Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Flacks Report [25 April 2009]

More on Nora Anderson---M.T.A. Fare Hikes in Detail---The Manh. D.A. Race---Possible Scenario for the Manhattan Judiciary?---Another Public Advocate Candidate---The End of the Rockefeller Era

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The Nora Anderson Story, cont'd

Here's an up-date on N.Y. County Surrogate Nora Anderson.

It is difficult to encapsulate in just a few paragraphs all the allegations of and responses to the ten-count indictment brought by D.A. Morgenthau against Surrogate Nora Anderson (and her former boss Seth Rubenstein). Some say it was a selective prosecution and politically motivated because Morgey at the time was running for re-election, and he was concerned that Leslie Crocker-Snyder would make an issue of Anderson if Morgey did nothing. Some say the charges are weak and will not stand, while others have already “convicted” her.

The D.A. paints an illegal scenario: Anderson is alleged to have filed false instruments with regard to her campaign last year, instruments which either are or aren’t “business records,” and engaged in financial transactions to get around campaign contribution limits, while asserting the money given as a gift was hers to use in her campaign.

Defendants made an omnibus pre-trial motion to dismiss arguing that there is nothing illegal, there is no proof, there is no criminal intent or knowledge, and there is no “injured forum” or effect on or harm to the citizens of New York County. Further that the court lacks jurisdiction because the indictment was brought in the wrong venue (relying on Stanley Steingut et al. vs. Eugene Gold et al., 42 NY 2nd 311). As the transactions did not occur in New York County, Morgenthau cannot bring an indictment [Should the Kings County D.A. extradite Nora from Manhattan?]. Also that some of the counts are defectively pleaded in that they are duplicitous in alleging more than one crime in a count. [On March 26th of this year, the Court of Appeals ruled in Peo. vs. Bauman that there is to be strict compliance with CPL 200.30—each count of an indictment must charge only one offense.]

The District Attorney's response is basically that there is sufficient evidence, the counts are not "duplicitous," and that New York County was "harmed." The case resumes Friday, 22nd May, 2009, before Judge Michael Obus.


M.T.A. Fare Hikes in Detail

See al
l the looming fare hikes and service cuts:

The N.Y. County District Attorney's Race

Here's an interesting synopsis worth reading on the D.A.'s race to date:
And this:


Possible Scenario for the Manhattan Judiciary?

Heard around the courthouse: another scenario on the John Stackhouse 1st Judicial District Supreme Court vacancy has it that O.C.A. would like to keep Joan Carey on the bench. She's reached the mandatory retirement age, but as a Court of Claims judge, she may not continue. So, O.C.A. is said to be "pushing" for the Governor to appoint her to Stackhouse's vacancy when he leaves on Wednesday, 29th April, 2009 (his last day). [Carey would have to clear the Governor's screening panel first, and then next year she could be "certificated" to serve for up to another six years as a J.S.C., but is not be allowed to be an administrative judge].

Were this to occur, then there would be a "wide-open seat" at the New York County Democratic Party's September judicial convention. However, Carey hasn't decided as of this writing whether or not she wants to continue or to retire. If she takes the interim appointment (and thusly becomes a full-fledged J.S.C.), would she feel obligated to stay on? Stay tuned.

If, however, someone else is appointed, and confirmed by the State Senate Judiciary Committee before June 1st, that person would be considered an incumbent under the New York County Democratic party rules. And under the "old boy/old girl" schema the interim appointee would not be opposed at the September judicial convention. And what of it? Another "un-elected" public official (for fourteen years). The Guv, by appointing an interim J.S.C., effectively determines the outcome of September's judicial convention process under the County rules!

Another Public Advocate Candidate?

Retired Judge Eileen Nadelson is considering a run for Public Advocate on an other-than-Democratic line via a "Wilson-Pakula" designation in the November General.


