Campaign Updates: Devin Cohen, David Yassky, Jim Brennan, Norm Siegel...
Devin Cohen, candidate for Broklyn's 1st Civil Court in the September 9th primary, has announced two new endorsements: Congresswoman Yvette Clarke and City Councilman David Yassky. All he needs is a Chris Owens endorsement and Devin will have three-of-a-kind from the 2006 CD-11 Congressional race that divided the district so much. Since Devin already got the endorsement of CBID, the club that Chris is now the president of, in some ways Devin already has unified the CD-11 candidates behind him. This brings Devin's endorsement list to the following:
# Congresswoman Yvette Clarke
# Assemblymember Joan Millman
# Assemblymember Jim Brennan
# State Senator Velmanette Montgomery
# State Senator Martin Connor
# Councilmember Letitia James
# Councilmember David Yassky
# District Leader Alan Fleishman
# District Leader JoAnne Simon
# District Leader William Saunders
# Independent Neighborhood Democrats
# Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats
# Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn
# 57th A.D. Regular Democratic
Other district leaders have also expressed some level of support for Devin to me, but have not officially endorsed. And to date I have yet to be able to track down a single endorsement for Devin's rival, Roger Adler, though I have heard a rumor of one endorsement and one behind-the-scenes supporter. To date I have no info on any solid endorsements for Adler. Has anyone else? I know he has sent out mailings but haven't seen one yet.
Speaking of David Yassky and Jim Brennan, both are running for Comptroller in 2009. I get emails from both campaigns, mostly about fundraising. Both Yassky and Brennan have their websites up and running for those who want to take a look. Both have qualification for the Comptroller job.
Here is the latest press release from Jim Brennan:
BRENNAN IN COMPTROLLER RACE WITH STRONG GRASSROOTS SUPPORT
Assemblyman Jim Brennan (D-Brooklyn) is now eligible for over $750,000 in matching funds for the 2009 Comptroller race, having raised $507,000 from 1,457 donors.
“We’re on track to wage an aggressive, citywide campaign,” said Brennan, who represents the heavily Democratic Park Slope and Midwood sections of Brooklyn, “and that means the City government, its contracts and contractors, are in for some serious scrutiny.”
Approximately 90% of Brennan’s contributors are individual residents
of New York City, making the first $175 of their donations eligible for the Campaign Finance Board’s 6-1 matching funds program.
Brennan, a 24-year veteran legislator, has chaired three different
committees in the Assembly, won two national awards for his legislative work, and has authored 63 laws which are currently on the books.
I won't be surprised if Yassky shows better fundraising numbers given his previous fundraising track record for his bid for the CD-11 seat that Clarke now fills, and given his Chuck Schumer pedigree which is coming to the forefront in local politics so much these days (Dan Squadron challenging Marty Connor, Anthony Weiner aiming for mayor again, Evan Theis, a Yassky aide running for City Council...), but I don't have any numbers yet. On his website, Yassky cites experience as budget analyst for New York City’s Office of Management and Budget, Chief Counsel to the House Subcommittee on Crime (under Schumer), and the following legislative record in the City Council:
* Creating thousands of jobs by passing the Film Industry Job Creation Act;
* Successfully advocating for a plan to make Downtown Brooklyn the City’s third major business district;
* Creating the Industrial Jobs Retention program to fund dedicated, low-cost space for manufacturing firms;
* Passing the Gun Industry Responsibility Act, holding hold gun manufacturers and dealers liable when their reckless sales practices result in the injury of a New Yorker;
* Drafting of and passing the Waterfront Planning Act, which the New York City League of Conservation Voters called "the most important piece of waterfront legislation adopted by the City in recent years";
* Creating NYC’s innovative program for clean-fuel taxicabs that got hybrid cabs on the road;
* Suing Exxon-Mobil to force a cleanup of the Greenpoint oil spill;
* Creating thousands of new moderately priced apartments through his Affordable Housing Zoning Initiative.
Keep in mind there are going to be a gazillion candidates lining up for the Comptroller seat, I just happen to personally know Brennan and Yassky and get their emails. To date I have no favorite in the race. Scott Stringer, another candidate I like, though with some reservations, was once considered a possible candidate but at a past IND meeting he all but declared himself for the mayor's race...though I also hear from someone who knows Stringer that he remains undecided. All I can say is the anecdote he told instead of answering a direct question whether he was running for mayor involved running for mayor. We all know 2009 will be a BRUISING year for local politics.
