Archive for the tag 'republicans'

Lawyer Mark Nussbaum

Nussbaum (Source: RUNY)

I’m not quite sure why one would release a statement in response to a quote published a month and half ago, or why one would attack a former elected official of the same party who has said he will never run for office again. But that’s exactly what’s going on this week, with Republican District Leader Marcus Nussbaum of the 46th Assembly District “taking issue” with former State Senator David Storobin for comments he made after the election.

Storobin blamed his loss in November’s race for the 48th District of the City Council, ultimately won by Chaim Deutsch, on low turnout in the Russian-speaking community. Following redistricting, the area became known as a “Super Russian” district, in which Russian speakers are the largest voting block. But apparently that didn’t benefit Storobin.

Nussbaum, who rose to local prominence after providing pro bono legal representation to Bay People in their fight against the Voorhies Avenue mosque, rejected Storobin’s narrative, saying that his loss was because of his failure to garner support from the party. To add some context here, the Brooklyn GOP is in the midst of a power struggle, with a faction led by State Senator Marty Golden looking to unseat county boss Craig Eaton, and Storobin wasn’t exactly a favored son of either side.

Here’s Nussbaum’s press release in full:

Marcus Nussbaum, one of the two newly elected Republican District Leaders in the 46th Assembly District, has stated that he strongly disagrees with former State Senator and City Council candidate David Storobin’s recent statement that he lost his election because the Russian electorate did not come out to vote.

“This analysis labels the Russian community as disinterested in civic affairs. I found this to be in accurate. As I campaigned, talking with hundreds of Russian constituents, I found the overwhelming majority to be very much concerned with government affairs and eager to cast their votes,” Nussbaum said.

Mr. Storobin’s remarks were included in a Politicker article entitled “Non-Russian Triumphs in ‘Super-Russian’ Council District” written by Ross Barkan last November 7th. Mr. Storobin blamed turnout for the letdown, “It’s disappointing the Russian community tends not to come out in high numbers,” he said, reflecting on his bid.”

Nussbaum explained, “I am of Russian descent, and convinced that my victory last September, together with that of my running mate, Lucretia Regina-Potter, happened because of the strong support that we received from the Russian Republican community. In order for us to receive such support, we personally asked for it by meeting with as many Republican voters as possible throughout the entire 46th Assembly District.”

“In spite of the fact that the established factions did not support us, we were able to overcome those obstacles and their very strong opposition. In my opinion, Mr. Storobin lost because he failed to reach out to those people, including myself and my co-leader, who had just succeeded in convincing a large number of Republican voters to actually come out and vote in a Primary election,” Nussbaum stated.

“Could it have been political rather than cultural considerations that were at play?” Nussbaum asked. “At this stage, one is inclined to conclude that perhaps Mr. Storobin did not value our support, or worse, he may have been instructed not to reach out to us by his alignment with one established Republican faction.”

“The result of all of the bickering and infighting among Brooklyn Republicans is that it is almost impossible for Republican candidates for public office to be elected. We must stand united, work for a common victory, and overcome these petty differences in order to succeed. It is not a community that is disappointing, but perhaps the candidates that take the community for granted,” Nussbaum concluded.

Source: Brian Hedden via Bay Ridge Odyssey

Source: Brian Hedden via Bay Ridge Odyssey

Republican Congressman Michael Grimm is asking the federal government to earmark $600 million for the Build it Back program, the housing recovery project designed to help Superstorm Sandy victims, and take control over Sandy funds out of the hands of of local authorities, reports SILive.

While the money is already on its way as part of a larger package, Grimm wants the government to earmark that amount specifically for Build it Back and not permit New York City or state authorities any flexibility with the funds.

“The City of New York needs to take a better look at how they’re allocating their resources. It’s not their money to just allocate as they see fit. This is the people of Staten Island’s money — that was the intent of Congress. And they need to be stewards to that money,” Grimm said.

Thus far, the billions in federal aid money flowing into city coffers has come in the form of Community Development Block Grants (CDBGs) and has allowed the city to be flexible in the way it spends it. In a letter to Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Grimm advocated that the city needs an additional $600 million just for housing alone, and that the city should have no say in how this cash is spent.

