Friday, November 13, 2009


In politics, an absurdity is not a handicap.
-- Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 - 1821)

Apparently, District Leader David Reck and Linda Belfer along with Bill Love have circulated a memo stating that they intend to form a new political club downtown. Politicians take note. The memo, written ostensibly by Bill Love, states:

“Our new club will have instant credibility with elected officials and other political leaders for several reasons, not the least of which will be the caliber of the people involved, such as you.”

The real reason for this foray is a certain degree of animosity between Reck and D.I.D. President Sean Sweeney, which has evolved over the last couple of years. Neither are low-key individuals and both have supporters as well as detractors among politicians and residents.
The boiling point seems to have been reached during an alleged attempt to pack the club by Reck associates last year – in order to remove Sweeney as President. It was believed that Julie Menin, Chair of Community Board 1, supported this move.

Starting a political club is not all that difficult. It just takes an enormous amount of time, energy and money. Unless, of course, the effort is being bankrolled by others. Maintaining a level of respect, developing a history and managing to be taken seriously by political candidates are the hard part. The notion of “instant credibility,” is a dubious one.
Of course, there is some question as to the validity of political clubs, in general. But, that’s another issue.
Reck is smart and works hard – especially, at petitioning.

Anger management is his Achilles Heel.

No doubt, this decision is due to frustration over Sweeney’s near-impenetrable Presidency at D.I.D. But, strong leaders manage political structures with sometimes-controversial personalities. That applies as much to Sweeney as it does to Reck.
This will play out in one of two ways, however:
D.I.D. might be weakened by a Reck and Belfer departure or, D.I.D. will become stronger as the people who are dissatisfied leave. Betting favors the latter.

It was today reported that Trump SoHo has entered foreclosure. This could not be confirmed but a Community Board member was reported to be the source of this rumor. SoHo Alliance Executive Director, Sean Sweeney who leads a group suing over the project was not aware of this rumor and could not confirm it. So, no dancing in the streets at this point, folks, since it is difficult to tell whether this is wishful thinking for residents of SoHo, or, is indeed a fact.

Monday, November 02, 2009

SoHo Election Views

Voter early and vote often.
-- Al Capone

In SoHo the general election boils down to only the race for Mayor. Chin (City Council 1st District) won the primary, as did Cy Vance (D.A.) and Quinn (City Council 3rd District). In Manhattan, a completely Democratic town, the Primary winner takes the brass ring. The only Republican, in form and function, was Leslie Crocker Snyder for D.A. She lost to Vance who won handily.

Yetta Kurland challenged Christine Quinn for her City Council seat and did surprisingly well since Quinn, the Speaker, came away with only 52% of the vote. Her political acumen may lead her to work more closely with the community but only time will tell. On the horizon for that slot is Kurland, if she runs again, Brad Hoylman (former Chair of Community Board 2) and Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation. The latter has impeccable bona fides.

Margaret Chin will have a lot on her plate since, by all accounts, Alan Gerson was less than a tiger in his City Council position for eight years who, seen in the Village recently, was less than friendly. The tricky problems of vendors who line Canal Street with valises full of fake designer wares, ill-conceived bike lanes on Grand Street and other Village thoroughfares, the assault and harassment on tenants’ rights and trampling of communities by developers – will all be challenging issues facing the new City Council member.

Cy Vance, as the new Manhattan D.A. promises to be a breath of fresh air – taking over from the retiring District Attorney. He promises to build upon the long and successful reign, which was the innovative and progressive career of Bob Morgenthau. While he has the knowledge and compassion of a defense attorney, Vance also has the acumen of a prosecutor whose role it is to protect the citizenry from violent crime.

The Mayoral race between Mike Bloomberg and Bill Thompson is much simpler than it seems for most people. It boils down to the simple matter of whether voters want a benevolent or benign father figure telling them what to do and think – and can buy that role – or, whether voters, as adults are electing their political leaders. The term limits fiasco was foisted upon the public and Thompson has continuously pointed out that the Emperor has no clothes. There is no other issue.