Council Member Keith Powers questioned the club’s judgment, while Council Member Donovan Richards questioned why there weren’t more arrests. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
After an Upper East Side Republican Club was vandalized on Friday, followed by a street brawl that is believed to be between members of a far-right group and left wing counter-protesters, local Democrat elected officials said the club had itself to blame.
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and a handful of other politicians, including Council Member Keith Powers, who represents the neighborhood, questioned why the Metropolitan Club invited Gavin McInnes, a speaker who founded the Proud Boys group. Proud Boys has been deemed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and Johnson said that McInnes, the co-founder of Vice Media, has used anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, sexist, racist and homophobic language.
A Vox report this week said McInnes has made statements about why he hates Jews as well as wanting to defile women. He has also made statements about Muslims being inbred.
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.
State Senator Brad Hoylman is opposed to the new policy. (Photo courtesy of Senator Hoylman)
Last week, State Senator Brad Hoylman, a frequent critic of his own chamber in Albany, posted a photo of that very chamber on his Twitter feed. It would likely be the last photo he’d be posting of the place, he revealed, thanks to a new rule voted in by the Republican majority to ban photo-taking there by anyone except official Senate photographers. This means lawmakers, members of the press and members of the public will from now on be made to ask permission first any time they think it’s important to record a moment, whether it’s of a vote or debate or any other relevant thing happening.
The vote came shortly after Congress proposed a similar policy to fine members for taking photos or livestreaming from the House floor.
The reasoning for the Senate rule, according to its sponsor, is that photo-taking and other cell phone use is disruptive during proceedings.
Fortunately, Hoylman has recognized this weak argument for what it is, an excuse to further shroud the legislative process in secrecy, since apparently having all major decisions impacting the state made by three men in a room just isn’t enough. Asked what inspired his colleagues to start 2017 with even less transparency than in prior years, Hoylman guessed it has to do with the fact that sometimes, other than candid photos of hands in the air that end up on social media, there’s no publicly available record of who voted for what. And many would like to keep it that way.
Robert Ardini said he’s moderate on social issues, conservative on fiscal ones. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
In November, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney will be facing off against a Republican challenger named Robert Ardini, a former marketing executive and a resident of Long Island City.
Ardini, who spoke with Town & Village about his campaign last week, said he decided to run last fall mainly because he doesn’t feel enough is being done to reduce national debt, paving the way for an economic crisis, but also, he added, “I don’t believe our founding fathers intended for anyone to run for 23 consecutive years.”
However, since Ardini knows that in order to even have a shot at beating the popular incumbent (who recently clobbered her primary opponent with nearly 90 percent of the vote), he’s already begun the process of trying to appeal to Democrats.
The 55-year-old is positioning himself as a candidate who’s fiscally conservative but socially moderate. His top priority is reducing the national debt, followed by ending the gridlock in Washington, but, he noted, he’s also for a woman’s right to choose and supports gay marriage (so long as that union is called something else).
Recently, he had postcards made up with the tagline “A moderate Republican even a Democrat can like,” requesting that Republicans in the district mail it to a Democrat friend.
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.
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
The GOP discovered that so-called “States’ Rights” was a good subterfuge to sabotage a more liberal federal government. We first saw this during the Civil Rights era where Southern governors stood in school house doors, wearing “never” buttons that said “no” to integrating public schools.
The States Rights pseudo-libertarian talking point was that local government was “closer to the people” than those snotty bureaucrats in far away Washington, DC. Sounds almost believable, right? There might even have been some truth in it.
Except that it turned out to be just another GOP lie. The NY Times recently had an article about so-called pre-emption laws. This is the latest ploy used by Republican statehouses to thwart leaders and voters in liberal municipalities. These pre-emption laws have barred cities from regulating landlords, building municipal broadband systems, raising the minimum wage, demanding background checks for would-be gun owners, legalizing marijuana, or raising taxes on the rich to support public education.
And it’s not just the Southern states. New York City couldn’t even lower its speed limit from 30 to 25 mph last fall without permission from Republican legislators in Albany!
And thanks to the Urstadt Law, New York City can’t pass stronger pro-tenant laws than the upstate landlord-owned Republicans would allow.
Now what could be more local than city speed limits, rent protection, and public schools for people living in New York City?
Pre-emption is as if someone in the state legislature representing my section of Manhattan, was able to eliminate deer hunting near the Canadian border!
I also wouldn’t blame an upstate farmer for getting angry either if Manhattan representatives tried to tell him how to farm.
