Letter to the editor, Nov. 8

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Voting is not a duty

Re: Letter, “State elections can impact this area,” T&V, Nov. 1

To the Editor,

The Hon. Ms. Dankberg opens her letter encouraging people to vote. As district leader, she correctly asks them to bring friends. But she contradicts herself when she signs off, thanking them in advance for doing their civic duty.

Voting is not one’s civic duty. It is a right and a privilege in our nation. What is a civic obligation, however, is jury duty. If one doesn’t vote, that’s their business. But if one skips jury duty, one could have problems.

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What a Democratic State Senate means for tenants

Nov20 Mike McKee color

Mike McKee of TenantsPAC (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

For years, Democrats in Albany have been pledging to strengthen rent regulations in New York City, but whenever legislation aimed at doing so dies on the chamber floor, fingers get pointed at their Republican colleagues, who, up until November 6, held a majority in the State Senate.

Now, with the chamber having turned unquestionably blue, tenants might just have a chance at seeing some of the legislation, most notably the repeal of vacancy decontrol, get signed into law. Following the election, the Democrat to Republican ratio is 40 Democrats to 23 Republicans. While this figure includes Simcha Felder, a Democrat who caucuses with Republicans, the Democrats still have a clear majority.

But even still, it won’t be easy, Michael McKee, the treasurer and spokesperson of Tenants Political Action Committee, is warning.

“Nothing is guaranteed,” McKee said. “We are going to have to work very hard to make sure our friends in both houses do the right thing and hold them accountable. Just because the Senate is now under Democratic control, it doesn’t mean stronger rent protections are automatically going to happen.”

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Democrats retake State Senate, Maloney and Epstein win easily

A line snakes out of a Stuyvesant Town polling place, with turnout being similar to presidential election years. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Local politicians were easily re-elected on Tuesday, with none of the state and federal candidates facing any serious challengers in this year’s midterms.

State Senator Brad Hoylman had the easiest path to victory, not having to face any challenger at all, although many of his fellow Democrats vying to flip seats in the State Senate had much closer races. But enough were successful in their campaigns that Democrats were able to regain a majority for only the third time in the last 50 years.

Some Senate races had still not been called as of Wednesday afternoon but by Tuesday night, at least 32 Senate Democrats had won their races, and Republicans won 21 seats. The win means that Democrats control the State Senate and Assembly as well as the offices of the governor, comptroller and attorney general.

Incumbent Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney won against Republican Eliot Rabin with 86.2 percent of the vote. Rabin received 12.3 percent of the vote, and Green Party candidate Scott Hutchins got 1.5 percent of the vote. Incumbent Assembly Member Harvey Epstein beat out Juan Pagan of the Reform Party and Republican Bryan Cooper with 87 percent of the vote.

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The day I almost dumped water on JFK

Rosemary Heath at work during the September primary

Confessions of a Stuy Town kid turned local poll worker 

By Sabina Mollot

Rosemary Heath, Town & Village’s advertising representative, is also a Stuyvesant Town lifer and for the past three years, has been a poll worker at local elections.

Prior to Election Day today, Heath spoke with Town & Village about what it’s like to work at the polls, and how she got her first taste of politics at a young age. She was four when President Dwight Eisenhower campaigned in Stuyvesant Town in 1956 and eight when then-presidential candidate John F. Kennedy did the same — and almost got a pot of water dumped on his head from Heath’s window.

When JFK came to campaign in 1960, it was at the corner of First Avenue and 20th Street in front of what is now Hane restaurant (then Plymouth, a women’s clothing store).

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Editorial: Re-elect Maloney and Epstein

Today is Election Day, and along with the race for governor, United States senator and attorney general, locally, in the 74th Assembly District, voters will have the opportunity to choose their Assembly member and Congress member.

During the primaries, Town & Village endorsed the incumbents, Harvey Epstein and Carolyn Maloney, for these positions. (State Senator Brad Hoylman ran uncontested during the primary and will again face no opponent on November 6.)

As for the general election, we are sticking with the aforementioned candidates for their records of accomplishment and for platforms that are in line with the concerns and values of the vast majority of their constituents.

Eliot Rabin, an Upper East Side boutique owner and Republican, and Scott Hutchins, a homeless activist in the Green Party, both hope to unseat Maloney.

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Letter to the editor, Nov. 1

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

State elections can impact this area

November 6th is Election Day. Please vote and bring a friend or neighbor with you. The ballot will be two pages and you, the voter, will need to separate the pages at the perforations before having your vote scanned. The first page will contain the candidates for Public Office – Statewide and NYS candidates. The back of page one will contain the three ballot proposals.  The second page will contain the Judicial candidates. Election staff will be able to assist if you incur any problems.

