Maloney opponents square off at forum

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Democratic congressional candidates hoping to replace incumbent Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney squared off in a debate at the end of March sans the Congresswoman herself, who was originally confirmed for the event but ultimately told the organizers there was a conflict in her schedule.

The two candidates who did appear, Sander Hicks and Suraj Patel, debated at a monthly meeting for the Progressive Action of Lower Manhattan at the Seafarer’s International House at the end of March. Arthur Schwartz, chair of the organization, moderated the discussion and geared some of the talking points to broader, national issues for a change of pace because the group generally only has a chance to discuss local politics, with the candidates discussing the direction of the Democratic Party as well as healthcare, voter participation and advocating for the disabled.

Supporters of former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders are a substantial contingent of the members of NYPAN, with one debate attendee pointing out her tattoo of the Vermont Senator, and Schwartz put emphasis on this early in the debate, asking if the candidates had considered how these progressive voters would be represented in the Democratic National Committee.

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Trump, Sanders voters unite to protest Clinton book signing

The former presidential candidate waves to fans while leaving her book signing at the Union Square Barnes & Noble, not far from the small protest. Behind her is longtime aide Huma Abedin. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Supporters of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders were out in very small but very vocal numbers to protest Hillary Clinton’s book signing at the Union Square Barnes and Noble on Tuesday.

Howard Caplan, a Trump voter who traveled from Philadelphia to protest the signing, said that he voted for Sanders in the Democratic primary and for President Obama in the previous two elections but “would’ve voted for a three-legged monkey” instead of Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

“To write a book about why you lost takes a lot of hubris,” Caplan said. “She just keeps the anti-Trump contingent going.”

He also handed this reporter a pamphlet titled “Investigate #Pizzagate,” referring to a debunked report of Clinton running a child sex ring out of a pizza parlor.

Brooklyn native Ayton Eller said he was protesting the signing because he is a supporter of the president.

“I voted for Trump because he’s pro-Israel and pro-USA,” said Eller, who also addressed this reporter with shouts of “You lost, we won” before being asked any questions.

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Letters to the editor, Nov. 24

Bernie bashing is unsubstantiated

Re: Letter, “Hillary pilloried for not being perfect,” T&V, Nov. 10

I’ll never understand why people with strong opinions are not strong enough to sign their names to their letters.

For example, a “Name Withheld” writer confidently states: “I am proud to vote for Hillary Clinton who is intelligent, competent and completely qualified,” but is not proud enough of her views to sign her name. She states that Bernie Sanders “ran on a platform of grandiose ideas that he did not have a hope of getting through Congress.”

How does she know this? Did Bernie tell her, “Hey, Name Withheld, I know these ideas of mine don’t have a prayer for success, but when you run for public office, you gotta say something?” And did she tell Bernie he is “not qualified to head the Executive Office,” to which he replied, “Who is?” Although being a mayor or governor might offer some experience, I doubt that anything prepares one for being the president of the USA. What were Obama’s qualifications? Or W’s? Or (are you sitting down down?) Trump’s?

After trashing Bernie, Name Withheld defends Hillary by writing that voters “struggle to see a woman in office. They find reasons to attack her over not very much. Misogyny, unfortunately, is still alive and well.” But maybe it’s not Hillary’s gender that voters find troubling, but rather the appearance of years of dishonesty and corruption.

I can’t speak for others who find Hill and Bill so untrustworthy there’s not enough space in T&V to list their reasons, but I did vote for a woman. Her name rhymes with Hill. She heads The Green Party and because I want a third party, independent of the two giants in America, I voted for Jill Stein. Stein’s platform was almost identical to Bernie’s.

And maybe she lost like Bernie because she didn’t have a hope for success either.  But I do. We have the knowledge and the ability to clean up all the mess we have created in our society. We just need the will.

John Cappelletti, ST

Editor’s note: At Town & Village, we agree that signed letters have more credibility than anonymous ones. However, in this case, it was the editor’s mistake to sign the author’s letter as “Name withheld,” when in fact, she hadn’t made a request to remain anonymous. The author of the letter is Harriet Gottfried, a retired librarian living in Stuyvesant Town. We regret the error.

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The Soapbox: It’s (third) party time!

