When Lynn Smith, the niece of ex-State Sen. Shirley Huntley, wrote to a federal judge in February to beg for leniency for her indicted aunt, she neglected to mention one crucial fact of her own story: she had pleaded guilty to stealing $30,000 a week earlier.
The National Organization for Marriage has taken its anti-gay marriage efforts down to a local level, purchasing advertisements in the special election to replace former State Senator Carl Kruger. A reader found one of these ads in the Orthodox Jewish publication Country Yossi Magazine.
“We Need A Senator Who Supports Torah Values,” the ad’s headline reads, before going after the Democratic candidate. “Lew Fidler voted to support same-gender ‘marriage,’ a forbidden act under the Torah.”
The ad’s featured photo is the Republican candidate, attorney David Storobin, standing in between Majority Leader Dean Skelos and State Senator Marty Golden, surrounded by Rabbis. Below is a photo of Mr. Storobin with Rabbi Yisroel Belsky, who the New York Times once described as “prominent and influential.” According to the ad, Rabbi Belsky says it is forbidden “to provide public recognition or any kind of assistance to Lew Fidler … Rabbi Yisroel Belsky endorses David Storobin, who will support Torah Values.”
In a special election competition that had been increasingly marred with negative personal attacks between the two candidates, a substantive issue has finally emerged that the candidates are staking their ground on: tuition relief for private school students, especially those attending yeshivas in the heavily Jewish district.
Earlier this morning, the Republican candidate in the race to replace corrupt former State Senator Carl Kruger, David Storobin, sent out a positive press release touting his support for a voucher system granting money to parents of private school students.
“The voucher issue is a big one in this district,” Mr. Storobin said in the statement. “For the orthodox Jewish, it’s particularly important. Private tuition for yeshivas can be as much as $10,000 or more per high school student, and almost as much for children in primary school. To a family with five or six children, that is a tremendous burden.”
Pat Maher, a former Democratic Congressional candidate whose 2010 biography described her as “the Director of Development and Community Relations for a not-for-profit health care foundation covering Long Island,” told The Politicker this afternoon she intends to run against one of two Republican State Senators, Kemp Hannon or Jack Martins, this year. This could set up a competitive Democratic primary as there is already a Democratic candidate, Ryan Cronin, running against Mr. Hannon.
“I’m committed, but I’m not committed as to which race,” Mr. Maher said, indicating her decision will be made based on how New York’s chaotic redistricting process works itself out.
Councilman Lew Fidler, the Democratic candidate in the special election to replace former State Senator Carl Kruger, is sending out direct mail advocating a heavy increase in state funding to Jewish education institutions. Restraining yeshiva tuition costs is one of the key political issues in the district’s Orthodox neighborhoods, a fact Mr. Fidler is surely aware of.
Yeshiva tuition aid also played a key role in the politics surrounding Mr. Kruger’s seat as he was battling his federal corruption charges. Last April, City & State reported Majority Leader Dean Skelos received a promise of electoral support from the politically powerful social services organization Agudath Israel when he muscled through $18 million in tuition assistance for rabbinical students despite a then-$10 billion deficit.
Earlier this morning, the outspoken State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. called on Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos to investigate Buffalo State Senator Mark Grisanti, who’s currently entangled in allegations that he instigated a fight in a bizarre casino brawl that left his wife wounded.
“There are too many versions of what happened the night of February 10, 2012 in the Seneca Niagara Casino,” Mr. Diaz said in the statement. “There is another story floating around where many people are claiming that Senator Grisanti threw the first punch and that he hit a woman. If this is so, these are very serious accusations.”
Mr. Diaz then pivoted to a past incident where one of his allies, State Senator Hiram Monserrate, was accused of slashing his girlfriend’s face with a piece of glass in 2009. Mr. Monserrate was subsequently convicted of misdemeanor and the State Senate voted to expel him from their legislative body.
At a chilly press conference in southern Brooklyn this afternoon, the Republican candidate in the special election to replace former State Senator Carl Kruger, David Storobin, laid out a barrage of attacks against his Democratic opponent, Councilman Lew Fidler.
“Mr. Fidler’s character renders him unfit to serve in the State Senate,” Mr. Storobin firmly stated early in his speech. “This is not a statement I make lightly. I realize the implications of what I’m saying.”