What’s up with that, Chachi?
Dyker Heights born Scott Baio is now apparently a political satirist — but it’s unclear if anyone is laughing with the 40-something actor.
The former “Happy Days” star Twittered his way to controversy last week, writing, “WOW He wakes up to this every morning” alongside a link to an unflattering picture of Michelle Obama. The tweet was predictably ill-received, with many in the Twitterverse branding Baio a racist. It’s even been reported that he’s received death threats.
Baio answered his critics, saying, “I POST A LOT OF JOKES WITH PICS. They are JUST that, a joke. NOT targeting anyone. Laughter IS the best medicine.” (The use of all caps is his own.)
He even offered proof he’s no hater, saying, “If I’m racist, don’t think I would have directed shows like ‘The Parkers’ and ‘The Wayans Bros.’ or worked 41 eps w/ Victoria Rowell on D. Murder.”
No tweet yet about when Baio is planning to jump the shark.
Monserrate’s fate in Kruger’s hands
A resolution to kick embattled State Senator Hiram Monserrate out of the Senate is now in the hands of an “amigo.”
The bill, drafted by Senator Brian Foley, has been brought to the Senate Finance Committee for consideration — which is now led by State Senator Carl Kruger (D -Mill Basin), thanks in part to Monserrate.
Kruger told the Daily Politics website that the resolution wouldn’t be debated until the first two weeks of February, because the Finance committee is currently embroiled in budget hearings.
He also didn’t comment on the irony that his committee could decide the fate of Monserrate — one of the three amigos who held up key leadership decisions in the Senate last year and helped elevate him to Finance chair.
“There are 62 members in this house. I consider all 62 my amigos,” he told reporter Elizabeth Benjamin. “And I consider all 62 my allies, and we will differ from time to time. We’ll have both practical as well as philosophical positions that we don’t agree with, but at the end of the day we’re all colleagues and there should be some collegiality that we function under. That’s the basis that I want to deal with the issues that I approach.”
Foley’s resolution is not connected to the findings of a special expulsion committee that recommended Monserrate be drummed out of the Senate chamber. Monserrate, who was arrested for beating his girlfriend, wasn’t convicted of any felony charges — which would have automatically led to his resignation — but convicted of a misdemeanor and sentenced to probation.
Greenfield does Fox TV
David Greenfield, candidate in the 44th District City Council race, recently appeared on Fox 5 News to denounce a recent story about racial and religious profiling.
Specifically, Greenfield defended the Jewish teen using tefillin during prayers on US Air Flight 3079 heading from New York to Louisville, Kentucky. Stunned by the practice, the flight crew notified the pilot, who decided to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia.
The teen, who was cooperative the entire time, was held for questioning by local and federal law-enforcement authorities, then allowed to continue his trip when it was clear the tefillin, and his prayers, were harmless.
“It becomes more and more clear that when a Jew is putting on tefillin, or when a Christian is reading from a Bible, or when a Muslim is praying, those people are just trying to practice their faith peacefully,” said Greenfield. “Public safety policy should be based on legitimate and proven law enforcement techniques and intelligence gathering. We can’t stop a flight for every Jew with tefillin or Christian with a bible, especially when they have had their carry-on items x-rayed.”
Greenfield, an attorney, is running against Joe Lazar to replace Councilman Simcha Felder, who is vacating his seat to become a Deputy Comptroller in the New York City Comptroller’s office.
The 44th Council District includes the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Borough Park, Midwood and Bensonhurst.
Agreeing to be disagreeable
While erstwhile rivals Democratic City Councilmember Vincent Gentile and GOP State Senator Marty Golden appear to be in the midst of a truce, they are unlikely to be celebrating with each other any time soon.
After watching a lineup of former chairs of Community Board 10 — Democrats and Republicans — ceremoniously pass a gavel along to the newly inaugurated Chairperson, Joanne Seminara, Gentile wondered out loud whether he should ask the councilmember who preceded him – that would be Golden – to pass the gavel to him when he holds his inauguration ceremony for the community on January 30th.
“But, I don’t think it would be that harmonious,” he added, smiling.
