ST/PCV off limits to door knocking for pols, candidates

Ken Chanko, a Stuyvesant Town resident who’s door knocked during a number of political campaigns (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Ken Chanko, a Stuyvesant Town resident who’s door knocked during a number of political campaigns (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Anyone thinking of volunteering for candidates running in the fall state elections should take note: Due to no solicitation rules, Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village apartments are verboten to would-be door knockers.

A Stuyvesant Town resident who’d been volunteering for the Bernie Sanders campaign recently learned this as the presidential primary heated up.

The volunteer, retired teacher Ken Chanko (also at one time a film columnist for this newspaper), told Town & Village it was the Sunday before the primary when he was told by a volunteer supervisor that his own apartment complex couldn’t be visited. That is, not until the campaign acquired a permit from the NYPD. Not only that, said Chanko, but the campaign hadn’t been informed of the need for a permit until late on Friday, meaning the crucial weekend before the primary would be lost.

“You couldn’t get a permit over the weekend,” he said.

It was while visiting a volunteer location on Avenue A when Chanko said he was told by the supervisor that “’something came up.’ Apparently you can’t go door to door.”

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Politics & Tidbits: Now it’s personal

By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders

The traveling Presidential campaign trail has reached New York State. The Republican and Democratic primaries are coming this Tuesday, April 19. It is now up close and personal. With the races in both parties showing signs of tightening, the results will have a consequential effect on the race for the Presidency. Of the four leading candidates from both parties, three can actually boast of their New York roots. Republican Donald Trump was raised in New York City and the center of his business empire sits in Manhattan. Democrat Bernie Sanders (no relation) spent much of his childhood living in Brooklyn and now is Senator from the neighboring state of Vermont. And of course Hillary Clinton resides in Westchester and served in the United States Senate for eight years representing New York State. Ted Cruz traces back to Canada, and now Texas.

The last President of the United States to call New York home was Franklin Roosevelt and before him Theodore Roosevelt. Beyond the Roosevelt family one needs to go back to the 19th century to find the last President from New York State.

Say what you will about Democrats Sanders or Clinton… they are both qualified to be President. This in spite of the increased political hyperbole from both campaigns. Both have served in government for a long time and more importantly, both thoroughly understand the issues of the day. And although the United State Constitution specifies that the only qualifications needed to be President are that you be a natural born citizen and at least 35 years of age, historically we expect far more from our national leader, especially in this complex day and age.

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The Soapbox: Making sense of the presidential campaign

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Some translations on candidates’ big talk

By Bradford J. Gonzalez-Sussman

Why I am not feeling the Bern or the fallacy of the shoot-from-the-hip-candidate.

Many otherwise sensible people now enamored with Trump and Sanders have the idea their candidates “say what they think!” about fat cats on Wall Street and in Washington, Mexicans or Muslims or whoever the enemy de jour is.

I have two problems with this mythical “rebel” candidate concept. Are they speaking their truth without concern for consequences; and, do I want to share a tent with extremists who seem to be attracted to the shoot-from-the-hip image these candidates are cultivating?

Firstly; do populist politicians pander? Is the Don’s claim to be an anti-abortion bible scholar believable? When Bernie Sanders argues against gun manufacturer liability, is this a principled stand or an appeal to special interests in his state? These candidates analyze their audience, but because their core supporters are not mainstream their rhetoric may sound fresh. When Trump’s advisers say, “Let Trump be Trump,” that advice itself is the result of polling.

So, with advisers and polling aplenty, “outsiders” carefully craft their messages to have a Rorschach-like appeal to the disenfranchised and extremists in our country. This approach, like the Tea Party, has somewhat successfully herded cats in appealing to disparate groups of disaffected voters.

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Letters to the Editor: Feb. 11

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Feb11 PCVST truckPC Road a parking lot for trucks?

To the Editor:

When I attended Rick Hayduk’s get acquainted meeting, I was impressed by (among other things) his resolve to stop using Peter Cooper Road for overnight parking of the complex’s big box trucks.

The big trucks have disappeared, but a smaller one has taken up what appears to be permanent residence. The truck, complete with plow and salt spreader has not moved from its spot on Peter Cooper Road since the end of the last snowstorm. That’s about two weeks.