The End of the Rockefeller Era

For years New York's harsh drug laws put all power in the hands of prosecutors and favored punishment over treatment. This month, that changed. A state Supreme Court judge examines the shift.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

2009 Manhattan Judicial Vacancies (4/09 ed.)

This year, there is only one "county-wide" vacancy for State Supreme Court Justice as John Stackhouse retires, reaching the constitutional age limit. Justice Stackhouse intends to retire early, in April or shortly thereafter. This could give the Governor the opportunity to name a vacancy replacement (presumably County Leader Farrell's choice), and if confirmed by the State Senate before June 1st, the designee would qualify as an incumbent under our Party's rules.

In the Civil Court, Cynthia Kern (3rd Dist.), Analisa Torres (6th Dist.), and Walter Tolub (9th Dist.) are up for re-election. Tolub, who is leaving the bench and will not run again, is a long-time Liberal Party member who changed his enrollment to Democrat in 2004.

Currently there are three "open" N.Y.C. Civil Court seats. Two are in the 9th Dist. (from 14th to 96th Streets, 7th Ave. to Lexington Ave.), which is considered the Lexington Democratic Club's bailiwick: Judith Gische's seat (she was elected to the State Supreme Court trial bench) and Walter Tolub's seat. And there is one vacancy in the 3rd Dist. (from 14th to 65th Streets, 7th Ave. to the Hudson River), as Marilyn Shafer reaches the constitutional age limit.

Surrogate-elect Nora Anderson is suspended, with pay, from the N.Y. County Surrogate position until the pending campaign finance charges (brought by the D.A.) are resolved. The order suspending Anderson, issued by the Court of Appeals on December 29, 2008, became effective January 1st of this year. Chief Administrative Judge Ann Pfau appointed Supreme Court Justice Troy Webber, now sitting in Bronx Criminal Term (all her judicial experience has been in criminal court), to fill the job temporarily. Webber has assured Pfau that if Anderson were eventually removed, she (Webber) will not run for the post. If, however, Anderson is acquitted, that is another story. Webber was elected to New York County Supreme Court in 2002, and many had said that her only support was Denny Farrell.

In another development, the Governor appointed Jonathan Lippman, Judith Kaye's protégé, to be the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, replacing Kaye, who retired, and Luis Gonzalez, a First Dept. Appellate Division judge, to be that department’s Presiding Justice. The two Associate Justice vacancies in the Appellate Division's First Dept. (created by the retirement of Milton Williams and by the elevation of Gonzalez to P.J.) were filled by the appointment of Manhattan Supreme Court Justices Ros Richter and Sheila Abdus-Salaam.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Selected Events

[Events which request contributions are indicated by $.]

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Tuesday, 14th April, 2009, at 6:30 P.M. Downtown Independent Democrats Mayoral forum. Village View community rm., 175 E. 4th Str. (betw. 1st & A).

Thursday, 16th April, 2009, at 6 P.M. Samuel J. Tilden Democratic Club's dinner. Tavern on the Green. For further information, please ring Hon. Louise Dankberg at (212) GRamercy 5 - 53.47. $

Thursday, 16th April, 2009, 7 P.M. East Side Democratic Club candidates forum: Manh. B.P. and Public Advocate offices. Brown Gardens community rm., 225 E. 93rd Str. (betw. 2nd & 3rd Aves.).

Sunday, 19th April, 2009, from 1 until 4 P.M. Broadway Democrats fund-raiser at 107 West, 2787 Broadway (betw. W. 107th & 108th Sts.), Manh. Info.: (917) 757+60.58. $

Thursday, 30th April, 2009, starting at 7 P.M. Lenox Hill Democratic Club, cocktail reception at the National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South @ Irving Pl. (nr. E. 20th Str.). Contact Heather the Leifer at or at (212) REgent 4 - 12.91. $

Saturday, 2nd May, 2009. "The Great Saunter," a 32-mile walk around Manhattan's shore line. Meet at Fulton & South Sts. at 7:30 A.M. For further info., call the Shorewalkers at (212) 330+76.86 or go to:

Sunday, 3rd May, 2009, from 3 to 6 P.M. Three Parks Independent Democrats, Inc., benefit fund-raiser at Meridiana restaurant, B'way betw. W. 105th & W. 106th Sts. (212) UNiversity 6 - 63.78. $

