Monday, May 31, 2010

The Flacks Report [30 May 2010]

Correction---Handell Rides Again---The New Class---An Illegitimate Panel?---County Endorses for Civil Court---Rangel Has a Problem---Bob Healy

In our last issue, we reported on P.R.I.D. members who lived in Elana Kagan's building, 320 West End Ave. Two of my usually reliable sources erred and confused 320 W.E.A. with 320 W. 87th Str. (Ted Weiss & Jerry Goldfeder lived on W. 87th). It was not Felix Frankfurter who lived across the street, but Charles Evans Hughes who was a Supreme Court Chief Justice and a Republican candidate for President. Time didn't allow for fact-checking last century's rent rolls, and we regret the error. Culpa Mea.

Handell Rides Again

Master petition printer Alan Handell has a new home. He is now with Content Critical, which acquired Astoria Graphics. Content Critical's address is:
800 Central Blvd., Carlstadt, N.J. 07072. (212) WAtkins 4-5400.

Here's how one may reach Handell:
* landline direct: (201) 528+27.85
* cell. 'phone: (646) 373+67.97
* Email:

The New York City office is still located at 225 Varick Str. @ Houston Str. - 5th floor.
* (212) 886+96.72 ["petition line"]
* Email:

The New Class

In the past few years, and especially this year, we have seen a "new class" of lawyers applying to our Party's screening panel for Civil Court Judge. No longer are the applicants primarily from the private sector; we see many applicants from within the court system, which was not the case historically.

In this Republican-caused recession, who could afford a cut in pay leaving private practice for the public sector, especially if one has children in schools from expensive pre-kindergarten to post-grad. programmes. This doesn't mean that people don't want to perform public service, and no doubt a few might covet the kovod (honor) of being a judge. The change is due to the salary situation. Yes, people still want to be judges, but only those lawyers who are used to low pay and can tolerate its permanency.

Further, the late Len Lerner, a lawyer respected by the entire Manhattan bench, noted that in New York County, we've established a practice of promoting people from the lower courts to the State trial bench, so that we should take a closer look at whom we are putting on the Civil Court. He preferred litigators. He said being a law clerk or ALJ, one had the case "handed" to one, and didn't have to marshal the law and facts for the judge as a trial attorney has to do.

An Illegitimate Panel?

Once again, our Party's judicial screening panel for Civil Court had an improper panelist, lawyer Evan M. Goldberg, named by the president of the Jewish Lawyers Guild (J.L.G.) which is neither a community organization nor a bar association. The County's judiciary committee voted not to ask that organization's head to designate a panelist. This is the second time this has happened.

How did this occur, your correspondent queried Curtis Arluck, the judiciary committee chair. Well, the J.L.G. asked to be on the panel, Arluck responded, adding that he (Arluck) told them that they must first obtain approval of the judiciary committee members by e-mail. But that was not done, sez he, so I (Arluck) gave the O.K. But, Curtis, sez I, you did not have that authority. I know, he responded. . . . A shadow was cast on the panel because of the inclusion of a individual who clearly did not belong there.

County "Endorses" for Civil Court

The N.Y. County Democratic executive committee (the district leaders) made an endorsement on May 27th, 2010, for the County-wide vacancies. Under the County rules, the executive committee may only endorse for County-wide judicial seats and only panel-screened candidates whose names were published previously and are re-printed here for your convenience.

Screening Panels Report---24 May 2010

Candidates for Manhattan Civil Court judgeships were reported this evening by the New York County Democratic Party screening panel and the local screening panel for the East Side's 9th Civil Court District.

* Anthony Cannataro (law clerk to J.S.C. Lottie Wilkins)

* Sabrina Bebe Kraus (a Brooklyn Housing Court Judge, and formerly with Borah, Goldstein, . . . and Kucker & Bruh)
* Gerald Lebovits (a noted Manhattan Housing Court Judge) were found most highly qualified of the applicants to the local Ninth District (vacancy #9) screening panel according to Lex. Club District Leader Lawrence Rosenstock.

The "County's" screening panel [for two Countywide "open" seats and for two "open" seats in the First and Fifth Civil Court Districts (vacancies #4, 5, 7, & 8, respectively)] found the following twelve, in alphabetical order, the "most highly qualified" of the twenty-four applicants said Judiciary Committee Chair Curtis Arluck.