For those of you who will be voting for Democratic/Working Families Party candidates, it is urgent for Democrats that you vote on the Democratic Line. The Democratic results in a Gubernatorial election determine how many Election Districts there are for County Committee and how many Delegates will represent each Assembly District at the Supreme Court Judicial Convention. It may not mean much to you, but to those of us involved in local politics, these positions are very important. Thanks for doing your civic duty.

Louise Dankberg
Democratic District Leader, 74th A.D. Part C
Samuel J. Tilden 
Democratic Club

Letter to the editor, Oct. 25

Oct25 Toon Cuomo

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

How we can help save the planet

To the Editor,

The election on Tuesday, November 6 comes with environmental issues like climate change that have both immediate and longterm consequences for everyone on Earth and the Earth itself.

Scientists have made dire predictions about increased temperatures and both the melting of sea ice and the increase of storms and forest fires. On September 28, 2018 the Washington Post reporters Ellperin, Dennis and Mooney let it be known that the present administration in Washington foresees and assumes in its 500-page environmental impact statement that the planet will warm a disastrous “7 degrees rise in global temperature by 2100.”

The present administration, according to Michael MacCracken, a senior scientist at the Global Change Research Program from 1993 to 2002, says that “human activities are going to lead to this rise of carbon dioxide that is disastrous for the environment and society.” And then MacCracken says that the present administration “is not going to do anything about it.” Continue reading

Maloney’s Green Party opponent has been homeless for years

Scott Hutchins has applied for 3,000 jobs since becoming homeless and has worked at seven. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Congress Member Carolyn Maloney, who recently bested an East Village hospitality executive in an unusually competitive primary, must still face two opponents in the upcoming general election. Neither opponent is well known or well-funded, and this is especially true of Green Party candidate Scott Hutchins, who’s been in New York’s shelter system for the past six and a half years.

Still, this isn’t the first time Hutchins, 42, has attempted to run for office, and since he has bounced from shelter to shelter in recent years (though not by choice), he has done so in more than one district.

When he filed his petition, he was staying in a shelter in Long Island City, but he has since been transferred to a hotel in Bushwick. Hutchins initially attempted to do an interview with this newspaper by phone, but his government-issued cell hasn’t been working right since he dropped it a few weeks ago, shattering its screen. During the interview, he lost service after a few minutes, which he had warned would probably happen. So he later met up with a Town & Village reporter at a Coffeed shop in Flatiron, to share his reasons for running and for sticking with a party that’s as broke as he is.

Maloney, he feels, has a conservative voting record, on economic policy and bank regulations, including leading up to the economic crisis a decade ago. He also brought up that Maloney had initially voted to support the Iraq war. “Even though she had tons of protesters in her district.”

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Maloney’s Republican opponent: I’m left enough to court Democrats

Eliot Rabin, pictured at one of his Peter Elliot boutiques on the Upper East Side, says he is in it to win it. (Photo courtesy of the candidate)

By Sabina Mollot

Eliot Rabin, the Republican candidate in this race, is tired of being thought of as a token candidate for his party.

“I’m in it to win it,” he said this week, while also lamenting he hasn’t gotten much support from his own party other than an early endorsement from Manhattan GOP.

Besides, said the longtime New Yorker and South Carolina native, the campaign has been going well in that he has gotten some support from the Democrat voters he’ll need to stand a chance against a party fixture like Maloney. Donations as well as interest for his campaign have come from his customers at the two Upper East Side Peter Elliot clothing boutiques he’s owned for decades as well as from his fellow alumni from Citadel Military College in South Carolina and neighbors at his building on 81st Street.

“The first question out of their mouths is, ‘Are you a Democrat or are you a Republican?’” he admitted. “But as you’re talking to people, they say they’re Democrats, but they’re not really. They have their own views. After they’ve been speaking, (you can see) they’re independent.”

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Letters to the editor, Oct. 18

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

What I am sure of on Kavanaugh

When Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois asked Dr. Christine Ford, “To what degree of certainty do you believe Brett Kavanaugh assaulted you?” Dr. Ford answered, “One hundred percent certain!” The Senate of the United States is a (self-made) pompous place and its senators often excessively verbal. (Perhaps such goes with our lore that the chamber is contemplative.) Durbin’s question should have been to the issue of what happened to Dr. Ford and not to her belief(s). For her part, Ford should have rejected Durbin’s framing the question about her beliefs. Unfortunately, she, as a modern-day academic, followed Durbin and quantified her (own) belief.

As a response, “one hundred” is misleading. It firms-up nothing that is relevant! We were not interested in Dr. Ford’s beliefs. We wanted to know what happened. Dr. Ford’s reply should have been framed in terms of what happened—not in terms of her frame of mind. Her answer to Durbin should have been prefaced by her assertion, “Senator, it is not a matter of my belief, Brett Kavanaugh was in my face!”

Unfortunately, her professionalism—the quantified belief business—plunked us squarely in today’s swamp of reductionism where claims are taken as personal, and personal is treated as (nothing but) belief. We are left isolated in a mass.

