Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Nov. 3, 2009 NYC Elections: Updated Endorsement List

I posted most of this before, but I have a couple of additions. For my
Brooklyn readers, my endorsement for Brooklyn BP is fulfilling a
promise I made, so please consider it.

Mayor: Bill Thompson (Democratic Party)

One of the best things I have heard said about Bill Thompson was meant
to disparage his chances: Bill Thompson was accused of "being too much
of a gentleman" to win against Bloomberg. Honestly, that comment made
me like Thompson more. Thompson is a good, solid Democrat and I think
it is about time this very Democratic city stop having dictatorial,
pro-business, anti-labor mayors. Mayor Bloomberg isn't bad...for a
Republican. But he IS a Republican not just in name but in actions.
His education policy has been little more than privatizing our
educational system. This has made it a money maker for outside
contractors who deal with the increasingly arduous and Byzantine
testing and admissions processes, but it doesn't really help parents
or students. If students don't do well enough, too often they get
dropped from the system so the tests won't be affected. Admissions
have become insane and yet have done little to equalize the
discrepancies between neighborhoods because only the wealthy have the
time and money for the admissions process, the interviews, extra
tutoring for tests, etc. And the big results that Bloomberg claims
vindicates his "reforms?" They can be seen statewide, even in areas
where Bloomberg has had no influence. So how can he lay claim to the
changes? Bloomberg has also closed firehouses, yet given tax money to
developers. Bloomberg pissed on voters when he bullied the City
Council into overturning term limits ONE TIME ONLY, specifically so
Bloomberg could have a third term. I have never understood the cult of
Bloomberg that many follow. Once he called my wife and me "terrorists"
because we protested the Republican National Convention and once I
learned that Bloomberg was the number one individual donor to Tom
DeLay's ant-choice, anti-environment, right wing PAC, I have disliked

So Thompson is too much of a gentleman to win against Bloomberg, thus,
I suppose, admitting that Bloomberg is an asshole. Well, I for one
hope the gentleman who has consistently been a solid Democrat wins. I
hope Thompson, who is pro-labor, can win over anti-labor Bloomberg.
Recently Bill Thompson (
eldiarioendorsesbillthompsonformayor) has been endorsed by El Diario.
Bill Thompson has also been endorsed by one of my favorite
Congresswomen, Nydia M. Velazquez. He has been endorsed by State
Senator Eric Adams, Councilmember Letitia James, Councilmember John
Liu, Councilmember David Weprin, State Senator Diane Savino, and
Congressman Anthony Weiner, all of whom I respect (even if I don't
always agree with all of them). Thompson has been endorsed by 504
Democrats, NYC's main disabled rights group, Barack Obama Democratic
Club, American Heritage Democratic Club, Gay and Lesbian Independent
Democrats, Lambda Independent Democrats, Out People of Color Political
Action Club, East Harlem/El Barrio Democratic Club, Gramercy-
Stuyvesant Independent Democrats, Village Independent Democrats and
West Harlem Independent Democrats. Thompson has been endorsed by
Communications Workers of America, United Auto Workers, Uniformed
Firefighters Association, Transport Workers Union and the Teamsters.
And, of course, many others. To me Thompson represents a good, old
fashioned Democrat supported by a good, old fashioned pro-union, pro-
LGBT, pro-minority coalition. I would support that any day over a
spoiled, dictatorial billionaire.

Comptroller: John Liu (Democratic Party)

John Liu is ideal for this job. With a degree in mathematical physics,
extensive financial experience, City Council and community organizing
experience, and overwhelming support of Unions, LGBT groups and local
clubs from all Boros, John Liu is one of the best candidates we have
seen this year. He will also be the first Asian American EVER to be
elected to city wide office in NYC, so he is not only a good choice
for the job but it will also be historic when he wins.

Brooklyn Borough President: Write-in: Gatemouth

Okay, I can't stand Marty Markowitz. I once liked him. But over the
years I have grown to despise him. I have written at some length why,
but suffice it to say he is a mean-spirited, nasty, hypocritical shill
for the worst developers ever.

The only official alternative is a Republican. I can't do that either.
At one point I half jokingly promised fellow blogger Gatemouth that I
would write him in ffor Brooklyn BP. In reality he is better than
either of the official candidates so I plan on fulfilling that
promise. If a good chunk of people write in Gatemouth for Brookly BP,
it won't really make any difference, but it will a.) make a good
person (Gatemouth's real persona) feel good and b.) show I keep my
promise. Here are the write in instructions:

"You may vote for a candidate not listed on the ballot by writing in
the candidate's name. Locate the button over the column of numbered
slots on the left of the voting machine and:

1. For General Election: Depress the button and, while holding it
in, open the slot opposite the office for which you wish to write in a
candidate's name."

