Under Cover

Drum beats for Kim

You’ll have PJ Kim to kick around some more. Kim, who lost his bid last year to represent Lower Manhattan and become the first Korean-American councilmember in city history, has just been named the new executive director of the Drum Major Institute, which once was led by Freddie Ferrer, the former mayoral candidate and Bronx borough president.

Kim, 31, who only moved to Lower Manhattan a few years ago, did suprisingly well in last year’s race and won the somewhat-coveted New York Times endorsement. (Hey, we would’ve dropped the qualifier had the Gray Lady helped Kim win.) The institute, based in Lower Manhattan, is a left-leaning urban policy group and Kim’s experience working with national anti-poverty nonproftits was no doubt a plus. 

Kim said he is focused on Drum Major and is not thinking about running for office again. He appears to bear no hard feelings for Councilmember Margaret Chin, who beat Kim in the September Democratic primary.

“I think Margaret has done a good job so far to represent Lower Manhattan and I look forward to working with her and other elected officials,” he wrote in an e-mail to UnderCover.

Squad foe

Lower Manhattan may get another chance to vote for a candidate with F.D.N.Y. experience. Lieutenant Kevin Coenen is challenging state Senator Daniel Squadron in this year’s Democratic primary. Coenen’s platform has some similarities to Pete Gleason, the former firefighter who ran for Council last year. Like Gleason, Coenen wants to jumpstart World Trade Center rebuilding by using the bully pulpit to put a bigger spotlight on the issue.

Coenen, who works in a Times Square firehouse, also wants to end “pay to play” politics up in Albany, but in the same breath he criticized Squadron for not taking enough pay. Squadron does not accept political action committee money, and Coenen says that shuts out labor unions from the process. Squadron said he works with all groups, including unions, and didn’t have much else to say about Coenen.

Coenen criticized plans to invest in Governors Island in the face of cuts to subways, buses and firehouses.

He has an apartment in Alphabet City, but he said he spends about half his time in Smithtown with his wife and two children. If elected, he said he would spend a little more time in the district, but keep his children in Long Island schools.

He tried to run against Mayor Mike Bloomberg last year, but failed to get on the ballot. Squadron should take no comfort in that, he said. 

“I took a ride on a bike and fell off, and now I’m back on the bike and know how to ride it,” Coenen told us.

Wilcke DID it

Jeanne Wilcke easily beat Marc Ameruso to become president of the Downtown Independent Democrats political club last Thursday.

Wilcke got 34 votes to Ameruso’s 6. Several D.I.D. members who spoke in favor of Wilcke before the vote said she would be a more diplomatic leader, which could come in handy with the upstart Lower Manhattan Democrats club encroaching on D.I.D.’s territory.

“There is another club that is going to compete with us on our own footprint,” said Pete Gleason. (Wilcke managed his campaign). “Jeanne would be the best to do outreach.”

Wilcke replaces former club president Sean Sweeney, who became D.I.D.’s treasurer after running unopposed. The other positions were also filled by candidates running unopposed: Jim Stratton and Adam Silvera for the two vice president slots, and Alex Li, a New York University student, for secretary.

L.E.S. ‘Speed’

There were reports that because of President Obama’s visit to New York, airplanes trying to land at local airports, at one point were told to circle around in holding patterns. The same thing happened with Anne Hearn — although she was aboard a bus, not a plane. The Community Board 2 member said she was riding a bus up the Bowery last Thursday morning, when suddenly it veered off course into the Lower East Side and took a circuitous route along Allen, Stanton and any number of other streets. Finally, apparently right when Obama started speaking, the bus returned to the Bowery and proceeded back uptown.

And Charlie Komanoff, a Downtown transportation advocate, told us he was simply outraged that police confiscated many bicycles along Houston St. in preparation for Obama’s motorcade. See our Police Blotter in this week’s issue for more about it.