State senate rumblings:
We hear that, getting ready for the chance that Daniel Squadron pulls it off and wins the public advocate race, at least three local politicos are positioning themselves to run for his 26th District state Senate seat — District Leader Paul Newell, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh and former City Councilmember Alan Gerson. Newell, perhaps strategically, is backing John Liu for mayor. A source tells us District Leader Newell feels he would need Chinatown to win the state senate race, so is backing the Asian-American comptroller. As for Kavanagh, well, the same source tells us he has moved into the tiny corner of his Assembly district that overlaps with Squadron’s senate district. A Kavanagh spokesperson didn’t respond with an answer to our query about that one by deadline. As for Gerson, we were walking by Silver Spurs, his H.Q. on LaGuardia Place, the other night, and saw him sitting in his usual seat and talking intently on one of his two BlackBerries. Perhaps laying the groundwork for his political return? The plot thickens… Oh waitress, more coffee, please!
District leader best hits:
How about that West Village Democratic district leader race? Assemblymember Deborah Glick is taking shots at one of her perennial penyatas, Arthur Schwartz. Reaching all the way back to the 2004 presidential election, she slammed him as clearly a “misogynist” for backing Obama over Hillary in the Democratic primary. Schwartz responded that since Glick didn’t endorse Obama then “does that mean she’s a racist?” Also, he said, his three daughters love him. District Leader Jonathan Geballe, Schwartz’s opponent, no doubt, is probably just trying to stay out of this one, and possibly just playing his guitar. He originally came to New York to make it big as a folk singer. “Tangled up in blue (state)”? Meanwhile, the third candidate in the race, Deley Gazinelli, is proclaiming that he’s running against “a real estate lawyer.” Apparently, he’s not referring to Schwartz, who is a union attorney, but Geballe, who does some real estate law as part of his practice. When in doubt, just throw around the “real estate” label!
Happy new year! Real estate!!!
Speaking of which, when we got the L’Shana Tova e-mail blast from Yetta Kurland, we were half-expecting it to conclude with her usual scathing attack on opponent Corey Johnson, declaring him the second coming of Donald Trump. Remember — as he stated repeatedly at the NYC Community Media debate — Johnson lives in a 300-square-foot, studio apartment! Michael McKee of Tenants PAC, which has endorsed Johnson, is so fed up with Kurland’s relentlessly negative campaign, that he put out an e-mail statement last week chiding Kurland to stop calling Johnson a “real estate executive.” “We call on Kurland to stop these scurrilous attacks,” McKee scolded. “The community deserves candidates who stick to the issues.”
‘Wild Man’ saga continues:
Richard Pearson, a.k.a. the “Soho Wild Man,” a mentally ill man accused of terrorizing residents and merchants of Soho and Nolita by verbally and physically harassing them, pleaded not guilty in State Supreme Court on Wed., Sept. 4 for possession of cocaine. Pearson, 48, is charged with second-degree assault, a felony, for allegedly throwing a brick at a person’s head on May 17. However, two grand juries have failed to indict Pearson for the assault — though they have both indicted him for possession of a narcotic, a misdemeanor. On Wednesday, Alex Grosshtern, Pearson’s attorney, appealed to Judge Charles Solomon for his client’s release. With a felony charge no longer pending, Grosshtern said the case belongs in Criminal Court not State Supreme Court. The sole charge is now a misdemeanor, and Grosshtern feels Pearson’s time served, four months, has been more than appropriate. “Under ordinary circumstances, it would not warrant time served,” he said. But Assistant District Attorney James Zaleta countered by referring to Pearson’s previous history of six arrests, all in Soho, and various other crimes he has committed over the years. The A.D.A. also argued that Pearson’s admission that he had drugs when arrested — when Pearson said, “You’re not going to take my drugs away?” —warrants the maximum jail sentence of a year. Zaleta presented Pearson with an option in return for a guilty plea. “Our office is not opposed to alternative incarceration that would benefit the community and Mr. Pearson,” Zaleta said. The judge noted Pearson has substance abuse problems and mental health issues, and he deemed the A.D.A.’s offer of an alternative or treatment reasonable. Pearson refused the deal, and Solomon acknowledged the defendant was the only person who could make that decision. Solomon also said if Pearson entered a guilty plea, he would lessen his sentence, but didn’t immediately say by how much. Pearson became vocal and grew frustrated with the situation. “I don’t want to go back there,” he said. Five court officers surrounded Pearson as he continued to mutter how the situation was “petty,” and that he thought he had done his time by now. Solomon informed Pearson he had already reduced his bail, and asked Grosshtern to explain to his client why the case is going to trail. The case is adjourned to Oct. 7 for a hearing and trial.
