Green Party candidate David Pechefsky may or may not be victorious in his bid for the 39th District’s New YorkCity Council seat next week, buthe’s sure injected some sorely-needed adrenaline into an otherwise anemic election cycle.
Now, with just a few days until the election, it appears that the pugnacious Pechefsky is even beating the anointed Democratic frontrunner at his own game.
According to the Pechefsky campaign, their man actually has more campaigncash on hand than Democratic candidate Brad Lander.
The numbers break down to $35,599 for the former City Council budget analyst, and $26,648 for Lander.
“Obviously, overall Brad will significantly outspend us,” Pechefsky said.“But by putting on a full court press this final week we think we can capture a lot of the votes of people who really want change in the City Council, those who didn’t pay much attention to the Democratic primary, and those, including the 15,000 voters not registered with any party, who are glad to finally have a real choice come election day.”
With time so short, the Green Party challenger has launched some of the heaviest salvos of his unapologetic campaign.
Among the latest, his contention that the New York City Council, through the power of the purse, has the ability to scrap earmarks for Atlantic Yards and thus slay the controversial project once and for all - if only members of the city council had the political will.
In recent weeks, Pechefsky has also gone after all-important member items - those tantalizing monies allotted to city council members for disbursement to non-profits in their districts.
“As it now stands, members who are loyal to the speaker or have a constituency that the speaker cannot alienate get the most money, and those who oppose the speaker get the least,” Pechefsky says. “The only way to compensate is by horse-trading votes for money.”
In an effort to reform the system, Pechefsky advocates an even money split to all city council members or a standardized funding formula.
Pechefsky also happens to be responsible for some of the most provocative and amusing campaign stunts of the year -like challenging his opponents to croquetand chess, and even taking them back to grade school, “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader” -style.
“Even Brad acknowledges that I have the best T-shirts” Pechefsky says. “But I think people will vote for me based on my experience and independence.”
Lander said that Pechefsky currently has more cash on hand than he does because city Campaign Finance Board rules allow candidates not in primary elections twice as much public financial assistance in the general election.
“That’s their [the CFB’s] way of acting like an equalizer,” he explained.
Gerry Esposito supports Maritza Davila
Former City Council candidate and current Community Board 1 District Manager Gerry Esposito is throwing his support behind Maritza Davila, a one-time rival in the race challenging incumbent Councilmember Diana Reyna (D-Williamsburg).
According to several sources, Esposito accompanied Davila and Brooklyn Assemblymember Vito Lopez at a dinner on October 22 at Cono’s Restaurant in Williamsburg (301 Graham Avenue) with about sixty Williamsburg residents.
It was part of Davila’s efforts to woo voters in Italian Williamsburg who supported Esposito during the Democratic primary.Esposito finished third in the contest, securing just over 1,000 votes, though the final margin separating Reyna and Davila was 251 votes.Esposito did not return calls for comment.
Many of those who attended the dinner were parishioners at Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish (275 North Eighth Street).Monsignor Joseph Calise, one of the attendees, said “it was nice to be there” as he spoke briefly at the beginning of the dinner.
“I left around 7 PM, I had a 7:30 mass,” said Calise.“I left before there was any food served.”
Crossing party lines, three Democratic Brooklyn City Councilmembers last week endorsed Mike Bloomberg for mayor over Democratic challenger William Thompson.
The three are Councilmembers Domenic Recchia, Simcha Felder and Michael Nelson.
“I have been proud to work with Mike Bloomberg in my district to create jobs and affordable housing, increase funding to important community programs, and pass a broad rezoning of Coney Island that will make it a year-round entertainment destination,” said Recchia, who represents Coney Island, Gravesend and parts of Bensonhurst. “The mayor has made important commitments on an Italian cultural center for Bensonhurst and a YMCA community center for Coney Island.”
Nelson, who represents Midwood, Sheepshead Bay and Manhattan Beach, praised Bloomberg for looking out for the quality of life of his constituents.
“We have seen crime drop by nearly 30 percent in the last eight years, a testament to the Mayor and his choice in Police Commissioner, Ray Kelly. We must continue down this path of progress that Mike Bloomberg blazed,” said Nelson.
More Bloomberg endorsements
He says it’s because Mayor Michael Bloomberg “is an independent voice who puts New Yorkers first, not partisan politics.”
But, some are speculating that Democratic Representative Michael McMahon endorsed hizzoner, who is running on the Republican line, because he has his eye on 2010.
“I have no idea why he did it,” noted Assemblymember Peter Abbate. “I guess he thinks it’s probably better for his re-election.”
McMahon, who represents a district that has historically elected GOPers to the House of Representatives, clearly has to keep an eye on his re-election campaign next year, when he is likely to be up against a more organized Republican machine than in 2008, when the party machine crumbled after revelations that brought down their popular incumbent, Vito Fossella.
