Opinion: Benching of Bharara

The former U.S. attorney had this to say on Twitter last Monday.

By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders

If I were Donald Trump, I would have fired Preet Bharara too.

For the past eight years, Mr. Bharara has been the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Appointed by President Obama, he has been a relentless prosecutor of official government corruption. And he has been an equal opportunity crime fighter against both Republicans and Democrats, bringing down some of the most powerful state legislators.

Before his dismissal last weekend, he was in the midst of cases against several of Governor Cuomo’s most trusted advisors who are now under criminal indictment for bribery, bid rigging and other charges. Bharara was also investigating Mayor de Blasio and his administration for political fundraising violations and steering lucrative contracts in exchange of big donations to the de Blasio campaign. The mayor is using public funds to employ expensive defense lawyers in the hopes of avoiding indictment.

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Letters to the Editor, Mar. 16

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

NYC homeless losing resources to others

Perhaps if any of our esteemed local representatives took the time to chat with some of the younger homeless, as I have, you/they would discover (as I did), that most of the people, aged 16-40, come from other states, as close as NJ and as far away as the Dakotas!

That being said, I do believe that NY State and City residents should help the homeless, but help our citizens first. There must be a law somewhere, or one that could be written and introduced that would give preferential treatment to NYC citizens out of our NYC taxes, and possibly even send these young, able-bodied (but mostly alcohol or drug-addled) men and women back to the state they came from, and let those tax payers take care of their own. You could start by asking for any kind of identification before giving them services such as food stamps, housing, etc.

The other big burden we share are the many single teenaged mothers, most of whom have live-in boyfriends, but don’t marry because the men don’t want to share the responsibility or the rent.

If any of our powers that be would walk First Avenue from 23rd Street to 32nd Street, near the men’s shelter, methadone clinics, outpatients at Bellevue or go from First Avenue to 10th Avenue, along any of the main crosstown streets, or any place where there are restaurants or storefronts on the avenues south of 50th Street, you will see hundreds of panhandlers, barely out of their teens, with signs begging for money.  The cardboard signs say all kinds of things to gain sympathy, and a cup at their feet for donations.

I am a life-long Democrat, as is my entire family, some of whom were active in politics. However, I think that the Democrats, in particular Mayor De Blasio, are ruining our city.  I hope he and Governor Cuomo read the above and do something about it!

Barbara Zapson, PCV

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Opinion: How many more lies?

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

Not wanting to sound too melodramatic I still must ask the question: what more will it take for Donald Trump to say or do something that will cause him to forfeit the confidence of the American people as a stable and responsible leader of this nation? If lying and weird Twitter outbursts based on no facts were an impeachable offense then Vice President Mike Pence would be warming up in the bullpen to relieve this president.

Without recounting the dozens of insults, lies and provocations uttered by Mr. Trump during the campaign and before, it is instructive to remember some of what he has said since being sworn in as president less than two months ago.

He started by claiming that he won the election in an “historic landslide.” And then when corrected that the election was very close and that he actually was one of the very few presidents ever elected without having won the actual popular vote, he concocted a baseless assertion that there were millions of illegal votes cast for Hillary Clinton. He questioned the entire integrity of our political voting system, the underpinning of democracy.

There are no facts to support those allegations.

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Letters to the Editor, Mar. 9

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

New Yorkers for immigrant rights

To the editor,

Today, some of our worst fears are fast becoming reality. In his first days in office, President Trump signed orders attacking women’s rights and environmental protections, and moved to restrict entry to the United States from majority Muslim countries and ban Syrian refugees. He also targeted sanctuary cities like New York City.

The Workmen’s Circle was founded by immigrants who arrived in the early 1900s in a United States that was not always welcoming to them. They had to fight for fair paying jobs, safe working conditions, decent housing, education and adequate healthcare, and the Workmen’s Circle responded by organizing activist communities to successfully work for a better world for all. Many of these same rights are now under attack, and we again pledge to organize and empower communities to fight back.

In New York City, we joined a Vigil with the New York Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), one of a number of rallies across the country. The presence of so many New Yorkers from diverse communities sent a strong message of support for Muslim and immigrant rights.

