What’s in it for Andrew?
Why would Attorney General Andrew Cuomo headline an early March fund-raiser for state Senator Carl Kruger, a powerful but polarizing pol who most recently alienated Democrats by betraying a major progressive cause, same-sex marriage?
“I assumed it was just business as usual. Everyone is looking for friends,” mused one local lawmaker. “I assume there is a logical reason.”
Another longtime politico wondered if the maneuvering was more naivete than politics as usual.
“You are being the frog to Kruger’s scorpion,” the person said, referring to the old parable about human nature. (In the end, the scorpion stings the frog, who was helping him navigate across a river. “I’m a scorpion; it’s my nature,” is the explanation given as the two animals drown.)
But for Cuomo, appearances might be everything. A Democratic district leader told this column that the fund-raiser could work out in Cuomo’s favor. “It almost helps Andrew to push the progressives on this one and say, ‘screw you.’” Cuomo can simply say that he supports same sex marriage, and that there are plenty of people with whom he doesn’t agree with on every issue. “It makes it look like he won’t kowtow to special interests,” the district leader said.
A usually keen political observer said Cuomo might be taking out an insurance policy — against being stabbed — or stung — in the future. “If so, it won’t work.”
Skaller in Lowy’s camp
During all of the back and forth at the Independent Neighborhood Democrats’ (IND) Thursday meeting regarding the fate of President Kenn Lowy, a former Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats (CBID) president and City Council candidate probably made the most compelling speech about keeping Lowy on.
Instead of raising his hand and speaking, Josh Skaller ran to the front of the auditorium at St. Francis College and said gushed on Lowy’s integrity.
“He stood up for his convictions,” he explained, referring to how Lowy took a leave of absence as president of IND after the club voted to endorse John Heyer in last year’s race for the 39th Council District.
What was never said, but understood by many in the room was that Lowy supported Skaller in that race.
Political insiders saw Skaller’s plea to keep Lowy as president as a form of political payback. Others believed he was simply sticking up for his longtime friend.
Whatever it was, it didn’t have the desired effect — Lowy lost his re-election 68 to 13.
Bklyn reps tops in
Mother Nature knows who she’s voting for Congress this year — the incumbents.
All of Brooklyn’s Congressmembers were given high marks in the New York League of Conservation Voters 2009 National Environmental Scorecard.
According to their assessment, Congressmembers Jerrold Nadler (D-Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Borough Park and Bensonhurst), Ed Towns (D-Canarsie), Yvette Clarke (D-Park Slope) and Mike McMahon (D-Bay Ridge) all received 100 when it comes to voting on issues of clean energy, public lands, water and wildlife conservation.
Out of everyone in the Brooklyn delegation, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Sheepshead Bay) had the worst score, receiving an 86. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-Sunset Park) came in the middle, with a score of 93.
“Once again, New York ranks among the top congressional delegations in the nation when it comes to fighting for a clean energy future and a healthier environment,” said Marcia Bystryn, president of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “With few exceptions, their votes speak volumes to the growing importance of the environment as a voting issue across New York State. We applaud those who scored well, and we urge those who did not to re-examine their priorities and redouble their efforts to protect their constituents’ air, water, health and land.”
Pro-lifers are pro-Potter
The Right to Life party hasn’t had a place on New York State ballots since 2002. But, that hasn’t stopped the committee of the same name from trying to play a role in local elections.
Most recently, the Right to Life Committee endorsed Lucretia Regina-Potter for Assembly in the 49th Assembly District, represented by Democratic Assemblymember Peter Abbate since 1987.
The committee wrote Regina-Potter last month announcing their support, and calling her, “a tireless advocate for unborn children, the dependent elderly, people with disabilities and all innocent and vulnerable members of the human family who are continually threatened by the current culture.”
The 49th A.D. is arguably one of the most conservative districts in the borough, going for GOP candidate John McCain in 2008, when 70 percent of Brooklyn voters pulled the lever for Democrat Barack Obama.
Nonetheless, Regina-Potter – who has run twice against Abbate in the past – has her work cut out for her. In both 2008 and 2006, she lost to Abbate by a margin of approximately three to one.
Officials sweet and sour on New Domino
Despite considerable support from a number of North Brooklyn community organizations, most of Williamsburg’s public officials are largely opposed to the New Domino development project.
Assemblymember Joseph Lentol (D-Williamsburg) has criticized the proposal, which calls for an additional 2,200 units with towers from 6 to 40 stories, to the Williamsburg waterfront, claiming it is too dense for the neighborhood and will overwhelm subways, schools and roads. Assemblymember Vito Lopez (D-Williamsburg) also has voiced concerns over the height and density of the towers, though he has supported the proposed affordable housing levels of 30 percent.
While Council member Steve Levin (D-Williamsburg) has not stated a position on the development project, Council member Diana Reyna (D-Williamsburg) has given two positions, which have changed over time.
In an interview with the Brooklyn Paper in August 2007, Reyna said that she would not support the Domino project unless it included 1,000 units of affordable housing, instead of the 660 rental units initially proposed. Reyna changed her stance in an interview with WG News and Arts in February 2010, noting that New Domino was acceptable if it provided at least 20 percent affordable housing (it provides 30 percent).
A representative from Reyna’s office explained the difference in position due to the sale of condominium units offered for affordable homeownership, which is an entirely different metric. In the intervening years, the developers altered their plan to include an affordable homeownership component, which caused Reyna to change her support in favor of the project.
‘Pissed off teacher’
An angry New York City teacher is lashing out at Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city Education Department.
At http://pissedoffteeacher.blogspot.com, the educator, who doesn’t reveal his or her identity, criticizes DOE policies created under the Bloomberg.
“I have been teaching in NYC for over 30 years,” the educator writes. “I still love my classes and students but I can’t wait until I can go home at the end of the day. I use this blog to express my frustrations about the way teaching has changed. I don’t want to retire but sometimes feel I can’t go on any longer the way the system is now.”
Hey, Brad Lander, we know you’re still new to the New York City Council so we thought we’d help you out a little.
The other night at the 66th Precinct Community Council meeting on 13th Avenue you kind of blanked on naming all of the committees you’ve been appointed to serve.
Sounded like you got five of them right, so here’s the complete list: Economic Development, Environmental Protection, General Welfare, Housing & Buildings, Land Use and Waterfronts.
You’re also chairman of the sub committee on Landmarks, Public Siting & Maritime Uses.
Don’t spread yourself too thin, and good luck.
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