Rep. Steve Israel, that is, as committee carves Dem-friendly Suffolk district.
by Adam Dickter
It could have been the race to watch on Long Island this year: Two old friends from Huntington vying for a congressional seat in the first all-Jewish general election anyone can remember in Suffolk County.
Amid speculation about shifting party loyalties, it might have been interesting to see if Jewish voters picked Democratic incumbent Steve Israel or Republican Allan Binder.
Her campaign for Senate may be in deep freeze while Hillary Rodham Clinton toys with her own campaign, but Rep. Nita Lowey insists she holds no grudges. "I respect Hillary Clinton's decision-making process," she told Political Memos in a recent interview. "In the meantime, I'm doing what I have to do, should I be the candidate."
A congressional race that is nearly two years away already is making waves in the Crown Heights Jewish community, as two of its political allies head for a 2000 showdown.
Rep. Major Owens, who has represented District 11 in central Brooklyn for 16 years, is likely to face a Democratic primary challenge next year from his former protege, Councilwoman Una Clarke. Both have been strong supporters of Jewish causes, leaving activists wondering whom to support, or in a third option, whether to run a Jewish candidate.
Declaring a Monsey landlord's apparent neglect of a complex he owns a disgrace to the community, an Orthodox Rockland County legislator is taking steps to mend fences with local Hispanics. County officials have slapped the Hyenga Lake Development, a Clarkstown bungalow colony populated mostly by Central American immigrants, with more than 70 violations of health, fire and safety codes. The complex is reportedly owned by Rabbi Mendel Wagschal, a member of the Satmar chasidic community in Monsey.
In their efforts to scuttle a ballot referendum that would eliminate primary elections, drastically diluting the value of party labels, the state Democratic Party has been sounding warning alarms about the rise of demagogues.
The party's leaders note that amending election law to create nonpartisan races in the city has been a top priority for radical activist Lenora Fulani, who has been accused of anti-Semitism and is a frequent candidate for office. They accuse Mayor Michael Bloomberg of kowtowing to Fulani by pushing the initiative through a charter revision commission.
Expect few surprises as New Yorkers head to the polls Tuesday in an unusual primary held only two years after the last citywide election.
The races for City Council were prompted by district changes based on the decennial census. Candidates for Civil Court also will be chosen.
Most Council members who face primary challenges are likely to cruise to re-election, observers say.
In the latest political controversy involving Brooklyn's Russian-speaking community, a councilman who represents part of Brighton Beach has succeeded in knocking an immigrant candidate off September's Democratic primary ballot, charging that he fraudulently changed his name.
The Board of Elections took Tony Eisenberg out of the running because he was born Anatoly Eyzenberg in the former Soviet Union. Lawyers for Councilman Dominic Recchia, backed by Brooklynís Democratic political machine, charged that Eisenberg was trying to mislead voters about his national origin.
Hours after returning from a solidarity mission to Jerusalem, James E. Davis rose in the City Council chamber last August to voice support for several pro-Israel resolutions on the day's agenda.
"I went to Israel with an open mind, as someone who grew up reading about King David," said Davis, a minister and former cop who was then in the middle of his first year representing Brooklyn's 35th District, which includes Prospect Heights, Fort Greene and part of Crown Heights.
Brooklyn voters were treated to an unusual spectacle last year when Assemblyman Dov Hikind went all out to help former Councilman Noach Dear win a newly created state Senate seat.
"I did everything possible to help him win," Hikind recalls.
The turn of events seemed to be a turning point in the relationship between the city's best-known Orthodox politicians, both Borough Park Democrats, who rarely seemed to have anything in common other than their shared constituency and are often considered rivals.
In a rare display of budgetary reversal, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has agreed to restore $1.6 million in funds to aid the elderly, most of which will go to the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty.
Bloomberg announced the restoration of the Extended Services Program to the Department for the Aging's budget at Met Council's annual legislative breakfast Sunday.