Volume 75, Number 50 | May 3 - 9 2006

Attorney general contender says to give peace candidate a chance

By Paul Schindler

In a candidates forum Monday evening at Judson Memorial Church sponsored by the Downtown Independent Democrats and the Village Independent Democrats, which saw five of the party’s six candidates for attorney general turn out, the most remarkable comment came from one of three long-shot primary challengers to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (who did not attend or send a surrogate.)

After an impassioned speech criticizing Clinton’s support for the war, Steve Greenfield, a volunteer firefighter in Ulster County and stay-at-home dad, urged members of the clubs who support a quick withdrawal of U.S. troops to vote for his competitor Jonathan Tasini, the other “peace candidate” in the race. Tasini was the lead plaintiff in a landmark challenge to The New York Times by freelance writers regarding the electronic rights to their work on the Internet.

A.G. frontrunner Andrew Cuomo, former housing secretary in the Clinton administration, emphasized the breadth of his experience in federal, state — frequently invoking his father, Mario, the former governor — and local government and his unflinching commitment to social justice issues, such as ending the death penalty and reforming drug laws.

Mark Green, the former New York City public advocate and Cuomo’s biggest competition at present, focused on his years fighting for consumer rights, better access to health care and civil liberties. At one point, Green acknowledged that he was “the former future mayor of New York.”

Among the other three A.G. contenders at the forum — nonprofit housing executive Charlie King, Westchester Assemblymember Richard Brodsky and former top Clinton White House aide Sean Patrick Maloney — Maloney, the youngest of the six candidates, challenged the Democrats to focus not just on winning, but on creating real reform next year in Albany. King talked about his commitment to civil rights and his experience in the Clinton administration in the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Brodsky ticked off a list of his legislative achievements and advocated making public authorities more accountable.

In a talk on behalf of the Eliot Spitzer-David Paterson gubernatorial ticket, Dr. John Cohen spent a good of his time emphasizing current Attorney General Spitzer’s commitment to widening the state’s stem cell research industry. Spitzer’s competition, Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, did not show up at Judson, nor did any of his surrogates.

West Side Congressmember Jerrold Nadler spoke at length about a variety of progressive issues he is pressing, sharply criticized continued U.S. presence in Iraq and said there was a “good shot” that the Democrats would retake the U.S. House.

East Side Congressmember Carolyn Maloney was represented by aide Brice Peyre, who pointed to her recent town hall meeting with hawk-turned-antiwar-advocate Congressmember John Murtha.

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