Lancman Expected To Challenge Turner In November Election
Lancman, a Democrat who has represented Fresh Meadows and the neighboring areas of Eastern Queens since 2007, planned to drop in at the Federal Election Commission in Manhattan to submit papers announcing the formation of a Congressional exploratory committee to run in the Queens/Brooklyn 9th District currently represented by Turner.
Although state lawmakers have not completed their job of creating new congressional district lines (as well as new state legislative districts), for the November elections, word filtered out about two weeks ago that the map makers were leaving the 9th CD lines undisturbed.
About that time, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was reported saying in news reports that Turner’s district lines would remain the same “because he believed Mr. Turner could be beaten. Silver also indicated that no effort would be made to eliminate the 9th CD.
State Democrats were obliged to eliminate a congressional district somewhere in New York state because the state had lost population according to the 2010 national census. Silver indicated, according to the story where he said Turner’s district would be spared, that the Dems would eliminate the upstate district represented by Congressmember Maurice Hinchey, who had announced his retirement.
Getting back to Turner, he had staged an upset last September when he defeated Assemblymember David Weprin in the special election to fill the 9th CD seat that had been represented by Anthony Weiner, who resigned following a texting scandal.
Turner, supported by former Mayor Ed Koch, adopted a strong pro-Israel, anti-President Obama stance and, ironically, turned the tables on Weprin, despite his longtime pro-Israel credentials.
Queens Democrats were looking for redemption in the upcoming election.
Lancman’s interest in running against
Turner, if he goes through with the plan, would not be entirely surprising. As the 9th CD special election approached last September, Lancman’s name was among the first of several Democrats who’s name surfaced. However, when the Queens Democratic organization endorsed Weprin, Lancman, like several others, backed off and Weprin was defeated.
Lancman, 42, and an attorney, is considered an aggressive campaigner. Also, in the Assembly, he is a frequent participant in debates, holding strong opinions on proposed legislation. On foreign policy, Lancman is a staunch supporter of Israel, and could be expected to challenge Turner on this issue.
ACKERMAN PRIMARY? As far as the Queens congressional seats held by Congressmembers Joseph Crowley (Queens/The Bronx), Carolyn Maloney (Queens/Manhattan), Gary Ackerman (Queens/L.I.) and Gregory Meeks (Southeast Queens), only possible changes to Ackerman’s district have been mentioned thus far as mapmakers turned their attention to them recently.
Reports leaked from the joint state legislative redistricting committee indicate that Ackerman’s present district, including parts of Long Island and Bayside in Queens, might be merged with the Long Island district held by Congressmember Carolyn McCarthy.
Despite these moves favoring Ackerman’s future prospects, McCarthy reportedly is planning to go into a primary with Ackerman. According to one report, McCarthy has over $600,000 in her campaign account and Ackerman has about $500,000 on hand.
Ackerman has been in Congress for 29 years and his forte has been foreign affairs. McCarthy was first elected in 1996 after her husband was killed by a crazed gunman who shot up a Long Island Railroad passenger car. Since then, she has been one of the strongest anti-gun members of Congress.
CUOMO BROADENS TAX INVESTIGATIVE REACH: In a surprise move, it was revealed last week that the Cuomo administration had greatly expanded the state inspector general’s reach covering access to tax returns filed by all state employees, including senators and Assemblymembers.
The administration’s new directive, which increases the number of IG employees authorized to see tax records from one to 63, was immediately criticized by legislators and leaders of state employee unions. Some argued the mere threat to leave people open to investigation would severely reduce their clout in their relations with government personnel.
A spokesman for the administration said the governor had not been aware of the order. It was also stated that the review of records could only be done to investigate possible misconduct by tax department employees or tax crimes committed by other state workers.
Meanwhile, a Siena College poll found that most union households favor the governor’s proposal to scale back pension benefits for newly hired personnel despite state worker union’s opposition to the move.
Another inquiry in the poll found overwhelming support (41 percent to 26 percent) in favor of Cuomo’s plan to link state school aid to new teacher evaluations. Tomorrow is the deadline set by Cuomo to automatically amend the state budget to conform with his evaluations program, which is strongly opposed by teachers and their labor union representatives.
MAYOR AGREES TO GIVE UP CANCER DATA: Despite the NYPD’s opposition, Mayor Michael Bloomberg assured possible cancer victims that he will turn over medical data to research institutes that are studying whether workers got the dreaded disease while working on toxic piles at Ground Zero.
Although the NYPD refuses to give up the names of those affected the mayor said at a press conference last week, “The police department has always tried to give information, without names, and we are trying to work something out.”
