Last Tuesday’s elections settled contentious races across the city, but for good-government advocates, the fight for campaign finance reform is still ramping up.
Various winners in City Council primaries gathered with members of Common Cause New York on the steps of City Hall today to castigate the influence of independent expenditures, especially Jobs for New York, a group backed by real estate interests.
exiting stage right
Thomas Lopez-Pierre, a Manhattan City Council candidate infamous for a series of racially-charged, slur-filled emails attacking electoral rival Mark Levine, will end his campaign and instead focus on a run for district leader.
“I am ending my campaign for City Council because I believe we in the black and Latino community need to take responsibility for the potential loss of political leadership and need to come together and rally around beating Mark Levine,” Mr. Lopez-Pierre told Politicker this afternoon. “We need to ensure we provide black and Latino leadership in Harlem.”
Upper Manhattan’s Barack Obama Democratic Club voted last night on its endorsements, and the list might surprise you. The home club of City Councilman Robert Jackson and City Council candidate Mark Levine, a long-time ally of State Sen. Adriano Espaillat, gave its nods to Public Advocate Bill de Blasio for mayor and City Councilwoman Letitia James for public advocate.
It also voted to endorse Mr. Jackson for Manhattan borough president and–unsurprisingly–Mr. Levine for the 7th District council seat, currently held by the term-limited Mr. Jackson.
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?”
Over the weekend, the influential Working Families Party announced their support in a number of key races across the city, sending a signal of labor support as candidates vie for a seat in the City Council next year.
“New Yorkers have a huge opportunity to decide the direction of our city. It’s time to choose whether we’ll be a city that caters to the rich and powerful 1%, or whether New York City can work for all of us,” Bill Lipton, the party’s deputy director, said in a statement. “Every day New Yorkers can count on WFP-endorsed candidates to stand up for all of us.”
Over the weekend, Thomas Lopez-Pierre, an uptown activist who has been running a Council campaign characterized by a series of angry, racially charged emails sent another missive endorsing Robert Jackson, the man he’s trying to replace. Mr. Jackson is prevented by term limits from running for re-election to his council seat and is instead pursuing the Manhattan borough presidency. However, Mr. Jackson is clearly not eager to have Mr. Lopez-Pierre’s endorsement.
“We totally reject Thomas Lopez-Pierre. Throughout his life, Robert Jackson has been a leader fighting for justice and understanding and against bigotry and intolerance,” Richard Fife, Mr. Jackson’s spokesman, said in a statement. “He has condemned the racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic rants of Lopez-Pierre in the strongest way possible.”
levine la vida loca
Mark Levine, a Democratic district leader campaigning for the seat held by outgoing Councilman Robert Jackson, is flexing his political muscles even as attention in the race has shifted to the racially-charged epithets used against him and his supporters. Indeed, this morning Mr. Levine announced he has received the formal endorsements of three notable elected officials on the northern side of Manhattan: Congressman Jerry Nadler, State Senator Adriano Espaillat and Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito.
You've Got Mail
Thomas Lopez-Pierre, a candidate for an Uptown City Council seat who has been making a series of racially-charged arguments against one of his rivals in the race, Mark Levine, has taken things to a whole other level. In an email filled with racial slurs, expletives and violent rhetoric, Mr. Lopez-Pierre blasted Brian Benjamin, a real estate developer, for deciding “to pick Mark Levine the only White/Jewish guy in the race to raise money for.”
Mr. Lopez-Pierre went on to call Mr. Benjamin an “Uncle Tom” who by joining Mr. Levine’s campaign, “sold out the Black people of Harlem.”
The email was addressed to Mr. Benjamin and over 30 Uptown political figures, including Mr. Levine. Politicker has confirmed the email was sent from Mr. Lopez-Pierre’s address.
Thomas Lopez-Pierre, a Harlem activist with a controversial past who is running for term-limited Councilman Robert Jackson’s seat, circulated an email late last night in an attempt to plan a “private meeting” to “discuss the potential damage to the political empowerment of the Black and Hispanic community if Mark Levine, a White/Jewish candidate was elected to the 7th Council District in 2013.” This morning, Mr. Lopez-Pierre told Politicker he isn’t organizing the meeting himself and is working on behalf of a larger group who became concerned when they read a report on the political blog The Perez Notes that the Upper Manhattan political machine headed by State Senator Adriano Espaillat and Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez has been working to “clear” the crowded field of candidates running for the seat to help Mr. Levine win.
“Now that he actually has a chance to win it’s scaring people,” said Mr. Lopez-Pierre. “So, what started first as a discussion of the blog post has now mushroomed among candidates and community leaders into basically a ‘Stop Levine’ campaign.”
In The Heights
Northern Manhattan, the highest point of the island, largely escaped the kind of devastation Hurricane Sandy caused elsewhere in the five boroughs, however residents and politicians from the area are pitching in with a storm relief telethon this afternoon that will be broadcast on La Mega radio station and at least three Spanish-language cable television outlets. The telethon includes planned appearances by the New York Yankees’ star second baseman Robinson Cano, several of the likely 2013 mayoral candidates and a slew of area politicos.
“Although Upper Manhattan has been spared by the storm, we recognize our responsibility to help fellow New Yorkers,” State Senator Adriano Espaillat, who organized the event, said in a statement. “The Uptown Cares Telethon will directly help raise funds for victims on Staten Island and around the City.”