Scoopy’s Notebook, Week of March 31, 2016

2nd ave, mosaic II
The "Mosaic Man"'s "Fire Pole" at E. Seventh St. and Second Ave.  Photo by Scoopy
The “Mosaic Man”‘s “Fire Pole” at E. Seventh St. and Second Ave. Photos by Scoopy

Pole cat: After last Saturday’s Day of Remembrance press conference for the Second Ave. explosion and its victims, we were admiring Jim Power’s new “fire pole” at the northwest corner of E. Seventh St. and Second Ave., at right, just outside the barren blast site. The base of the pole’s east side is inscribed with “Explosion” and “Great Fire.” Showing the “Mosaic Man” ’s craftsmanship and attention to detail is a small tile — actually, maybe a shard of an old coffee mug — with a cat and the words “For a cat lover.” While many of the

Cats are in the pole position on the "Fire Pole."
Cats are in the pole position on the “Fire Pole.”

lost “catastrophe cats” were found after the explosion, a few of the felines are sadly still missing a year later. Power told us he was recently working on the pole when legendary singer Graham Nash and his girlfriend came walking by. Nash’s girlfriend admired it so much that before they left — telling Power to “carry on” — she gave him $100.

Schwartz fundraising: A rumor is going around that Village District Leader Arthur Schwartz is self-financing his upstart campaign against Assemblymember Deborah Glick. Not true, Schwartz told us. “I donated $20,000 to my campaign at the start,” he said. “I expect to raise the rest. I hope to raise $100,000. Jerry Delakas gave me $2,000!” he said, referring to the beloved Astor Place news vendor, who Schwartz championed, helping Delakas to retain his newsstand against the city’s efforts to shut him down. “The rumor is from someone who thinks I have piles of money lying around,” Schwartz said. “I had to reinvest most of the proceeds from the sale of my house to get out of a massive capital-gains tax bill. I still paid over $1 million. And I bought a new place to live without a mortgage, and did renovations — dug out the cellar, took off lead paint, put in a new boiler, etc. Not much left. My investments will benefit my children.”

Web of intrigue? It turns out that Alice Cancel does, in fact, have a Web site. The New York Post had reported that Cancel — the Democratic nominee in the April 19 special election to fill Shelly Silver’s former Assembly seat — did not have one. However, her husband and campaign manager, State Committeeman John Quinn, said the Web site went up about a month ago. “Yuh-Line’s people stole a couple of domain names,” he charged. “A friend of ours who is good at this set it up.” Quinn was referring to Yuh-Line Niou, who is also running in the special election under the Working Families Party line. In addition, responding to the rumblings that Cancel “has been in hiding,” Quinn said, she had to scale back her campaigning because she had a flare-up of her type 1 diabetes. “She wasn’t eating,” he said. “She has to be careful what she eats.” Asked if Cancel could cope with the stress of being a state legislator, Quinn said, “Believe me, Alice can handle it!” As for why he was incommunicado himself for a while there, Quinn told us, “I was kind of under the weather myself.” Meanwhile, Niou, especially, Republican Lester Chang and Green candidate Dennis Levy have been sending out online press releases. Niou recently blasted the city’s lifting of the deed restriction on the former AIDS residence on Rivington St. to allow it to be redeveloped as market-rate housing. Chang, among other things, has strongly called for keeping admissions tests for the city’s specialized high schools. Levy, in a press release this week, called for “another Moreland Commission to investigate New York’s multimillion-dollar medical marijuana program.” The commission, he said, would look at relationships between Albany politicians, lobbyists, medical marijuana company executives and New York’s Department of Health. “I believe the investigation will reveal the same type of corruption the Moreland Commission found in Albany,” pot-legalization advocate Levy said. “Pay to play is still the way business is conducted.” Honestly, we don’t think we’ve seen one press release from Cancel. “We are doing real grassroots [campaigning],” Quinn said. “I do what I can. Pedro [Cardi] handles literature and what he can. Monica [Guardiolia] does scheduling. My biggest job is to take care of Alice. She has tremendous support in the community. Also Rosie is a godsend,” he said of Councilmember Rosie Mendez, who has endorsed Cancel.

A simple mistake: Speaking of endorsements, Quinn recently found himself in hot water after the New York Observer reported that, in filling out an endorsement questionnaire from the 504 Democrats, whose members have physical disabilities, Quinn had listed a slew of politicians whom he claimed backed her candidacy, but who, in fact, have not weighed in on the race. Quinn wrote down that Cancel was being supported by Congressmembers Nydia Velazquez, Jerrold Nadler and Carolyn Maloney, state Senator Daniel Squadron and Councilmember Margaret Chin, in addition to Mendez, under “key endorsements.” The Observer checked with all the pols, and it turned out only Mendez is actually publicly supporting Cancel. In his defense, Quinn said he simply misread the form and thought it was asking who Cancel supports.

Special-election specials: In other Assembly special election scuttlebutt, we hear from a reliable local political source that the Working Families Party was actually set to give its ballot line to District Leader Paul Newell, but that at the last minute, Niou’s Assembly supporters “put the arm on” the party and swung it over to her. Newell is not running in the special election, but will be a candidate in the September open primary election. Also, Quinn said it’s true what people are saying — that Judy Rapfogel, Silver’s longtime chief of staff, was poised possibly to throw her support to Niou in the February County Committee vote, but that two hours before the vote, flipped to Cancel after it was determined Niou ultimately “didn’t have the votes” to win the nomination. That meant Rapfogel’s fellow Truman Democratic Club members, for the most part, followed suit and backed Cancel. Meanwhile, Quinn said Niou’s strategy of slamming Silver doesn’t jibe with the long-held position of her political patron, Virginia Kee, president emeritus of Chinatown’s United Democratic Organization. “They’re trying to brand Alice as the pick of Shelly,” Quinn said. “There is nobody that has been closer to Shelly than Virginia. Alice was out there speaking for SPURA,” he said, referring to the redevelopment of the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, which Silver blocked for decades. “That’s ridiculous,” he said, “Shelly’s not picking anyone.”

Candidates forum: On Thurs., April 7, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., the Village Independent Democrats, Downtown Independent Democrats, Village Reform Democratic Club and Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club will sponsor a forum for candidates for the state Assembly, state Senate and the Democratic State Committee. The event will be held at Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square (entrance at 243 Thompson St.). Candidates who plan to attend, as of now, include, for the 66th Assembly District, Deborah Glick and Arthur Schwartz; for the 27th state Senate District, Brad Hoylman; for the 26th state Senate District, Daniel Squadron; and for State Committee for the 66th A.D., Rachel Lavine.