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Mole's Progressive Democrat

The Progressive Democrat Newsletter grew out of the frustration of the 2004 election. Originally intended for New York City progressives, its readership is now national. For anyone who wants to be alerted by email whenever this newsletter is updated (usually weekly), please send your email address and let me know what state you live in (so I can keep track of my readership).

Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

I am a research biologist in NYC. Married with two kids living in Brooklyn.

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  • Saturday, June 13, 2009

    BROOKLYN, NY: Clubs, Candidates and Co-ops

    New Food Co-op Coming to Brooklyn: (info sent to me by a reader)

    They are not active yet, and their website isn't built yet, but the domain (and presumably site) for the Bay Ridge Food Co-op have been reserved.

    The website will be: http://www.foodcoopofbayridge.com/ (not active yet...put here more so I have the info where I will remember it).

    For more info, and if you want to get in at the start, you can call: 347-247-8172


    Josh Skaller for City Council.

    Video of Howard Dean endorsing Josh Skaller:

    Josh is a good friend of ours, a solid progressive, and about as honest as you can get. Josh is a long-time organizer for Democracy for New York City, was president of the Central Independent Democrats political club in Brooklyn for two years, and was an early organizer with Brooklyn for Barack. Without taking money from developers, PACs and lobbyists, and while a first-time candidate, he’s the leader in number of donors and second in total dollars in a large field of good candidates. I want to emphasize that this is an amazing accomplishment and shows his organizational skills and potential. I also want to emphasize that it is so rare that the best, most honest and most progressive candidate running is also able to raise the most money.

    "Josh has always fought for fiscal responsibility and the progressive solutions needed to reform city government"

    --Jim Dean
    Chair of Democracy For America (DFA)

    It’s a measure of Josh’s hard work, integrity, and just how much people like and believe in him. He’s smart, pragmatic, and works well with others. No small matter in getting it done. He has been endorsed so far by Democracy for NYC, Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats, local activist and progressive favorite Chris Owens, civil rights attorney and Public Advocate candidate Norm Siegel, and State Senator Eric Adams, among others.

    Here is a video from Josh's campaign:

    Josh's eclectic background as the son of an environmental scientist and a teacher for the disabled, married to a science teacher, and himself once Associate Director of computer music at Harvard, informs his agenda concerns for education and the environment. He has proposed a green jobs based approach for revitalizing New York's economy.

    Josh has been a strong voice against Ratner's plan for Atlantic Yards, as well as other unchecked and unwise development projects, believing environmental sustainability is the key to our prosperity. He advocates a stronger community voice in development decisions and making affordable housing a priority in its own right rather than as simply a bone developers throw the city in exchange for massive subsidies and tax breaks.

    Josh alone of the candidates for this district has taken the position of cleaning up Brooklyn’s toxic Gowanus Canal before development progresses. In this he is the only strong candidate in this race I am aware of who is supporting Obama's EPA on declaring the Gowanus a Superfund site. All other candidates have either been silent on this subject or support allowing develpers to procede without clean up. You can read a bit more about this issue here (complete with some disgusting pictures my wife took of the canal).

    Here's Josh Skaller Speaking Up for Giving REAL Power to the Parents

    33rd City Council District: Jo Anne Simon. You can read my detailed rundown of this race here. Jo Anne has been endorsed by Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats and Lambda Independent Democrats. And here is an interesting article on Jo Anne Simon and Judge Sotomayor

    34th City Council District: Diana Reyna. The first woman of Dominican-American descent to be elected to NYC public office. Reyna is being heavily targeted by Brooklyn Boss Vito Lopez because she hasn't gone along with his corruption. Seems to me a certain Surrogate Judge had a similar experience and won when Vito tried to take his revenge. I think we can defeat Vito again. I don't consider Reyna my ideal candidate (she is one of the Bloomberg 29, for example), but I certainly won't support Vito's corruption candidate against her.

    35th City Council District: Letitia James wholeheartedly. An amazing woman!

