Alarming News

October 30, 2005

‘Alarming News’ is in a New York state of mind

Hot campaign staffs, the Human Life Foundation event, the Wellington Mara funeral, the Maple syrup saga, the wacky mayoral election, a fight at a synagogue, the NY Times endorsing a Republican for City Council ,the Big Apple Blog Carnival, running into William F. Buckley and discovering a cool campaign slogan in a City Council race in Brooklyn, this blog has had a very NY-centered week.

Here’s some more interesting tidbits from this one-of-a-kind city:

***“We’ve got the mayor just where we want him,” said Freddy Ferrer-supporter Charlie Rangel. It’s true. Just about the worst place a candidate can be 9 days out is 30 points ahead with an unlimited budget.

***Though I’ve got plenty of people using my ‘real Brooklyn’/'fake Brooklyn’ terminology to describe the difference between the hipster northern end of Brooklyn and the down-to-earth southern side, it seems that ‘old Brooklyn’ (the south side, obviously) and ‘new Brooklyn’ is becoming the terminology of choice when sneering at the Nouveau Yorkers.

***Freddy Ferrer supporter Bill Clinton was photographed deep in friendly conversation with Mike Bloomberg. “The photo of a smiling Republican mayor joined by one of the most recognizable Democratic leaders in the world is a boost for Bloomberg in a city where Clinton is enormously popular.” Freddy just can’t catch a break.

***This one isn’t specific to NY but it does involve a NY politician and a NY-based blog. How bad was my cell phone problem of the last month? It was so bad that NY Assemblyman Pat Manning, who is running for Governor, actually sent me an email offering to put me in touch with a reputable cell-phone seller in his area upstate. So, obviously, I’m now a huge fan of Pat Manning. Not only that, but Wonkster, Gotham Gazette’s blog, blogrolled me and noted that this site ‘often focuses on national rather than local issues (or sometimes just writes about the problems with her cell phone)’.

***I know I’m breaking the Reagan rule about speaking ill of a Republican, and I realize that he guest-blogs on Urban Elephants, a friend-site of ‘Alarming News’, but what is Barry Popik, candidate for Manhattan Borough President on exactly? My only time meeting him him was at the blogger party earlier this month. His fiance/campaign manager had an extremely bizarre interaction with Dawn Summers but, you know, I wasn’t holding that against him and planned to go into the voting booth on the 8th and pull his lever. But then Peter pointed out his statement in the voter guide for NY and I just have to ask ‘what the?’ When asked what made him the best candidate for office, Popik’s response, and this is the full un-edited version, was:

‘I will never forget finally dedicating “Big Apple Corner,” alone, in the rain, while my mother was dying. No one needs to question my dedication to New York. But you shouldn’t vote for me for that, or because I found the first “beep” (borough president), or “hizzoner,” or New York “Yankees” (they played in Manhattan as the “Highlanders”), or the Manhattan cocktail, or Manhattan clam chowder, or the origin of “the Great White Way.” The difference is the qualities I’ve displayed to do all this. A past Manhattan Borough President had ignored the African American who called us “the Big Apple.” I had asked for help from some of the city council members running for this very position, but I didn’t get a response. And I guess a dead black man won’t get you many votes. But I love New York, and I care, and that makes all the difference in the world.’

Now, I don’t have to agree with the candidate on everything but I do have to know what the hell they’re talking about, especially when asked a question as simple as why they’re the best candidate for the job.

Posted by Karol at 12:42 AM |
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Cut to the chase, Sheinin. Are photos of hot Murphy campaign staffers forthcoming, or aren’t they?

Posted by: Allah at October 30, 2005 at 12:48 am

Ha! Good, I’m not the only one who wants to see them. :)

Posted by: J.Kende at October 30, 2005 at 1:13 am

Hahaha. I can put you in touch with the volunteer coordinator… :-)

Posted by: Karol at October 30, 2005 at 2:48 am

Boo! That’s a sad substitute for photoblogging. :)

Posted by: J.Kende at October 30, 2005 at 6:28 pm

I came across Barry’s site, The Big Apple, back in April and blogged about it. His site is all about researching the origins of New York-related phrases, finding the first usage of terms like the ones he mentions. It’s an indication of how immersed he is in that pursuit that he would just assume that everyone else in the world is familiar with the “raging controversy” over who first called New York the Big Apple.
Normally, you might make passing mention of that sort of charmingly eccentric hobby to add some color and interest to a candidate, a way of illustrating how much the candidate loves the city. You sure wouldn’t proclaim it as the candidate’s prime qualification.
And what does it tell you that there’s no one around to tell him, “Hey, Barry, that may not be the best way to fill out the questionnaire”?

Posted by: Michael Bates at October 30, 2005 at 11:00 pm

And he abandoned his dying mother for it? What’s that about?