The landscape ahead will be one of rollbacks to civil liberties and human rights. Here in New York, we can continue to show the country – and world – that we will stand strong against such hate and intolerance.

Ann Toback
Executive Director
The Workmen’s Circle

The Workmen’s Circle is a Jewish educational and social justice organization based out of 247 West 37th Street.

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Letters to the editor, Mar. 2

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Here’s where you can go

To the Editor,

I entered the First Avenue Loop at 16th Street on Sunday January 29 at around 9:30 p.m. carrying a jug of water and an Artichoke Pizza box. Walking north to south by the benches at the west end of Playground 9, I spotted a dog anxiously jumping at its master.

As I got closer I saw that the master was speaking with a young woman who, for all I knew, was his companion. But when they parted ways, the woman approached me, “Excuse me. Do you know were 20 Stuyvesant Oval is?”

I said, “You’re going the wrong way.”

She’d walked full tilt toward the Senior Center. I pondered leaving her to her own devices but realized I wasn’t the most articulate and she could have gotten lost for a month.

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Opinion: Some Trump in us all

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

Okay, before we all get high and mighty about Donald Trump’s erratic and unpredictable behavior, let’s admit there is a little bit of Trump in all of us.

Have you ever lost an argument on the facts and refused to admit it? Have you ever tried to prop yourself up with assumptions of greatness based on vanity? Have you ever been caught in a lie and refused to acknowledge it? Have you ever thrown a temper tantrum or have been needlessly nasty with some person? I plead guilty to all of the above. How about you?

The difference is that the president of the United States does not have the luxury of such shallowness and self-absorption, and certainly not on an ongoing basis. The consequences can be terrifying. It is immature, but more to the point such mercurial unsteadiness is dangerous.

With age and experience comes some degree of wisdom, introspection and hopefully compassion. Adolescent children and especially teenagers can be mean spirited, cruel and impulsive. But most outgrow such juvenile traits over time and evolve into better selves from a life of successes and disappointments.

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Opinion: Planet Albany

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

I taught a class in politics at City College some years ago. Fortunately, I never had to explain what is going on at all levels of government these days, especially in Albany. From grade school we are instructed that in a democracy, the majority rules. In other words, if you get the most votes, you get to govern. In Albany that is not a given.

There is no need to rehash what happened in the Presidential election. As we know, the candidate with the most votes was not declared the winner.

Notwithstanding Donald Trump’s insistence that he was cheated out of millions of votes, he actually lost the popular vote. But in Presidential elections, the winner is the one who gets a majority of the Electoral College vote, which Trump did. That is a fact, whether we like it or not.

However, consider the curious case of Albany. Like at the federal level, there is a chief executive in the person of the governor. And like Congress, there is a bi-cameral Legislature, the State Assembly and the State Senate.  And that is where the intrigue begins. After the November elections, the Assembly continues to be dominated by the Democratic Party occupying over two thirds of the seats. In the Senate, Democrats also outnumber Republicans, albeit very narrowly by 32 to 31. Governor Cuomo is also a Democrat. So one would think that this could be the golden age for Democrats and their policies…right? Nope.

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Opinion: Fool me once…

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

It’s Groundhog Day and like the movie by the same name I feel as if we have been here before.

President Donald Trump is objecting strenuously to what he considers false reports by the media about himself. He is now labeling any personally critical news report as “fake news.” This from the man who spent years alleging that Barack Obama was not a legitimate president, propagating the myth that Obama was actually born in Kenya and not a natural born citizen. He also made veiled suggestions that Obama was not a Christian but really a Muslim. Both scurrilous allegations were false, but that did not stop Donald Trump from launching his political career on the quicksand of a lie.

