June 11, 2013 / Brooklyn news / Politics / Williamsburg / Checkin’ in with...

Assembly candidate Jason Otano checks in with The Brooklyn Paper

The Brooklyn Paper
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Community Board 1 member Jason Otano says that he’s the guy to help North Brooklyn forget about Vito Lopez.

Otano, 34, announced on Monday that he is running for state assembly seat that Lopez held for 27 years — until resigning over a scathing report detailing the former Democratic county chairman’s sexual harassment of staffers.

Otano used to be borough President Markowitz’top lawyer, and now he’s the head of CB1’s Economic Development Committee. The primary will be held on Sept. 10, with Maritza Davila also running for the Democratic nomination.

On the day that Otano officially announced his candidacy on the steps of Borough Hall, he checked in with Danielle Furfaro.

DF: Why are you running for Vito Lopez’s Assembly seat?

JO: Our representation in this state has not been on par with what I think the people of these communities deserve. I believe that we can bring honesty and respect to politics in a way that hasn’t existed in a long time.

DF: How do you plan to bring back that honesty and respect?

JO: I have tried to be a voice for progressive politics and worked with community groups on issues from affordable housing, environmental rights, equal access to education and access to justice in general.

DF: What do you mean by access to justice?

JO: We have a real issue in this country with poor folks being underrepresented in the court system. I believe we can fix that so that poor folks have a chance at actual justice.

DF: What do you think about Vito Lopez and the work that he did while in office?

JO: He’s done a lot in the district and his level of support throughout the years speaks to that. But we’ve also witnessed how he’s suffocated organizations and affected their ability to thrive. We’ve seen that going beyond just policy to the way he disrespects women and how he’s treated folks. There’s clearly a moral gap. While he has been effective as an assemblyman, I think I can do that without foregoing respect for women and respect for the community.


Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at
Updated 10:11 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Michelle from Park Slope says:
I don't want to burst any bubbles - but can this man really run for office being an illegal immigrant? It just strikes me as wrong. Like they say in his language, no bueno.
June 11, 2013, 6:43 am
Martha Rivera from Bed Stuy says:
Mr. Otaño is Puerto Rican. He's a U. S. Citizen just as much as others.
June 11, 2013, 7:55 am
MattfromBrooklyn from Williamsburg says:
It is good to see a young latino running for politics. I hope he stays true to his word and his working-class foundation that his father instilled. Jason is a PUERTO RICAN which makes him a U.S. Citizen as much as you MICHELLE FROM PARK SLOPE. If you care to comment perhaps you should check your facts. Are you even originally from Brooklyn? Do you know the concerns of the the ORIGINAL Brooklynites? Or are you a hipster transplant from Idaho coming to do yoga in Park slope??? your comment was tacky and extremely uneducated!!
June 11, 2013, 8:12 am
ty from pps says:
Wow, Michelle.... Did you even know how ignorant you are?
June 11, 2013, 8:33 am
ty from pps says:
btw, MattfromBrooklyn... the "original Brooklynite" comment is equally tacky. I'd love to know your definition. I have a feeling it has nothing to do with where someone is born. I bet a whole lot of "original Brooklynites" wouldn't make it on your list.
June 11, 2013, 8:36 am
Freddy from Bushwick says:
This guy knows next to nothing about the district he's running in. He's lived in North Brooklyn for likeonly two years. He moved to this district just to run for office. This article is an incredible puff piece. No mention of how he lost by more than 40% percentage points to Martin Dilan last year because no one knew who he was. No mention of what kind of law this guy actually practices. Public interest law? Access to justice? Has Otano ever represented any of the tenants being pushed out of the district in Court? This guy talks a good game but he's no more than an empty suit looking for an easy gig.
June 11, 2013, 8:44 am
Nicasio from Williamsburg says:
First, aside from Jason's political run, he is an American, of Puerto Rican descent. Born and raised in Brooklyn.

Now, onto politics, from my understanding, Jason established a very respectful footprint as BK BP liaison to the Mitchell Lama council ( a significant and relevant program for many of the district, if not all of Brooklyn's, underprivileged residents. Secondly, he was a board member for New York City Employees' Retirement System (NYCERS), another significant and relevant program for many of our civil servants. These are just 2 of the many accomplishments he has had in his albeit young political career.

A claim of him being an empty suit is as empty as the comment box before many of these silly words were written.
June 11, 2013, 9:06 am
Sam from Greenpoint says:
You see how Nicasio didn't answer any of the questions Freddy raised but merely pointed to assignments he had when he worked for Marty Markowitz? Seems to acknowledge the truth of the above statements not undermine them.
June 11, 2013, 9:55 am
Vito Gropez from North Brooklyn says:
"Illegal Immigrant?" Lol- Michelle from Park Slope is clearly just trolling for attention. Or as they say in her language: "esta persona es aburrido y sin trabajo y no tiene amigos."