Posted by: Yaron at October 31, 2005 at 4:26 pm

Well, Chuck Colson said he would run over his grandmother for Richard Nixon…

Posted by: Peter Feld at November 1, 2005 at 7:50 pm

My name is Barry Popik. I’ve been a Republican all my life. I’ve contributed more to Republican candidates this season that any other person. I spent many hours getting signatures so that our candidates can get on the ballot. If you want to say bad things about me, well, I guess you can.
It’s no secret that I’ve worked very hard for NYC and have done very wonderful things, under extremely difficult circumstances. I solved why New York is called “the Big Apple.” I gave my work to the Manhattan Borough President’s office, “the heart of the Big Apple.” No one would even respond to me. The story is well explained on the syndicated column, “The Straight Dope” (1999). At that time, the story had still not made The New York Times, or even a single tv or radio station.
Normally, the mayor, borough president, the local city councilmember, and others would be at the dedication of something like “Big Apple Corner.” But I was there alone, in the rain, under very diffcult circumstances (the illnesses of both of my parents). I was there for New York.
I will always be there for New York, fighting for fair campaign finance rules and as a borough president not in the pockets of special interests. I will always be there for New York, trying for balanced budgets, appointing some Republicans and Conservative voices to the community boards, and fighting for balanced budgets and against overspending.
If you don’t understand who I am or what I’ve done, and if you want to say bad things about me without knowing who I am, I guess you can do that. But it’s wrong.

Posted by: Barry Popik at November 1, 2005 at 11:17 pm

Barry, how is anyone just picking up the voter guide supposed to know this story? I didn’t and I’m pretty interested in NY politics. How would someone who is marginally interested but does show up to vote, and thus reads the voter guide, possibly know this story? The question was what made you the best candidate for office. You complained a lot during the campaign that the press wasn’t taking your candidacy seriously. You had this great opportunity to speak directly to the voters and you said something not understandable. That’s too bad.

Posted by: Karol at November 1, 2005 at 11:58 pm

I apologize if I had to tell a long story in just a few words. It’s an important story, it’s a New York story, and it involves the office of the Manhattan Borough President.
We’re outnumbered 5-1 in NYC, but it’s worse in Manhattan. It’s no secret that every elected official in Manhattan is a Democrat. Unless there’s some free-spending millionaire out there to level the playing field, the press just isn’t interested. Last place Democrat MBP candidate Carlos Manzano received more respect.
It’s not just me, either–as reported recently in Newsday, the Republican BP candidates in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens have all filed “small campaign” forms with the CFB. We have a mayor who’s going to win who’s self-funded, we have no Public Advocate candidate, we have no Comptroller candidate–so why don’t our candidates receive even minimal support?
I have done the best with what I have to work with. That’s all one can do.

Posted by: Barry Popik at November 2, 2005 at 8:54 am

FYI, I wrote the following for Politicker:

My name is Barry Popik. I’m glad that (with only a week to go) there’s finally a mention of the Manhattan BP race.
There are real issues here–the buying of a Manhattan borough president by real estate interests, and campaign finance reform (see the still-pending WFP case). None of that gets covered. Politicker announced when my opponent was endorsed by the WFP, Politicker announced when Eva Moskowitz filed a CFB complaint, but there has been no reporting since then (not even when my opponent quietly declined the WFP line).
My website has received over a million hits and people should know “the Big Apple” story by now, but here goes. Fifteen years ago, professor Gerald Cohen and I solved why NYC is called “the Big Apple.” I traced it to a “dusky” stablehand in New Orleans in the 1920s. I gave all our research papers to the Manhattan borough historian in the Manhattan borough president’s office. Absolutely nothing happened.
It took five years of my life to finally get a simple street sign approved called “Big Apple Corner.” Those were very dificult times for me–my co-op was going bankrupt and I feared losing my home, and both my mother and father were seriously ill. (They would both die the same spring that I dedicated the corner.)
Normally, at a dedication like this for NYC’s name, you’d also see the mayor, Manhattan BP, city councilman, and the press. But no one would help me or be even kind to me, and no one showed up. It was the saddest day of my life.
When I announced for Manhattan BP, I returned to “Big Apple Corner.” Joining me was David Fitz Gerald, the nephew of NY Morning Telegraph 1920s track writer John J. Fitz Gerald, whose life is honored by that corner. I stated that the “dusky stablehand” from New Orleans must be honored now, post-Katrina. No member of the press showed up for that, either.
It is no secret that there is no elected Republican in Manhattan, where we’re outnumbered 8-1. No Republican has held the Manhattan BP post for 60 years, since La Guardia. So I guess, in the minds of the press, that’s that. A candidate who holds strip club fundraisers, or a person who spends a lot of money at Scores, are surely more interesting.
What I’ve given to NY is genuine. The issues that I’ve raised are important. Thanks for reading.
Barry Popik | Homepage | 11.02.05 – 9:35 am | #

Posted by: Barry Popik at November 2, 2005 at 9:42 am
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