“I don’t have faith that the city will do the right thing for the people that I represent in Staten Island,” Grimm said.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned that the continuing government shutdown could cause serious delays in distributing Superstorm Sandy relief money. The New York Daily News is reporting that Bloomberg and mayoral candidates Bill de Blasio and Joe Lhota all expressed the same opinion that the shutdown could harm people and businesses trying to recover from the storm.

With much of the federal workforce furloughed, aid money flowing from Community Development Block Grants is likely to be slowed due to the lack of government workers pushing it through the system.

In his weekly radio address, Bloomberg described dire consequences if the shutdown doesn’t end soon.

“Right now, Washington’s gridlock is doing real harm to our nation’s economy – and if they don’t get their acts together soon, New York City families, especially those who endured the worst from Hurricane Sandy, will feel real pain,” Bloomberg said, “If, for example, you’re a business owner in the Rockaways, this could mean a longer wait time to get grants and loans – prolonging what has been an already difficult and cumbersome process for so many.”

Bloomberg also said that politicians in Washington had lost sight of the fact that their disagreements were affecting the lives of real people, stating that, “Enough is enough.”

The Daily News described how both De Blasio and Lhota agreed that the gridlock in DC must come to an end, yet they both descended into partisan bickering over who was to blame:

“The Republicans in the House if they want to live up to the phrase patriotic should settle this problem now so the people in this country who have suffered from natural disasters don’t suffer more,” [de Blasio] said.

“Mr. Lhota is a Republican. He’s a proud republican. He is someone who’s been a Republican all his life. And his party continues to do things that hurt the interests of New York City. And I think that Republicans like him should have long ago fought back against the negative trends in their party. They should not have accepted it and they should have considered leaving the Republican Party,” he said.

“I don’t understand in this day and age how someone could continue to be a Republican and say that they want to help New York City move forward.”

Lhota condemned the shutdown and insisted trying to tie him to Republicans in Washington is unfair. “I’ve blasted the Congressional Republicans for their actions,” he said.

“While I may be a Republican, I don’t believe in what those Congressional Republicans are doing. They’re serving themselves, they’re not serving the people who elected them.”

City Councilman Lew Fidler. Photo by Erica Sherman

City Councilman Lew Fidler. Photo by Erica Sherman

Democrats across the city are rallying behind the perceived inevitability of Bill de Blasio becoming the Democratic nominee after the candidate narrowly slipped by the trigger for a runoff in the preliminary vote count, and are urging Bill Thompson to concede his desire for a recount to force to a runoff. Councilman Lew Fidler, though, is not one of them. An ardent supporter of Bill Thompson, he’s urging his friend to keep the campaign alive.

In the first returns, it appears that de Blasio just barely eclipsed the 40 percent margin needed to avoid a runoff with Thompson, who finished second with 26.2 percent of the vote. If a recount does find de Blasio under the 40 percent threshold, Thompson and his supporters are hoping that voters who cast ballots for Christine Quinn, John Liu and Anthony Weiner could be persuaded to make up the difference. This is exactly what Thompson supporter Fidler is banking on, striking a defiant anti-de Blasio tone in his remarks to the Daily News.

“When people realize what they’ve done, they’ll reconsider and vote for Thompson,” Fidler said.

Fidler’s stern support of Thompson is flying in the face of a bevvy local Democrats, who once endorsed the likes of Quinn and Thompson, jump ship and back de Blasio. A report by Politicker made a long list of politicians and labor groups switching to Team de Blasio:

The Democratic and labor establishment, however, has indicated they have little appetite for another primary race. Indeed, the two Democrats who will be locked in a citywide runoff for public advocate, Councilwoman Tish James and State Senator Daniel Squadron, were among those endorsing Mr. de Blasio today.

“There are two reasons we are supporting Bill de Blasio. He tells the truth, and he’s a fighter for the middle class, working class and poor. That’s an awfully good combination, and we’re excited to get behind his campaign,” Dan Cantor, executive director of the WFP, in a statement. “Bill de Blasio has dedicated himself to addressing the soaring inequality that characterizes New York.”

Despite all the momentum that the de Blasio campaign is mounting, Fidler had strong words for anyone who backed Thompson and are now considering supporting de Blasio.

