Brooklyn Politics: Legislating fun on Purim

Dilan and James,

together again

It takes two.

Brooklyn Council members Erik Dilan (D-Bushwick) and Letitia James (D-Fort Greene) will share the chair position of the Brooklyn delegation, as members met on March 3 to hammer out leadership assignments. James and Dilan have co-chaired the delegation for the past two years.

Speculation earlier this week that Dilan would face a different challenger from central Brooklyn dissolved as both Dilan and James were approved with no objections Wednesday morning.

“We’re going to remain as co-chairs, there are no other nominations. It was uncontested. There is a contested election regarding budget negotiator between Sara Gonzalez and Charles Barron,” said Dilan.

When asked about having any concerns over a possible challenge, Dilan demurred, saying that it was discussed but delegation members hugged it out.

“My concern was not the challenge itself but how we worked with each other for the next four years, and that was addressed,” said Dilan.

Earlier this year, Dilan was reappointed Chair of the Council’s Housing Committee while James received the Chairmanship of the Sanitation Committee after leading Oversight for the past four years. James was unavailable for comment.

Carlo’s on the commission

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Charter Revision Commission has a bit of Brooklyn moxie.

Carlo A. Scissura, a former community board member and chief of staff to Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, was appointed to the New York City Charter Revision Commission Wednesday.

Scissura is one of three Brooklynites who will take part in reviewing the Mayor’s proposed reorganization of city government. It’s been long rumored that the commission may sound the death knell to community boards and the public advocate’s office.

“I believe it’s imperative the borough presidents have a strong voice on the Charter Revision Commission, and I am grateful and honored to be appointed by Mayor Bloomberg to serve with my esteemed colleagues,” said Scissura in a statement. “I anticipate the Commission will be reviewing any number of issues important to New Yorkers and soliciting input from the community, civic organizations and others, and I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work on the best course for New York City’s bright future.”

Other Brooklynites in the commission include John H. Banks, vice president for Government Relations at Con Edison, and David Chen, the Executive Director of the Chinese-American Planning Council Inc.

Pols party on Purim

Brooklyn’s newest Council members celebrated Purim, a joyous Jewish celebration, in style, though not necessarily in costume.

Council member Steve Levin (D-Williamsburg) eschewed a costume but attended B’nai Avraham shul in Greenpoint as well as several Purim parties throughout his district.

“My district is filled with diverse and vibrant Jewish communities. I had the pleasure of visiting Purim celebrations from Greenpoint to Brooklyn Heights, in both shuls and homes,” said Levin. “I would like to thank everyone for welcoming me into their communities to take part in this festive holiday.”

In southern Brooklyn, Council member Brad Lander (D-Borough Park) read from the Megillah dressed up as “a politician in a clown hat.” This was after reaching out to the Department of Sanitation to clear snow from the streets of Borough Park in advance of the anticipated revelry.

“I led a rousing chant of “Esther for Queen” and wondered why King Ahashuerus did not have to appear before an ethics review panel regarding the circumstances surrounding Vashti’s death,” said Lander. “My 6-year-old daughter came as Esther, of course.”

Adams: Stop the Dave hate

Governor David Paterson’s got a friend in State Senator Eric Adams, or at least a guy who wants to get some work done before the Albany legislators go home in June.

Amid all the widespread gossip and repeated phrases of “I told you so,” and “I never liked that guy to begin with” after Paterson’s announcement that he will not be seeking re-election, Senator Adams only had one thing to say: Cram it!

Instead of focusing on the latest scandal, in which Paterson allegedly colluded with the New York State police to cover up a domestic violence charge against one of his top aides, Adams urged everyone to get back to hammering out the budget.

“I respect the decision by Paterson to terminate his campaign for a full four-year term, and I urge that any further discussion of his future await the outcome of investigative endeavors,” he said in a statement. “The State of New York faces unprecedented fiscal difficulties. The promulgation of a carefully crafted budget is our highest priority. It is of utmost importance that we tackle and solve the challenging issues facing our state, and I strongly urge that all our attention be devoted to these matters.”

Adams has always been a longtime supporter of Paterson, although he did see the writing on the wall. When asked a few weeks ago who he was going to support for Governor, Paterson or Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, he said that he was supporting Paterson because no other Democrats have announced their candidacy.

Group to target Kruger?

