Courier Life’s

Policies and politicians making a second coming

Late Councilman’s brother and late power broker’s daughter running again

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Things look good in Hynes-sight for Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz.

Cymbrowitz (D–Sheepshead Bay), chairman of the Assembly’s committee on alcoholism and drug abuse, says he wants District Attorney Ken Thompson to hang onto his predecessor’s policies which allowed drug offenders to go to rehab instead of jail.

The pol praised previous prosecutor Charles “Joe” Hynes, who pioneered the Drug Treatment Alternative to Prison program. The initiative received national acclaim, but Thompson said during last year’s race he wasn’t interested in continuing the program — a mistake, according to Cymbrowitz.

“I think DA Hynes was ahead of his time,” Cymbrowitz told a recent meeting of the Southern Brooklyn Democrats. “It’s very important we see those programs continued.”

Cymbrowitz said he would be meeting soon with Thompson to urge him to continue the program.

But Hynes opponents said they would be happy to see the program fall by the wayside, arguing that it was simply a means for the 23-year incumbent to create patronage jobs.

“A lot of Hynes’s programs sounded good, but when you look under the hood, they were really all political appointees, the sons and daughters of politicians,” said John O’Hara, whom Hynes famously prosecuted for voting in the wrong precinct — making O’Hara the first New Yorker found guilty of the obscure felony since Susan B. Anthony.

Thompson’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

• • •

Geoff Davis, younger brother of the late Fort Greene Councilman James Daviswho was gunned down by a political opponent in City Hall 11 years ago — says he plans to challenge a longtime ally of Borough President Eric Adams for a position in the Kings County Democratic Party.

Davis told this column he has his eyes on the district leader post — an unpaid office representing an Assembly district inside the party machine — now held by Jesse Hamilton, former legal counsel to Adams.

James Davis, a charismatic preacher and ex-police officer, achieved immortality in city political lore after rival Othniel Askew fatally shot him in the Council chamber in 2003. Geoff Davis ran to succeed his brother in the city legislature that same year, but suffered a crushing loss to Working Families Party candidate and now-Public Advocate Tish James following reports of past convictions for non-payment of child support and soliciting a prostitute. Geoff Davis and his mother later started the James E. Davis Foundation, which has worked to combat violence among black youth.

Davis again found himself at the center of a political drama in 2007 when his ex-girlfriend — and current district leader for Fort Greene — Renee Collymore had him arrested for stalking. Collymore later dropped the charges and paid Davis’s bail.

Davis’s district leadership challenge could complicate Hamilton’s bid to succeed Adams as state Senator for Sunset Park and Crown Heights. Hamilton — long seen as Adams’s heir apparent — faces a primary against attorney and education activist Rubain Dorancy and Community Board 9 member Demetrius Lawrence.

• • •

Lara Genovesi, daughter of the late Canarsie assemblyman and legendary Brooklyn power broker Anthony Genovesi, is running for a spot on the Brooklyn Supreme Court bench.

Anthony Genovesi is remembered today for running the powerful Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club and mentoring Sen. Charles Schumer (D–Park Slope).

The elder Genovesi died in 1998 when his daughter was driving him upstate and lost control of the car. The crash left her with minor injuries but killed her father. Lara Genovesi has since served as legal counsel to the Thomas Jefferson Club — now headed by Kings County Democratic Party chairman Frank Seddio — as a board member of the Brooklyn Bar Association, and as a law clerk under Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Jeffrey Sunshine.

All that institutional support — plus endorsements from Schumer and then-Dem boss Vito Lopez — was not enough to win Genovesi a civil court judgeship in Brooklyn Heights in 2012, which went instead to Richard Montelione. But a source predicted Genovesi would perform much better in the boroughwide contest for Supreme Court than in the regional run for civil court, which was in an area where the establishm­ent’s influence was relatively weak.

Updated 12:11 pm, May 8, 2014: The story has been updated to restore the columnist's original mention of Davis's work with the James E. Davis Foundation, which had been removed in the editing process. His editor regrets the error.
Reach reporter Will Bredderman at or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at
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Reader Feedback

Brian from Crown Heughts says:
Geoffrey Davis has been extremely active over the last ten years addressing violence & working with young people, why has this reporter failed to mention any of this? If the reporter truly did some research he would see the obvious.
I'm voting for Davis & I urge everyone else to do the same.
May 8, 2014, 7:55 am
John from Crown Heights says:
Who paid this reporter off? Davis is a great guy.
The reporter is bringing negative false allegations up that were over 25 Years ago & also everyone knows that Renee Collymore is a nut from Fort Green who Davis, with good intentions tried to mentor.
Vote Davis!
May 8, 2014, 8:05 am
Will's Editor from says:
To be fair to Will, he did include mention of Davis's work with the James E. Davis Foundation when he filed this column. Unfortunately, I removed it in the process of editing the piece for the page in our print edition.

I have updated the online version to restore Will's original mention of the foundation. This was done not as an endorsement of Davis, or of the comments above, but to recognize the fair-mindedness of our columnist.
May 8, 2014, 11:08 am
Patrick from Park Slope says:
The Drug Treatment Alternative to Prison program (DTAP) was the subject of an extremely favorable report from Harvard University and emulated by dozens of other prosecutors across the country. While Hynes may have hired some cronies - there were never any in DTAP, which was staffed by professionals from day one. Thousands received treatment instead of prison, recovered from addiction and became productive citizens.
BTW, Susan Anthony was convicted in federal court. She refused to appeal because she admitted to intentionally violating the law which made voting by a woman illegal. She sacrificed herself to change the law. O'Hara was accused and convicted under NY law on the grounds that he lied about his residence. He is still angry at Hynes - but he knows nothing about DTAP.
May 8, 2014, 7:15 pm

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