"I don't understand why NYC Democrats aren't willing to fight a Tea Party candidate in their back yard."
That is what a friend said to me recently, referring to this year's Sept. 13th special and primary elections. No one is paying attention, and yet we are at risk of losing Anthony Weiner's former seat to a Teabagger extremist, we are at risk of losing an Assembly seat to an anti-gay, anti-choice right winger, and we are at risk of letting a civil court seat go to a corrupt crony of the Vito Lopez machine.
Three critical races that are being largely ignored.
We have to win as many of these as we can.
DAVID WEPRIN FOR CONGRESS:
David Weprin is running for Anthony Weiner's seat (NY-9) against a rabidly right wing Teabagger Republican.
David Weprin has been endorsed by: the Uniformed Fire Officers Association
(UFOA), United Firefighters Association (UFA), the Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare, Lambda Independent Democrats, NYC Comptroller John Liu, United Federation of Teachers (UFT), NYS AFL-CIO, Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City, The Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, Councilman Lew Fidler, Councilwoman Diana Reyna, Councilwoman Margaret Chin and many others.
The special election for Weiner's seat pits Republican Bob Turner, a typical greedy, anti-working class, anti-middle class, right wing lackey of the Billionaire Koch Brothers, against Assemblyman David Weprin, a conservative-leaning but very thoughtful orthodox Jew who has served New York as Deputy Superintendent of Banks and Secretary of the Banking Board for New York State under Mario Cuomo, Queens City Councilman, and then in the Assembly. To me it is a pretty easy choice. Weprin has the experience, intelligence and dedication to be in Congress. Turner has nothing but typical Greedy Oil Party Herbert Hoover era crap that Weiner would call bullshit on.
My main encounter with David Weprin was when he was running for Comptroller. I did not support Weprin because I thought John Liu was better. And I stand by that choice. But I was impressed with David Weprin even though I wasn't supporting him. To me his main fault was he leaned a bit too conservative for my tastes (which probably will play well in the district) and he is a bit on the boring side. But he also struck me as very intelligent and about as honest as New York politicians get, which may be damning with faint praise, but he seemed okay. But what REALLY impressed me was the fact that he was clearly able to separate his role as a Democratic politician in NYC from his personal, conservative religious views. Unlike many politicians with strong religious convictions, Weprin takes the separation of Church and State seriously and is able to separate his personal orthodox Jewish values from his job representing a district. Weprin openly supported marriage equality despite his orthodox Jewish background, which to me shows a strength of character and thoughtfulness that would be welcome in Congress. I am sick and tired of religious politicians insisting on shoving their personal religious views down the throats of Americans. David Weprin won't do that and I respect that from him.
He may not be the progressive champion many saw in Weiner, but then again Weiner wasn't always the progressive champion many wanted him to be. Weprin would be far more sedate and boring than Weiner, but though I prefer more liberal firebrands, Weprin would be a good legislator and (bad process aside...and again, when is the process GOOD in NYC?) I am perfectly happy to endorse him for Congress. Above all else we don't need another Billionaire Koch Brothers enabler like Bob Turner in office. I'd far rather a somewhat boring, somewhat conservative but intelligent and honest Democrat than yet another anti-union, anti-middle class Republican.
CHERYL GONZALES FOR KINGS COUNTY CIVIL COURT JUDGE
Cheryl Gonzales is a hard working, honest, dedicated judge who is opposed by the corrupt Vito Lopez machine. Weprin's race for Congress may be one of this nation's most important fights at the moment, but Cheryl Gonzales is critically important for the fight for good judges in Brooklyn.
Cheryl Gonzales has been endorsed by Lambda Independent Democrats (the local LGBT Democratic club), New Kings Democrats (a local outgrowth of the 2008 Obama Campaign in Brooklyn), the 52nd Assembly District Democratic County Committee (my wife and I are members of this), and the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats (Brooklyn's top reform and liberal club...my wife is an officer of this club). I have met Cheryl Gonzales several times and have been VERY impressed by her.
Judge Gonzales also participated in the first day of marriages after marriage equality became law in NY State, marrying two friends of mine. This moment was very important both to my friends and to Judge Gonzales.
You can read Cheryl Gonzales' answers to the questionnaire sent out to all candidates by the 52nd Assembly District Democratic County Committee by clicking here. Cheryl's machine backed opponent did not turn in a questionnaire.
My personal view when I first heard her was that Cheryl Gonzalez came off particularly well and most people at the forum were quite impressed with her. Again, her opponent did not attend. I think the care she takes preparing for cases was a particularly good point in her favor. Her questionnaire indicated past "qualified" ratings by several screening committees in past years, which I am sad to say is not a given in Brooklyn judicial races, so this is great. Her main experience is in housing court and as an arbitrator in small claims court. She is a member of the Women in Prison committee of the National Assn. of Women Judges.
The second time I met Cheryl Gonzales was at the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats endorsement meeting. At that meeting (a particularly and proudly liberal bunch) her excellent record in housing court was cited, including the fact that she was one of the few housing court judges who treated lawyers representing tenants with respect. Once again, Cheryl's opponent did not attend that forum.
I should note Cheryl Gonzales also attended a recent Daily Kos Brooklyn Meetup, as covered by by Mets102. I didn't really get a chance to talk with her at that event, but other Brooklyn Kossacks seemed quite impressed. If I may quote the comments from that diary, MBNYC (who I know well!) commented:
it's really important to acknowledge Judge Gonzales. She was an absolute joy to have as our guest, completely comfortable with us rabble, funny, smart, and very easy to talk to...
I was very impressed, and that's not easy for New York electeds to do. If I get married, she's going to do the act.
I have no website for her. Judicial candidates often run with almost no web presence. If anyone wants to donate to her campaign I do know her campaign manager and so could hook you up. But the main thing we need is to get out the vote for Cheryl Gonzales in Brooklyn on Sept. 13th. Please help spread the word and help this champion of LGBT rights and tenant rights win.
JESUS GONZALEZ FOR ASSEMBLY (54th AD):
Jesus Gonzalez is running for Assembly on the Working Families Party line against an anti-gay, anti-choice right winger supported by BOTH the corrupt Vito Lopez machine and the Republicans.
Jesus Gonzales has been endorsed by Democracy for NYC, SEIU 1199, Communications Workers of America, Tenants Political Action Committee, 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, Transport Workers Union, New York Communities for Change, Lambda Independent Democrats, New Kings Democrats, Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez, Council Members Letitia James and Diana Reyna, Brooklyn State Committee Members Chris Owens and Lincoln Restler, and others.
A nice coalition of labor, gay rights, reform and progressive organizations.
Here are some videos from Jesus Gonzales' campaign: taken by Colin Cambpell of The Brooklyn Politics
Vote for Jesus Gonzalez for Assembly!
Please help with these three campaigns. They are extremely important for local, state AND national issues.