I do not care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members.
--Groucho Marx (1890 - 1977)
You can observe a lot just by watching.
--Yogi Berra (1925 - )
Some of the rumors heard recently in SoHo, which are titillating to readers, are merely the confabulations of political junkies.
But, reality has consigned some of these tidbits to file 13.
Like the Police horse that galloped down Avenue of the Americas – unmounted – running the wrong way in traffic – with two officers running after it. They were too late to stop the horse from colliding with a van, which stunned the horse and destroyed one side of the van. The driver wasn’t too happy either. The horse continued on in traffic towards Canal Street with the two cops running after him. Imagine, if you will, sitting in traffic with a 2000 lb. animal heading towards you.
They don’t talk about that in the Police Blotter.
There also may be a few darker horses running the wrong way at D.I.D. as well. Of course, as J.F.K. said, “Politics is the only game for adults.”
The rancor continues at the Downtown Independent Democrats, where a recent meeting had the members of opposing camps sitting at opposite ends of the table at this most recent post-“coup” get-together. The emotional level was described as controlled hostility. The meeting was held at Phil Mouquinho’s bar on Charlton Street. Phil is a supporter of David Reck’s Hudson Square “Charrette” which also is related to the Steering Committee fighting the D.S.N.Y. 14 story garage and fueling depot. Reck is also a Menin supporter.
Whether this was “neutral” territory, considering the fact that most previous D.I.D. meetings had been held at Sweeney’s loft, is a question.
Handshakes offered in greeting were refused. That was the level of simmering animosity for those who are not able to play the game and remain civil.
Some resolution to the attempted but now delayed coup by the newly-formed “Meninites” is expected at the election in June – at which, it is rumored, Ian Dutton, the bike path guru, will be opposing Sean Sweeney for the Presidency. His candidacy replaces the sudden interest, and now, disinterest, by Pat Moore.
While cooler minds sit back and take a philosophical view of these Machiavellian proceedings, some of the old-timers are not pleased that a covert attempt at regime change took place at all.
While political clubs try to call a winner in the next City Council seat next year, Alan Gerson remains above the fray.
Whether Kathryn Freed bolts from chambers and make a run for her old job, the remaining known players are Julie Menin and Pete Gleason.
There is little question that Freed would win the election if she ran. But, in the event she does not, thus far only Gleason and Menin are considered contenders.
Menin has public recognition, created Wall Street Rising, is Chair of Community Board #1, and husband Bruce, who is a developer with big money. Her scorecard at Community Board #1 and modus operandi in the D.I.D. coup will impact on her political future downtown.
Gleason is persistent and likely would not run if Freed were a candidate but clearly relishes a contest with Menin.
His strength is not big money but has a strong base with firefighters, police, and unions.
The Quinn “Slushgate” situation clearly will affect her chances at a Mayoral bid. And, as far as a run for Comptroller is concerned, which had been bandied about, there might be a few looks askance at that idea – given the nature of the U.S. Attorney and Department of Investigation inquiries into financial improprieties at the City Council. Pork is highly fattening, and, some say addicting. It certainly is the coin of political deals and survival.
In Quinn’s defense, however, not nearly enough press has dwelled upon the fact that the slush funds apparently date to Speaker Vallone and Miller. And, the controversy about $600/hr. lawyers being paid out of government coffers – especially if the charges turn out to be “criminal” – is an absurdity.
The Federal government has unlimited deep pockets. For elected officials to have to pay for their own legal defense is tantamount to the prospect of caving in at every charge leveled by the U.S. Attorney.
Quinn has assured everyone that she is not a “Target.”
But, the truth is, no one ever knows whether they are targets in a broad “let’s see what we can find” kind of inquiry.
But, as Jim McManus, of the Midtown Democratic Club has said about Quinn’s predicament, “she’s got some problems right now, but she’ll survive. She’s tough.”
Postscript: Ray Kelly appears to be leading the pack of Mayoral candidates, even though he has repeatedly denied that he is either interested or planning to run. Those who know how to read tealeaves and follow breadcrumbs are repeating the same mantra on the path to Gracie Mansion. The only question is which party he will run with.