Jason IS THE ONLY candidate running for this seat that is not a puppet or stooge of the previous creep Lopez. If you want to continue to get played for fools, then by all means support the cronies and phonies of the Lopez era, including Dilan's people or any other clown running. But, if you want to send a rep to Albany who doesn't owe his political career to a group of sleaze bag politicians that have abused the public's trust and tax payer dollars for over a generation, then there is only one choice, Jay Otano.
June 11, 2013, 10:06 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Matt, it's pretty obvious that Michelle is originally from Brooklyn. Didn't you notice her nativism? It matches yours.
June 11, 2013, 10:08 am
Nicasio from Williamsburg says:
Sam - if you, or Freddy, had a basic understanding of the role of the GC of the Boro BP, you would understand that it's core responsibilities deal with Public Interest law, policy and the promotion of policy to meet the needs of underserved constituents. Jason's loss to Dilan last year by 40 points is an anamoly, in that he was able to pull 30% of the vote, during his first time ever campaign, run within a tightened 2-3 month period, and is seen throughout political circles as a significant start up for a first time candidate.

If you both understood what mitchell lama is, then you Sam would retract your statement.

He is not a litigator, he worked to set forth the policy that governs the litigation in the courtroom for those tenants. See the forest for the trees.
June 11, 2013, 11:03 am
Sam from Greenpoint says:
Seems pretty clear that Otano clearly owes his political career to sleaze bag politicians. Look Markowitz and Reyna and Velasquez are in the picture with him. He doesn't do a thing without asking them first. And he hasn't had any political accomplishment (community board appointment, this or that chair on a "task force"), that didn't come directly from his reliance on them. Nice try.
June 11, 2013, 11:03 am
Nicasio from WB says:
Not sure I get what you are trying to say other than move onto some other type of slander. I'd ask, what are you doing now that you aren't helping protect and serve Vito Gropez? Working for his puppet?
June 11, 2013, 11:23 am
Sam from Greenpoint says:
First of all, it isn't slander. You should look up what that means. Otano is an entertainment lawyer that has taken the easy way every time. Sitting on a board and going to meetings doesn't help people. Second, your self righteousness seems to keep you from recognizing that Davila has worked in the district or over twenty years. She has worked w tenants and business owners, she has worked w schools and parents. Day in a day out she has done the thankless work of helping community members that need assistance. For over twenty years. After Lopez is gone she will still be here. She is an example of someone from the neighborhood overcoming the challenges that many in the neighborhood face and your semi coherent dismissal won't erase that for the voters in the 53rd who remember when she was there to help them. That's why she's going to win too.
June 11, 2013, 12:59 pm
John from Bushwick says:
Simply a point of reference. There is another candidate who is vying for the seat, Charvey Gonzalez.
June 11, 2013, 1:38 pm
Joel from Coney Island says:
I'm amazed that none of the reader feedback includes a sintging criticism of Danielle Furfaro, whose article is, as Freddy of Bushwick correctly observes, an incredible puff piece. Worse, Furfaro relegates Maritza Davila to the position of an also-ran by including her almost as an afterthought in the paragraph touting Jason Otano's resume. I know nothing about the history or merits of these two candidates, but Davila surely deserves the same publicity that The Brooklyn Paper has afforded Otano.
June 11, 2013, 1:50 pm
Diane from Mill Basin says:
Anyone who runs for the state assembly deserves to have "Ass." printed in front of their name.
June 11, 2013, 2:02 pm
Carlos from Bushwick says:
Otaño who? Oh Nydia's puppet. He was offered the Senate seat by her and lost by a BIG margin now he wants to run for Assembly. I am sorry people but I am tired of all this political B.S. You give me a candidate that has worked with the community and has ACTUALLY helped us and I'll support you 100% and believe me my support counts when it comes to votes. I VOTE FOR WHO WORKS! not puppets!!!!!!!
June 11, 2013, 2:17 pm
manhatposeur from brokeland says:
I got a gut feeling that Mike Otano might be much more hipster friendly than Vito Lopez was who seemed to me catered to Old Skool Brooklyn people.
June 11, 2013, 2:23 pm
Gropez Lopez from Bushwick says:
Are you people for real? both Maritza Davila and Charvey Gonzalez owe everything to Vito Lopez and Martin Dilan. Just look them up. Why would any of you even consider them for your vote. Stop being so clueless.
June 11, 2013, 6:33 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Baffling how so many legitimate questions are so clouded by hatred and indecency. Does anyone here seriously think any of their legitimate questions about Otaño's residency and relevancy are going to be answered while we're first hurdling over petulance? I bet that Otaño would welcome the opportunity to answer the legitimate questions raised here, and I'm equally certain he'd do it if all this other nonsense if first checked at the door.
June 11, 2013, 7:29 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
...*is first checked...
June 11, 2013, 7:30 pm
harriet from Brooklyn says:
I love how the pro-Vito crowd seems to be glad to call Otaño an illegal immigrant, but they don't seem to mind that Vito Lopez might be guilty of odious crimes.
June 12, 2013, 2:11 pm
Bill from Williamsburg says:
WOW!! Some people are worried about the political aspiration of this lawyer..... Vito Lopez and his minions have their days counted in politics .... The people have already tired of corrupt politicians, we need honest and decent people.
June 13, 2013, 11:34 am

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