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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, September 12, 2009

    Brooklyn Focus: NYC 39th City Council Race: Electing an Environmental Leader and Genuine Reformer

    Among the top races for me personally this year has always been the 39th City Council race where my friend Josh Skaller is running. What stands out most about Josh is his absolute honesty and solid integrity, something sadly missing in NYC politics. He has the temperment for making allies and has a solid dedication to the community that is hard to match.

    When Howard Dean made a special trip to NYC to endorse my friend Josh Skaller for City Council in the 39th City Council district, I think he put it best as to why Josh is the best candidate in this race. Here is video of Howard Dean's endorsement of Josh:

    Jim Dean, Howard Dean's brother, had this to say about Josh:

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

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

    I should note that in addition to Jim Dean and Howard Dean's endorsements, Josh has been endorsed by Democracy for NYC and Democracy for America. Josh has also been endorsed by Assemblyman Jim Brennan and State Senator Eric Adams as well as Brooklyn-Queens National Organization for Women (NOW), the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, the reform club Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats, New York Metro Area Postal Union (APWU, AFL-CIO), International Brotherhood of Teamsters Locals 237, 111 and 854, and Service Employees International Union (Special Officers and Guards, Local 177).

    Here is what Brooklyn-Queens NOW PAC had to say about Josh Skaller:

    Council District 39: (Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Prospect Park). Candidate JOSH SKALLER is running for the seat vacated by Bill DiBlasio. Unlike his opponents, Skaller accepts no money from developers and is upfront about his support for our issues. Contact information for Josh Skaller: http://skaller09.com; phone:(718) 568-9699; email: community@skaller09.com.

    And here is what Eric Adams has to say about Josh Skaller:

    I’ve represented the people of Boro Park, Park Slope and Windsor Terrace (among others) in the State Senate since 2006. Before that, I served the people of New York City as a police officer for over 20 years.

    As a cop, I’ve dealt with some of New York’s worst criminals. As a senator, I’ve dealt with lobbyists, Albany bigwigs, and greedy power players – and let me tell you, sometimes they’re just as bad.

    In Albany, I’ve stood up to the power-obsessed, self-dealing insiders and focused on serving my constituents. In City Hall, we need someone who will do the same thing.

    We need Josh Skaller.

    Josh Skaller has the grit you need to make it in City Hall. I saw it in Josh from the first time we met – he has a fierce resolve that belies his friendly nature and his easygoing smile.

    When Josh sees corruption, he doesn’t sit on the sidelines or hem and haw. Josh stands up and fights. He doesn’t wait to see what other people are saying. He doesn’t worry about the political ramifications of speaking up. Josh does what’s right, and he does it for the right reasons.

    I know that leadership means working with people from all viewpoints and backgrounds to make things happen. My district is one of the most diverse in New York State.

    Josh has deep support all over the district – from Park Slope to Boro Park. He has campaigned vigorously everywhere. He is going to win this election because voters from all backgrounds have met him and have seen his passion and his strength.

    Some voters in Boro Park, for example, may disagree with Josh on social issues. But many people there will support him because they see that he does not change his message when he mingles with a different crowd. And they see that he has what it takes to effectively work on behalf of everyone in the 39th Council District.

    Without taking money from developers, PACs or 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 money.

    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, was by far the first of all the candidates for this district who took the position of cleaning up Brooklyn’s toxic Gowanus Canal before development progresses. All other major candidates either were latecomers to the issue (Gary Reilly also was a leader on this issue, I should note), or support allowing develpers to procede without definitive clean up. You can read a bit more about this issue here (complete with some disgusting pictures my wife took of the canal). I am glad most of the other candidates came to see it Josh's way in the end.

    Here is what the Brooklyn Downtown Star had to say in their endorsement of Skaller:

    The district must have a progressive-minded council member, capable of fighting for reform, who also understands the importance and distinct needs of the district’s more conservative and less affluent southern belt - an area made up of the neighborhoods of Windsor Terrace, Kensington, and Boro Park.

    The job calls for a liberal but open-minded person of integrity, intelligence, and sound judgment. The job calls for Josh Skaller, whom this paper is endorsing for City Council...

    Skaller, an outspoken civic activist for the past decade, has established a broad base of support through his commitment to a brand of progressive but pragmatic politics, a rare combination.

    A proactive environmentalist, Skaller plans to use city resources to implement small-scale alternative energy projects to reduce carbon emissions and encourage residents to take environmental issues into their own hands.

    From the start, he has supported the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to place the Gowanus Canal on the Superfund List. Skaller believes, rightly so, that the federal government - not the city - has the right tools to clean the polluted waterway once and for all.

    He understands the need for community-based planning when it comes to the all-important issue of development.

    Though Lander has more experience in this field, Skaller has shown a more-than-adequate knowledge of development policy, the ways in which overdevelopment harms neighborhoods, and the methods which can be used to protect communities from out-of-context, unsustainable growth.

    And here is what fellow Brooklyn activist Wayne Brooks had to say about Josh Skaller back in January when he hosted a fundraiser for Josh:

    Josh Skaller is the kind of Councilmember we need - smart, progressive, energetic, personable and gutsy. He is especially passionate about preventing the destruction of our neighborhoods by predatory developers and opposing the Brooklyn Democratic machine's control over judicial appointments and court patronage.

    So I hope you join Howard Dean, Jim Dean, Jim Brennan, Eric Adams, Brooklyn-Queens National Organization for Women, Wayne Brooks and myself in supporting Josh Skaller for City Council in the 39th district.


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