|Peace, Primaries And Don't Miss
The Albany Word-Smiths
By MICHAEL SCHENKLER
PEACE? The announced but strange peace
between Queens Dem chief Tom Manton and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver will likely avoid
war between now and Election Day, but signs indicate that the bond is shallow.
Queens Assembly dean Denis Butlers
surprise announcement last week that he will not seek another term, is directly connected
to the lack of a true peace understanding, insiders tell us. Butlers Assembly
leadership role comes with a $20,000 stipend which is calculated in Butlers State
Pension when he retires. Should he lose the leadership job and stipend, bammo, the 22-year
Assembly vet would receive a much lower pension. Dennis, staffers say, was not going to
risk a significant downward pension adjustment and is getting out while the getting is
good. He anticipated Silver punishing him for siding with Mike Bragman in his failed coup
to take the leadership.
If Manton and Silver had secured a real
peace, you can be sure, that Mantons Assemblyman Denis Butler would have been
Not surprisingly, Cathy Nolan,
Silvers Queens Assemblymember of choice, broke with the organization during last
weeks designating session. She backed Walter McCaffrey over incumbent Joe Crowley
for Congress. Crowley got the nod. But if you remember, it was Silvers intrusion in
this race that caused Mantons ire and subsequent leadership of the Bragman coup.
Silver has pledged to support Crowley publicly. There was no sign of it last Thursday.
Furthermore, Manton withheld his clubs support from Nolan for reelection and
although it is not clear if shell have a primary, she did not get the Dem
Organizations designation an almost unheard of event for an incumbent.
Finally, we are told that Nolan is backing Bernice Siegel over likely organization choice
David Weprin for the City Council race to succeed Sheldon Leffler in the 23rd Council
District in 2001. Weprin, older brother of Assemblyman Mark, son of the late Speaker of
the Assembly Saul, is a Dem District Leader who supports Manton.
It seems pretty clear that Silvers
folks are not embarrassing Mantons folks. Likewise, Mantons folks are not
embarrassing Silvers folks.
What do they have in common? They are all
Democrats who support Hillary for Senate and Al Gore for Prez. After that is over, they
had better secure the peace or take no prisoners. Without some glue, next year both sides
will not be left standing.
GO GREEK! No, its not time to
pledge a fraternity or sorority. It was time at the Dem designating meeting to reach out
to the large Astoria Greek community and be inclusive. The Dem Party took the opportunity,
when Denis Butler announced his retirement, to hand the designation for the 36th Assembly
District to Mike Giannaris, a longtime Taminent Dem Club regular who works as an attorney
in the Assembly. The district leadership designation went to fellow Greek James Cazillas.
The effect of this move could provide the Queens Dem organization with a new influx of
capital. The Greek fundraising machine previously supported Democratic insurgents claiming
the large Greek Western Queens population was not adequately represented.
It also goes to undermine the strong
insurgent candidacy of Kimon Thermos who has challenged the organizational candidate for
this Assembly seat the past several times coming very close to an upset victory.
However, a large portion of his support came from the Greek community which will now be
divided. Thermos may be in a vacuum this time.
Queens Senators Smith
WORD-SMITH! To borrow a phrase,
"Cmon, Gimme a break!"
On May 17 we received two press releases
from Albany. One from State Senator Ada Smith whose 12th Senatorial District covers parts
of Brooklyn and South Queens. The other from newly elected Senator Malcolm Smith whose
District consists of the balance of South Queens. They both dealt with the State Budget.
Notice any similarities?
Well, both are State Senators; both
represent south Queens. Both happen to be named Smith. And . . . both sent out identical
releases. Yes, identical.
Well, almost identical. Same quotes, same
typeface, same carriage returns, same spacing, same bold face breaks, same continuation on
the second page and the same hoohah (###) to indicate the end.
The only differences in the 700 words was
the name in the headline as well as, in line two where one said "Ada L. Smith
(D-Brooklyn/Queens)" and the other, "Malcolm A. Smith (D-Queens)."
Everything else, identical.
There were more than 10 quotes from Senator
Smith in each release identical quotes, presumably uttered identically by the two
Senator Smiths from Queens.
No, there are no other Senator Smiths in
New York State. However, we wouldnt be shocked if another Democratic Senator had a
similar release. Wed guess the Senate Dems (the minority) staff prepared a suggested
release and Smith and Smith, just sent it out.
Is there a lesson to be learned?
Well, write your own stuff. And, if you
dont, send them to different newspapers.
Seriously, wed like our elected
officials to conduct themselves as role models for the youth of our State.
We welcome the Senators Smith to react.
RUN: Morshed Alam has withdrawn as a
challenger to NYS Senator Frank Padavan. That leaves Rory Lancman as the lone warrior to
do battle with the man who owns the 11th Senatorial District. Padavan has withstood
challenges by many mightier than either Alam or Lancman.
Alam instead will join the merry field of
candidates seeking Morty Povmans 24th Council district in 2001. Announced so far
are: Barry Grodenchik, Exec. to Claire Shulman and newly named co-district leader of the
powerful Stevenson Dem Club with Nettie Mayersohn; Jeff Gottlieb, longtime Povman
protégé from the equally powerful JFK Dem club; Jim Gennaro, a City Council
environmental attorney out of the Saul Weprin Dem Club, and from the Orthodox Jewish
Community, a David Reich.
This race is interesting in as much as it
pits against each other, two powerful Dem clubs Nettie Mayersohns Stevenson
and Morty Povmans JFK. The Weprin Club, also a force, will not be as potent in this
race since the bulk of the clubs area is outside of the Council District and the
Clubs focus will be on David Weprins elction.
Morshed will have to work hard to come in
fifth in this field.
Nick Garaufis at the Tribune Holiday Party this past
December with Lillian and Michael Schenkler.
NICKS KNACK: We dont
recall any Queens resident being named a federal judge in the more than 30 years of this
newspapers history. Our dear friend, former civic activist and present chief counsel
to the FAA, Nick Garaufis was unanimously approved by the United States Senate last week
as a judge of New Yorks Eastern District. This is one sign that the process of
selection of Federal judges does indeed work. Congrats!
HMMM! Dem District Leader Henry McCoy
has not forgiven for being passed over for the Dem designation for the 10th Senatorial
District seat. He is backing Ellen Cooper Gregory in a challenge to his own co-leader,
CHURCH & STATE: This separation of
church and state must be working.
The way I see it, about half the people go
to church and the other half work for the state.
BOMBS AWAY: A one question quiz
received online: Here's a list of the countries that the U.S. has bombed since the end of
World War II, compiled by historian William Blum:
El Salvador 1980s
In how many of these instances did a
democratic government, respectful of human rights, occur as a direct result?
of the Week
Tribune Photo by Ira Cohen
Michael Schenkler can be reached at: MSchenkler@QueensTribune.com
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