“Grow a pair and don’t rush to judgment,” Fidler told the Daily News.

When asked if Fidler’s hard line against de Blasio would melt if Thompson was defeated once and for all, Fidler wouldn’t give an inch.

“I’m not prepared to answer that,” Fidler said, adding that, “I am going to be with Bill Thompson until the last vote is counted.”

City Council candidate David Storobin

City Council candidate David Storobin

In an interview, Republican City Council candidate David Storobin characterized Democratic candidate Ari Kagan as someone who has never held a full-time job, thus making him unqualified as a potential councilman. In the interview, conducted by Matzav, Storobin also expressed his opinion that Kagan would be a puppet of the Democratic machine.

When asked about what he thinks of his opponents in the Council race, Storobin singled out Kagan and held back no punches in his description of him:

One of my opponents is Ari Kagan, a 46-year-old who has never had a full-time job in his life. He talks about creating jobs, but why couldn’t he create one for himself first? As a fellow Russian-American, I find this to be an embarrassment. This community worked very hard to build itself up after coming to this country penniless, and right now almost everyone has joined the middle class. But out of all the successful people, Frank Seddio and the Brooklyn Democratic Party bosses decided to back the only person I know who is permanently unemployed because they know he’ll be the easiest to control. Why did no Democratic politician offer him a real, full-time job, something Kagan desperately wanted during his 16 years of political involvement? If he wasn’t good enough for the Democratic politicians, why is he being forced upon the people of this district?

I think the difference between someone like myself who was raised poor and started his own business at the age of 25 versus someone who has never landed a full-time job in his life is very clear.

In response to Storobin’s characterization, Kagan’s campaign spokesperson sent Sheepshead Bites the following quote, touching on parts of Kagan’s resumé, and slammed Storobin for mudslinging:

Like many New Yorkers, Ari worked a number of jobs to provide for his family. He is proud to have served as a part-time staffer to prominent elected officials, in addition to his work as a journalist, hosting popular radio and television programs and writing for a weekly newspaper in a growing and vibrant immigrant community. In fact, Ari worked full-time at the Russian Jewish Forward while pursuing his degree at Baruch College as a full time student. It’s not surprising that once again David Storobin chooses to bring his campaign into the gutter – he never fails to disappoint. Along with being factually inaccurate, his comments ignore the important contributions made by hardworking women and men in community and ethnic media.
Source: Senator Golden's offices

State Senator Marty Golden (Source: Senator Golden’s offices)

Subpoenas were issued to huge real estate firms that scored a windfall in tax breaks in legislation crafted by Republican State Senator Marty Golden and signed by Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Moreland Commission, a group set up by Cuomo to investigate public corruption, is looking into how developers of ultra-rich hotel-condo towers gained the valuable breaks.

Previously, we reported on the dubious legislation sponsored by Golden, which allowed huge tax breaks for five Manhattan properties. The legislation is expected to save developers like Extell Development, Silverstein Properties and Thor Equities tens of millions of dollars. The bill, which enjoyed bipartisan support and was signed into law by Cuomo, tacked on the expensive properties to the city’s 421-A program, a measure designed to spur residential building construction in less-dense areas of the city and subsidize affordable housing. Projects like One57, which is a 1,004-foot luxury tower featuring penthouses on sale for more than $90 million, were initially excluded from the program until Golden and other state politicians voted to include four developments as an exception under the umbrella of 421-A benefits.

Extell Development, which is building One57, has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the campaign chests of both Democrats and Republicans, spurring the Moreland Commission to look into the affair. The independent Moreland Commission was set up by Cuomo after state legislators failed to pass comprehensive anti-corruption measures this year.

The Wall Street Journal described how the impending investigation might bring to light the uncomfortably close relationship between state politicians and major real estate developers:

One person who examined a subpoena from the commission, known as the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption, said the information requested was extensive, seeking emails and other communications with lobbyists and elected officials over multiple years relating to the tax break.

Kathleen Rice, Nassau County District Attorney and co-chairwoman of the commission, said the commission has begun issuing subpoenas, but she declined to say who received them or the topic of the inquiries. “We have not prejudged anyone or anything—we are going to follow whatever evidence we have, wherever it goes,” she said.

