At 24, Mark Botnick is in charge of outreach to the Jewish community for Mike Bloomberg’s third mayoral campaign. The Yonkers native, an alumnus of Westchester Day School and Westchester Hebrew High School, worked on Bloomberg’s last campaign while still at Queens College and afterward went to work at the city’s Community Assistance Unit until this year. A Democrat, he lives on the Upper West Side.
Q: How does it look for the re-election? Do you think the mayor will pull it off?
To Jewish Democrats, the defeat of Minnesota’s Norm Coleman, the last Jewish Republican in the Senate, is proof that GOP should stand for the Gentiles-Only Party. Matt Brooks of the Republican Jewish Coalition is having none of it. The Philadelphia native, 42, who has been national director of the group for 19 years, says there are still plenty of prominent Jews in the party ranks and, if he can help it, plenty more to come.
Q: What was your reaction to the court decision ending Coleman’s suit for a recount?
In the course of a conversation in a kosher pizza shop, Isaac Abraham whips out a pen and paper and draws a layout of Flushing Avenue in Williamsburg to show how the rerouting of traffic from the closed Brooklyn-Queens Expressway 20 years ago was harmful to the area.
“Heavy trucks ruptured the foundations of the synagogue and schools,” he recalls. “It was impossible for anyone to get anywhere. People were silent for six, seven months until we found out the truth — that the contractor walked off the job.”
With Betsy Gotbaum declining to seek re-election, there is no incumbent in this year’s heated race for public advocate. Or is there?
Mark Green, the Democrat who narrowly lost the mayoral race in 2001 after two terms as public advocate, is looking for his old job back. In 1997, Green won more votes in his re-election bid in that job than did Mayor Rudy Giuliani in his.
It’s one of the top political questions in the city: Will Anthony Weiner run for mayor?
The Queens-based congressman who made a respectable Democratic primary run in 2005, forcing a runoff only to cede the nomination to Fernando Ferrer, has often spoken about his intention to run again, but recent developments have sown doubts.
The National Jewish Democratic Council will hold a series of events Sunday and Monday to mark the inauguration of Barack Obama, featuring former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and former White House Chief of Staff John Podesta. N.Y. Minute offered NJDC Executive Director Ira Forman a chance to gloat after eight years heading up the Jewish opposition.
Q: So, it must feel pretty good to be a Democrat now, with your party controlling the White House and Congress.
As word of the carnage in London spread last Thursday, Anthony Weiner was faced with a quandary.
Proceeding with his campaign schedule for the day would demonstrate what he would later call "the aplomb" of citizens of England, Israel and New York in the face of terrorism. But on such a dire day, was it proper to hold a press conference on post-Olympics planning and an endorsement photo op with Brooklyn elected officials?
Insisting he wasn't present while a witness slammed Israel during recent Judiciary Committee hearings, Rep. Jerrold Nadler is demanding a retraction from the New York Post for a column that claimed he sat by idly.
"Was Jerry Nadler afraid of being booed live on C-Span if he'd raised an objection?" Eric Fettman had pondered in a June 23 op-ed.
It's 7:30 on an ordinary morning on the campaign trail, and Gifford Miller is at the 18th Avenue F station in Borough Park doing ordinary things like handing out fliers, trying to spend a moment or two with passers-by as they rush to catch their train.
Each time he's wished good luck, the speaker of the City Council replies "You're my luck." An aide remarks about what a good line that is.
After a while, Miller does something out of the ordinary when he bursts into song: "Kol od balevav, pnima, nefesh yehudi homiya ..."
As the tables were cleared at Sunday's breakfast of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, Fernando Ferrer paused to chat with a pair of city Councilmen. Then, with barely a glance behind him, the former Bronx borough president and Democratic mayoral frontrunner said "OK, K-man, let's go."
Minutes later, in a scene familiar to any observer of the campaign trail, Ferrer and Kalman Yeger were headed down the hotel stairs into Yeger's waiting minivan, off to march in the Salute to Israel parade and discussing the rest of the day's schedule.