Donald Trump has proved to be the great purveyor of fabricated information that becomes bogus news headlines. Now his White House team refers to that as “alternative facts.” During the campaign he falsely asserted that thousands of Muslims danced in the streets of New Jersey celebrating the destruction of the twin towers on September 11, 2001. Or the whopper about the father of his main Republican opponent Texas Senator Ted Cruz, somehow being involved in the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963. Or tweeting that 80 percent of whites murdered in the United States are killed at the hands of black people. He still insists that he achieved a “landslide victory” in spite of losing the popular vote by nearly 3 million. Now he asserts, with no proof, that millions of people illegally voted for his opponents which is why he lost the actual vote.

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Letters to the Editor, Feb. 2

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

We’ve tamed them, so we owe them

Re: Editorial, “Squirrels: To feed or not to feed?”, T&V, Jan. 19

Dear Editor,

Thank you for the excellent editorial on the knotty squirrel issue in Stuy Town/Peter Cooper. We live a few blocks outside the complex and for decades have walked in to visit friends. Whenever we did, there were squirrels making eye contact and sitting in a begging stance. If we passed them by they would follow and repeat eye contact and begging.

This was two or three decades ago so I have to disagree a bit, i.e. these squirrels are not fully wild and haven’t been for generations. They’ve learned how to prosper in the middle of their humans who have trained them in how to get some of their sustenance.

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Letters to the Editor, Jan. 26

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

I wore red, white and blue on Jan. 20

Re: Letter, “Why I’ll be wearing black on January 20,” T&V, Jan. 19

The eight years under Obama’s imperialistic rule has taken its toll on the majority of the country.

The majority kept quiet because we were told to voice our dissatisfaction with his regime will only show that we were racist against the first African-American president.

Eight years of witnessing an unvetted man take our country in a direction not familiar with our American values. Year after year he ran the country helped by Hillary as a co-president using her position as secretary of state to fattened her global foundation with donations from countries that obviously needed favors from her when she at her turn becomes president.

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Opinion: Mirror, mirror

By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders

For many it seemed unthinkable. For some it was inevitable. But for all of us the moment is here. Donald J. Trump is our nation’s 45th president starting at noon, January 20, 2017. Stunning!

As with most new presidents the conjecture begins as to which other president does he most admire or wish to model himself after. The answer can offer a clue as to how he will govern.

Three Republican presidents come to mind and top the list of most admired amongst the party faithful. They are Lincoln, (Theodore) Roosevelt and Reagan. So for fun let’s mix and match and see which of these political icons best suits our new president.

Lincoln…probably not a good fit. Unlike Trump, Abraham Lincoln encouraged internal debate and criticism. He filled his inner circle with people who opposed him but whom he respected. He had empathy for people who were enslaved or victims of bigotry. And far from mocking his adversaries, as is de rigor for Trump, Lincoln declared a policy of “malice towards none and charity for all” even for those who engaged in rebellion. Trump on the other hand never misses an opportunity to attack those who have criticized him. Lincoln often deflected political affronts with self-deprecating humor.

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Attorney for Planned Parenthood discusses the de-funding threat

Zoe Segal-Reichlin, senior associate general counsel/director of advocacy and political law for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, pictured in November with her husband, Council Member Dan Garodnick, and their two sons, Devin and Asher, as they door-knocked for Hillary Clinton (Photo courtesy of Dan Garodnick)

Zoe Segal-Reichlin, senior associate general counsel/director of advocacy and political law for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, pictured in November with her husband, Council Member Dan Garodnick, and their two sons, Devin and Asher, as they door-knocked for Hillary Clinton (Photo courtesy of Dan Garodnick)

By Sabina Mollot

Inauguration Day for President-Elect Donald Trump hasn’t happened yet, but already Planned Parenthood is preparing for a major battle ahead to protect its federal funding.

Earlier in the month, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced a push by Republicans in Congress to defund the now century-old organization. While Planned Parenthood has always faced opposition from the GOP, soon there will be a Republican in the White House as well as a majority in the Senate and House.

Meanwhile, the women’s healthcare giant has vowed it won’t be going down without a fight.

Locally, Planned Parenthood has a weapon in Peter Cooper Village resident Zoe Segal-Reichlin, the senior associate general counsel and director of advocacy and political law for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Segal-Reichlin, also a mother of two and wife to City Council Member Dan Garodnick, provides advice and guidance on matters of law and regulation.

