Co-Oktoberfest 2017: October 28

Join us Saturday, Oktober 28, 4pm – 9pm for the third annual East River* Co-Oktoberfest. Warm up around the grill and bring the kids to play some games. Also: please help! Sign up to bring food, paper plates, or help with games. This is a loose, cooperative, potluck-style afternoon/evening, just a chance to hang out with your neighbors.

* We are compelled to let you know that the East River Board and Management have nothing to do with this event. Don’t bother them with questions.

Town Hall with the Mayor: Thursday, October 12 at 7:00 pm

Mayor Bill de Blasio continues a series of local town hall appearances, this week week for City Council District 2.

Thursday, October 12
7:00 pm
The Island School (PS 188)
442 East Houston Street

Doors will open at 6:00 pm. New attendees will not be admitted after 7:30 pm. Space is limited and reservations are suggested: visit, email, or call (212) 788-2781.

Join LESPI Tuesday at 7:00 pm to push for landmark preservation on the Lower East Side

If you are worried that the massive luxury skyscraper rising at 250 South Street is a sign of things to come in our neighborhood, you should spend some time with the local activists of Lower East Side Preservation Initiative.

Founded in 2007, LESPI has been instrumental in getting areas of the East Village designated as NYC historic districts, and now has its sights set on streets below Houston that retain a coherent sense of their historic architecture and might be appropriate new historic districts.

If you would like to know more about LESPI’s goal of creating an historic district on the Lower East Side, join its next monthly meeting on Tuesday, October 10, at 7:00 pm, at the Neighborhood Preservation Center (232 E 11th Street).

You can check out LESPI’s website, Facebook page, or signup for the LESPI newsletter.

Lower East Side Ecology Center open house — September 15

The Lower East Side Ecology Center is an amazing environmental resource just on the other side of the FDR Drive from our coop. Next week it is holding its annual open house with activities that highlight LESEC’s core programs:

  • Composting – A tour of the East River Park Compost Yard
  • Environmental Education – Fishing Clinic on Grand Street
  • Stewardship – Native Flower Pressing
  • E-Waste – Electric Wire Lanyard Workshop

The event is 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Friday, September 15 at the Fireboat House. (You may RSVP, though it is not necessary.)

LESEC also has two fishing clinics left this summer. The first overlaps with the open house, 9/15 6-8 pm. The second is two weeks later, on Saturday 9/30, 12-2 pm, at East River and 10th Street. (Because space is limited, registration is recommended.)

Council 2 candidates debate September 7

If you live in East River buildings 1 or 2, your City Council representative is Rosie Mendez, who, because of term limits, is not running for re-election. This open seat has six candidates on the ballot next week: Ronnie Sung Cho, Erin Hussein, Carlina Rivera, Jasmin Sanchez, Mary Silver, and Jorge Vasquez.

The last debate for these candidates will be on Thursday:

Thursday, September 7
6:30-8:00 pm
Grand Street Settlement
80 Pitt Street
Sponsored by NYCHA Branch of the NAACP, Inc. and NYC Campaign Finance Board

If you can’t make the debate in person, here’s a full video of a recent debate:

Council 1 candidates debate September 5 at 7 pm

Margaret Chin, Christopher Marte, Dashia Imperiale, and Aaron Foldenauer.
September 12 is primary day, and local Democrats will have choices for several local positions, including City Council Member, Assembly District Leaders, and Democratic County Committee Members (who may be called on to select our next State Senator).

City Council District 1 covers East River buildings 3 and 4 (sections G, H, J, K, L, and M). Margaret Chin is running for a third term against three challengers: Christopher Marte, Dashia Imperiale, and Aaron Foldenauer.

If you want to learn more about them than what you read on their campaign mail, you’ll have a chance on Tuesday evening at Manny Cantor Center, when the four will meet for a debate.

Tuesday, September 5
7:00 – 9:00 pm
Manny Cantor Center
197 East Broadway

Truman Club under fire for violating campaign finance laws

Last week the NY Post ran a story about the Truman Democratic Club violating campaign finance laws for years:

The Lower East Side political club that for years served as the home base for disgraced former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has failed to publicly disclose its finances, as required by law, for nearly two decades, an activist charges.

Full disclosure: that “activist” is me. First I noticed that neither the Truman Club nor its two candidates for Democratic District Leader, Karen Blatt and Jacob Goldman, had registered campaign committees with the state board of elections. Then, by searching for payments other campaigns have made to the Truman Club over the years, I found close to $100,000 in contributions to Truman that the club has never disclosed. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, because most donors — individuals and corporations — are not required to report their own contributions.

All of this information comes straight from the board of elections database of contributions, which is searchable online.

In contrast, Caroline Laskow and Lee Berman, who are challenging Blatt and Goldman, registered their campaign committee earlier this year and filed their first disclosure report on time.

The Post article appeared last Sunday; on Monday, Blatt registered “Committee to Re-elect Blatt”. This is the second time she’s running for office, but only the first time she’s registered with the state. Her first financial disclosure is due in one week.

Silver’s “enforcer and gatekeeper” still working Grand Street

Meanwhile, NY1 ran a report on Sheldon Silver’s appeal to the Supreme Court, making a sideline to report on Silver’s continued influence on Grand Street in the form of his “enforcer and gatekeeper” and former chief of staff, Judy Rapfogel, who is actively campaigning for the Truman Club’s District Leader candidates, Blatt and Goldman.

Blatt, in a statement to NY1, welcomed Rapfogel’s involvement, calling her “an asset that any campaign would want to have on their side.”

Blatt appointed by Silver to patronage job

Finally, a newspaper in Albany revealed what Blatt herself has not: her current job. Blatt’s online bio does not disclose her current occupation; neither does a color flyer distributed to voters in Seward. Turns out she is co-executive director of a state agency called the Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Appointment (LATFOR). LATFOR is essentially responsible for redistricting in New York State, though that authority was shifted to an independent commission following a constitutional amendment passed by voter referendum in 2014.

Critics contend that the agency is now toothless and just “a place for patronage”. The report notes, “LATFOR had faced criticism for drawing district lines that favor the candidates of majority Assembly Democrats and Senate Republicans.” Blatt’s position was made on appointment by Assembly Democrats, who at that time were still controlled by Sheldon Silver.

Sheldon Silver will try for Supreme acquittal

More interesting twists in the case of disgraced former Assemblyman Sheldon Silver:

Instead of waiting for federal prosecutors to retry his corruption case with revised jury instructions, his lawyers are attempting to get a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court for an outright acquittal.

Silver’s original convictions were thrown out last month because of a subsequent Supreme Court decision that overturned the corruption conviction of Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. Silver is hoping to get the same friendly reception by the D.C. Nine.

U.S. Attorney Joon Kim wants to prosecute Silver again, but now has to wait for the Supreme Court to decide whether to hear the case.