Monday, June 25, 2012


DONTZIN--Michael Joseph. Retired Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County, died peacefully at his home in New York City on June 22, 2012 after a long battle with cancer. Judge Dontzin was 89 years old. Judge Dontzin was born in New York City to immigrant Russian parents, Joseph and Miriam, and attended Stuyvesant High School. During the Korean War, he served as a corpsman in the US Navy. He went on to attend Washington State University in Pullman, then transferred to New York University where he received a B.A in 1948 and a J.D. in 1951. Working as a trial lawyer in private practice, Judge Dontzin became an activist in the Liberal Party, where he was a protege to leaders Alex Rose and David Dubinsky. His activity in politics reflected his passion for social justice, and for the vibrancy and well-being of the city he loved. He practiced law until 1966 when he was appointed as Counsel to Mayor John Lindsay, where he was the Mayor's liaison to the Police Department and the Court System, and led the Mayor's Screening Committee on the Judiciary. Appointed by Mayor Lindsay as Judge of the Criminal Court of the City of New York in 1972, he was elected as a Justice of the Supreme Court, New York County in 1976 and re-elected to successive terms until his retirement from the bench in 1992. Judge Dontzin became the Chief Judicial Officer of the alternative dispute resolution firm Endispute in 1992, which later became JAMS. He resolved thousands of commercial, employment, insurance, mass tort, and other cases as mediator or arbitrator, and became a leading proponent of ADR. At the same time, he founded The Dontzin Law Firm with his son Matthew S. Dontzin and practiced law actively until his death. In the last days of his life, he presided over the marriage of a gay couple in his home, keeping a promise to a friend. The law was his great passion and he will be remembered as a skillful and accomplished jurist. He is survived by his devoted wife of 35 years, Janet Sarno, an actress; daughter Lisa; son Matthew; daughter-in-law Ginger; and grandchildren Maegan Mishico and Cole Dontzin. When not practicing law, Judge Dontzin's other great passion was to serve as his wife's "Stage Door Johnny" accompanying her to each of her theater performances. Judge Dontzin was predeceased in 1990 by his former wife Marion Bell Seldin, who remained a close friend after their divorce. The family will receive guests on June 25 and 26 from 6pm to 9pm at the home of Matthew S. Dontzin, 6 East 81st Street, NYC. A memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations should be made to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Edward N. Costikyan

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Private funeral in South Carolina. Paul, Weiss to arrange a memorial service in the future.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

This Weekend's Non-political Events for Pols

During the hot and humid doldrums of summer petitioning time, here are a few non-political events for pols.


Thursday, 21 June 2012, the Brooklyn Museum of Art is open until ten o'clock p.m. While there will be a good number of people there (but not as crowded as on a First Saturday Night), you'll feel like you have the whole museum to yourself. Admission by contribution. IRT 7th Ave. line to the Eastern Parkway station (and you get out right in front of the museum). If you can't make it this evening, go any other Thursday.


Friday, 22 June 2012,

Swedish Midsummer Festival

Friday, 22nd June, 2012
5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Wagner Park at The Battery, Manh.

Celebrate the solstice and the beauty of nature and rejoice in the longest day of the year in the Swedish tradition. Decorate the maypole and learn folk dances from Barnklubben Elsa Rix and Swedish Folkdancers of New York. Make midsummer wreaths. Enjoy a parade, children’s games and Swedish delicacies (for purchase). Traditional music by Paul Dahlin and musicians from the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis.

Note: In accordance with New York City law, alcoholic beverages are not allowed in the parks. Swedish Midsummer Festival is co-sponsored by The Consulate General of Sweden, New York.


Banned IKEA commercial in Sweden:

The "lowdown" on midsummer festival (from Sweden):

Saturday, 23 June 2012, Coney Island's Mermaid Parade. While many of the participants will be quite scantily clad, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz--who always appears riding on a float--will probably be totally clad. [Strangely, the parade of mermaids and mermen is always preceded by an antique automobile procession.] Information, go to:

For further information:

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Supreme Court Manh. Screening Panel 18 June 12

The New York County Regular Democratic organization's Judiciary Committee's last meeting is this coming Monday (18 June) at 6:30 P.M. to finalize the organizations for a screening panel to pick candidates for the State Supreme Court trial bench. There are four "open" vacancies this year in the First Judicial District. [Eileen Bransten, Helen Freedman, Charles Ramos, and David Saxe, all of whom reach the mandatory retirement age; however, they may serve up to an additional six years if "certificated."]

In addition, two applicants will be interviewed for the position of panel administrator: Daniel M. Burstein, who is with Willkie, Farr, & Gallagher; and Randolph Michael McLaughlin, who is with Jonathan Newman & Lucas Ferrara. Douglas Kellner recommended both.