Perhaps it’s in position for the next big storm. If so, it may be here until fall. Or maybe its battery is dead. Should we call AAA for management?

I informed management of this truck’s permanent position last week via the “feedback” e-mail address that Mr. Hayduk said would be monitored for residents’ complaints. So far, I have heard nothing back and the truck has not moved.

Technically, this is not one of the big trucks that Rick Hayduk said would no longer be kept on the roads in the complex. As such, it doesn’t violate the letter of his statement but it certainly is at odds with the spirit. And the lack of response to my e-mail makes me fear that Blackstone, like the previous owner, is NATO (no action, talk only). If so, residents will have more reason than the similar names to confuse Blackstone and BlackRock.

Joe Lisanti, PCV

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Opinion: The American catharsis

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

It’s contagious! In arguing for a return of the capital punishment in the form of the guillotine and public executions Maine Governor Paul LePage joked about where the severed head might land.

This just days after Donald Trump quipped, “I could shoot somebody in Times Square and not lose any support.”

When are our leaders and would-be leaders going to talk sense to the American people instead of trying for school yard boasting and juvenile behavior?

In answer to the threat posed by ISIS you may recall that Senator Ted Cruz bellowed that he would carpet bomb the whole region and “see whether the desert sand glows.” Another nifty one liner sure to please all his angry supporters who also agree with him that New Yorkers are “values challenged.”

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Opinion: Memo to Hillary: No mud-slinging

By Former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

Dear Hillary,

It’s your old friend from New York politics. Don’t be put off by my last name. Bernie Sanders is no relative of mine. And although I respect his candidacy and his social egalitarian views, I do not think that he would make a particularly good President. I also think that there is a risk that were he the Democratic Party nominee that some crazy person like Donald Trump or Ted Cruz could beat him. So my advice to you is sincere. I believe that you have the best chance of winning the Presidency of any Democratic candidate and holding back the darker impulses of some in the electorate. But this election is not a slam dunk, and you could lose. But if you employ the tactics of destruction you could win the battle but lose the war.

Right about now I suspect there is some panic setting in your campaign as the polls show you lagging behind Bernie in Iowa and then followed by New Hampshire. Over the summer you led in both states by over 20 points and now you trail. Uh-oh. But six months ago nobody knew Bernie Sanders and you were running virtually unopposed. So a tightening of the race was inevitable.

There are some around you who will want to respond to the Bernie surge with the typical negative campaign response. “Hit him hard” I am sure they are telling you. “Go after him with a vengeance” others are chiming in. This is the typical political response. And if you succumb to the temptation it will cost you dearly. So here is my advice: Stay on the high road!

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Opinion: The world has seen this kind of hate-mongering before

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

A country weary of war, wracked and roiled by economic woes. Its citizens worried about their jobs and their future. A loss of national confidence in the present. A charismatic leader emerges running for the highest office in the land, promising to make the country “great again” while attacking a religious minority as evil and subversive. Stoking suspicion and fear towards immigrants, non-Caucasian people and non-native born residents. America in 2015? Yes. Also Germany in 1933.

I do not know if Donald Trump is a closeted fascist as some have said, or just so impulsive that he says whatever enters his mind at a given moment.

Children often times have no impulse control and just blurt out things that adults would filter. That is not being politically correct, that is acting like a grown up and understanding that words matter as well as actions.

Donald Trump has insulted immigrants, African Americans, millions of peace loving Muslim citizens and stereotyped Jews. He has attacked with childish characterizations his opponents and critical journalists. He has mocked a disabled reporter and called Senator John McCain a false war hero.

He has repeatedly referred to the President of the United States as “stupid” and suggested that Obama has lied about his birth origin and his practiced religion. Donald Trump is not just being politically incorrect as he and his supporters say, he is behaving like a spoiled adolescent unable to temper his impulses. He is dangerous.

