Volume 22, Number 24 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | October 23-29, 2009
Concession at last
Thirty-five days after Margaret Chin won the First District City Council primary with nearly 40 percent of the vote, incumbent Councilmember Alan Gerson finally conceded the race and endorsed Chin this Tuesday.
His e-mailed statement was titled, “Gerson Thanks Supporters, Reiterates Endorsement of Chin in November 3rd Election,” which caught UnderCover off guard because we couldn’t remember Gerson ever “iterating” his endorsement of Chin in the first place.
We had been asking Gerson whether he would endorse Chin ever since the primary, and he told us as recently as Oct. 4 that he didn’t want to say anything because “that would ruin the announcement.”
In his statement this week, Gerson said he wanted to dispel the “reports floating around that I will continue my run for a third term on a third-party line.”
Gerson said Chin has his full support and they are working together on the transition.
In addition to winning Gerson’s endorsement this week, Chin also held a press conference Wednesday announcing the support of State Sen. Daniel Squadron, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh and Councilmember Rosie Mendez.
We still haven’t heard anything from Irene Horvath, who has the Republican spot on the ballot line.
Hilary, Fidel & Barack
In case there was a doubt, UnderCover can confirm that Hilary Swank is more popular than the candidates for public advocate. Swank, who filmed an episode of “Inside the Actor’s Studio” at Pace Monday night, drew a much bigger crowd than the would-be advocates who could only muster a few dozen attendees at best for their debate.
Speaking of which, Alex Zablocki, the Republican nominee, said it was “good environmental policy” to allow cars back on the Staten Island Ferry. Zablocki, an Island resident, said Lower Manhattan could withstand the traffic from the ferry, and he figures that reducing Island commuter traffic on the Gowanus Expressway will make the plan green.
He debated Democrat Bill de Blasio and Socialist Maura Deluca at the Oct. 19 forum sponsored by Pace. De Blasio said he’d have to look at a plan to bring the cars back before taking a position, and Deluca was unclear, although she is for making the subways free. The Swank-less showdown was moderated by Josh Rogers of Downtown Express and Lynn Rickert, editor of The Pace Press.
In the lightning round, Deluca said Fidel Castro was the greatest president in her lifetime — de Blasio selected Barack Obama, and Zablocki said Bill Clinton was tops. The debate was very friendly — de Blasio sounded genuinely hurt and disappointed when Zablocki (born early in the Reagan administration) acknowledged voting for George W. Bush — “oh Alex! We liked you so much.”
De Blasio dodged questions about whether he wanted to be mayor someday or if he hoped Christine Quinn remained City Council speaker.
He and Zablocki said the Departments of Buildings and Education required the most oversight and change, but Deluca thought all agencies needed an equal amount. To our bourgeois way of thinking, we always thought agencies like the Dept. of Homeless Services and the Housing Authority could do more for the poor and working class than the Landmarks Commission or the Dept. of Records & Information Services, but we’re not experts. We’ll have to reread our Marx to find the line about workers of the world uniting to landmark historic districts.
After Downtown Express reported last week that Mayor Bloomberg thought parents should stick to worrying about their own children’s education, not larger issues like new school sites, quite a few Downtown parents were angry.
One was Paul Hovitz, co-chairperson of Community Board 1’s Youth and Education Committee, who raised the issue at the committee’s meeting Tuesday night. Hovitz wants the board to pass a resolution calling on the State Legislature to revise the mayoral control law to curtail the mayor’s power. Specifically, Hovitz wants to see more independent oversight of the mayor and more input from parents.
Jeff Mihok, a member of the Youth Committee, was a bit nervous about the resolution, because Bloomberg is a powerful foe, and many expect him to be around for another four years.
“I’m not afraid the mayor is going to hold us in contempt, because he already does,” Hovitz replied. He later added, “What’s [Bloomberg] going to do, tell Community Board 1 to secede from the city?”
The resolution could come up for a vote at the full board meeting next Tuesday.
We were surprised to see a full salt-and-pepper beard on the face of former City Council candidate Pete Gleason last week at a Hudson Square campaign event for Bill Thompson. Apparently he was not inspired by Al Gore, who famously grew a beard after the 2000 election. “It’s just something I did,” Gleason said. For those who miss the clean-cut Pete, fear not. He told us the whiskers were temporary.
Southbridge Towers board president Wally Dimson took issue with neighbor Larry Vide’s comments to UnderCover last week about a vandalized bulletin board (“Vandal Bulletin”). Dimson said the board welcomes information from residents who are pro- or anti-privatization, and that its creation was “not ordered on high from Albany,” as Vide claimed, but was done under a resolution by the board of directors.
Vide said he heard from someone at Southbridge who claimed to have contacted Albany about ordering a secure bulletin board, but he apologized this week for spreading the information without confirming it.
Dimson said the board decided to let any Southbridger submit info about privatization and place it under lock and key to avoid people removing it. Postings get a two-week viewing period. The board is not reserved for anti-privatization info as Vide claimed. Vide did credit the pro-privatization board with quickly fixing the lock in our item last week.