    36th City Council District: There are two candidates I have heard good things about. Saquan Jones and Mark Winston Griffith. I am not endorsing in this race, but I do recommend people check out both of these two gentleman and give the one you prefer some support.

    38th City Council District: David Galarza has dropped out for personal reasons. I heard the remaining challenger in the race, Robinson Iglesias, speak at CBID. He was not polished and he did not come of as a professional politician. But he came off dedicated, earnest and intelligent. For more about Robinson Iglesias, please visit his website.

    40th City Council District: Rock Hackshaw. He is a fellow blogger and his knowledge of Brooklyn politics is amazing. I differ with this guy on some issues. But I know him and his honesty and integrity are exceptional and I think he would be an excellent City Councilman. Since he is running against a guy who lies about being a doctor and is as strange and squirrely as you can get, Rock would be a very welcome change. (No website yet?)

    45th City Council District: Two candidates I like. First Terry Hinds. I have three people giving very good recommendations for this guy. But I also think Rod Daley is good and represents a chance to get another educator on the city council.


    Action: Write the EPA About the Gowanus Canal & Should DFNYC Support Superfund?

    It’s not only the banks who are getting stimulus money, the EPA has been given money which will allow them to create new Superfund projects, and the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn is one of the sites under consideration. In the EPA Hazard Ranking System, the minimum score of eligibility is 28.5. The Gowanus scored 50 out of 100 on the very first test.

    From the EPA Website: “A result of years of discharges, storm water runoff, sewer outflows and industrial pollutants the Gowanus Canal has become one of the nation's most extensively contaminated water bodies. Contaminants impacting the canal include PCBs, coal tar wastes, heavy metals and volatile organics. The contamination of the canal poses a threat to the nearby residents who use the canal for fishing and recreation." http://www.epa.gov/region2/superfund/npl/gowanus/

    So what is the issue? The Mayor and other politicians oppose the Superfund project claiming it may delay development along the waterway. According to them, the developers will do the cleanup in tandem with the city. However, advocates for Superfund argue that the developers will not do the necessary and thorough cleanup that the EPA would. The developers want to avoid the stigma of having the “Superfund” branding and are threatening to pull out of the development project if the Gowanus becomes a Superfund site.

    From SuperfundGorwanus.org: “The EPA has the tools to lead a comprehensive and inclusive cleanup. Our community has known for generations that this is a toxic public health hazard. Spot cleanup by developers will not achieve the job necessary for a healthy environment.”

    More Information:

    Gowanus Canal: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gowanus_Canal

    Superfund: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/

    NY Times Article: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/24/science/earth/24gowanus.html

    Take Action:

    Superfunding to clean up the Gowanus Canal will need Public Support from the community and a reasonable degree of Political Support from our elected officials. The EPA has a public comment period Comment Period which ends on June 8, 2009

    1) Go to www.superfundgowanus.org and sign the online petition.

    2) Write an email to the EPA (the EPA prefers electronic correspondence). Get instructions at www.superfundgowanus.org.

    3) Contact your elected officials and ask them to support Superfund for the Gowanus Canal. Find out how to contact you representatives at: http://dfnyc.org/content/view/3/9/


    Recycling of plastics not accepted in the city recycling can be done at the Park Slope Food Co-op at 782 Union Street (between 6th and 7th Avenues)

    Bring clean, dry plastic to the Coop's sidewalk during monthly recycling hours. We close up promptly. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to the collection end time to allow for inspection and sorting of your plastic:

    2nd Sat., 10 AM-2 PM
    3rd Thur., 7 PM-9 PM
    Last Sun., 10 AM-2 PM.

    As of 2/16/09 and until further notice, we collect....

    * #1 and #6 transparent plastics (Labels OK. Mouth is wide or wider than the body, meaning NOT bottles.)
    * #5 plastic tubs, cups & specifically marked lids and caps. Must be especially clean and dry. (Discard any with paper labels, or cut the labels off.)
    * Plastic film and bubble wrap. 100% transparent only -- must be able to see through the plastic. No colored or opaque. No paper labels. Minimal writing OK.