Nonetheless, Abbate confesses himself mystified as to why someone who represents southwestern Brooklyn and Staten Island would think it a benefit to back Bloomberg, “Who raised real estate taxes, who raised water taxes, who raised sales taxes, and flooded the area with tickets.”
“In Manhattan, he wants free crosstown buses. In our community, he wants to do away with express buses. If you represent the east or west side of Manhattan, you might want to endorse him,but I don’t see what he’s done for our community,” Abbate explained.
“I don’t know if the mayor will come out and support him next year, it would be too helpful to him,” he added.
But at least one Democratic pundit doesn’t think that McMahon is necessarily looking to feather his own nest.
“I don’t know why he made the endorsement,” the source said. “Bill Thompson has been very helpful to him, but I guess Bloomberg was also helpful to him when he was on the Council. I guess he just made a judgment call, though I am disappointed.”
The insider cautioned against assuming that McMahon is thinking ahead. “Everything he does, people will look at it that way,” the source said. “I don’t know that he thinks that far in advance.”
Colton campaign cash conundrum
Bensonhurst Assemblymember Bill Colton made headlines last week when the New York Post revealed that he was receiving campaign donations from a number of non-profit groups he had distributed pork-money to.
According to the Post, which erroneously identified the Assemblymember as “Brian Colton,” the donations were being looked at by the state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s office.
It is illegal for an elected official to receive money from a non-profit. If an organization is caught doing so, it could lose its tax-exempt status.
The Post reported that St. Anthanasius Church gave $1,800 to Colton’s campaign over the last few years. Colton had allocated $10,000 in member items to the church’s Golden Age Club in the 2007-2008 fiscal budget.
In addition, the Gravesend Athletic Association made under $1,000 in contributions to Colton’s campaign. The group had received $4,000 from the Assemblyman in the 2008-2009 budget.
Mark Treyger, a Colton spokesman, told the paper that while it is the contributor’s responsibility to follow the rules, the Assemblyman’s campaign team returns checks written to the campaign by non-profits.
Joining Generation Facebook
Marty Markowitz has joined YouTube.
The beep has created his own channel on the popular video sharing Web site.
So far, there’s just one video posted. It captures Markowitz’s press conference announcing the annual “Take Your Man to the Doctor” event. Also present are “The Real Housewives of New York City” stars Alex McCord and Simon van Kempen and “Biggest Loser” newlyweds Nicole Brewer and Damien Gurganious.
Catch the video at http://www.youtube.com/user/BrooklynMarty.
Jewish Community Council draws pols
District Attorney Charles Hynes speaking a brogue Yiddish was just one of the political headliners at the Jewish Community Council of Marine Park’s first annual legislative breakfast hosted by David Greenfield.
Once known as a Irish/Italian enclave, the neighborhood has grown in recent years to about 900 Orthodox Jewish families from less than 50 ten years ago, according to Greenfield.
The new residents certainly showed their clout as those noshing on lox, sable and bagels also included U.S Rep. Anthony Weiner, Borough President Marty Markowitz, State Senators Carl Kruger and Marty Golden, Assemblymembers Alan Maisel and Helene Weinstein, City Councilmembers Lew Fidler, Simcha Felder, Dave Weprin and 45th District Democratic nominee Jumaane Williams.
Others in the house included Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler, the vice mayor of Jerusalem, and a host of district leaders, community board officials and political operatives,
It’s your duty
Who’d have thought it was your civic duty to re-elect New York City Councilman Mathieu Eugene?
The incumbent representing the 40th District was probably only urging voters who turned out for the Democratic Primary not to forget to vote in November’s general election.
But when Eugene recently stood up at Community Board 14’s October meeting and publicly thanked Democratic voters for his primary win in September, it still sounded sort of funny.
“Do your civic duty thesame way you did it before,” an appreciative Eugene said. “Call your friends and family.”
The Great Recession has hit at least one candidate vying for the Bill De Blasio’s seat in the City Council.
Joe Nardiello, the Republican battling Democrat Brad Lander and Green Party candidate David Pechefsky in the 39th District was recently laid off from his position as director of business development and marketing for Blumberg Excelsior, a national legal services company.
Nardiello, adept at going off on tangents — he told an audience at a recent debate that he was “all over the place,” is also pretty good at sewing a silk’s purse from a sow’s ear.
“This campaign is now a supreme sacrifice — I’m not looking for income, I’m focusing on the community,” he said.
Pechefsky and Lander continue to pack their lunch pails, the latter part time as a senior fellow on a range of projects for the Pratt Center, and the former doing short-term international consulting on legislative effectiveness in countries like Nepal.
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