By Kenneth Chanko

I was in Philadelphia last week with my recently-of-voting-age son for the Democratic National Convention. During our march in support of progressive causes, we spotted more than one person wearing a T-shirt with the traditional donkey and elephant logos of our two major political parties emblazoned on it. The line above those logos read:

“Please Don’t Feed The Animals.”

For this presidential general election cycle, I will be following those instructions.

I was a champion of Bernie Sanders and his grassroots-fueled progressive candidacy. But since he won’t be on the ballot in November, for the first time since I came of voting age in 1976, I will be voting for a third party candidate for president.

I don’t think I will be alone.

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Letters to the Editor, June 30

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Bernie’s still pretending to be a candidate

Dear Sir,

Mr. John Giannone in his letter appearing in the June 16 issue of T&V (“In defense of Bernie’s attacks on Hillary”) goes after Steven Sanders for his piece questioning the motives of Bernie Sanders to remain a candidate for the Democratic Party after Hillary Clinton became the indisputable presumptive nominee and defends Bernie’s attacks on Hillary (“Helter Skelter Bernie,” T&V, May 25).

We could agree that Steven Sanders might have been somewhat hyperbolic in his allegations about Senator Sanders’s motives. However, Bernie Sanders’s insistence on continuing to pretend that he is still a candidate and the inconsistencies and even hypocrisy in some of his demands, lend credence to suspicions of some ulterior motive.

Hillary Clinton won the nomination fair and square with 4 million more votes and 2.218 pledged delegates in 34 contests, to Sanders’s 1,833 super delegates and win in 23 contests. Sanders, who started by exciting many progressive democrats, myself included, who welcomed his candidacy and even sent him money feeling that he was moving the Democratic Party in the correct direction, effectively lost me and many others when he was asked “How?” All he has done is offering non-stop his line about the “revolution” and descriptions about what needs to change in this country, without one iota of an actual plan about how he is going to achieve anything. For me and the 15,805,135 voters who voted for Hillary Clinton, that was not enough. We were looking for a presidential candidate, not for a revolutionary-in-chief.

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Letters to the Editor, June 23

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Still feeling the Bern, not trusting the Hill

To the Editor:

After asking rhetorically if the progressive presidential campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders is adopting the helter skelter strategy of the “warped revolution” of the murderous Manson cult family in 1969, Steven Sanders (no relation and no friend) writes that this veteran senator who has years and years of experience in the Senate actually believes that he can accomplish his populist program “immediately.”

What the senator meant was that a revolution of new voters could result in the Democrats taking control of the House and the Senate making it possible for his programs to be made into law swiftly. Steven Sanders also makes the “analysis” which he admits is “a bit outlandish,” that Senator Sanders hopes that Donald Trump will become the next President. Really? The Senator has repeatedly said that “Trump is a pathological liar…a danger to the entire world” who must never be elected. I believe that the senator means what he says; unlike his opponents, his whole campaign, indeed his whole career, has been forthright. He is the only candidate who has earned my trust.

Unlike his opponents, the senator has not flip-flopped on any of his principles or public policy issues. He has not let the polls dictate his campaign platform. In fact, he’s been saying the same thing over and over since he began his campaign and because of this single-minded purpose and his honesty, he rose from a low of 3 percent in the polls last year to within striking distance of the nomination now. And this despite millions of independent voters not being allowed to exercise their right to vote; despite the DNC chairwoman’s biased debate schedule (Clinton won’t debate him anymore); despite the handicap of President Clinton campaigning for Hillary which, according to President Obama, is like running against two candidates; and despite the elite superdelegate politicians influencing the voting process by manipulating the media to report over and over that Hillary is far ahead of Bernie in the delegate count even though 541 superdelegates could change their votes at any time.  

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Letters to the Editor, June 16

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

In defense of Bernie’s attacks on Hillary

To the Editor:

Helter Skelter Bernie Indeed! Reading Steven Sanders’ “Helter Skelter Bernie” (T&V, May 25) was absolutely galling.