    All the above must be brought to the Coop CLEAN AND DRY.

    Note: We are no longer accepting #2 or #4 type plastics.

    These changes result from a significant decline in the worldwide market for recyclable materials that has affected recycling programs everywhere. Please be patient and cooperate with us as we adjust to these changes, as well as to any further changes that may be necessary.

    We are currently updating our literature and will make new fliers available as soon as possible. Or, contact us at plasticrecycling@foodcoop.com.

    And on a related note, you can help increase the demand for recycled plastic products by shopping through these companies that specialize in recycled plastic products (including lumber!!).

    Friends & Residents of Greater Gowanus (FROGG)

    We are a community based grass-roots organization advocating for environmentally sound community planning for the Gowanus Canal neighborhoods.

    The Gowanus Canal is a very unique resource for our community and all of New York. It has long historal significant as a pre-industrial and industrial transportation waterway in addition to playing a significant roll in the Battle of Brooklyn. This natural tidal estuary connects our urban world to the waters that surround us and opens our city to the natural habitat it was built upon. Even today, it provides an open sky, early industrial/estuary landscape that can not be matched anywhere in our city.

    With extensive urban Brownfields and an Aquatic Brownfield standing, we work to see this water way brought back to life with water quality standards that sincerely meet state standards for fishable and contact use; not only for the community but also for local wildlife.

    For more information: FROGGcommunity@earthlink.net


    Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats is a community-based Democratic club. CBID has fought for reform and progressive causes since 1968. As a Brooklyn-based Club, we have been instrumental in the election of many candidates for public office. Much of this success was a result of our question-and-answer forums with prospective candidates as well as our extensive on-the-street contact with our constituents.

    Staunchly opposed to political corruption, we are proud of our independence and our commitment to progressive reform in city, state and national politics. We are a vehicle for citizen empowerment and making government more accountable to our neighborhoods.

    We meet monthly, usually the fourth Thursday evening of the month in the basement of the Park Slope United Methodist Church, on the corner of 6th ave and 8th street, at 7:30pm. All are welcome.

    New Kings Democrats (”NKD”) is a new, grassroots organization in Kings County (Brooklyn), New York whose primary mission is to recruit and prepare individuals to run for Kings County Democratic Committee. NKD hopes to achieve the goal of an inclusionary and participatory democracy by making it easy for individuals to run for local, elected office. NKD will serve as a training ground for individuals seeking higher office, and hopes to build and nurture a new group of Brooklyn Democratic leaders.

    Democracy for NYC in Brooklyn:

    Democracy for New York City (DFNYC) is a volunteer-driven non-profit politicalaction committee. We are part of a national coalition of local groups committed to the ideals espoused by Democracy for America, the organization founded by Howard Dean.

    We work both locally and nationally to ensure that fiscally-responsible and socially-progressive candidates win elections at all levels of government. We develop innovative ways to advocate for the issues that matter to our members and promote legislation which has a positive effect in our communities. We engage people in the political process and give them the tools to organize, communicate, mobilize, and enact change on the local, state, and national level.

    Currently there is only one Brooklyn chapter:

    Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn - Meets First Wednesday of every month. 7:00pm, Wyckoff-Bennett Homestead 1669 E. 22nd St. with host Annette Mont and Estelle Glasser.


    An informal, inclusive progressive social group. Raise your spirits
    while you raise your glass, and share ideas while you share a pitcher.
    Drinking Liberally gives like-minded, left-leaning individuals a place
    to talk politics. You don't need to be a policy expert and this isn't a
    book club - just come and learn from peers, trade jokes, vent
    frustration and hang out in an environment where it's not taboo to talk

    Park Slope
    * Second Wednesday of each month, 7:30-10:00 pm
    * Commonwealth, 497 5th Ave (at 12th Street)
    * Hosted by Anthony Accurso, Emilie Harkin and Emily Farris, parkslope (at) drinkingliberally.org


    Park Slope Food Co-op
    782 Union Street
    Brooklyn, New York 11215
    Phone: (718) 622-0560
    FAX: (718) 622-5685

    This is the largest Food Co-op in America. Joy and I are members (as are City Council Candidates Ken Baer and Josh Skaller). Low prices and high quality even if it can be a bit inconvenient at times.