* The aforementioned Anthony Cannataro
* David Benjamin Cohen (a Manhattan Housing Court Judge)
* Melissa Anne Crane (law clerk to App. Div. 1st Dept. Justice Karla Moskowitz)
* Erika McDaniel Edwards (a p.i. accident, criminal defense, and estates litigator with Donaldson, Chilliest & McDaniel)
* Carol Ruth Feinman (an Administrative Law Judge with the N.Y. State Office of Temporary & Disability Assistance)
* Paul Allan Goetz (a N.Y.C. Asst. Corp. Counsel for commercial and real estate litigation)
* Michael Katz (law clerk to J.S.C. B. Ruth Kapnick)
* Sabrina Bebe Kraus, q.v. supra
* Gerald Lebovits, q.v. supra
* Kelly Ann O'Neill Levy (law clerk to App. Term 1st Jud. Dist. Justice Sherry Klein Heitler)
* Leticia Maria Ramirez (law clerk to Civ. Ct. Judge Jose Padilla, Jr.)
* Jeanette Rodriguez-Morick (a business, anti-trust, white-collar crime lawyer with Thompson Hine, and a former Bronx A.D.A.).

In addition, two incumbent Civil Court Judges standing un-opposed for re-election, Matthew Frederic Cooper (vacancy #3, a County-wide seat) and Joan Mary Kenney (vacancy #6, First Civil Court District), were approved as "meriting continuation in office."

This executive committee endorsement was a sham, orchestrated Soviet-style, and made a mockery of democracy because each candidate was allowed one minute to speak. There wasn't even the appearance of propriety. [Later that night, a five-club forum let the candidates speak for as long as they wished and also answer questions.]

The buzz was that David Cohen was Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's candidate. Erika McDaniel Edwards was also rumored to be County Leader Keith Wright's pick for the second seat. However, in a surprising up-set, Edwards (who shares office space with Keith Wright's chief-of-staff and whose firm has done legal work in the past for Wright) lost to Leticia Ramirez, whose campaign manager Martin Meltzer attributed her victory to Letitia's getting out there early and working hard to meet the clubs and leaders (and for whom Carter Avery made many calls). And of David Cohen, it was said that he is a good Housing Court judge and had his own base of support, so that he could have made it without Silver's support. Matthew Cooper was unanimously endorsed.

That screening panel reported out so late (its original target date was May 1st), that most clubs couldn't make an endorsement for County-wide or the District seats. Many clubs have scheduled an early June endorsement meeting.

One club, the Three Parks Ind. Dems., met on Wed., the 26th, and endorsed Matt Cooper for re-election and David Cohen and Leticia Ramirez for the County slots, and Kelly Anne O'Neill Levy for the Upper West Side District #5 seat. The vote was:

* Kelly O'Neil Levy . . . . 79*
* Scattered . . . . . . . . 16
* No endorsement . . . 05

* Matthew Cooper . . . .58*
* No endorsement . . . 16

* David Cohen . . . . . . .28*
* Leticia Ramirez . . . . .24*
* Michael Katz . . . . . . .23
* Anthony Cannataro . .21
* Jeanette Rodriguez-Morick . 19
* Paul Goetz . . . . . . . . 14
* Erika McD. Edwards . .12
* Melissa Crane . . . . . . 09
* Sabrina Kraus . . . . . .08
* No endorsement . . . . 08

All County-endorsed candidates are running un-opposed, and in the district court seats as of this writing it looks like Kelly O'Neill Levy in the 5th, and Joan Kenney (running for re-election) and Carol Feinman in the 1st, and Gerald Lebovits in the 9th are also un-opposed. No Manhattan Primaries for Civil Court. Is this good for the Party? (It isn't for the printers.)

Rangel Has a Problem

Harlem, we have a problem. At the Three Parks club, mentioned above, all legislative candidates were endorsed on the first ballot except the 15th C.D. where Charlie Rangel received the endorsement on the third ballot. The vote was:

First Ballot:
Charles Rangel . . . . . . 48
Jonathan Tasini . . . . . .28
No endorsement . . . . . 13
Joyce Johnson . . . . . . .04
Adam C. Powell, IV . . . 02
Vincent Morgan . . . . . .01

Second Ballot:
Charles Rangel . . . . . .33
Jonathan Tasini . . . . . 28
No endorsement . . . . 06

Third Ballot:
Charles Rangel . . . . . .46
No endorsement . . . . .18

Two winters ago, new Ways and Means chair Rangel was welcomed at Three Parks like the conquering hero. Why this sea change in regard to the Congressmember inquired Three Parks member Renna Draynel of Board member Elizabeth Krob Kellner? Liz answered in one word: Ethics.

Bob Healy

It's been exactly one year since political maven Bob Healy died. While none of us is indispensable--and after we're gone, few recall us as life does go on--no one has replaced him as the photographic memory storehouse of the outer Boroughs' judicial races.

"The noblest motive is the public good." --Richard Steele

Tele.: (212) 840+12.34


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