Do me a favor...take the effort and vote Gatemouth for Brooklyn BP.
And spread the word. If we get a respectable number of votes for
Gatemouth, it will make an impression of sorts.

22nd City Council district: Lynne Serpe (Green Party).

Having already endorsed Green Party candidate David Pechefsky (see
below under 39th City Council district) I came across another good
Green candidate running against a lousy Dem. Lynne Serpe is the Green
Party candidate looking to oust Peter Vallone (a conservative DINO
incumbent who voted for Bloomberg's overturning of term limits). And
the big surprise is that Lynne Serpe has actually out raised Vallone,
making her challenge one to be taken seriously. From the (href="http://
City Hall News:

"Vallone, who holds the same Queens seat his father held for almost
three decades, had only $40,000 on hand a few weeks before election
day, and decided to forego matching funds, figuring that they were a
waste of taxpayer money.

" But that was before Lynne Serpe, a 38-year-old environmental
activist and Green Party candidate for the seat announced that she had
$100,000 on hand and qualified for over $70,000 in matching funds.

“'There are people in the district who have wanted resources that
they haven’t gotten in 35 years,” she said. “I think people are ready
for a change...'

“'My goal is to win,' she said, explaining that she was buoyed by
the surprise primary wins of other left leaning candidates like Danny
Dromm. 'It’s possible that we’re looking at an entire shift in Western

To see the end of the conservative Democrat Vallone dynasty in favor
of a more progressive candidate will be sweet. I wish Vallone had been
challenged by a good Democrat, but lacking that, I'll take a Green.

34th City Council District: Diana Reyna (Democratic Party)

The first woman of Dominican-American descent to be elected to NYC
public office, Reyna is being heavily targeted by corrupt Brooklyn
Boss Vito Lopez and his scandal-ridden ally, WFP, because she hasn't
gone along with Vito Lopez's corruption. In essence, she is being
punished for her independence, and I personally want to see more
independence in our City Council members. This is another race where
we can stop a power play by a corrupt party boss. The Village Voice
boss-vito-lopez) had this to say about this race during the Democratic

"In the adjoining 34th District, which encompasses a swath of
Williamsburg and Bushwick, Lopez is pushing the candidacy of a young
woman named Maritza Davila, currently a project director at Ridgewood
Bushwick. Lopez is such a Davila fan that he allocated $45,000 in
funding for her job there. The money, according to Lopez's legislative
initiative form, pays for Davila to take residents to museums,
aquariums, and sporting events. She also does double duty: In addition
to her day job, Davila serves as a Democratic district leader in
Lopez's political club.

"Bushwick is Lopez's home base. OK, not his actual residential home.
He lives blissfully with Battaglia far from his district in a Queens
condo. His political home. He has long controlled the local Council
seat, but sometimes, his protégés disappoint him and he is forced to
seek their removal. For instance, the incumbent Council member in the
district is Diana Reyna, whose training came—where else?—from being a
Lopez aide.

"Reyna, however, ran afoul of her mentor when she dared to disagree
about a large tract of undeveloped land known as the Broadway
Triangle. Thanks to his great clout with city and state officials,
Lopez arranged to have all of the housing development opportunities
there routed to Ridgewood Bushwick and a kindred group, the United
Jewish Organizations, which controls social service funds in the
Orthodox section of Williamsburg and whose executives happily carry
Lopez's election petitions. Lopez has long been a big booster of Mayor
Bloomberg, and his influence is such that the city didn't even bother
holding its usual competition among would-be developers. It simply
designated Lopez's chosen groups..."

Reyna's opponent lost her primary bid but is still actively running on
the Working Families Party line. So we still have to stand up to Vito
Lopez on this one. Diana Reyna has been endorsed by Councilwoman Tish
James and Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez (both of whom I greatly
respect), El Diario/La Presnsa, Lambda Independend Democrats, 504
Democrats (disabled rights), the Teamsters, United Federation of
Teachers and others (

36th City Council District (Brooklyn): Mark Winston Griffith (Working
Families Party Candidate)

I have now met Mark Winston Griffith and am more impressed now than
when I was just going on good reports from mutual friends. Mark is and
excellent candidate and would make an excellent Councilman.

