Scoopy’s Notebook

Koch to the rescue:

The New York Times reported last week that former Mayor Ed Koch is helping lead an effort to clean up Albany by targeting “incumbents judged to be impediments to change.” “I don’t believe the good ones are good enough,” Hizzoner said of Albany legislators, “and the bad ones are evil.” So far, joining Koch in the effort are Dick Dadey, head of Citizens Union, and former Parks Commissioner Henry Stern, who heads up his own group, New York Civic. Asked who they’ll go after first, Koch said they’re still figuring things out. “I’m not the one doing this myself — so I don’t have any hit list,” he told us. Other groups have also been invited to join, including Common Cause, the Urban League and the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University. Once all the groups get together, Koch said, at that point they’ll “develop a policy” on how to proceed. “We’re not interested in the hot-button issues, like gay marriage or abortion or gun control,” he noted, “but good-government issues, like reapportionment and redistricting, as opposed to gerrymandering.” Koch said once they start knocking out some bad incumbents, the rest hopefully “will self-correct.” Their first meeting is this Friday. … On the subject of embattled Governor David Paterson, Koch told us last Friday, “I predict he’ll be out in 10 days; I think he’ll be out sooner — but I want to give myself a cushion.” So that means by Mon., Mar. 15, at the latest. The former mayor confirmed a recent report that Paterson had called him, and that he had told him to resign. “He never before asked me for advice,” Koch told us. “I may be the only one who told him what was in his best interest — resign.” Otherwise, Koch said he told the governor, “They’re going to play with you like dogs with a bone” — which is exactly what “they” have been doing. “His response was only one word, ‘Thank you,’ end of conversation,” Koch said. … On a totally different topic, we asked Koch to don his film reviewer’s hat and give us his Oscar picks, but he said he doesn’t do that. He did let on, however, that he liked “The Hurt Locker” for Best Film.

Rosie picture for Paterson?

At the Save Ray’s benefit Monday night, we asked Councilmember Rosie Mendez for her thoughts on the whole Paterson mess. “He was courting me like a month ago to get my endorsement — real hot,” she said. However, Mendez said she told the governor she wasn’t going to be able to make it to his campaign kickoff announcement, since she had plans to be somewhere else that day. As it turned, pretty much everyone seemed to have other plans that day. … Mendez did tell Paterson she was looking forward to talking to him about the rescinding of Section 8 subsidized housing vouchers, and she eventually did get a call back from a Paterson campaign worker to discuss it. “He agreed, but then he didn’t agree to the restrictions I put forward,” the East Side councilmember said. Asked if she felt Paterson should resign, Mendez said, “I’m all for a person being able to finish out their term — but I’m not sure how effective he can be right now.” 

Initial impressions:

Speaking of politics, in reading all the Paterson coverage in The New York Times, we were once again reminded of the paper’s formal style: Every politician and elected official under the sun’s name is regally spelled out in full — and don’t ever forget the middle initial. So, it’s Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (not plain old Mike Bloomberg), Edward I. Koch (never just simple Ed Koch), state Senator Thomas K. Duane (not, aw shucks, Tom Duane) District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. (rather than shorter-and-sweeter Cy Vance Jr.) and so on. But we couldn’t help noticing that Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver’s name — of course, Sheldon Silver in the Times — never has a middle initial in the Gray Lady’s copy. Sure, Silver is the state’s second most powerful Democrat — but does he have the power to order the Times to drop his middle initial — assuming that’s what happened? — and make the paper subvert its own hallowed style? Does he maybe have a middle name he’d rather just forget? We were wondering. Well, Dan Weiller, the speaker’s press secretary, who has worked in Silver’s office for 10 years, said it’s really not that complicated. “I simply believe that he does not have a middle initial,” he said.

Leading the pack on V-BAC’s:

In Arizona they love their D-Backs, but in Greenwich Village at St. Vincent’s midwifery program, they really love their V-BAC’s. Betsy Arnold-Leahy, the teetering hospital’s chief midwife, explained to us that a V-BAC is a “vaginal birth after a C-section,” and that the rate at St. Vincent’s is extremely good, close to 75 percent. “We had a little under 1,800 deliveries last year,” she told us the other weekend at the St. Vincent’s “visibility rally.” “Despite that, our C-section rate has been dropping by 2 percent each year.” Thirty percent of St. Vincent’s deliveries have a midwife present. About 20 midwives who don’t actually work at St. Vincent’s have privileges to do deliveries there. However, Arnold-Leahy said, “If you go to B.I. or the other side of town, they will not take midwives unless they’re employed by the hospital” — “B.I.” being “Beth Israel” in hospital lingo. If St. Vincent’s, with its top-notch midwife program, closes, she said, “It really will decrease the options for women.”

Feds’ Chinese-Italian fusion:

The new Chinatown-Little Italy Historic District won recognition last month from the National Register of Historic Places. Known for its intersection of Italian and Chinese immigrant cultures, the neighborhood roughly bounded by Worth, Lafayette and E. Houston Sts. and the Bowery was designated by the State Historic Preservation Office last fall. The designations do not prevent the district’s buildings from being demolished, but property owners may be eligible for tax benefits and historic preservation grants. The Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, which sponsored the application, will hold information sessions for property owners in April.


Bill Talen, otherwise known as Reverend Billy, and Savitri D are expecting a baby in two weeks, a very baby-bumped Savitri told us at the Save Ray’s benefit Monday night. No word on whether it’s a boy or girl.