Pre-emption, however, is never used to reduce the power of more right-wing areas. It is only used to prevent liberal municipalities, towns, and districts from voting on measures that best serve their local needs.
And you don’t have to be a Republican to support pre-exemption. Our so-called “Democratic” Governor Cuomo might as well be a Republican because he made sure the New York Senate went GOP in the last election.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney chats with a voter in Stuyvesant Town. (Photo courtesy of Congress Member Maloney)
By Sabina Mollot
On Tuesday, three local Democrats easily held on to their positions as voters, along with re-electing Andrew Cuomo as governor, also re-elected Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Senator Brad Hoylman and Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh.
Maloney won with 79.85 percent of the vote, defeating former seminary student and former Pfizer employee Nicholas Di iorio, who got 20.15 percent.
Di iorio had fought tooth and nail for each vote though, having sent out near daily press releases blasting his opponent in the weeks leading up to the election on everything from her trip to China to secure a panda for New York to failure to get many bills passed in Washington. For this he labeled her ineffective.
He’d also hounded his opponent for a debate, and did eventually succeed in wearing her down. The only debate of the campaign took place at a newspaper office in Queens last Thursday, focusing on issues of interest to that part of the district.
Meanwhile, by Tuesday morning, Maloney reported doing well with voters she encountered while campaigning.
Many told her they’d be giving her their vote, though she quickly added, “I probably shouldn’t say that. Of course they’re not going to tell me if they weren’t going to vote for me.”
After casting her own vote at the 92nd Street Y, Maloney also made several stops throughout the district, including popping by Stuyvesant Town in the afternoon.
Some voters had gripes about long lines to cast their votes, although this year, without a presidential election, lines weren’t exactly spilling out of polling place doors.“It’s definitely lower (turnout) than in a presidential year, but people are coming out to vote,” said Maloney. She added that she would work on trying to keep lines shorter in the future, either by pushing for more polling sites or the creation of smaller voting districts.
She also said that if reelected, “I’ll be focused like a laser on affordable housing and making sure Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do not finance anything that removes affordable housing.”
Other goals included making it easier for people to buy homes, doing away with excessive bank overdraft fees and getting a bill for women’s equality passed, that has, since Maloney’s been in office, failed to do so.
Nicholas Di iorio talks to a voter in Brooklyn. (Photo courtesy of Nicholas Di iorio)
On Tuesday, Di orio was also making various campaign stops around the three-borough district, starting on the Upper East Side, where he lives not far from Maloney, Greenpoint, Brooklyn and later Queens. At around 11 a.m., he was in Manhattan, after voting at Knickerbocker Plaza on 91st Street.
He said for the most part voters he was encountering were familiar with his campaign, having read interviews with him in Town & Village and other newspapers.
When voters stopped to chat with the candidate, typically they had questions that were economy-related. This is where he felt his background working to save money for a pharmaceutical giant worked in his favor.
“It’s been a great day so far,” said Di iorio said. “A lot of the legislators in Congress talk about growing the economy but they haven’t spent time working in economics. That’s one of the differences between me and Congress Member Maloney. I’m trying to help companies and small businesses hire more employees.”
His platform was based around cutting corporate taxes to keep jobs from going overseas.
Later, when asked about the contentious nature of the race, Maloney dismissed her opponent’s steady stream of criticism as a typical Republican tactic.
“The Republicans do not fight on issues,” she said. “They try to destroy the person.”
But not all Republicans used tough guy tactics in this race — or even any tactics at all. Hoylman and Kavanagh both sailed to reelection thanks to their opponents, Stuyvesant Town resident Frank Scala, and East Villager Bryan Cooper, respectively, not running active campaigns.
Kavanagh won with 85.06 percent of the vote, while Cooper got 14.94 percent. Hoylman got 85.66 percent while Scala got 14.34 percent.
State Senate candidate Frank Scala
Scala, who’s the president of the Albano Republican Club and the owner of a Fifth Avenue barber shop, said he only ran for State Senate after being asked by the Republican County Committee. But he didn’t seek attention beyond participating in a candidate forum last week hosted by the 17th Precinct Community Council, which his opponent didn’t attend.
And this wouldn’t be the first time in recent years that local candidates have run just to have a Republican on the ballot. In Manhattan, there hasn’t been a Republican elected since the late Roy Goodman left the State Senate in 2002.
Cooper, who, like Scala, has run for office locally before, told Town & Village he had been genuinely interested in running for Assembly, but had wanted to try doing it in a “grassroots” way. He didn’t build a campaign website or attempt to get press, choosing instead to walk around the Lower East Side and the East Village, mostly, as well as Stuy Town where he said he’s noticed a “strong Republican presence.”