A spokesman for Extell said the company “will cooperate fully with any agency trying to improve government.”

The subpoenas could eventually help shed light on advocacy and lobbying by the real-estate and development sector, long a powerful force in Albany politics. Top landlords and their advocacy groups traditionally are prolific donors, contributing millions of dollars each election cycle collectively to the campaign committees of governors and influential members of the Legislature, and the outcomes of policies like taxes and rent regulation can cost—or make—them fortunes.

Golden and Assemblyman Keith Wright, the Democrat who sponsored the bill in the Assembly, may also be questioned during the investigation. When initially questioned by the press as to why the five properties were included under the umbrella of the 421a benefits, Golden and Wright both pleaded ignorance.

“These projects were ready to go,” Golden told the Daily News. “I’m not sure where they came from,” Golden said in response to who earmarked the developments for special favor.

“These five properties — it was important that they benefit from the piece of legislation probably, and I don’t know why, because some of the folks in the Senate wanted them to be included,” Wright told the Daily News.

Source: Facebook

Source: Facebook

As the lone GOP representative of a city dominated by Democrats in the federal legislature, Congressman Grimm has a unique position and voice when it comes to relating to his GOP colleagues. The New York Daily News is reporting that Grimm used his special platform to denounce his own party leaders for inviting Kentucky Senator Rand Paul to a Manhattan GOP fundraiser in August.

As the race for the 2016 presidency inches closer, battles are breaking out in the Republican Party. On the one side, you have more traditional conservatives like Arizona Senator John McCain and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. These types of Republicans have moderate streaks and are unafraid to bargain with Democrats on key issues of national security and federal emergency responses to disasters like Superstorm Sandy. On the other side, you have a growing libertarian movement, led by Texas Congressman Ron Paul and his son Senator Rand Paul. These Republicans preach isolationism, a reduction in military intervention and a dramatic reduction of federal spending that eclipses your standard conservative.

Senator Paul, who has ambitions to run for president in ’16, has gone on record opposing the $60 billion Congressional Sandy Aid package. In a recent interview, Paul bashed Republicans like Christie and Grimm, who requested federal funds following Sandy saying that they had a “gimmie, gimmie, gimmie” attitude. As a result of Paul’s stance on Superstorm Sandy funding, Grimm urged the Manhattan GOP not to invite him to an August 13 fundraiser.

Despite Grimm’s plea for the Manhattan GOP to show Paul the door, the Daily News is reporting that they are inviting him anyway:

But Manhattan GOP chair Daniel Isaacs said he has no plans to back down. “My inclination” is to hold the event, he said, adding that he had been assured by Paul’s staff that the “gimme, gimme, gimme” quote was taken out of context.

Paul, however, said his statement “came off exactly” as he’d meant it and he reiterated it again Tuesday.

Paul’s brazen defense of beliefs that would have left the Tri-State area without funds to rebuild following the immense destruction of Sandy has irked other local GOP members, especially Christie. According to a New York Times report, Christie bashed Paul for his views on national security, invoking September 11.

“These esoteric, intellectual debates — I want them to come to New Jersey and sit across from the widows and the orphans and have that conversation,” Christie said. “And they won’t, because that’s a much tougher conversation to have…The next attack that comes, that kills thousands of Americans as a result, people are going to be looking back on the people having this intellectual debate and wondering whether they put —” Mr. Christie said before cutting himself off.

Needless to say, if Paul ends up being the Republican nominee for president in 2016, there is little danger of New York turning red.

Source: Koonisutra/Flickr

Former State Senator David Storobin has a plan to help the poor if elected to the New York City Council this year: let them shop at Walmart.

The only Republican candidate running to replace term-limited Councilman Michael Nelson has penned an op-ed for the Jewish publication Matzav.com saying that his plan to help the poor is to fight for the nation’s largest retailer and one of the world’s largest corporations to do business in New York City.

Beginning with his tale of growing up as the impoverished child of an immigrant single mother, Storobin argues that the ability to save money on bills by shopping at Walmart would have given his family an economic leg up, by allowing him to wear the latest fashions at thrift shop prices.