Sunday, 3rd May, 2009, 7:30 P.M. Ansonia Independent Democrats fund-raiser at Josephina, 1900 B'way (betw. 63rd & 64th Sts.). $

Thursday, 7th May, 2009, 8 P.M. Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club Pride Awards. Elmo Lounge, 156 Seventh Ave. (betw. 19th & 20th Sts.), Manh. Info: Ring Allen Roskoff at (212)SIlverstein 1 - 36.77. $

Saturday, 9th May, 2009. Memorial Service for Dave Smith, husband of the late Esther Smith and father of Civil Court Judge Karen Smith, Haft Aud. in Bldg. "C" at F.I.T. (Further details to follow.)

Monday, 11th May, 2009, 6 to 8 P.M. McManus Democratic Assn. fund-raiser, Charley O's, 713 Eighth Ave. (@ W. 45th Str.). $

Thursday, 14th May, 2009, reception at 6:30 P.M.; dinner at 7:30 P.M. Lexington Democratic Club. The Yale Club, 50 Vanderbilt Ave. (across from G.C.T.). Various ticket prices. For information contact Trudy L. Mason at (212) RHinelander 4 - 88.41 (land-line) or at (917) 443 + 33.15 (mobile). $

Thursday, 14th May, 2009, 6 P.M. Metropolitan Black Bar Assn. dinner. Brooklyn, Steiner Studios. For further information, please call: (212) WOrth 4 - 16.45. $

Saturday, 16th May, 2009, at high noon. Chelsea Reform Democratic Club Spring fund-raiser at Niso's, 176 Eighth Ave. @ W. 19th Str. $

Sunday, 17th May, 2009, from one to 4 P.M. Community Free Democrats, Inc., fund-raiser at Bella Luna, 584 Columbus Ave. (betw. W. 88th & W. 89th Sts.). Susan Gwertzman, (212) LYceum 5 - 12.55. $

Sunday, 17th May, 2009, at 1 P.M. Village Reform Democratic Club. Panchito's Mexican Restaurant, 103 MacDougal Str. (betw. Bleecker & W. 3rd Str.). Info., ring Dorothy Harris at (212) 995+VRDC. $

This information is supplied as a public service, and is not an endorsement of the identified activity, candidate, charity, club, meeting, organization, or topic.
All information is believed to be accurate as of the original publication date of this posting. E. & o.e.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Flacks Report [31 March 2009]

Elections Board Takes an Ethical Step Backwards---Dave Smith---Abdus-Salaam to the App. Div.

Elections Board Takes an Ethical Step Backwards

New York City's Board of Elections took an step backwards on St. Patrick's Day when at its regularly scheduled commissioners meeting, the Commissioners by a 6 to 2 vote (with 1 absention and 1 absent) rescinded their ruling from last year barring official Board of Elections training sessions from being held in political clubs. This, in a day of campaign finance reform and of greater accountability in government, was a distinct ethical step backward.

For many years, official poll worker training sessions were held in political clubhouses [but not of late in Manhattan] as well as many other locations, but in July of last year, the Commissioners voted to discontinue this practice; however, under what is understood to be heavy political pressure from the "outer borough" party organizations (and even some elected public officials there), the Board reversed itself!

City money is also involved here. Training sites receive tax monies from the Board of $75 per class (there can be multiple classes in a day or days at any site). And there is always the possibility that the clubs' district leaders might inject themselves in the training sessions (which in some cases might be a good thing because Board of Elections trainers are not of uniform quality).

Dave Smith

Dave Smith, a co-op housing advocate in Penn South, died at age 90. Link to:

to read Al Amateau's excellent obituary on Smith, who was married to the Democratic party stalwart Esther Smith.
Abdus-Salaam to the Appellate Division

And filling the last Associate Justice vacancy on the Appellate Division, First Department's bench, is Manhattan Justice Sheila Abdus-Salaam. [Lippman to the C. of A.; Gonzalez to P.J. of the 1st Dept.; Ros Richter to A.D. 1st, replacing the retired Williams; and Abdus-Salaam to replace Gonzalez.]