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T&V asks: Will you watch inauguration?

By Sabina Mollot

While some recent news stories have indicated tickets to the presidential inauguration, set to take place on Friday, have been getting scooped up rather slowly, the event is still sure to be what most Americans will be tuning into on television. For Republicans, it’s an opportunity go out to a local bar and celebrate with likeminded people, watching the president get sworn in on a big screen while raising big mugs. For Democrats too, drinking is likely to be involved, with voters drowning their sorrows any time the president says “huge” or accuses a news report of being fake.

This week, Town & Village asked around in the community to see who planned on watching the ceremony.

Asked if he’d be watching, Frank Scala, a Stuyvesant Town resident and president of the Albano Republican Club, said he would be.

He’d actually been invited to see the inauguration live, but won’t be able to make it. Reached at the Fifth Avenue barber shop he owns and operates, Scala explained he’ll be working that day and needs to stay open late.

So instead, he’ll be watching the event at home. Scala also admitted he’s a little concerned about how Trump will present himself as president on the big day. During the race, the Albano Club shifted from Manhattan GOP by not endorsing Trump or any other candidate.

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Letters to the Editor, Jan. 19

Cartoon by Jim Meadows
Cartoon by Jim Meadows

More info needed from candidate

To the Editor:

T&V published a column by Keith Powers, a City Council candidate (“A New Year’s resolution to build the full Second Avenue Subway,” T&V, Jan. 5). He advocates the full build of the Second Avenue Subway and was identified as a PCV resident, a member of our Community Board and a member of PCV/ST Tenants Association. But he’s a Democratic District Leader and I’m curious, given his candidacy, why that wasn’t included. I’ve been told he has important support despite his bio making no mention of any gainful employment.

A Google search reveals that he’s a consultant with an influential firm. Their website lists the transportation industry as a client category. Shouldn’t he, before getting too heavily invested in a campaign, explain any potential conflict of interests given having endorsed a full build? After all, full build will stall, surely somewhere between 34th and Houston Streets. This means scaffolding and plates would line 2nd Avenue past most any of our life expectancies.

Another City Council candidate “reached out” to me. It made me realize that City Council term limits have turned our municipal legislature into a free for all: eight years on the Council and then a run for county or citywide office. Vacated Council seats, half of them every four years, then get filled, ideally, by Assembly members that have “seen their opportunities [in Albany] and took ‘em.”

Instead of our Democratic candidates being mostly lawyers from local law schools who grew up through the ranks in local clubs, we now regularly get lobbyists thereby perpetuating the transformation of NY’s Democratic Party from “real live Democrats” to Republican lite. Steve Sanders was our longtime Assembly member before turning lobbyist. Powers is doing it the other way.

Hopefully, he realizes that Michael Bloomberg’s consultant ran for a West Side State Senate seat last year. And, despite Hizzoner’s and the New York Times’ backing, he lost.

The writer’s grandfather managed Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1928 campaign for Governor.

Bill Sternberg, ST

Editor’s note: Adding a bio to Keith Powers’ op-ed was a last minute editorial decision, as was the decision to keep said description brief. Though the fact that Powers is the vice president at lobbying firm Constantinople & Vallone wasn’t mentioned in the bio, it has been included in a prior article in this newspaper about his candidacy for the City Council.

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Opinion: The good, the bad and the ugly

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

This past week after the celebrations and holiday observances, two moments in politics stand out. One for its civic dedication and the other for its audacity.

The Second Avenue Subway line for Manhattan’s Upper East Side opened after a century (yes, 100 years) of starts and stops. Governor Andrew Cuomo made sure the world knew that this was his success.

But truth be told, were it not for the tenacity of our own Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, this project would likely still be part of our imagination instead of the reality that it became this past Sunday.

Carolyn Maloney pushed for federal funding for this project throughout good times and bad, Republican Presidents and Democratic Presidents. She was America’s chief cheerleader for this mass transportation improvement that so many would have given up on. And there were many more in Congress who wanted to steal the money needed for the Second Avenue line and divert that funding to their pet projects.

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