Turning to a candidate for Public Advocate (another 2009 race that will have a gazillion candidates), Norm Siegel is working on a case to properly bury the human remains from the WTC that remain in the Fresh Kills garbage dump. From The Freedom Tower.com:
NY1 reports that a judge has rejected a lawsuit by relatives of 9/11 victims who wanted residue from the Twin Towers removed from the Fresh Kills landfill in State Island.
It has been there since debris was cleared from the site.
The families say the dust may contain human remains and they want it relocated to a new cemetery across the street.
“The plantiffs in this lawsuit are not prepared to allow hundreds of human remains to remain on top of a garbage dump,” said civil rights attorney Norman Siegel.
The judge said not every wrong can be addressed through the judicial process, but that he’s open for discussion if both sides want to hash out a settlement.
The city’s Law Department released a statement saying, in part:
“This decision recognizes the City’s tremendous efforts to recover the remains and personal effects of those lost on 9/11. It is our hope that the park planned for Fresh Kills, where millions of tons of Ground Zero materials were carefully sifted and examined, will help us remember those who we lost, and forever serve as a tribute to freedom and liberty.”
A 10-month search of the debris at Fresh Kills ended in July of 2002. The city claimed that any remains still at the site are too small to be identified.
I can add that DNA from a single cell can be used to identify someone, though practically speaking, somewhat more than that is better. So the human remains would have to really be almost non-existent for the city's claim to be true.
Norm Siegel has been handling thousands of cases like this for average people for some 40 years. From his website:
Norman Siegel began his career as a civil rights/civil liberties lawyer when, following his graduation from Brooklyn College and New York University Law School, he joined the American Civil Liberties Union's Southern Justice & Voter Law Project in 1968. There, he was co-counsel in numerous lawsuits challenging the systemic exclusion of blacks and women from juries in various counties in South Carolina, Florida, Virginia and Alabama. Two voting rights cases in which he was involved are :
Hadnott v. Amos (U.S. Supreme Court case allowing 89 mainly black candidates to run for political office in Alabama), and
In re: Herndon (civil and criminal contempt conviction under the Voting Rights Act of 1965 of Probate Judge of Greene County, Alabama for not placing black candidates on the ballot).
He was also co-counsel in Levy v. Parker (challenged the constitutionality of the court martial of Dr. Howard B. Levy).
In 1972, as Executive Director of the Youth Citizenship Fund, Inc., he led an effort to register thousands of young, newly eligible voters. In 1973-74, as the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) Field Director, Norman spearheaded the New York campaigns for the impeachment of President Richard M. Nixon and the New York State Equal Rights Amendment. He was also co-counsel in the historic Holtzman v. Schlessinger United States Supreme Court case, an effort to halt the bombing of Cambodia.
In 1978, Norman became Project Director for MFY Legal Services, Inc., which assists poor people in neighborhoods in Manhattan. As Executive Director of the NYCLU (1985-2000), Norman was involved in some of the City's most critical civil rights and civil liberties struggles: the creation of an independent Civilian Complaint Review Board; the successful defense of the Brooklyn Museum’s right to exhibit controversial art; the fight for citizens' access to the steps of City Hall; the involuntary hospitalization of people with mental illness; the struggle for improved community-police relations and greater accountability on the part of the NYPD.
Over the last five years in private practice, Norman has continued his work in civil rights - civil liberties law in the process expanding his practice throughout New York. Norman has represented the Williamsburg 7, a group of community activists in Brooklyn who were arrested protesting the closing of their local firehouse, and the Nyack 10, a group of New Yorkers who brought a lawsuit for the right to obtain marriage licenses for same sex couples. Norman also is counsel to the West Harlem Business Group in its fight against the possibility of eminent domain in Columbia University’s expansion plan, and was counsel for Develop - Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, the group of community residents who are fighting the use of eminent domain to condemn private property in Atlantic Yards. Norman also advocated for and represented the following groups:
* The Skyscraper Safety Campaign and Firefighters Families who seek the implementation of a skyscraper safety program and provisions for our firefighters to guarantee they have proper working communications equipment;
* Families who lost a loved one on September 11, 2001, as they successfully sought the public record of materials from that day, including 911 emergency tapes and transcripts (co-counsel). (Norman argued this case for the 9/11 families in the New York Court of
* Appeals in February 2005);
* Republican National Convention arrestees held for more than 24 hours – filed habeas corpus petition (co-counsel); and
* The World Trade Center Families for A Proper Burial (co-counsel).
I think that's enough candidate info for one diary.