At a pro-Israel rally earlier today, Brooklyn District Leader Ari Kagan told Politicker that he will file to run for City Council within the next few days, entering what is likely to be a hotly-contested battle for term-limited Councilman Michael Nelson’s seat.
And, Mr. Kagan said, he has friends in high places already lined up to support his candidacy, including Frank Seddio, the chairman of the Kings County Democratic Party.
The Israel-Palestine conflict once again reached New York’s political scene today as elected officials and other activists gathered to denounce Brooklyn College’s political science department for their controversial decision to sponsor a February forum calling for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel. To say the press conference was heated would be an understatement as it was chocked full of charged rhetoric including multiple references to anti-Semitism, the Holocaust and al-Qaeda.
“Let me tell you, it brings back a lot of memories,” Assemblyman Dov Hikind, the emcee of today’s denunciation, began. “I studied here towards my B.A. and got my Master’s at Brooklyn College, a lot of very fond memories. I stand here very, very disappointed, … students and the organization [are] holding a lecture next week with two viciously, viciously, anti-Israel [speakers]. And when I say ‘viciously,’ I mean they call for the destruction of the state of Israel. They think Hamas and Hezbollah are good organizations. I would assume they feel the same way about al-Qaeda. These are individuals who are extreme radicals.”
On Monday, New York Magazine published a profile of Council Speaker and likely mayoral candidate Christine Quinn that contained a quote from Mayor Michael Bloomberg that got a great deal off attention. According to Jonathan Van Meter, who wrote the story, while at a Christmas party, Mayor Bloomberg “gestured toward a woman in a very tight floor-length gown” and said, “Look at the ass on her.” Politicker asked the mayor about the comment at a press conference this morning announcing new measures to eliminate a backlog of maintenance claims in New York City’s public housing system.
Headline of the Day: “Report: Nearly 1,500 State Employees Made More Than Gov. Cuomo Last Year.”
In his bid for Queens Borough President, State Senator José Peralta rolled out endorsements from his fellow Dominican-American elected officials in other corners of the city today, including Councilman Ydanis Rodríguez and Assembly members Nelson Castro and Gabriella Rosa, with the New York Dominican Officers Organization thrown in for good measure. “Jose Peralta shares my belief in the American Dream, because he knows what it is like to grow up in a family of immigrants,” Mr. Rodríguez said.
She may not have announced her bid yet, but Council Speaker Christine Quinn has started to collect support from key labor allies as she campaigns for City Hall. To wit, the politically active Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union gave Ms. Quinn their official seal of approval tonight, with RWDSU President Stu Appelbaum offering especially effusive praise in the process.
“Throughout her career, Chris Quinn has consistently fought to make life better for vulnerable and marginalized residents of our city, including low-wage workers, immigrants, people of color, the undocumented, the homeless, the unemployed, and LGBT New Yorkers,” Mr. Appelbaum said in a lengthy statement. “We are a progressive, activist union that represents and organizes the most vulnerable and marginalized workers in our city today. We believe Chris Quinn will be a progressive, activist mayor for those workers and their families.”
According to Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, Bill de Blasio has a special power, and it’s not his son’s afro.
Mr. de Blasio, the city’s public advocate and recently-announced mayoral candidate, faced a barrage of criticism from Ms. Kelly over his position that New York City should divest its pension funds from the gun industry. Needless to say, the host viewed Mr. de Blasio’s advocacy in rather authoritarian terms.
“Why not go out there and say, ‘World, this is how I feel,'” she inquired. “Why go to a law-abiding company that employs thousands of American citizens and say, ‘You’re blacklisted. You’re done, no relation should be had with you because I don’t happen to like the right you’re exercising.”