Thursday, October 8, 2009

[30 Aug. '09]

City Board of Elections Manhattan Rulings---Schneiderman Open House---Erika Teutsch---Tammany Hall---Chelsea "Reform"?---D'Auguste on Judging

[This is long, so that you may want to print it out.]

City Board of Elections Manhattan Rulings

The New York City Board of Elections concluded hearings on all the 171 objections to City-wide and to local area candidates for both public offices and party positions.

Of interest to Manhattanites are three contests: the Anna Lewis/Lynn Kotler judgeship race, Councilmember Alan Gerson's bid to stay on the ballot, and the Park River Ind. Dems. loss of both District Leaders.

In the Anna Lewis/Lynn Kotler Civil Court Judge contest for the 3rd C.C.D., the City Board of Elections found that Anna Lewis had insufficient signatures (1,500 required) for Civil Court judge, and ruled her off the Primary Election ballot. A recount showed that she had even fewer valid signatures. So into court.

A Supreme Court Special Referee sustained the Board of Elections' findings, but Supreme Court Justice Edward Lehner did not confirm the special referee's report and found that Lewis had enough signatures (1,502) to put her on the ballot. Kotler appealed to the Appellate Division (1st Dept.), which granted an expedited appeal.
The Appellate Division (First Dept.) unanimously reversed State Supreme Court Justice Edward Lehner's decision to place Anna Lewis on the ballot in the 3rd N.Y.C. Civil Court District; therefore, there was no Primary election for that position, and candidate Lynn Kotler is unopposed.

The memorandum decision said that Supreme Court abused its discretion in rejecting the credibility determinations of the Special Referee [Leslie Lowenstein], and that there was insufficient evidence of record to validate the 39 "D'Ornellas" signatures. Thus Lewis's motion to validate her petition was denied. The full Court of Appeals denied Lewis's motion for leave to appeal.

An interesting side-bar is that Tim Gay of the Manhattan Borough Elections office was involved in checking the validity and sufficiency of the Lewis petition even though he was partisan and collected petition signatures for Kotler. His behavior as reported also in has led to the moniker Board-of-Corruption. The Daily News's Errol Lewis describes the Elections board as "hyper-politicized."

In the1st City Council District, incumbent Alan Gerson was ruled off the ballot by the Bd. of Elections for cover sheet irregularities. A Supreme Court Special Referee ruled the errors amendable and restored Gerson to the ballot. Supreme Court (Lehner) confirmed the referee's report. Lehner, holding that Gerson was in substantial compliance with the State Election law, found that the second amended cover sheet to the Gerson designating petition was factually accurate, that Gerson did not commit fraud, and that he had the requisite number of petition signatures.

For more information on that race, link to:

And link to enjoy the transcript of the Special Referee's hearing, compliments of Liz Benjamin:

Meanwhile, the Park River Independent Democrats has lost its district leaders. Ann Raphael resigned, and after a sort-out of sorts in the club, long-timer dotty Dottye Seales ran for the female leadership spot, but lost the endorsement by a two-to-one margin most likely because of her outrageous and malicious mis-treatment of the former club president. This is the first time in 50 years this club rejected its district leader candidate! Filling this void by circulating her own petitions is a Stringer stalking horse: Jason Haber's wife Cory.

To add injury to insult, P.R.I.D. macher Elaine Roberta Berlin continued her vendetta against nemesis D.L. Earl Scott by successfully knocking him off the ballot because of insufficient signatures in a Board of Elections proceeding. [Also challenging the Scott petition was Derek Meilman.] This is ironic because Bobbi dislikes Stringer, yet she cleared the field to give the Beep another opportunity to seize control of the Park River leadership at a divisional County Committee meeting in his quest for World-wide office.

Furthermore, inspections of many petitions filed at the Board disclose that petition signature quality was dreadful. On the West Side, Three Parks Dems petitions were such that about half of their County Committee didn't meet the minimal signature qualifications. Were they challenged by an opposition slate, they'd be off the ballot.

It was worse on the East Side. The mighty Lexington Democratic Club lost many County Committee members because they were not registered voters or if registered, were not enrolled in the party! How about that Mel Allen?

Most of the signatures gathered by the Broadway Dems (especially in the Grant Houses), Three Parks Dems, and Community Free Democrats were gathered in each instance by the old reliables--the few aged and old club stalwarts. C.F.D. D.L. Joan Paylo out-did herself gathering signatures as did Marc Landis [self preservation?], but D.L. Greg Soumas didn't even petition for himself (his being a Clown on the Bored [sic] of Elections is no bar as he'd have to recuse himself anyway from any consideration of his D.L. petitions). And most judicial delegates and alternate delegates candidates on both the East and West side didn't even petition for themselves. For shame.

If you think this was bad, the Board threw off the ballot a couple of candidates for City Council (one Dem. & one independent) for failing to state on their petition the Council district for which they were running! And there were many cover sheet errors. Jerry Goldfeder's hornbook on the Election Law would have sold well were there a book vending stand outside!

And a note on a City-wide race. Bloomberg threw Adamas, a Republican opponent, off the ballot. Adamas had only 595 signatures.

The City Board of Elections GHQ at 42 B'way in Manhattan, where all the petitions were initially filed, was, shall we say, "disjoint." Petitions were temporarily missing (no sign-out sheets were kept to keep track of them); at the hearings clerks' reports weren't ready; no calendar was posted; no "transparency"; lay people unrepresented by counsel were mis-treated by the commissioners and talked down to.

And so in Manhattan State Supreme court with the Election Law procedings to validate and invalidate various candidacies. Justice Lehner, a bright and gracious jurist, was often--to use a polite word by a visiting Californian in the courtroom--rude, and he encumbered the record with his reminiscences of when he was an Assemblyman et cet.

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Schneiderman Open House

N.Y. State Senator Eric Schneiderman recently held an open-house at his new Manhattan district constituent office at warren-like 5030 Broadway. "Fifty Thirty," the old New York Telephone building which housed many of Telco's operations for well over a generation, is now owned by the Gottesman family (Edison Properties/Manhattan Mini-Storage). I'm not sure whether the commercial space looks like late hospital ward or contemporary penitentiary. Anyway, Eric's reception was called for 5:30 P.M. until 8 P.M., but the food ran out at half six. Washington Heights people come early facetiously remarked political maven and leader Joan Serrano Laufer.

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Erika Teutsch

Erika Teutsch, Bill Ryan's right hand, suffered a heart attack, and is in the Amsterdam Nursing Home, Rm. 1120.

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Tammany Hall

This link will take you to the original sheet music of the song, "TAMMANY," what is just about the most famous Democratic campaign song ever written; music composed by Upper West Side former Republican Party leader Evan Edwards's great-uncle, Gus Edwards.

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Chelsea "Reform"?

Can you imagine what Bob Healy would say! Certain individuals in the C.R.D.C. (Chelsea "Reform" Democratic Club) told me that they didn't want me to go to their BBQ. because I am not welcome having angered them with my "expose" of their Civil Court district screening panel.
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“A judge can never have a bad day in court, when for a litigant, it’s their only day in court.”

--James D’Auguste


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