Monday, August 16, 2010
By Azi Paybarah
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.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Anna Lewis is out with a statement explaining how she'd fix the state's budget if she were elected to the state senate -- she'd adjust the taxes levied against co-ops with cheaper taxes levied against condos. There's the obligatory call to reinstate the commuter tax -- which hardly seems like it'll garner support outside the five boroughs.
Lewis said the State Senate needs a more active investigate body to audit the legislature and public programs. Lewis, it should be noted, once worked as the lead attorney to the Assembly's Oversight, Analysis and Investigation Committee.
"The problem that exists in the Senate is that while it has an investigative committee, it isn’t active enough in oversight, and must be strengthened," Lewis said. "It is essential that we more acutely scrutinize how the Senate spends our money, and I have the will to do so."
Lewis is one of
six five Democrats running for the State Senate seat in Northern Manhattan being vacated by Eric Schneiderman, who is running for attorney general.
Other candidates include Adriano Espaillat, the local Assemblyman whom Schneiderman has endorsed; Mark Levine, a district leader, teacher and founder of the Barack Obama Democratic Club of Upper Manhattan.