PBA puts money where its mouth is

Councilman: Public school staff telling immigrant Brooklyn students to ‘start packing their bags’ after Trump election
File photo by Stefano Giovannini

We don’t usually write much about endorsements, but when a union as large as the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association is throwing its support — and likely large sums of cash — behind a challenger over an incumbent, we take notice.

That’s what happen when the Wall Street Journal reported that the union representing the city’s beat cops was putting lots of money — “hundreds of thousands of dollars,” a union rep confirmed — where its mouth is.

The union, which represents nearly 50,000 active and retired men and women in blue, will spend that money on candidates it has endorsed. It’s normal for unions to come out for candidates — giving those pols a bold-faced name to put at the bottom of their own ads — but it is another thing for them to buck up on the candidates’ behalf. And when they do so, rules must be followed to insure those ads don’t run afoul of political contribution laws.

In Brooklyn, some of that money could be targeting Sunset Park Councilman Carlos Menchaca.

The P.B.A. has already come out in favor of cop-friendly Assemblyman Felix Ortiz in that race over the incumbent.

Union honchos say they are backing the Assembly’s assistant speaker over the freshman legislator because Ortiz has a better track record of standing with those in uniform, according the president of the union in a statement released on July 24.

“New York City police officers have the backs of all New Yorkers. But we can’t perform our jobs at the highest level if there aren’t leaders out there who also have our backs,” said Patrick Lynch, of Ortiz and two other council candidates. “We’re proud to endorse these candidates, and we hope New Yorkers will join us in supporting them.”

And Menchaca’s record of support has been a little more rocky — he refused to meet with union leaders earlier this year when they were trying to work with Council members across party lines to get support for a fair contract, according to a union source.

But Menchaca, who currently has $89,008 in his war chest, retorted that he will never back down from the fight for criminal justice reform or ending the controversial broken-windows policing.

“I will never waver in my progressive values, especially when there’s so much work to be done in communities of color in this city and across the country,” he said in an e-mailed statement. “On crucial issues of criminal justice reform, I am focused on building strong ties between the police and our community while fighting to end broken-windows policing.”

Ortiz, who has $65,026 in his campaign coffers, said he was happy to receive the union’s endorsement.

“I am very proud to be endorsed by the finest men and women of the P.B.A. The protection they provide to the community is vital,” he said in a statement. “As someone that has family members in the law enforcement, I truly understand the sacrifices that they bring to the job.”

Menchaca also faces challenges from former Sunset Park Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez, who has $62,524 in the bank, former Sunset Park Assemblyman Javier Nieves, with $6,900 in cash, and Sunset Park attorney Delvis Valdes, who has raised $30,072, but who has recently come under fire for failing to maintain buildings he owns around the district.

• • •

Candidate is
off the market

Republican Council candidate Liam McCabe popped the question to his girlfriend on July 23 — and she said yes!

McCabe got down on one knee atop the pitcher’s mound at MCU Park in Coney Island and surprised girlfriend of five years Christine Sisto when he asked her to spend the rest of his life with him. They are both overjoyed, but don’t plan to say their vows until after the upcoming fall election, McCabe said.

“I don’t think she expected. I wanted to let her know we are going to be together win, lose, whatever the future holds,” he said. “It feels great, an amazing feeling just to make it official.”

• • •

The Green Field

Now that Political operative Kalman Yeger has his sights set on a new seat thanks to Borough Park Councilman David Greenfield, it seemed that Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay) would smoothly sail to re-election.

But the one-term councilman could still face an uphill battle in the Democratic primary from challenger Marat Filler, a Russian Orthodox Jew who lives in Trump Village.

Filler, who runs a catering company, is eager to take on the sitting councilman, and hopes that now with Yeger out of the race, more people will realize he’s in the running.

“I didn’t feel the community was being represented by the councilman,” Filler said. “It could have been lost in translation, but now anybody who is disappointed with the status quo will find out who I am.”

And Filler says he already has a lot of support and name recognition within the district’s large Russian community.

Filler has $10,700 in his campaign coffers compared to Deutsch’s $91,557, according to city records.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
She said yes!: Bay Ridge city council candidate Liam McCabe popped the question to his girlfriend Christine Sisto at MCU Park in Coney Island on July 23.
Gerry O’Brien