Assemblyman Rory Lancman may feel his colleague Grace Meng’s temporary support for Tier VI during the voting proceedings is a winning issue as they compete for a congressional seat in Queens, but Ms. Meng’s campaign isn’t sitting down and sent out a blistering statement from her campaign spokesman, Michael Tobman, criticizing Arthur Cheliotes, the president of CWA Local 1180, for stating his disappointment in her and accusing her of misleading workers.
“It’s offensive that any labor leader would stoop so low as to use such a dishonest attack to prop up his endorsed candidate,” Mr. Tobman said. “This is especially disturbing from a labor leader so clearly embarrassed by his actions to disenfranchise minority voters by opposing the minority candidate in a district drawn for empowerment. I would say ‘it reminds me of the good old days’ but there was nothing ‘good’ about those days.”
Mr. Tobman went on to explain Ms. Meng’s rationale for indicating she would initially support Governor Andrew Cuomo’s pension reform plan.
“Everyone knows the truth here – in typical Albany fashion, Assembly Republicans were all going to vote in lockstep for Tier 6, but for political reasons were dragging the vote out as long as possible,” he said. “Instead of playing along, Assemblywoman Meng allowed the Republicans to believe that she might vote for the proposal. After exposing the Republicans’ cynical game, Assemblywoman Meng did what she always does – voted to protect the working people of New York.”
Nowhere in the statement is Mr. Lancman, who said ”my light doesn’t flicker” on labor issues in response to the ordeal, mentioned. Instead, Mr. Tobman’s fire remained focused on Mr. Cheliotes.
“These kinds of baseless attacks are expected from Republicans who have made their disdain for minorities and immigrants clear. This Labor leader, who represents significant numbers of minority workers and claims to be progressive, should know better,” he concluded.
Also in the race, and staying relatively quiet recently, is Democratic Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley and her Republican colleague Dan Halloran.
Update (7:40 pm): Scott Levenson, a spokesperson for Mr. Cheliotes, issued a statement of his own responding to Mr. Tobman’s remarks.
‘There is no one in New York City who has a better record on progressive politics than Arthur Cheliotes. What’s truly offensive is that a consultant, who is nothing more than a hired gun, would personally attack a labor leader in order to distract from his client’s position on the issue.’