questionable residency.”
But, there's no question about Yellen's residency; she lives in Manhattan, and if she were running against a qualified Brooklyn resident, it would certainly be a legitimate issue. But she's running against someone with a questionable ethical history, malicious temperment, and limited legal experience; someone who's been found unqualified by every bar panel (except the one's he's ignored completely). As such, Yellen's less than desirable, but perfectly legal, residence is eclipsed by the frightening concerns about her wretched opposition.
People have also focussed on Dear’s anti-gay record, which is a bit of a mistake. If Yellen got the vote of every gay-sympathetic voter in the 5th, she’d still lose.
More importantly, even if Noach Dear was 100% pro-gay, and his opponent a sincere but misguided opponent of that community's positions, Dear would still be unqualified and a sleaze bag.
However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that Dear's anti-gay record is not merely a matter of quietly voting his conscience (as if he had one); it is possible to be wrong on the issue without exploiting hatred; Peter Vallone voted against gay rights without ever using it to make cheap points. It would have been one thing if Dear merely voted wrong on the issues. But, Dear's record is not merely one of bad votes; it is one of stoking the fires of hatred for his own poltical benefit (as when he taped Anthony Weiner's Q & A Before the Lambda Independent Democrats, and then shopped the video all around Orthodox Brookyln). Dear's bad votes should not necessarily disqualify him from this position (although they would still require explanation and discussion), but his bad behavior exploiting hatred should be a permanent bar to his holding judicial office (as should some of his non-social issue related bad conduct).
To put the best face on this, Markowitz says he has Dear’s word that Dear can be fair to people he’s previously used as strawmen and scapegoats.
Markowitz may actually believe that he can take Noach Dear at his word (as if the conversation where he received Dear's assurances actually took place!), an assertion NO ONE in Brooklyn's Orthodox community would greet with anything but laughter. The failure of the right wing, ultra Orthodox, “Jewish Press” to endorse in this race speaks volumes about how the leadership of the Orthodox community really feels about Noach Dear. Unfortunately, their silence is all he requires.
In the alternative, perhaps Markowitz actually believes that a sleazebag from Brooklyn is preferable to a qualified and experienced jurist from Manhattan (sadly, it is credible that Markowitz actually does believe this). To be fair, Markowitz has also cited Dear’s impressive endorsements from such experts on the Judiciary as Councilman Kendall Stewart, who is, after all, a licensed podiatrist.
Not that anyone else has come up with a better reason for supporting Dear. Dear’s longtime enemy, Dov Hikind’s explanation is essentially “Since many qualified judges have been criminals, the solution is to elect the unqualified.”
Then there is our County Leader, who, once his own indisputably qualified candidate dropped out, saw Dear (not unreasonably) as the prohibitive favorite and decided to join the parade by appearing to lead it. I suspect there are many reason for the endorsement. Part of it is to bring out votes for Shawndya Simpson for Surrogate. However, there is evidence that indicates that Diane Johnson's campaign attempted to forge an alliance with Dear themselves. My sources are some prominent Brooklyn left/progressive types. Moreover, no one should be surprised if today, there are Dear/Johnson palm cards being given out by men in Orthodox garb in the appropriate areas of Brooklyn. Yes, in Windsor Terrace, there will be some joint Yellen/Johnson action, but that is the work of a local club, not Johnson's campaign. There is no doubt that Johnson aides Gary Tilzer and Mitch Alter are capable of such treachery; they threw another candidate into the 6th District race against reformer Kathy Levine only minutes after taking the endorsements of the reform clubs. The only question concerning whether they will do joint Johnson/Dear palm cards is whether they have the ways and means to do so.
Johnson's campaign was actually the source of false and ugly lies about Yellen earlier in the summer, trying to link her to a non-existent plot to help former candidate Leo Beitner. Johnson's hands here are as dirty as Vito's; behold some excerpts from the literary genius of a blogger who is surely Johnson campaign manger Gary Tilzer:
“karen Yellen is running against Dear to help Vito pull out the Jewish vote for Beitner. Tan boy Scott Levenson is getting Yellen on the ballot against Dear, a race she has no chance to win.
If Yellen does not run Dear wins the primary and is not on the ballot and the Jewish vote stays home. Only a jerk who does not understand politics would not understand that Vito and Catcher are urging Yellen to run in a race that she has no chance to win.
Maybe Vito has offed Yellen the Supreme Court seat. He has already pomised Simpson, Miller, Wooten and Feldman for the one Supreme Court seat open this year….
Both Yellen and Simpson are not running to win. Everyone knows it!
Attention Vito cult posters on blogs. Nobody believes your twisted posts which always seem to make make Vito look dumb and uninformed.
His supporters should give him credit for his work.
THEY SHOULD SAY YEA I DID IT AND YOU WHO LIVE IN MY KINGDOM CAN NOT DO A THING ABOUT IT. YOUR LEADERS ARE WEAK AND AFRAID OF ME.
I RULE THE WORLD – VITO…
Yellen will get less than 20% of the vote in that district. Yellen paid Norman people 9,000 after the primary because she was looking for the Supreme Court Judgeship. After she did not get it she went after Norman. She has a history of playing up to the organization. Thanks for nothing.”
But Vito has a half decent reason for supporting Dear, as well. Next year, there will be a hotly contested race for State Senate between Kevin Parker (the male Ada Smith) and Kendall Stewart. Given the district's make-up, if Dear enters the race, he has a good shot of winning. If he wins, he will join Carl Kruger as one more State Senate Democrat who is in the pocket of Joe Bruno, preventing Democratic control, even should Dems actually win a majority. This is of major importance. Dear must not be allowed to go to the Senate!!!!
But, as much as I think Dear's Senate ambitions must not be allowed to come to fruition, the price of putting him on the bench is way too high. He is the Garson family with a yarmulke, or as one Orthodox Jewish member of our bench once told me, an indictment waiting to happen. And let's not forget his lovely temperment! Even without his reactionary social views, Dear would be a blot on our judiciary.
Vote for Yellen.
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