Councilman Dan Halloran’s former chief of staff, running in the race to replace him after he was arrested on corruption charges, has raised about $11,000 in less than two weeks.
Chrissy Voskerichian abruptly left her post when Mr. Halloran, a Republican, was charged last month for allegedly quarterbacking a bribery scheme for a mayoral candidate. She filed a campaign committee to run in the Democratic primary in Mr. Halloran’s northeast Queens district, even before he said he would not seek re-election.
Ben Kallos, a candidate for City Council on the Upper East Side, was apparently offering campaign internships in the south Bronx.
That was according to the campaign website of Pedro Alvarez, a Bronx City Council candidate, which bore a striking resemblance to the website of Mr. Kallos. Under an “internships” section that was removed after Politicker contacted the Alvarez campaign, the text was identical to the Kallos site, even going as far as to mention Mr. Kallos several times.
Short on bombast and long on analysis, left-leaning academics and the co-chair of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus took to the stage at the CUNY Graduate Center last night to outline their alternative vision for a city in the twilight of the Bloomberg era.
“We’ve been in a kind of sitting in the laboratory, mixing the chemicals phase in the past nine months and we hope to go out and cause a few explosions in the coming months and after the elections,” said John Mollenkopf, a CUNY political science professor and co-organizer of the panel discussion, “Progressive Policies for the Future of New York City,” which the New York Times’ Michael Powell moderated.
Bronx City Councilman Fernando Cabrera was ready to defy established order.
He sensed that Speaker Christine Quinn was losing her grip on the legislative body.
“I’m scared,” he told Politicker at the time. He kept the petitions he gathered at home–just to be safe.
Mr. Cabrera, a pastor, quietly went from colleague to colleague to rally support for two bills that the speaker had stalled, one that would let churches rent school property and another codifying a Tenants’ Bill of Rights. He said he gathered the dozen signatures necessary to give him the power to force a vote—a tactic, called a motion to discharge, that has not been deployed during Ms. Quinn’s tenure.
Only days after railing against the entire slate of Democratic mayoral candidates for playing politics with people’s lives–a big failing, he suggested, as public safety is “the most important job of any mayor, period”–Mayor Michael Bloomberg heaped heavy praise on one of those would-be successors.
“Chris Quinn has done a very good job as speaker,” Mr. Bloomberg declared during his weekly WOR radio show this morning. “Whether you’re going to vote for her or not, she has been a very good speaker. The city has been very well served by her. I don’t think that she gets enough credit for it.”
exiting stage right
Councilman Dan Halloran, who has been charged with helping quarterback a bribery scheme to rig the mayoral race, will not seek another term in office, he announced this afternoon.
“Regrettably, I must now focus my attention on clearing my name and restoring my reputation, while I continue to discharge my sworn duties as a member of the New York City Council,” he said in a statement. “After much thought, I have concluded that it is impossible for me to properly do these things and take on the enormous demands of a political campaign, so I will not to pursue another term in the Council.”
When Marc Landis, a leading candidate to represent the Upper West Side in the City Council next year, talks about himself, he often boasts of his long record of fighting for affordable housing in New York City. The attorney and Democratic district leader, praised by his many endorsers for his tenant advocacy, also works closely with Tahl Propp Equities, a large real estate developer that has been sued by Manhattan tenants and accused of “predatory” financial practices in rapidly gentrifying Harlem.
“Tahl Propp was one of the early companies that we and other organizers spotted coming in and buying up large amounts of affordable housing and they weren’t a known actor in the affordable housing or real estate world,” said Emily Goldstein, coordinator of preservation and policy at Tenants and Neighbors, a statewide tenant advocacy group. “In more recent years, I know that they’ve said they care about affordable housing. They’ve said they care about the Harlem community. And yet their actual practices in many of these buildings have been detrimental to low and moderate income tenants, to the physical housing stock and arguably to the community.”
As this year’s elections begin to heat up ahead of the September primaries, the United Food and Commercial Workers has continued to weigh in. Today, the union announced their endorsements in about two dozen City Council and borough presidency races across the city.
“New York City needs strong, aggressive, and dedicated leaders in the City Council that will champion progressive legislation and fight hard for our members,” Bruce Both, the union’s president, said in a statement. “They have earned our support and loyalty and we will work hard to see that they are re-elected.”
Entering the Fray
Former State Senator David Storobin officially filed for term-limited Councilman Mike Nelson’s district today, setting the stage for what will likely be one of the few competitive general election race in heavily-Democratic New York City.
Politicker actually bumped into Mr. Storobin last night at a fund-raiser for socially conservative Democratic mayoral candidate Erick Salgado–although Mr. Storobin, a Republican, said his presence wasn’t an endorsement. The buzz among several attendees was that the former state lawmaker would indeed run for the seat, so we asked him where he was at in his decision-making process. He claimed to be undecided.
Rants & Raves
Thomas Lopez-Pierre’s email to developer Brian Benjamin began innocently enough. The New York City Council candidate even wished him a happy New Year.
But a few paragraphs later, Mr. Lopez-Pierre called the recipient an “uncle Tom Nigger bitch.” He berated Mr. Benjamin for being a black man fund-raising for one of Mr. Lopez-Pierre’s political rivals, Democratic district leader Mark Levine, in what has emerged as the most racially charged City Council race in the city.
“What good does it do our community (by this I mean Black and Hispanic people) to have uncle Tom Nigger bitches like you graduate from Ivy League schools if all you do is suck the cock of guys like Mark Levine?”