Between middle school and college, the most expensive piece of clothing I owned was a $12 winter coat. A $2 pair of used jeans I bought had a large hole around the knee, which in embarrassment I tried to convince my high school classmates was outdated fashion from the long-gone 1980s.

I could’ve had new, but inexpensive clothes. “Luckily”, there were politicians who sought to protect me from this, and they keep protecting all other poor New Yorkers to this day. There are stores like Wal-Mart where poor people can afford to shop. These clothes and other goods may not be fancy, but they are new and respectable. We can’t buy them in New York City. After all, the cheap prices offered by Wal-Mart are just not fair to… its competition like Marshall’s and Sears.

Walmart made a significant – but failed – push to enter the New York City market, finally giving up in late 2012 after spending tens of millions of dollars on horse-trade lobbying. The company hoped to reach an agreement with city lawmakers to permit the retailer to build a location at the Gateway shopping center in East New York, just minutes from Sheepshead Bay on the Belt Parkway.

The big-box retailer faced no shortage of opposition from local polslabor advocates and small business lobbyists who touted a slew of studies revealing how Walmart can devastate local economies in big cities, create traffic nightmares on the highway, and is anti-union and detrimental to employees’ social mobility.

But Storobin is not swayed. He dismissed the studies, many performed by leading academic institutions, as no more than “anecdotal evidence.”

The argument against Wal-Mart is that it destroys business around it. Anecdotal evidence of an occasional business taking a hit is presented to back this belief. But what are the real facts? The law of supply and demand dictates that when demand increases, so does the price. The evidence is clear: when a Wal-Mart opens, the price of commercial real estate around it skyrockets. The only reason for it is the increased demand from other businesses who seek to be near a superstore that functions as a center that attracts customers to the area.

For what it’s worth, there is some evidence of an increase in residential real estate values near a Walmart, with researchers saying it increases by as much as 3 percent within a half-mile of the location – skyrocketing indeed. However, another study found that commercial real estate dwindled near a Walmart, and even more significantly in zip codes adjacent to the host zipcode – as Sheepshead Bay effectively is to the Gateway center.

But real estate aside, Storobin said his real concern lies with the workers of New York City, who deserve Walmart’s minimum wage jobs.

My concern lies with the poor and the middle class. Activists who don’t understand economics say that allowing Wal-Mart to operate harms the workers because of the wages the company pays. But if someone has a better job available to them, they will take it. For those who don’t have another option, why are we preventing them from getting a stepping stone, the same stepping stone my mom got when she got a $21,700 job, which eventually resulted in her achieving a middle class status?

The more jobs are available, the more employers have to compete for workers, the higher the wages will rise. Nothing depresses wages like unemployment. Nothing encourages a company owner to pay the minimum like getting 200 job applications for every job opening

Read the full op-ed here and let us know in the comments where you stand on Walmart in East New York and New York City.

UPDATE (August 1 @ 2:00 p.m.): We’ve just posted an update that takes a look at the viewpoints regarding Walmart of the Democratic candidates vying for this seat. You can see where they stand here.

David Storobin. Photo By Erica Sherman

David Storobin. Photo By Erica Sherman

City Council Candidate David Storobin issued a strongly worded op-ed piece in NYC Elects concerning the reaction to the not guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case, admonishing those who, in his opinion, are stoking fears to score political points. Here is Storobin’s editorial in full:

In 1937, my great-grandfather Baruch was having dinner with his wife and 8 children in a small Belarus shtetl when he heard a door knock. The sight of him leaving the kitchen to go open the door was the last time his wife and kids saw him, as he was arrested by the NKVD for espionage. For twenty years, his wife was writing to find out his fate, the last of which begged, “Five of our sons died fighting for this country in World War II. The others aren’t asking for Baruch to be let out. We just want to know if he is alive.”

My grandfather, a WWII hero, died never knowing what happened to his dad. We only found out in 2009 that Baruch was accused of espionage and when he refused to confess, was tortured to death. Then the dead man was somehow still convicted because that is what the Soviet politicians wanted.

This is why I’m a lawyer. And this is why I abhor the conduct of the Democratic Party politicians who are fanning the flames of race-baiting in the George Zimmerman case.