“People do come to our club meetings,” he said, referring to the Albano Club, in which he’s a district leader. “People feel like our interests are not being represented. We need a Republican, especially on the Lower East Side.”
Cooper, a production assistant and Navy veteran, said he’d been hearing disgust from his neighbors about corruption in Albany and Cuomo’s handling of the Moreland Commission’s dismantling. Lack of jobs was another concern.
Assembly candidate Bryan Cooper
“We want more businesses to be here, less taxes. There’s more unemployment and the homeless situation has risen. Why is this? Businesses are leaving New York.”
He also said that following Mayor de Blasio’s efforts to end stop-and-frisk, he’s found that people no longer feel safe.
“Ever since they stopped stop-and-frisk, people are like, ‘I’m out of here,’” he said. “What’s the point of having a police force when your hands are tied? What’s the problem with stopping and asking a question or checking your bag?”
On his low-key campaign, he explained it was mainly due to money reasons, but he also wanted to see “how effective it would be,” since he is already planning a run for State Senate. “Maybe if this doesn’t work out, I’ll learn my lesson.”
Roy Goodman in a photo that ran in Town & Village in 1977
By Sabina Mollot
On June 3, 2014, Roy Goodman, the Republican New York State senator who represented part of the East Side of Manhattan, including Stuyvesant Town, for 33 years, died at the age of 84.
According to his daughter Claire Pellegrini-Cloud, Goodman’s death at a hospital in Danbury, Connecticut, was most likely caused by pneumonia.
He had also, for around a decade, been battling Parkinson’s and relied on a wheelchair to get around. His death came as a surprise however, since he’d been active and was just returning home to Manhattan from a trip to see one of his six grandchildren graduate from Harvard. He also attended a number of other events at Harvard, his alma mater, recently, including an awards dinner. On the way home from the graduation trip, an aide noticed that Goodman’s hands were turning blue and called 911. Goodman was admitted to Danbury Hospital on Thursday night, but wound up taking a turn for the worse over the weekend.
“He was surrounded by family up until the last moment,” Pellegrini-Cloud said. “It was a peaceful death.”
Throughout his lengthy political career, Goodman was known for his socially liberal views. He was a supporter of women’s rights, from protection against domestic violence to the right to choose, as well as of LGBT rights and services for people with HIV/AIDS when the disease was just coming into public awareness. He also fought for tenant rights and affordability and was instrumental in the prevention of Riverwalk, a towering luxury development that would have cut off ST/PCV residents’ access to the waterfront and blocked their views of the river. While tackling the city’s fiscal crisis during the 1970s, he still pushed for continued funding of the arts. He also worked on city charter revision and ran the State Senate’s committee on investigations.
Though he left office over a decade ago, with his passing, former colleagues have been wistfully noting the official end to an era when Republicans and Democrats enjoyed a far less contentious — and far more productive — working relationship.
Since his departure from office in 2002, when he was succeeded by Liz Krueger, there have been no Republicans elected anywhere in Manhattan.
State Senator Roy Goodman (left) with Vincent Albano, chairman of the New York County Republican Committee, in a 1979 Town & Village photo
At that time, noted Pellegrini-Cloud, Goodman was disappointed at the sharp right turn his party had taken, and that “people couldn’t rise above personal vendettas to work together. He was very solution oriented.”
She added that this attitude extended to Goodman’s family life. When she was growing up, Goodman would make sure each of his three children, Claire, Randolph and Leslie, got equal airtime at the dinner table. When there were disagreements, “He would say, ‘Let’s not be so quick to judge that person. Let’s see it from their point of view,’” said Pellegrini-Cloud.
Meanwhile, she disagreed with a detail in a recent story in the New York Times, which first reported on Goodman’s passing, that said her father was seen by some as a snob.
“He was known for mixing it up with anyone,” she said. “Yeah he used flowery language, but he was a great believer that the average person could understand that. Why dumb it down?”
Steven Sanders, the Assemblyman who represented the ST/PCV area for 28 years (25 of those alongside Goodman) recalled working with the senator to fight Riverwalk as well of another development farther north in Tudor City. That Harry Helmsley project would have destroyed residents’ park space. Sanders, on the morning of his wedding day, heard that a bulldozer had come to the site, and promptly headed over there to join the tenants in forming a human chain. Goodman, meanwhile, managed to secure an order from a judge to stop work despite it being a weekend.
He also recalled how due to legislation sponsored by Goodman in the Senate and Sanders in the Assembly, the cost of major capital improvement rent increases (MCIs) for tenants was reduced.