Philanthropist and software billionaire Tim Gill’s new political action committee called Fight Back New York is targeting lawmakers who voted against the marriage equality bill. And the lone Brooklyn Democrat in the Senate who voted against the bill, State Senator Carl Kruger, may fall squarely in the group’s sights.

“They only have a few fish they are going after,” one longtime political observer surmised.

The group first set their sights on disgraced Senator Hiram Monserrate, who was expelled from office after a court found him guilty of misdemeanor domestic abuse. Monserrate could run in a special election convened to fill his vacant seat. Another target may be Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr., a vocal opponent of gay marriage.

The PAC could spend $3 million on Kruger’s seat alone, a person with familiarity with the kinds of strategies employed by Fight Back New York said. “Kruger’s not one of 50, he’s one of a handful. There are not that many people to hide behind,” the person said.

When contacted, a spokesman for Fight Back New York said they haven’t fleshed out their hit list just yet.

“Fight Back New York has not targeted any State Senators — yet — beyond Monserrate,” the spokesman said. “We will turn to the future, with allies and activists, after March 16.”

A similar PAC, RebootNY, has said it would love to target Kruger — but the lawmaker is too powerful and popular in his southern Brooklyn district, which led one usually keen politco to chirp, “My guess is the gays use Kruger to raise money, but spend it elsewhere.”

Lazar mixes religion, politics

As Jews across the 44th District celebrated Purim, Joe Lazar, candidate for the 44th District City Council seat, found a new way to get his name across to voters in heavily Jewish Borough Park.

The Lazar team has produced a series of business card sized Rebbe-Cards, which feature pictures of prominent Rabbis with a Joe Lazar campaign poster on the reverse side.

Many of the young Orthodox and Hasidic boys collect these cards like baseball cards around the holiday, according to political insiders, who found this a sure fire way to bring Lazar’s name into every Orthodox household in Borough Park.

Lazar is in a heated race with David Greenfield and Jonathan Judge to replace former City Council member Simcha Felder.

The district encompasses Borough Park, Bensonhurst and Midwood. The election is March 23.

Where are the pols?

At last week’s Marine Park Civic Association meeting, the group’s president was surprised that not a single local elected official attended.

Reps for state Assemblyman Alan Maisel and state Senator Marty Golden were present. City Councilman Lew Fidlers rep was absent due to a personal matter.

“There’s no political representation tonight,” Civic President Greg Borruso said.

However, he didn’t seem to mind too much.

“We’re not too political but we get a lot of things done,” he said of the civic.

Our bad

We had a bit of egg on our face last week when we learned that Congressman Jerrold Nadler, holder of the keys of Brooklyn’s great 8th District, does not represent Brooklyn Heights, as we had written.

We wrote he did in an item about environmental legislation last week, but were set ramrod straight when Nadler aide Ilan Kayatsky fired off this quick email: “Just for the record, Congressman Nadler does not represent Brooklyn Heights. In Brooklyn, he represents Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Borough Park and Bensonhurst.”

Well, thanks for the heads up, Ilan. But, if you checked out your own website, you would have seen that your boss owns a bit more Brooklyn real estate, to wit: Red Hook, Sunset Park, Gravesend, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach and Seagate.

Nadler also represents several acres in Manhattan, including the Upper West Side, Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea, SoHo, Greenwich Village, TriBeCa, the Financial District and Battery Park City.

That being said, we just have to wonder: Why do we keep seeing him in Park Slope and downtown Brooklyn? Is he scouting out new territory?

Backing the broken horse

While many state lawmakers made no bones about how they wanted to see Governor David Paterson step down, Assembly member Dov Hikind (D-Borough Park) was behind the governor to the bitter end.

“I believe in loyalty. It’s my trademark and I don’t abandon friends. I will not turn my back and will stay with Paterson,” said Hikind, just days before the governor’s scandal-scarred time in office forced him step away from his expected re-election bid.

Hikind said while Paterson has made some mistakes, he continues to make tough decisions in what to do with a $6, $7 or $8 billion deficit. You have to either increase taxes or cut services, he said.

“I like his determination, I don’t know where it’s coming from,” said Hikind. “The governor actually called me on my cell phone a couple of days ago and he asked me point blank, ‘are you with me?’ and I said David as long as you’re running I’m with you.”

Hey Dov! Any idea who you’re backing now?

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