Mr. Sanders posed a number of hypotheses concerning the senator’s motivation for contesting the former first lady, nominee contender, secretary of state, and nominee contender (again) at this late date in the nomination fight. Of course none of Mr. Sanders’ musings are really hypotheses. I mean, how the devil does one go about demonstrating that Bernie Sanders continues to battle Mrs. Clinton because he wants The Donald as president because that, according to Mr. Steven Sanders, is what Senator Sanders believes will bring about so much hurt as to cause the very revolution that he, the senator, now wants but cannot secure with his own talents?

Nowhere in his voyage of fantasy does Mr. Sanders entertain the notion that Senator Sanders, though well-behind Mrs. Clinton, is in the race because of ethical differences between the two. So let’s bring out one difference that has been there all along. It is one that Mr. Trump is right about and will likely use; quote, “They lied!”

Indeed, they did, and they still do. They lied when they claimed that “Iraq has weapons of mass destruction!” Mrs. Clinton now tells the rest of us, “If I knew then what I know now, I would not have voted to invade Iraq.” She was, I gather, just a bit short on information.

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Opinion: Helter skelter Bernie

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

In 1969 the Charles Manson cult family committed acts of atrocities going on a seemingly senseless killing spree hoping that it would foment a race war in the United States leading to some kind of warped revolution. Manson referred to that strategy as “helter skelter” which became the name of the best-selling book by Vincent Bugliosi who alas successfully prosecuted those crimes in California.

Can it possibly be that Bernie Sanders is adopting a similar political strategy as he faces the end game in his fight for the Democratic nomination and his self-styled political “revolution”? Does Bernie Sanders really hope that Donald Trump will become President (if he cannot) so as to hasten an uprising by the masses? Farfetched? Well in this zaniest of political years it seems that no story line, no plot is implausible.

Bernie Sanders, the self-proclaimed Socialist turned Democrat, has proclaimed that he is not just running in a political campaign, but he is leading a revolution in American politics to revamp economic balance and the distribution of national wealth. Bernie is not an incrementalist. He wants change to happen now, immediately. Fair enough. He has raised some very important questions during his longshot campaign. And he has won millions of votes and a number of primaries and caucuses along the way. His message is resonating.

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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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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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Opinion: Worst kept secret

By Former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

Barring some weird and unforeseen event (which this year is not out of the question!), Hillary Clinton is headed for the Democratic Party nomination for President of the United States.

However, there is one prominent Democratic Party Governor who while publicly supporting Mrs. Clinton is privately rooting for her to lose. That would be our very own Andrew Cuomo. Mr. Cuomo is a man of considerable political skill and unlimited ambition. Now at age 57 he knows better than most that the election of a Democrat as President in 2016 would virtually dash any hopes that he has to run for President before 2024 and by then he will be eligible for Medicare and it is likely that his political star will have eclipsed.

In many respects, the younger Cuomo has more political drive than his iconic father Mario… but not nearly as much of his dad’s authenticity, charm or eloquence. Andrew relies on calculation and raw political maneuvering to propel his reputation and prospects. And with a political season this year that has had more twists and turns than a James Patterson novel, Andrew Cuomo is trying to figure out how to stay ahead of the political winds of change. He wants desperately to run for President and just as desperately wants out of the mire of Albany politics. So he is angling in every way possible to remain relevant in national politics.

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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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Letters to the Editor, Sept. 10

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows


Tree guardian and mayor of 24th Street

Sept10 JaconiaThere is a beautiful old tree on the south side of 24th Street, in front of 238 East 24th Street, near Second Avenue. It rises high into the sky in the shape of a crucifix.

The base of the tree is surrounded by cobblestones that fail to protect it from the dogs that are allowed to deposit their waste in the tree bed, daily.

For many years, Anthony Jacona has been affectionately called The Mayor of 24th Street. Weekly, he tends to the tree. He tosses the soil with his shovel and waters this stately gem. One day last summer, Anthony was bent over tending the soil. His shoulder was drooping. He told me he was scheduled for surgery the next day, but he had to make sure the tree was taken care of.

After a successful surgery, Anthony is still tending the tree. His one wish is that someone would install a tree guard to keep out the dogs. It is the only tree on the block without a tree guard.

Young, 91-year-old Anthony Jacona, has lived on the block for more than 50 years. He can recall when they played stickball, on Sundays, in the street when there was a Third Avenue El and no cars on the block.

We salute the Mayor of 24th Street!

Claude L. Winfield, EMP

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