    Flatbush Food Cooperative
    1318 Cortelyou Road
    Brooklyn, New York 11226
    Phone: (718) 284-9717
    FAX: (718) 284-9719

    Established in 1976, and located on Cortelyou Road in the heart of Victorian Flatbush since 1985, Flatbush Food Coop is a community-owned, full-service natural foods store specializing in organic products. We are committed to serving the diverse community in which we are situated, and beyond, by providing goods and services that promote personal and environmental well-being. Like the 300 food coops across the nation with which we are affiliated, we are open to all—it is not necessary to be a member to shop. By joining the Coop, however, you become a joint owner of our business and are able to take additional savings on your purchases. There are opportunities for varying degrees of involvement in the coop, and our member-owners are able to influence the direction of our organization. We are particularly proud that the dozens of ethnic groups in Brooklyn’s most diverse neighborhood are reflected in our staff, our close to 3,000 members, and countless shoppers.


    Blogger Jen said...

    Bob Zuckerman, who is also running in the 39th district, supports Obama's Superfund designation for the Gowanus Canal: http://www.zuckerman2009.com/_download/Superfund.pdf

    12:01 AM  
    Blogger mole333 said...

    I know Bob Zuckerman and he's a good guy, even if he was a latecomer to the Superfund Gowanus movement (he had to be betrayed by a main backer before he could do that). Gary Reilly is also a great guy in the race who endorsed the Superfund designation soon after Josh and before Bob. I'd be happy with any of these three. But only Josh has fundraising numbers that come close to being winning numbers. Bob and Gary are behind in fundraising, so are much more long shot chances.

    6:33 AM  
    Blogger Jen said...

    Bob raised far more money during the last filing period than any of his opponents and his total numbers aren't far from Josh's. This fundraising argument is a bit of a red herring anyway since all the candidates will likely qualify for the maximum in public funds from the City. In any case, with solid fundraising, and more endorsements from elected officials and Democratic clubs than any of his opponents, Bob is hardly a "long shot" candidate.

    11:59 PM  
    Blogger mole333 said...


    I don't see a record of any money raised by Zuckerman on the NY State election database as of last filing. I can find Skaller ($76,000+) and Lander ($110,000+). I don't find anything filing for Zuckerman. In fact, when I pull up the list of all filers in the database, I don't find a Bob or Robert Zuckerman, only a David Zuckerman in CHAPPAQUA. If you are making a claim about his filing, that filing should be in the database unless Zuckerman failed to file. So I can't verify your claim or even, from the point of view of the NY State Elections Board, that Zuckerman is running, even though I know he is.

    10:21 AM  
    Blogger Jen said...


    You can check Bob's filings (as well as the other candidates) on the NYC Campaign Finance Board website:


    1:22 PM  
    Blogger mole333 said...

    Very interesting, Jen, but it leaves unanswered why Zuckerman has no filings with the NY State Board of Elections. Everyone else has filed.

    As to fundraising numbers, sadly the most money wins the most often. But I have seen plenty of instances where the person in second place in fundraising wins (e.g. Yvette Clarke beating David Yassky). But it is VERY rare for someone who is third in fundraising to win. I bet not unheard of, but very rare. So calling it a red herring is ignoring the history of electoral politics in NYC.

    Believe me, Bob would be my second or third choice (Reilly is tied with Bob in my estimation...Brad last). But I don't see Bob or Gary pulling it off. I can see Josh pulling it off.

    1:56 PM  

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