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Dem clubs host presidential candidate forum

Reps for Sanders, Clinton and O’Malley face off on drugs, guns and financial reform 

Assembly Member Keith Wright represented Hillary Clinton, Adam Stolz represented Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and Sean Patrick Murphy represented Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Assembly Member Keith Wright represented Hillary Clinton, Adam Stolz represented Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and Sean Patrick Murphy represented Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Over a dozen local political clubs sponsored a forum for the Democratic Presidential candidates this past Sunday afternoon but rather than appear at the forum personally, all three campaigns for the leading candidates sent representatives on their behalf. The event was held at the SVA Theatre on West 23rd Street.

Adam Stolz represented Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and Sean Patrick Murphy spoke on behalf of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, but former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was represented by New York Democratic Assemblyman Keith Wright instead of a representative of her campaign.

Wright’s lack of familiarity with Clinton’s campaign tripped up the local elected official on a handful of issues during the forum, including on financial reform.

“(Clinton) has a plan to go further than Glass-Steagall,” he said of legislation passed in 1933 that limited commercial bank securities, which was repealed in 1999. “I’m not intimately involved in the campaign but she has a plan to take it further.”

When pressed, Wright could not provide additional information about what he meant by taking Glass-Steagall “further.”

One of the noticeable differences among the candidates was their stance on the death penalty. Both Stolz and Murphy said that their of character for a moment to say that he was “emphatically” against it. Members of the audience clamored for him to instead answer the question as the candidate he was representing, but he said no more on the topic, possibly to deflect the fact that Clinton was the only of the three candidates not opposed.

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Editorial: The masquerade party

By Former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

With Halloween just around the corner beware of persons dressing up and pretending to be serious candidates for President! What they are peddling as a treat is really a trick.

Every time something really dumb comes out of the mouth of Donald J. Trump I think that the voters in the Republican Party will have finally had enough of his bombast and childish remarks… but no. They seem to eat it up in some weird way. When the Donald led the effort to delegitimize President Obama, insinuating that he was not a natural born citizen, he was playing to his partisan crowd.

But when he proclaimed that Senator John McCain was no war hero for just being captured by the enemy, (and I might add tortured for five years), and then parlayed that remark by saying… “I like my war heroes who are not captured… ok,” I figured that he was doomed politically. Not so.

I was not surprised that when he condemned Mexicans and most other persons seeking refuge as criminals who undermine our society, he did not lose support. Nor when he said that he would hunt down and deport millions of illegal immigrants and build a two thousand mile wall around our southern border with a “beautiful big door.”

When he denied that the 14th amendment to the United States Constitution says what it says: that citizenship is conferred on all person born in the United States, I thought that was pretty ignorant but a bit too legally complicated to arouse much opposition from his Party faithful.

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Opinion: Theater of the absurd

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

In exactly twelve months the Republican Party will nominate its candidates for president and vice-president. Donald Trump will not be on that ticket. So what is the fascination with him and why is he leading in the early Republican polling?

First of all let’s state the obvious… Donald Trump is not a credible candidate, his personal fortune notwithstanding. He has espoused no serious ideas nor solutions to our nation’s challenges. He is a demagogue and a bully.

No person in American history has been elected President without some political experience in government or high ranking military service. Trump has none. If Donald Trump is the richest person to ever seek the nation’s highest office, he is also the most outlandish. He is a successful and shrewd real estate businessman and media celebrity. And he knows how to attract attention and press coverage.

Up until just a few months ago, aside from his hair-do, he was primarily noted for his hot pursuit of President Obama’s birth certificate. He led the charge of the so called “birthers” who wanted to prove that Barack Obama was not a natural born citizen and consequently not eligible to be President. Even the most rabid Obama haters had to give up that silly effort, but not so Donald Trump.

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Letters to the Editor, June 11

June11 Toon Republican

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Tenants Assoc. to Cuomo: Loopholes in rent laws are eroding Stuy Town’s stability

Dear Governor Cuomo,

I’m writing on behalf of the 25,000 residents of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village. Our residents, as well as tenants throughout New York City, are facing the worst housing affordability crisis in the city’s history. This crisis is damaging the economic and social fabric not only of our city but of our state as well.

As our residents devote an ever-increasing percentage of their income to rent, the drop in their discretionary income has impacted local businesses.