State passes ethics reform
State legislators passed comprehensive ethics legislation in both the State Senate and the State Assembly last week to clean up decades of practices that has fomented a reputation of corruption and dysfunction in Albany among legislators.
The legislation includes provisions to create an autonomous investigative body to oversee legislative ethics, require greater disclosure from lobbyists, and help enforce greater adherence to campaign finance laws. A second measure in the bill prohibits public employees from using state property for private business purposes.
“I am pleased that today we are one step closer to passing ethics reform into law; but make no mistake, the fight has only begun,” said State Senator Daniel Squadron (D-Brooklyn Heights), who sponsored the ethics package. “By passing this package, we can fill the Bruno Gap in our state’s ethics laws and begin to restore New Yorkers’ faith in government. In addition to the immediate reforms being voted on by the Legislature, I am committed to continuing to work for further reform, including more disclosure and comprehensive campaign finance reform.”
Those commitments were echoed by Assemblymember Joan Millman (D-Boerum Hill) who, with Speaker Sheldon Silver, sponsored the bill in the Assembly.
“I am proud to have played a role in crafting this legislation, which will help clean up Albany,” said Millman. “These sweeping campaign finance reforms will create stiffer penalties for violators and bring much-needed transparency to the electoral process. These reforms are our first step towards regaining the public’s trust.”
The bill passed the Assembly 137-2, with one of the no votes cast by Brooklyn Assemblyman Vito Lopez, who noted his opposition due to his concerns with statue of limitations components of the bill.
The legislatures delivered the bill to Governor David Paterson on January 21, though Paterson has threatened to veto the measure.
Nadler says Lander is best above rest
The Prospect Park Picnic House was the place to be on a drippy recent Sunday afternoon, where scores of public officials, campaign volunteers, and supporters from Borough Park to Park Slope witnessed the installation of Council member Brad Lander (D-39th District).
A few of his political rivals showed up too, including former candidates Josh Skaller, Bob Zuckerman and Joseph Nardiello whom Lander defeated but nevertheless were present at the celebrations.
Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-Brooklyn, Manhattan) mentioned those opponents, explaining why he chose to endorse Lander when he normally sits on the sidelines in local elections in his district.
“There were many great candidates in the 39th District, but Brad Lander was the best candidate running in the 39th District,” said Nadler, which Zuckerman and Skaller greeted with frowns.
In his remarks, Lander gave his rivals a shout out, thanking them for their grace and class in coming together to improve the district. Their smiles soon returned.
Stimulus? Not so much
It’s called the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 – better known as “the stimulus.”
While pundits and talking heads across the media spectrum have begun murmuring something about a recovery, Rep. Yvette Clarke lamented in Brooklyn this week that the stimulus has “under-performed.”
“Some of us kind of felt it would, given what we had to do through negotiations just to pass the package,” Clarke said at Christ Church on Clinton Street.
The U.S. representative said that more money should have been put into infrastructure and renewable energies.
“We only were able to get a small part of that,” Clarke conceded. “Most of the funding went to tax incentives. It sort of trickled into the economy.”
Whew! It’s a good thing Democrats are in power, ain’t it? We might have to suffer through more tired old Reagan-omics.
Pols help Haiti
Brooklyn’s elected officials regularly attend community meetings to tout new legislation or bash opposing politicians.
At last week’s meeting of the Marine Park Civic Association, City Councilman Lew Fidler used his speaking time to ask area residents to help those in need.
“You would have to be in a coma to not know what’s going on in Haiti,” he said. “We are putting together a drive in our community with Millennium Development. They’re going to be needing the supplies that we collect.”
Fidler’s office is collecting canned or non-perishable foods, water, first aid products and checks made payable to the American Red Cross or Yele Haiti in a sealed envelope marked “Haiti.”
Items can be dropped off at Fidler’s office, 1402 East 64th Street, Marine Park Active Adults at the Salt Marsh Nature Center at Avenue U and East 33rd Street, and state Assemblyman Alan Maisel’s office at 2424 Ralph Avenue. For a full list of drop-off locations, contact Fidler’s office at 718-241-9330 or Millennium Development at 718-444-0101.
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