“Since MCIs as we know are paid in perpetuity, the cumulative savings for tenants became hundreds of dollars in each year,” Sanders said. They also worked together with the owner of Waterside Plaza, Richard Ravitch, and the Waterside Tenants Association to create an affordable housing contract for tenants at the complex when its Mitchell-Lama contract expired in 2001.
He also recalled how back in the 1980s, he and Goodman, along with then Town & Village Publisher Charles Hagedorn and Bill Potter, then the general manager of Stuyvesant Town, would meet for lunch every few months. The spot was usually Capucines, a restaurant on Second Avenue at 19th Street that recently closed.
“It was social and an occasional discussion of some community issues,” said Sanders, who is now the only surviving member of that group. “Imagine that… Republicans and Democrats, and the representative of the landlord Met life along with the publisher of the Town & Village joining together as colleagues.”
But, added the former assemblyman, who left office eight years ago, “Roy and I come from a different time. That notion of governing seems to have been lost. Politics has been exceedingly contentious. It’s all about winning and losing. We had our tussles every two years when I supported my candidates and he supported his, but then we’d have a drink or lunch and we would do community work for our district. We will not see his like again.”
Krueger, whose first run for office was against Goodman, said she remembered her opponent’s humor when he ultimately defeated her.
“His graciousness and good humor were on full display from that campaign’s beginning to its end, when, victorious after a six-week recount, he jokingly dubbed himself ‘Landslide Goodman,’” she shared in a written statement last week.
According to a Times article, he had a similar attitude when he lost a mayoral race in 1977 to Ed Koch.
Roy Goodman (right) with Frank Scala in a 2006 campaign flier for Scala’s Assembly run
Frank Scala, the president of the Vincent Albano Republican Club, was a friend of Goodman’s and had his endorsement when he ran an unsuccessful campaign for Assembly in 2006 during a special election.
This week, Scala pointed out that most people living in ST/PCV are unaware of Goodman’s involvement in the creation of Stuyvesant Cove Park a decade ago.
While still in office, he’d allocated $1.2 million for its construction. “If it wasn’t for Roy Goodman the park wouldn’t have been built,” said Scala.
Goodman had also encouraged Scala to revive the Albano Club after it had been inactive for years.
In 1981, Goodman became the Republican New York County Committee chair and remained in that position for 20 years.
After leaving office, he served as CEO for the United Nations Development Corporation and was a participant in a handful of organizations supporting the arts. Up until the time of his death he lived on the Upper East Side, where he grew up, the grandson of Israel Matz, founder of Ex-Lax.
In an interesting coincidence, Goodman’s death occurred within 24 hours of the time his wife of over 50 years, Barbara, died eight years ago.
On both days, Pellegrini-Cloud remembered there being loud, violent thunderstorms, and only after the more recent one, she spotted a rainbow.
“I like to think it was my dad’s stairway to heaven, going to join Mom,” she said. “It was incredible.”
Condolence visitation for Goodman was held on Sunday, June 15 from 6-8 p.m. at Frank E. Campbell, 1076 Madison Avenue at 81st Street. The funeral service was on Monday, June 16 at Temple Emanu-El on Fifth Avenue and 65th Street. The burial was private.
Thinking of Senator Roy Goodman makes me smile. This in spite of the sadness I feel at his passing at age 84.
Roy Goodman was truly the last of his kind. A New York State Republican with moderate social leanings and a sense of humor! He was exceedingly intelligent, funny and ready with a wry quip. He was always a gentleman and interested in getting things done for this community more than grandstanding. He was my partner in the state legislature for 25 years of his 34 years in the State Senate. He was a great storyteller and was known to break out in song at political functions or social gatherings.
But what I remember most about Roy Goodman was the serious work we did together. Although He a Republican and I a Democrat we worked cooperatively in common purpose for all but a few weeks before an election. Then we pursued our partisan battles. But when the smoke cleared from the campaign season, we were back to work attending to our shared responsibility… the community of Manhattan’s East Side.
Roy Goodman’s efforts and imprints are permanent. They survive his life. If you need a tranquil moment take a walk along the East River water front park called Stuy Cove. The gargantuan luxury housing towers that were proposed for that very same location would have blighted this community. But they never were built, in part because of Roy Goodman’s efforts. Instead we have a wonderful open airy space to enjoy and find rest and relaxation instead of dense fortress like buildings blocking out sunlight. We can enjoy the natural beauty and contours of the shoreline and its magnificent view. When you stroll along the way, occasionally think of Roy Goodman.