Replacing Schneiderman

Monday, August 16, 2010 - 11:38 AM

Mark Levine

Mark Levine's FaceBook page

Mark Levine campaigns at a parade

Here's a brief detour into one of the local races: a State Senate seat has opened up, and a chance to join the much  talked about upper chamber of the state legislature is drawing fierce competition from, among others, one of the institutional players in Albany.

Eric Schneiderman is vacating the seat in order to run for attorney general. The district goes from the liberal bastion of the Upper West Side, through Dominican-dominated areas like Inwood and Washington Heights, and extends all the way to parts of Riverdale in the Bronx.

Adriano Espaillat, is the front-runner, since he's an Assemblyman already representing part of the district. He was elected in 1996, but, in this anti-incumbent tide, having a 14-year record in Albany may not be as strong an asset as usual.

Espaillat has also hired consultants The Mirram Group (institutional players, run by the former head of the Bronx Democratic County Organization) and BerlinRosen (the powerful and well-connected, uber-progressive folks who help keep Sheldon Silver popular, and labor groups happy).

Either way, he has an impressive $104,700.96 on hand, according to the latest finance numbers released late last week.

But Espaillat doesn't have the most money in the field.

That title goes to Mark Levine, an educator, Democratic district leader and a guy who speaks English, Spanish and a few other languages.

Among the people that helped Levine raise $146,529.51are Wall Street veteran John C. Whitehead, mega donors Nina and Fritz Loewenstein and actor Ed Norton.

Also running is Anna Lewis, who's latest filing shows she has just $911.09 on hand. She ran for City Council years ago, worked for the Assembly for a few years and is casting herself as the wonky, not-too-political candidate in the race.

And lastly is Miosotis Munoz, who managed to raise $6,2400 for the race, but ended the latest filing period with $339.87 in debt.

So, practically speaking, it's mostly a two-person race (Espaillat and Levine)  with Lewis and Munoz, sucking-up some oxygen each of them: Munoz could siphon away some Spanish votes from Espaillat, while Lewis, the only woman in the race, could, theoretically, draw votes away from Levine.


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Comments [6]

Bradley Brookshire

The Espaillat years in Inwood were bad ones with respect to noise and other quality of life violations. Under Espaillat’s watch, we saw the growth of racing on the Dyckman Drag Strip, the unprecedented and ethically questionable expansion of noisy nightclubs posing as restaurants, the lending out of public property for noisy rallies on behalf of political candidates in foreign elections, and the charade of officials holding meetings with the public in which they repeatedly claimed that few, if any, noise or traffic violations were documented and that their management was a problem of “inadequate manpower.” Local residents recognize these denials as nothing more than a fast-talking runaround with the public. The surreal nature of this two-step has led many of us to feel that back-room deals under Espaillat’s watch have led to the rapid up-tick in noise during his time in office.Instead of balancing the needs of business against the legitimate right of local residents to sleep at night (as Denny Farrell has successfully done), Mr. Espaillat has sided unilaterally with the Vida/Mamajuana cartel, the Miami-based group behind the transformation of West Dyckman Street into our very own Alcohol Alley. Other than publish one publicity piece claiming to have taken action – action that locals have found difficult to identify as real – Espaillat appears to have done nothing to quell the flood of noisy establishments over Inwood. In fact, he seems to have promoted it. I will never forget his participation in that transparent piece of political theater that many derisively call the “Postcard Terrorist Press Conference.” He stood shoulder to shoulder with leaders of the Vida/Mamajuana cartel, throwing the weight of his office behind a ridiculous contention: that local businesses are in real danger from some apparently-elderly, deranged person who can barely put pen to paper. The FBI apparently has declined to investigate, and no findings of a real threat have surfaced since then. The true intent of this press conference, as many Inwoodites recognized from the start, was to garner public sympathy for expansion by the allegedly downtrodden Vida/Mamajuana cartel. It was a shameful, politically motivated slur on the motives of local residents, who want only to achieve balance in an area super-saturated with liquor licenses and the noise- and traffic-violations that have come with them.We may not know what Mark Levine will do to help residents who want to return the area to some semblance of balance, but he has already done more than Espaillat merely by acknowledging the problem, by attending town halls and other meetings devoted to the quality of life problems that have ballooned under Espaillat, and by personally pledging to local residents that he will take positive action. His election would initiate a radical departure from the political charades of the Espaillat era, and I would welcome it.I encourage you strongly to get out the vote for Mr. Levine in the NY State Senate primary election this coming Tuesday.Bradley Brookshire20-Year Inwood Resident

Sep. 12 2010 12:49 AM

FYI: Daniel Bader = Manhattan Times

Sep. 08 2010 01:03 PM
ai ai ai

FYI: Mirram Group=Manhattan Times Check out their coverage.

Sep. 06 2010 01:12 AM
bearded cow

I'd like to think that Mark Levine is the front runner, but I guess we'll see next month. Clearly Levine is doing something that is resonating well with locals/individual contributors... While Levine's challenger is doing something that is resonating well with groups that need to sway Albany in their favor. Like the Daily News said. People will either vote for Ethics or Ethnicity in this race. And if voters choose the most ethical candidate Levine will win. If voters choose based on the ethnicity of their candidate, then who knows what will happen.

Aug. 18 2010 09:55 AM
Prince Ranier

Azi, do you really think people can't tell the spelling difference between "Lewis" and "Levine"?Mark is a proven district leader, community activist and educator. Lewis is a perennial candidate who jumps from City Council to Judge to Senate race.There is no comparison.

Aug. 17 2010 05:33 PM

Miosotis Munoz is a woman.

Aug. 16 2010 10:05 PM

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