We see more and more empty storefronts. Local businesses have not only experienced precipitous drops in sales, their own rents are rising. The small, individually owned stores that provided a great diversity of needed services are disappearing, replaced by an oversupply of chain pharmacies and banks.

The ST-PCV Community is at the center of the loss of affordable housing. Our apartments are currently rent regulated. However, in the wake of the NY State Court of Appeals decision Roberts v. Tishman-Speyer, which reregulated destabilized units, many of our apartments are renting at or above market rate.

We want new families – not just the transient renters who currently make up a large percentage of new residents – to be able to afford to come to ST-PCV, put down roots and return this community to what it was originally designed to be during the administration of Gov. Thomas E. Dewey.

However, excessive rent increases due to loopholes in the existing regulations are destroying the laws that keep New York affordable for more than one million people. One of these loopholes, known as preferential rent, slams preferential renters with hundreds-of-dollar increases at lease renewal time. Many of our neighbors, young families with preferential rents, are one lease renewal away from having to move.

Major capital improvements have also unfairly burdened tenants. Tacked on to the rent in perpetuity, this windfall for owners simply is not justified beyond the recovery of actual costs. It is unconscionable.

But the overarching issue which we hope you will support is repeal of Vacancy Deregulation, which has been responsible for the loss of thousands of rent-regulated apartments over recent years. This continued bleeding of affordability will ultimately destroy the city.

Thirty-one years ago, your father addressed our nation about a “shining city on a hill.” It was a vivid presentation about what people could accomplish with hard work and a little help from their government in times of need. We are doing the hard work. Now we need that help from our government so that people who work in this shining city can afford to live in it.

For the sake of our community’s future and for all other rent-stabilized middle- and lower-income New Yorkers, I urge you to give your full support for renewing and strengthening rent laws.


John Marsh,
President, Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village
Tenants Association

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Letters to the Editor, May 28

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

If we knew then what we know now…

To the editor:

There is an absolute absurdity that keeps circulating in the halls of banality. Its primary function is to deflect responsibility for the actions of our nation, our people and our leaders and the press. It resurfaced a few weeks back with Jeb Bush and Mrs. Clinton, and again, recently, in NPR’s Brian Lehrer and All Things Considered, on Sunday, May 24 — but make no mistake, it is not limited to Mrs. Clinton, the Bushes and NPR’s people. So here it is: “If we knew then, what we know now…” (Finish with: “would we have invaded Iraq?”)

It is an American tragedy that the question was formed. It shows an induced loss of memory among those of us who are over 60, and ignorance on the part of everyone else.

So let’s go back to the Eisenhower years, specifically, May 1, 1960. That was the day one of our U2s was shot down twelve miles above the Soviet Union — we were stunned that the Russians had that ability. Recall its pilot, Gary Powers… put on display by Khrushchev to the utter embarrassment of President Eisenhower who could no longer deny our flying over Russia. I leave it to the reader to figure out what one of our high altitude U2 planes (hint) with cameras was doing over Russia. (End episode I.)

Let’s go forward to October, 1962. President Kennedy is on television. He is explaining the identity of objects and the significance of shadows in an 8 x10 photo of the ground in Cuba. The photo was taken by our aircraft flying over Cuba. Kennedy was about to take serious action and he wanted the American people to know why he was going to take the actions he was about to take: blockade Cuba and demand the removal of Russian missiles. (End episode II.)

Suffice now to recall that during the 50 years of the cold-war, we and the Soviets developed sophisticated technology with which to photograph each other’s country. On CBS news, Walter Cronkite described our technological capacity to photograph from space a pack of cigarettes in a man’s shirt.
The great advance in our ability to photograph the ground from space came with satellites whose speed would keep them over the same spot on Earth. We and the Russians knew every square inch of everything that was the other’s.

Let’s move ahead to 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003. George Bush is President of The United States.

Over the years, our media has served the wrong sets of questions. Rather than demanding: “Given our technology, how could we not have known about WMD in Iraq?” it insisted that while we know now, maybe, just maybe, back then maybe we did not know. But what we know now, we don’t know only now. We are not in a privileged position now compared to back then.

Sending our troops running around in the desert on wild goose chases established nothing new. What we know now is precisely what we knew back then.

John M. Giannone, ST

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