City Council candidate Pete Gleason had been expected to appeal last week's decision by State Supreme Court Judge Edward Lehner, allowing City Council member Alan Gerson back on the ballot. But according to Paul Newell, Gleason campaign communications director, they are not planning to go forward with an appeal. Instead, Gleason has filed a complaint with the New York City Campaign Finance Board. The complaint preumably centers around Gleason's contention that signature collectors employed by the United Jewish Council acted improperly. The volunteers, working for the Truman Democratic Club, gathered signatures for a slate of candidates, including Gerson.
This morning, the Daily News takes on the issue again, in a Bill Hammond column headlined, "Giving charity a bad name." Hammond writes:
Council race has exposed a festering boil on the body politic –
excessive coziness between nonprofit groups and the elected officials
who sponsor them. All too often, city and state lawmakers treat community groups as
their personal pets – keeping them well fed with tax dollars while
expecting plenty of affection in return. Some outfits become little more than fronts with letterhead, paying
salaries to a pol's friends and family while delivering little in the
way of actual community benefit. Others are bona fide charities that get sucked into politicking out
of misplaced gratitude to their sugar mommies and daddies or, just as
likely, fear of offending them. The United Jewish Council of the East Side
appears to fit into the latter category – an otherwise respectable,
well-meaning group sadly dragged into unseemly political relationships.