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Opinion: Cuomo’s conundrum

By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders

Elections results usually reveal answers to political questions. Last week’s Democratic primaries did that, but also raised a raft of new questions, some of which will determine the course of important policy issues next year.

Governor Andrew Cuomo defeated his rival Cynthia Nixon with nearly two thirds of the vote. Usually that would be cause for celebration in the winning camp. But the noticeable muted response from the Cuomo campaign speaks volumes.

In vanquishing his opponent, Cuomo outspent Nixon by almost 10 to 1, depleting his considerable campaign war chest. And along the way he made some bad gaffes which may come back to haunt him. Moreover, his political strategy over his first eight years in office of maintaining control over the state legislature seems to be coming to an end.

By tacitly supporting the breakaway Senate Democrats known as the Independent Democratic Caucus (IDC) for years, Cuomo enabled the Republican Party to maintain control over the State Senate. The Republican leadership in turn kept a lid on a number of progressive pieces of legislation emanating from the Assembly including tenant protections, health insurance reforms, tax policy, education spending and political campaign contributions.

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Former opponent of Maloney loses lawsuit against Board of Elections

Sander Hicks

By Sabina Mollot

Sander Hicks, a Brooklyn Democrat who’d been knocked off the ballot — twice — in an attempt to dethrone Congress Member Carolyn Maloney this election season, has now lost a lawsuit he’d filed against the Board of Elections.

Last month, Hicks filed a suit against the BOE after he was removed from the ballot over issues with his petitions. Hicks said he got well over the necessary number of signatures at around 5,500, with 3,500 being required for candidacy, but his petition was rejected because he’d included two addresses on the cover, one his residence and the other his work. The board then sent him a letter informing him he’d have to correct it, although, according to Hicks, he had to guess the problem because he was never told what it was.

A spokesperson for the Board of Elections did not respond to requests for comment.

The letter, Hicks said, was dated August 3, but he only received it a week later, and when he resubmitted the petitions on August 13, he was told he was too late. In response, he filed his lawsuit in the New York City Supreme Court and attended a hearing on August 30.

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Letters to the editor, July 12

July12 Toon Liberty

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Upsets at polls not earth shattering

Steven Sanders in his “Politics & Tidbits” column of July 5 could be completely correct that the results of the primary elections for two New York City congressional seats last month “carry (anti-establishment) messages and meanings. And politicians ignore those messages at their peril.”

On the other hand, primary elections often have extremely low voter turnout – which included those two elections cited by Sanders (the defeat of Joseph Crowley and the strong showing in a losing cause against Carolyn Maloney) – and are far from representative of the electorate. Well-organized and financed outsiders often do well in primary elections when 80 to 90 percent of the electorate stays home. In a general election, usually 60 to 70 percent of the electorate votes.

New York City political history is filled with stunning upsets in primary elections due to low turnout. Those upsets proved to have no carryover to any political trends locally or nationally. In 1970, our local member of Congress Representative Leonard Farbstein lost in the primary to Bella Abzug.

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Flats Fix manager cheers former bartender’s primary win

July5 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

By Sabina Mollot

Last Tuesday night, it was the headline read around the world. A 28-year-old woman from the Bronx, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, bested a veteran Congress member and Queens Democratic Party boss Joe Crowley, in the Democratic Primary.

The primary victor has remained immersed in the news cycle since — in this case because before running for office, Ocasio-Cortez served drinks at a Union Square taco bar called Flats Fix.

On Monday afternoon, we called the business to ask employees for their thoughts on their former coworker. When reached on the phone, manager Ralph Milite couldn’t say enough good things about her.

“She’s a great person. I’m so happy for her,” said Milite. “She’s very deserving.”

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Maloney wins primary

Congress Member Carolyn Maloney, pictured outside her home on the Upper East Side (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Tuesday, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney defeated her first serious challenger in close to a decade in a primary against NYU ethics professor and former Obama campaign staffer Suraj Patel.

Maloney, 72 and a house representative for the past 25 years, got 58.52 percent of the vote, (24,223 votes) according to unofficial results with 96.28 percent of scanners reported. Patel, 34, meanwhile, got 41.06 percent of the vote (16,995 votes). The rest (173 votes or 0.42 percent) were write-ins.

Interestingly, Patel did better than Maloney in parts of the tri-borough district, getting 2,864 votes from Brooklyn voters, while Maloney got 1,468. In Queens, he came close with 2,856 votes while Maloney got 2,919. It was in Manhattan where Maloney got the most support with 19,836 votes to Patel’s 11,275.

Patel, an East Villager with parents who emigrated from India, had managed to out-raise Maloney in recent months. He ran a pro-immigrant platform that aimed to recruit support from younger people who don’t normally vote while trying to portray the incumbent, an Upper East Side resident, as an “establishment” Democrat.

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