Three’s a party?


There’s still a chance that Community Board 8 member and local attorney Dan Padernacht will jump into the District 11 City Council race, but he said recently there’s no way he will make any announcement before the new year.

“It’s still an option, but I haven’t decided yet,” he said.

Two Democratic candidates have announced that they will run for the seat currently held by termed-out Councilman Oliver Koppell. Local businessman Cliff Stanton announced his candidacy in January and Community Board 8 member Andrew Cohen announced his on Nov. 20.

Mr. Cohen, a member of the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club, has already been endorsed by Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, Rep. Eliot Engel, state Sen. Jeff Klein and Mr. Koppell.

Mr. Stanton has said he’s running as an anti-political establishment — namely the Ben Franklin Reform Club — candidate. He said political grudges have kept good ideas from benefiting the community.

If Mr. Padernacht were to jump into the race, it’d be an interesting twist. Like Mr. Cohen, he’s also a member of the Ben Franklin Reform Democratic Club and of CB 8. Unlike either of the announced candidates, he’s run for office before.

In 2010, he dropped out at the last minute of the state Senate District 33 race between then-state Sen. Pedro Espada Jr. and challenger Gustavo Rivera, though his name appeared on the ballot. At the time, Mr. Padernahct was receiving significant pressure from people who wanted to rally around Mr. Rivera in order to defeat Mr. Espada. Mr. Dinowitz asked Mr. Padernacht to bow out months before the primary.

Many politicos suspected Mr. Padernacht cut a deal with local electeds for their backing in the City Council race. It seems they were wrong. 

Mr. Dinowitz said he sat down with Mr. Padernacht to discuss a possible Padernacht run in recent months, but that the decision to endorse Mr. Cohen was made jointly with Mr. Koppell, Mr. Engel and Mr. Klein.

“The endorsement of Andrew Cohen by the elected officials was not a decision of any one individual but rather all of the individuals involved in making the endorsement,” Mr. Dinowitz said.

He said he felt Mr. Cohen was the best candidate, adding “I have tremendous respect and admiration for Dan Padernacht.”

Mr. Padernacht said that he would have liked the elected officials’ backing, but that it wasn’t necessary for him to consider candidacy. 

“It’s a factor in my determination, but there’s a lot of others factors,” he said.

Though he was hesitant to talk about either of the announced candidates, he said, “I’d like to see some of the issues come out and I haven’t seen them yet.”

As for another possible candidate, Deputy Comptroller Ari Hoffnung said he has not made a decision yet either.

“I am encouraged and touched by the number of friends and neighbors urging me to run for the City Council in 2013 but have yet to make a final decision,” he wrote in an e-mail, also writing that he is currently “laser-focused” on his duties at the Comptroller’s office.


Wires down below


Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and many fed up Spuyten Duyvil residents gathered on the corner of Kappock Street and Independence Avenue to call on Con Edison to bury the neighborhood’s power lines.

Many buildings in Spuyten Duyvil lose power several times a year, and not just during hurricanes. Mr. Dinowitz called it a “chronic problem” that Con Edison needs to address.

Allan Drury, a spokesman for Con Ed, said it would cost in the millions of dollars per mile to install the lines underground, possibly tripling customers’ monthly bills.

“Underground systems are more expensive to maintain and outages take longer to restore,” Mr. Drury wrote in an e-mail.

Mr. Dinowitz disagreed that it would cost more.

“It’s hard to imagine that over time, it’s cheaper to make these repairs every time power goes out,” Mr. Dinowitz said.

Nearby residents held signs at the press conference, which read, “Enough with the outages.”

“I’m fed up with Con Edison,” said Independence Avenue resident Loyda Camacho. “I’m afraid to take the elevator because I never know when it going to go off.”

City Council candidate Andrew Cohen attended the press conference as well.

“This is a very serious issue and it really doesn’t have anything to do with Sandy. This is a consistent problem in this area,” Mr. Cohen said.


Matching funds


Would you pay two bucks a year to help reform the state’s campaign finance rules?

According to the Campaign Finance Institute, a non-partisan government watchdog, if the state enacted lower contribution limits with public matching funds, big donors would have less impact on state politics for an estimated taxpayer cost of between $25 and $41 million — or $2 per taxpayer per year.

“There is no question that big donors dominate the Empire State’s politics,” Campaign Finance Institute’s Executive Director Michael Malbin said in a press release.

State Sen. Adriano Espaillat said it’s a no-brainer.

“Our Democracy belongs to the people; not the power brokers who donate large checks to political campaigns. That’s why we must enact full campaign finance reform with public funding to limit the influence of Big Money in elections,” Mr. Espaillat said in a press release. “For less than $2 a year, New Yorkers will get a democracy that works for them, and not the Big Money interests that increasingly decide who wins and loses elections.”


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