Under both National and local Democratic Party rules, these meetings are open to the public. If you are interested, be sure to attend! (If you are a candidate, send an observer.)

N.Y. County Democratic Party office
This Monday, 18th June, 2012, at 6:30 P.M.
108 West 39th Street (betw. 6th Ave. & B'way) - 12th floor

Friday, June 8, 2012

NY County to set up Sup. Ct. "Panel"

The New York County Regular Democratic organization's Judiciary Committee meets this coming Monday (11 June 12) at 6:30 P.M. to form a secret screening panel to pick candidates for the State trial bench. See the call to the meeting, below.

Under Democratic Party rules, these meetings are open to the public. If you are interested, be sure to attend! (If you are a candidate, send a friend.)

N.Y. County Democratic Party office
This coming Monday, 11th June, 2012, at 6:30 P.M.
108 West 39th Street (betw. 6th & B'way)


Subject: Judiciary Committee Meetings June 11 and June 18
Date: Wed Jun 06 09:04:05 EDT 2012
To: Manhattan Judiciary Committee
From: Curtis Arluck and Louise Dankberg, Chairs

There will be a meeting of the Judiciary Committee Meeting this Monday, June 11 at the County HQ, 108 West 39th St. The meeting is called for 6:30 PM. Please be prompt, as there is a fundraiser ending at 8 PM that some of us need to get to, and there are undoubtedly other meetings as well.

It is anticipated that there will be a follow up meeting the following Monday, June 18; we will decide this at the June 11 meeting.


2012 Supreme Court Screening Panel. There are 4 vacanices this year.

--Calendar working back from late September Judicial Convention
--Selection of groups for Supreme Court Panel. The plan is to pick most of the groups at the June 11 meeting, so the notices can go out promptly, and to finalize selection at the next meeting.
--Discussion of Administrator for Supreme Court Panel. We hope to have resumes for potential candidates, but will not interview until the next meeting.

Please let us know if you can attend. George, let us know if there will be conference call capability, and if there are any additions or corrections to the attached e-mail list.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Nadler to Speak on Reform Dem. Movement -- A Must Go!

Across America, the Upper West Side is synonymous
with outspokenly-progressive politics.
How did that happen?

The Park West Neighborhood History Group Presents:

Congressman Jerry Nadler
Explains 60 Years
of Upper West Side Political Clubs

Monday, 11th June, 2012, at 8 o'clock p.m.

at Hostelling International
Amsterdam Avenue at West 103rd Street

Famously known as one of the original "West Side Kids," Congressmaven Nadler is a walking, talking treasure trove of history and minutia of West Side power, politics and political clubs. Travel back with him: remember the movements, the battles won and lost, the rich panoply of local characters – Bill Ryan, Ted Weiss, Bella Abzug, Franz Leichter, Robert Lekachman, Ed Sullivan, Dick Gottfried, Simon Barsky, Leon Bogues, Carl McCall, Bob Woolis, Ronnie Eldridge, Bob Ginsberg, Leonard Cohen, Victor Kovner, Sheldon Levy, Stephanie Digby, Chuck Tice, Dick Morris and others – who built the fabled "Upper Left Side." Hear how the Riverside Democrats, Committee for Democratic Voters (C.D.V.), West Side Independent Democrats, F.D.R.-Woodrow Wilson Dems, Broadway Democrats, Community Free Democrats and Three Parks Independent Democrats began and evolved.

Sponsored by:
Park West Neighborhood History Group
Columbus-Amsterdam B. I. D.
Hostelling International NY

All Welcome -- Free Event

Monday, June 4, 2012

Nadler Fund-raiser


Monday, 4th June, 2012, 6:30 P.M. to 8:30 P.M.

Congressmaven Jerry L. Nadler
celebrates 20 years in the House

Gala Cocktail Party
Bryant Park Grill
Behind the public library
(the branch guarded by Patience and Fortitude)
Enter Bryant Park from W. 42nd Str. (betw. 5th & 6th Aves.)

Info.: (212) 352+03.70 $

Sen. Tom Duane Steps Down; Won't seek Re-election

Sunday, 3 June 2012

New York State Senator Thomas K. Duane announced today that he is stepping down and will not seek re-election this year. This came as a surprise and shock to the New York political world inasmuch as the designating petitions for his re-election to his State Senate District (formerly the 29th; now the 27th) had been printed [petitioning begins this week].
Duane told David Chen of the N.Y. Times that he was just tired of the Albany commute and had no plans to run for elective office again. Duane was elected to the State Senate in 1998. Before that he was a member of the N.Y.C. Council.