De Blasio rules the Streets(PAC):
StreetsPAC — a new grassroots advocacy group for “safer and more livable streets” — has endorsed Bill de Blasio for mayor. The group cited de Blasio’s strong commitment to bring connected bike lanes and better bus service to the outer boroughs, and to fight reckless speeding that puts New Yorkers at risk. “Bill understands how important biking, walking and transit are to the future of New York City,” said Steve Vaccaro, a StreetsPAC founding board member. “He knows that safe streets are no accident and he has promised to wage an aggressive campaign to reduce injuries and fatalities caused by motor-vehicle crashes. Bill is committed to working with communities to expand the benefits of better bus service, pedestrian-safety measures and improved and connected biking across all five boroughs as mayor. StreetsPAC supports his progressive, equitable vision.” Last month, de Blasio announced his “Vision Zero” plan, which StreetsPAC hailed as “unprecedented” for its strategy to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities on city streets. The plan calls for reconfiguring at least 50 dangerous intersections per year and for increased use of traffic cameras and an end of Albany control over the cameras’ use in the city. De Blasio has also pledged to increase bike lanes and bicycling, expand bike-share to the outer boroughs, and focus traffic enforcement on the locations and behavior that represent the biggest dangers to New Yorkers. “This is part of the bedrock of making New York City more sustainable, more livable and safer for every family,” de Blasio said. “We’re going to make sure that neighborhoods that have waited for change on their streets have it, and we’ll make sure New York City remains an innovator of ways to make biking, walking and public transit safer and more accessible to every single New Yorker.” StreetsPAC is a political action committee, or PAC, dedicated to electing public officials who are committed to improving the safety, mobility and livability of New York City’s streets. StreetsPAC raises money to support the electoral campaigns of candidates who demonstrate dedication to “complete streets,” including the expansion of traffic-calming infrastructure, growth of the city’s Neighborhood Slow Zones initiative, creation of more pedestrian plazas, expansion of the city’s network of bike lanes, and better and more thorough crash investigations and enforcement of traffic laws. A week before the StreetsPAC endorsement, as we were sounding out voters’ opinions on the candidates, we asked Keegan Stephan of the local pro-cycling group Time’s Up! who he was backing for mayor and he also told us de Blasio. “The candidate who has come out strongest on transportation and most critical of the N.Y.P.D. is Bill de Blasio,” he told us. “Check out his ‘Vision Zero’ plan.” Meanwhile, we asked Vaccaro if StreetsPAC was endorsing in the extremely contentious District 3 Council primary between Corey Johnson and Yetta Kurland, and he said no. This is partly because of the fact that the Village is “nirvana,” Vaccaro said, in that it has an excellent system of bike lanes, plus bike-share, plus bike paths along the rivers. Yet, the pro-cycling PAC did endorse Margaret Chin for re-election in District 1, pumped that she is endorsing a Neighborhood Slow Zone for Battery Park City and is committing to backing more of the car-slowing zones in the Lower East Side.
Political Animules — horses and kittens:
What about those fanatical Anybody But Quinn folks? Well, according to Christine Quinn, they are just “the carriage horse people” who have morphed into a group monomaniacally focused on derailing her mayoral aspirations. Quinn told us that, thanks to her, the carriage horses now get two to three weeks each year to kick back on vacation at an Upstate farm. (Hey, that sounds pretty good to us! That’s more time off than we get!) Plus, the tourist-hauling hoofers get regular veterinary inspections thanks to legislation Quinn says she passed. On the other hand, the Council speaker told us, she’s opposed to banning carriage horses outright, because she doesn’t want to ax 300 jobs. Personally, well, we do feel kind of bad for those beasts of burden, Upstate vacations or not. According to the New York Post, de Blasio has just this week changed his position on the carriage horses, and now says he would ban them within the first week of taking office, if elected. Again, this represents a change of position for de Blasio, who in 2007, when in the City Council, declined to sign legislation that would have banned the carriage horses. … As for the kittens who caused a “pussy riot,” shutting down a subway line last week, Quinn — who apparently loves kitties more than Clydesdales — said she supported holding the trains, but de Blasio was a little less inclined to stop the system just for the cute little critters. However, we hear he may be changing his position on this tomorrow.
Last week’s article in The Villager on Rosemary’s restaurant and its rooftop garden incorrectly stated that Rosemary’s owner, Carlos Suarez, formerly owned BOBO. In fact, Suarez still owns BOBO, and the Rosemary’s garden was his idea. We apologize for the error.