The man has been found Not Guilty. That’s the difference between the US and the Soviet Union – a jury independent of the politicians, a defendant who has real rights. No, dear liberals, nobody cares what you think. You did not hear the full extent of the evidence, only a few clips from whatever side you chose to hear it from. Your conduct in condemning the jury and assigning to these people the worst qualities, including racism, is shameful.

The facts stand: 1) On July 13, 2013, the jury found the defendant not guilty; 2) On March 12, 2012, Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee said there was not enough evidence to arrest Zimmerman. 3) On June 12, 2012 the Sanford Police Department’s lead investigator Chris Serino said that his investigation had turned up no reliable evidence that cast doubt on Zimmerman’s account, that he had acted in self-defense. “The best evidence we have is the testimony of George Zimmerman, and he says the decedent was the primary aggressor in the whole event, everything I have is adding up to what he says.”

For a strange reason, a special prosecutor was appointed to this case, an extremely rare occurrence, particularly where the defendant is not a politician. Then the prosecutor refused to allow the Grand Jury to hear whether the defendant should be indicted or not. And even the President decided to chime in on this to try to sway justice!

Let me make it very clear: Democratic Party is trying to score political points by getting their base excited using language that can only divide our communities. There is no other reason for the shameful, abhorrent conduct of all the liberals in the media and in politics. The verdict is not guilty. Liberals, stop dividing us to win elections!

It should be noted that although candidates running for mayor and for other city positions have issued statements regarding the Zimmerman case, no Democratic candidate in the 48th City Council district race, for which Storobin is running, has issued any message regarding the matter.

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Mayoral hopeful Joe Lhota and former State Senator David Storobin teamed together to represent the Republican Party as candidates for New York City Mayor and City Council Representative, respectively, during a Sunday rally drawing Republican voters from across Southern Brooklyn.

Lhota and Storobin met a team of approximately 30 supporters during the steamy Sunday afternoon rally on the Brighton Beach Boardwalk, off Brighton 5th Street, to rally support for their campaigns from the local community. It was the first campaign event for Storobin, who many have assumed would seek the Republican line for the 48th District of the City Council, currently represented by term-limited Councilman Michael Nelson.

Lhota, a former New York City Deputy Mayor under Rudolph Giuliani, and Storobin, a former New York State Senator who was in office for just 11 days of the legislation session after replacing Carl Kruger, both expressed concern about the Southern Brooklyn areas (including Brighton Beach, Seagate, Gravesend, Mill Basin and Sheepshead Bay) noting that they are too often forgotten by politicians.

“People will tell you, ‘Brooklyn is just Brooklyn Heights.’ We are the real Brooklyn and we also matter,” Storobin said. “[Lhota mayorality] is going to be the third term of Rudy Giuliani, maybe even better…this is the progress that we need.”

Together, Lhota and Storobin have a reform agenda focused on promoting local business growth, lowering crime rate, and bettering the school systems. Lhota has already come out in strong support of increasing charter schools, while Storobin based much of his Senate campaign on proposals to direct taxpayer funds to religious and private schools through vouchers and reimbursements.
“I grew up in the Bronx and was always amazed by Little Odessa. It’s such a vibrant, exciting community. But we can do better. I want more community involvement, a greater quality of life for our locals,” Lhota said.

Brighton neighbors, familiar with Storobin, began to cheer on Lhota, too.

“People here know his [Storobin’s] name. They love him. Character means everything. He does what he says he’s going to do. Storobin lives by his word,” Nanci Roden, a longtime Storobin supporter, said.

Leon Ofman, a registered Democrat, said that he could agree, on some points, with the politicians.

“I like that [Storobin] is pushing to diversify recovery money from FEMA,” Ofman said. “There’s been a lot of fiscal corruption after Sandy. I want to see if the two of them can fight it.”
Storobin does not yet have any primary challengers, and has also been endorsed by he Conservative and Independence parties. Community Board 15 Chairperson Theresa Scavo, 45th Assembly District Leader Ari Kagan, Nelson-aide Chaim Deutsch and attorney Igor Oberan, in addition to others, are all seeking the Democratic line.

See photos and video from the event.

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