2007-04-04 / Political Page

Weiner: Another Step Toward '09 Mayoral Bid

Congressmember Anthony Weiner, who should be among the early favorites in the 2009 mayoral race following his fine showing in 2005, has made another move toward running for the city's top job again.

Weiner (D- Queens/Brooklyn) took a first step toward a mayoral run in February when he filed campaign papers with the Board of Elections to run for a citywide office in 2009.

Recently, a spokesman said, Weiner sent out a letter on stationery headed "Weiner for Mayor" to some of his previous donors to refresh their memories about his first mayoral campaign. He followed this with telephone calls seeking campaign contributions. No word back on how he fared with the solicitation.

In his letter, Weiner struck a "loyal and team player theme", recalling the surprisingly successful campaign that brought him from last to a threatening second place in the Democratic field. The primary vote was a close tie with Fernando Ferrer, but in the interests of party unity, Weiner stepped aside, rather than have another possibly bitter runoff. In the general election, Ferrer was defeated by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Since then, Weiner continued, he has helped Democratic candidates in congressional races and in local contests, and has been working with House Speaker

Nancy Pelosi to try to

get the party's agenda

enacted by

Congress.

Weiner

r a i s e d

about $3

million for his

2005 campaign,

but should be able to

surpass this amount for a 2009 campaign where, as we said, he should be among the favorites in what's almost certain to be a bulky Democratic primary field. One major reason for the crowded field is that term limits will force many present public officials out of their jobs. Among these are city Comptroller William Thompson Jr., Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum and Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

Weiner hasn't filed any fundraising figures with the Campaign Finance Board yet, but others have. Thompson has slightly more than $1 million in the till, Quinn some $310,000 and Gotbaum about $164,000. Other possible candidates are Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion (about $548,000) and Councilmember Tony Avella (D- Bayside), who says he'll definitely run for mayor. Avella has about $72,000 in the bank.

CUOMO IN ACTION: Picking up where his predecessor, Governor Eliot Spitzer, left off, state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is probing cozy relationships between some colleges and issuers of student loans which may have short-changed student borrowers.

Last week he announced the first fruits of the investigation, a suit against Education Finance Partners of San Francisco, a student loan provider, charging the company gave kickbacks to some 60 colleges throughout the nation, including Long Island University.

Cuomo said he expects to seek monetary damages of about $1 million from Education Finance Partners. In all, Cuomo's probers are checking out 100 colleges in and outside New York State and a half-dozen loan providers to try to find out whether the colleges "steer" student loan business to preferred companies and allegedly receive some financial remuneration in return.

Students get stung by these relationships because they don't receive the fullest information available and thus may lose out on getting the best possible terms on a loan.

In an unrelated matter, Cuomo has fired Vernice Williams Norman, wife of disgraced Brooklyn Democratic Leader Clarence Norman, who also was an Assemblymember.

Mrs. Williams was bounced from an $84,000-a-year intergovernmental relations position she had been appointed to in 1999 by Spitzer.

LIU, MONSERRATE EYE PARKING REGS: City Councilmembers John Liu (D- Flushing) and Hiram Monserrate (D- Corona) have taken up the cause of motorists and businessmen who the lawmakers feel are victimized by city parking regulations.

Liu, chairman of the Transportation Committee, cities complaints that posted parking regs are sometimes contradictory and result in tickets being issued to vehicle owners.

Liu proposes that the city post the rules for every block on the Internet to help motorists.

Monserrate was annoyed over the ticket blitz that followed the February snowstorm because some car owners couldn't dig themselves out quickly enough. To make sure this doesn't happen again, Monserrate has filed a bill to suspend alternate side parking for 48 hours after a snowstorm, giving car owners time to dig their cars out.

The lawmaker said that he received a ticket after the February snowstorm, but didn't have to pay a fine because Mayor Michael Bloomberg rescinded all tickets that had been slapped on cars.

DEMS' PREZ SELECTION PLAN: The Democratic National Convention is still more than a year away (Aug. 25, 2008 in Denver), but state party leaders hope to make it the most open and democratic delegate selection process in our party's history, Party Co-Chairs June F. O'Neill and David Pollak declare.

The New York state delegation, totalling 280 delegates and 39 alternates, will be the second largest in the country. Those planning the delegation's makeup say it will reflect special efforts to attract interest among traditionally underrepresented groups to help make sure it represents the state's diversity and inclusiveness.

O'Neill said that as part of the comprehensive outreach program to attract this diverse group, the state Democratic committee will distribute information and conduct workshops throughout the state on how to become a delegate. Materials explaining the process will be available through local county Democratic committees around the state later this year.

In all, 151 delegates and 25 alternates will be elected on a congressional district basis in the primary elections to be held Feb. 5, 2008. To appear on the ballot, presidential candidates must obtain 5,000 signatures, while a delegate candidate or alternate will have to obtain 500 valid signatures.

Besides those to be selected on Primary Day, another 85 delegates and 14 alternates will be chosen by the Democratic State Committee at its convention to be held on or about May 15, 2008.

Among other delegates will be high-ranking public officials such as Spitzer and former President Bill Clinton, all of the state's congressmembers and all members of the Democratic National Committee from New York State. Also, 30 delegate positions will be reserved for Democratic Party leaders and Democratic elected officials in the state.

The delegate selection plan can be found on the Democratic State Committee Web site, www.nysdems.org. The plan is subject to a 30-day public comment period running through Aug. 30, 2007.

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