No sort of means no
Councilmember Alan Gerson dodged a bullet this week as Julie Menin said she really will stay out of next year’s Council race after commissioning a poll taking Gerson to task for voting to “take away the will of the people by siding with Bloomberg on term limits.”
“I have received calls from people who got calls,” Gerson told us, “that what was conducted was a push poll which was negative toward me, meaning that the questions and the comments were slanted in an unfair way.” We spoke to him before Menin confirmed to us she commissioned the poll.
“I got calls from friends and supporters who were very upset that they got calls — and they yelled and screamed at the people who called them,” Gerson said. “One question referred to ‘Gerson’s rich Wall St. buddies.’ My problem is that I don’t have any Wall St. buddies.”
That’s an interesting charge coming from Menin, whose early claim to fame Downtown was founding Wall Street Rising, a group formed to help businesses near Wall St. Menin used to live across the street from the New York Stock Exchange and owned a restaurant near the corner of Wall.
After Gerson voted in October to give himself the chance to run for reelection, Menin, chairperson of Community Board 1, said she would not pursue her plans to run for his seat. But then she began to have third thoughts about becoming a candidate.
When we first asked Menin if she did the poll, she left a lengthy voice message to say she isn’t running, but dodged the question. We emailed, and then she admitted doing it.
“I had a tremendous amount of people calling me after I announced I wasn’t going to run, asking me to reconsider,” Menin wrote us. “People felt very strongly that I should enter the race. As part of the deliberative process, I commissioned a survey focusing primarily about concerns people in the district had about term limits and other city issues. After thinking long and hard about the urging I was getting from people in the district, I decided not to change my mind, as I want to continue to chair C.B. 1 and spend time with my three children while they are so young. I greatly appreciate that many people asked me to take another long and hard look at the race, but it did not change my decision on this.”
The existence of the poll was first reported by the Daily News, which did not report who commissioned it. Sean Sweeney, president of Downtown Independent Democrats, suspected Menin paid for the poll since she could afford it, and because he thinks Menin has been “packing” D.I.D. with her allies in preparation for a run.
“I think D.I.D. is a great club. … I’m not packing the club — it’s not true,” Menin said in a telephone interview. “Why would I pack the club? It’s not correct. And I think people should be happy if there are new club members. … I’ve made a decision not to run at this point. In the future, I’ll see what happens — but I love public service.”
U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney is still going full speed to get New York’s open Senate seat despite the mass of publicity Caroline Kennedy’s bid is getting. Maloney showed up Saturday to Allen Roskoff’s annual holiday party — a politically star-studded affair hosted by the gay political activist. Maloney sidled up to our good friend Paul Schindler, editor of Gay City News, and skipped the small talk.
“I’ve made clear I’m interested in the Senate seat and I support gay marriage,” Maloney told Schindler. “Can I have your endorsement?”
Ties to wannabes
Speaking of the seat, it could mean State Senator-elect Dan Squadron’s ties to the powerful may grow. Squadron is already tight with his old boss, Sen. Chuck Schumer, who worked closely with Squadron co-writing their bestseller. Now Caroline Kennedy, who is vying to follow her late uncle Bobby’s footsteps to become New York’s junior senator, has hired Squadron’s last employer, Knickerbocker SKD, to do some political consulting, the New York Times reports.
Josh Isay, another former Schumer aide, heads up Knickerbocker and it’s unlikely to be a coincidence that Kennedy hired them since Schumer has reportedly not been too shy about letting Gov. David Paterson know who might be a good junior to his senior. Making friends with Schumer’s friends might not be bad strategy to fill Sen. Hillary Clinton’s shoes.
But Squadron doesn’t just have senate eggs in the Kennedy basket. He also helped U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney write her book.
Clinton, though, is not giving up her seat until some time after Jan. 20 when her senate colleagues are expected to confirm her move to Foggy Bottom to be President Barack Obama’s Secretary of State.
Borough President Scott Stringer has appointed Pam Frederick to the Hudson River Park Trust board of directors. A former vice chairperson of the Hudson River Park Trust Advisory Council and a Tribeca resident, Frederick is an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Frederick replaces Julie Nadel, another Tribecan, who served on the Trust’s board since the state-city authority’s creation in 1998. Nadel said Stringer picked a good replacement. She had been notified last week that she was off the board, but didn’t know Frederick was in. “Oh my God! That is great!” Nadel said after we told her. “She is a good person and a real fighter. She’s got a whole history of being outspoken.”
Frederick has children who attend P.S. 234 and has recently written columns for Downtown Express about the school.