Many people know (and can tell by my comments regarding the 34th City
Council Race) that I am disgusted by the fact that WFP has been
breaking campaign finance laws and has sided with corrupt party boss
Vito Lopez this year. To me, WFP was once a great idea that has been
descending into the same kind of corruption that they claim to fight.
They love to accuse others of being party hacks, but that is exactly
what they have become themselves: party hacks surrounded by scandal.
But, there are still remnants of the old style, more idealistsic WFP,
and among the corrupt and sleazy WFP candidates this year there were
some great ones. This includes Debi Rose on Staten Island, John Liu
for Comptroller...and Mark Winston Griffith for the 36th City Council
seat in Brooklyn. If Griffith wins, he will be the second WFP
candidate to win for City Council without the Democratic Party line.
Since that first example is Councilmember Tish James, someone I admire
and agree with most of the time, and who has become one of the best
Democrats in the Council, I believe that for a good progressive,
untainted by the current WFP scandals, the WFP line is a good way to
get into office.

The incumbent for this seat is Al Vann who is among the least popular
incumbents I have ever seen. In fact, I suspect had there only been
one opponent in the Democratic Primary, Vann would be history now. But
the opposition split the vote and Vann squeaked by the primary with
barely 30% of the vote. The man who came in second was Mark Winston
Griffith and he has decided to continue the fight on the WFP line.
Mark has been Executive Director of the Drum Major Institute for
Public Policy and co-director of the Neighborhood Economic Development
Advocacy Project and has been a community organizer for years. Mark
has been endorsed by the United Auto Workers, Educational Justice PAC
and Committee for the Future Leadership of Bedford-Stuyvesant and
Crown Heights. I firmly believe that the 36th district would be better
served by Mark Winston Griffith than by Al Vann. So I urge a vote on
the (I hate to say it) Working Families Party line for Mark Winston
Griffith in the 36th City Council district.

39th City Council District (Brooklyn): David Pechefsky (Green Party

Most people also know I have seldom sided with the Greens since the
2000 fiasco. Too often the Greens are counterproductive as well as
obnoxious purists. But sometimes the Green Party really is an
alternative to a Democrat I just can't bring myself to support. This
is, I believe, the second time since 2000 that I have endorsed a Green
Party candidate. I first heard about David Pechefsky from two of my
neighbors. They knew him personally and, though Democrats, were
interested in supporting him. At the time I was supporting a Democrat
in the running (Josh Skaller) and thought two of the other Democrats
(Gary Reilly and Bob Zuckerman) were also good candidates, so I took a
dim view of Pechefsky's run given the fact that no fewer than THREE
excellent Democrats were vying for the position. Well, none of those
three excellent Democrats won. I met Pechefsky and talked with him. He
agreed that the candidate I was supporting would be excellent but I
gathered he was running in case one of the not so good Democrats won
the primary. Which is what happened. The Democrat who won the primary,
Brad Lander, is allied with Dov Hikind (a known homophobe and racist),
has been publicly anti-Israel, and who has been centrally involved in
the WFP campaign funding scandal I mention above. Any one of these
would be a reason not to support Lander. Brad Lander is one of those
Democrats I feel I can never completely trust even if we agree on most
things. He is too blinded by his own sense of self-worth and his own
ambition to ever listen to an opposing view. Too often I have seen him
face disagreement with disdain or rage. By contrast David Pechefsky is
even-tempered, thoughtful and willing to listen to opposing views.
Pechefsky seeks to be "a catalyst for a truly democratic City Council,
eco-friendly living, and the sensible use of our resources." Unlike
many Green Party candidates I have met, Pechefsky has a wide range of
practical experience to bring to the City Council. According to his

"David Pechefsky has 12 years of New York City government experience
and has worked with Council Members, advocates, city officials, and
service providers on a wide range of housing, youth, senior, health,
and economic development programs. He has also consulted
internationally working on democratic governance issues in Africa,
Asia, and the Middle East...

David is a member of the Park Slope Greens and the Park Slope Food
Coop and was recently appointed to the Economic Development Committee
of Community Board Six."

I think Pechefsky would represent the district excellently while Brad
would too often let personal ambition and ego get in the way of
effective governing...and would probably break the law to further his
career if he thought he could get away with it. This impression has
recently been re-enforced when I learned Brad Lander was sitting next
to Rudy Giuliani at an event honoring Mike Bloomberg where Giuliani
and Bloomberg made racist innuendos against Thompson. And as far as I
know, Brad said nothing against this. So I endorse Green Party
candidate David Pechefsky for the 39th City Council district.