Scoopy’s notebook

What’s in a name? Peter Gleason, City Councilmember Alan Gerson’s opponent in the September Democratic primary, has accused Gerson of trying to pass himself off as Chinese on the ballot. Every candidate is allowed to register a Chinese version of his or her name with the Board of Elections, Gerson said. But Gerson’s Chinese moniker, which Gerson pronounces Korh Arlun, is not a close phonetic rendering of the his name and might cause Chinese voters to think they are pulling the lever for a native son, Gleason claimed. “He’s essentially saying, ‘I’m Chinese, vote for me,’” said Gleason, who has worked in China and can read the language. Gleason said that his Chinesified name on the ballot matches his Western name as closely as possible, while Gerson’s version borders on deception. Gleason said the pronunciation of Gerson’s Chinese ballot name is really more like Guo Ya Wung. “Oh come on, that is so ridiculous,” Gerson countered in a telephone interview from his home. “I’m very well known in Chinatown as Korh Arlun.” His mother, Sophie Gerson, chimed in from the background and reminded her son that he had run under the same Chinese name in the previous election. “I ran two years ago as Korh Arlun when I had three Chinese-American opponents and not one of them raised this issue,” Gerson said, taking up her point. Gleason, Gerson, Gerson, Gleason: let’s call the whole thing off…. The Chinese versions of the candidates’ names will be on Chinese- and English-language voting machines in electoral districts with large Chinese populations, just as Spanish- and English-language machines will be used in heavily Hispanic parts of the district.

No comment: Asked last week for his thoughts on Doris Diether’s being removed from Community Board 2’s zoning committee, of which she was the former vice chairperson, David Reck, the committee’s new chairperson, said, “I will make no comment whatsoever.”

Wall of fame: Jim Smith, Board 2’s new chairperson, who also is not commenting on “zoning maven” Diether’s supporters’ campaign to restore her to the committee, said, on another subject, that the board is planning to decorate a wall in its conference room with pictures of its district managers and board chairpersons since 1978 when “modern community boards began.”

Lopez going for K.O.: Is anyone not challenging petitions?…. Councilmember Margarita Lopez succeeded in knocking challenger Mildred Martinez off the ballot in the primary. Martinez, a Baruch Houses tenants association leader, took it graciously, saying she shook the hands of Lopez’s staff members after the decision. But Martinez and Roberto Caballero, president of the Lower East Side Political Action Committee, were tougher on Ray Cline, of Village Reform Democratic Club. They said that by backing a different candidate for City Council, Cline forced them to use a different petition to collect signatures, making it more difficult, causing Martinez to not qualify. But Cline said it’s not his fault and that the Lower East Siders need to get their act together. While the East Siders expressed frustration with Cline, he pointed out it was only three years ago the V.R.D.C. made its cross-town foray and that the club is still building its base. Martinez did get on the ballot to challenge Lopez ally Rosie Martinez in the district leader race. In addition, half the County Committee candidates on V.R.D.C.’s East Side slate were knocked off, and apparently more than a few didn’t even know they were running, because no one had asked them; V.R.D.C.’s entire slate of judicial delegates was bounced as well. As with Martinez’s Council petitions, the problems were the same person in some cases signing five times or more and forged signatures, according to Lopez. “I couldn’t allow this to go through,” Lopez said. “If the petitions were good, I would not have challenged. But ethically, because of my own values, I could not do it.” Still, Lopez couldn’t help but gloat at the disarray in the ranks of the Committee to Defeat Margarita Lopez — which for all practical purposes consists of Caballero and Israel Perez, another Baruch activist. Though she no longer has a primary, Lopez said she’ll be out campaigning anyway. “We are going to be on the street in force for the general election,” she said. “I am ready for a knockout in the first round. I’m not going to be sitting in my house, I have too much energy in my body.”