The names of cancer victims are being sought to build up pressure against the federal government that has refused to pay benefits to cancer victims although it does pay to cover minor sicknesses.
MALONEY FAVORS MORE LIGHT ON CAMPAIGN DONATIONS: Congressmember Carolyn Maloney, a staunch supporter of campaign finance reform, urged House Republicans to bring to a vote a bill which requires disclosures of corporate and special interest money in politics. Maloney originally co-sponsored the bill.
Maloney’s basic aim is to require their identity because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that independent political spending may not be prohibited or limited by law. The ruling allowed corporations or other special interests to spend unlimited funds for or against candidates provided that the spending is done independently of a particular campaign. The court’s decision has also fostered creation of so called “super pacs”, organizations with huge sums of money that are having a significant impact on primary elections.
Maloney stated: “It’s said that sunlight is the best disinfectant. Let’s shine some sunlight on secret political donations—and hopefully the sun will set on the egregious attempts to buy elections that we’ve seen all too much of this year.
Maloney says the DISCLOSE 2012 ACT would:
•Require public reporting by corporations, unions, super pacs and other outside groups to the Federal Election Commission within 24 hours of making a campaign expenditure or transferring funds (of $10,000 or more) to other groups for campaign-related activity.
•Require campaign or other outside groups to stand by their campaign ads—with their leader and top financial contributors disclosed in the ads; and disclose campaign related spending to shareholders and organization members, and
•Require lobbyists to disclose campaign related expenditures in conjunction with their lobbying activities.
GENNARO’S ANTI-FRACKING CONTINUES: Carrying out a resolution which was introduced at the city council by Councilmember James Gennaro (D–Fresh Meadows), Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a complaint in federal court against the Delaware River Basin Commission, which accuses the agency of issuing proposed fracking regulations without undertaking environmental review or issuing an environmental impact statement. This, said Gennaro “in essence ignores the strong concerns expressed” by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the state Department of Environmental Conservation, the city Department of Environmental Protection and the NYC council.
Gennaro explained that the “adverse environmental impacts of fracking are so severe that it doesn’t make sense to issue regulations that enable drillers to get started without a full understanding of these impacts and how-or if-they could be mitigated”.
The lawmaker said Schneiderman’s suit “aims to protect the interests of not just New York City, which gets all of its water from watersheds upstate, but also the rest of the state, which could be left to deal with irreversible contamination from these practices.”
ADDABBO BACKS FRACKING INTO BILL: State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D–Howard Beach) has signed on to a bill that would suspend any issuance of new permits for hydraulic fracturing drilling for natural gas in New York state until June of 2013 until the state legislature gets all of the information it needs to determine the “ultimate pros and cons” of that type of drilling.
Addabbo said he is “deeply concerned about the potential negative impacts of hydrofracking” on New York’s environment, water supply and public health, and he has made these concerns known.
He said he realizes that we need to reduce our reliance on foreign oil, “but at what cost to current and future generations”. We must get all questions answered before making irreversible decisions.
LAWMAKERS DENOUNCE GRAFFITI IN M.V.: State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. and Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley (D–Glendale) praised the quick response and arrests of graffiti vandals by 104th Precinct cops following acts of vandalism in Middle Village.
According to police, they said, three males spray painted graffiti on public and private property on January 31 along Juniper Valley Road and surrounding streets in Middle Village. Thirteen different locations were vandalized and officers from the 104th Precinct arrested the suspects following a 911 call.
Crowley praised the cops’ action, saying, “These vandals defaced trees, light poles and private property, but thanks to the dedicated work of the 104th Precinct, they were quickly arrested. We must continue to send a strong message to vandals. Your graffiti will not be tolerated and you will be caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Addabbo stated, “These bold acts of vandalism involving both public and private property were cowardly assaults on our quality of life. I’d like to thank the 104th Precinct for their quick response and arrest of the vandals responsible for such widespread blight, as well as the precinct’s tireless efforts to combat graffiti in our community.”
The lawmakers said the 104th Precinct has one of the best anti-graffiti task forces in the city. Last year, the precinct made more than 400 graffiti related arrests, they said.
MILLER WANTS PARADE HONORING IRAQ VETS: Assemblymember Mike Miller (D–Woodhaven) feels strongly that New York City should honor returning Iraq War vets with a parade down Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, so he wrote a letter to Mayor Bloomberg trying to change his mind because he’s opposed to the idea and wants to try to change his mind.
The mayor has said he took that position at the request of Pentagon officials who cited the continuing war in Afghanistan where our troops are still serving.
But Miller told the mayor: “The American military will always have a global presence, and at times we will be engaged in ongoing combat efforts. This is no reason to not acknowledge the simultaneous return of a large number of our young men and women.”