By Liz Benjamin
August 28, 2014
A coalition of celebrities, Democratic clubs, candidates and sitting state lawmakers plan to hold a rally in Mount Kisco on Sept. 6 in an effort to push Gov. Andrew Cuomo to exercise his power of clemency.
The event, advertised as a “rally, march and vigil” by the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, is set to feature of a range of organizations, many of which have endorsed Fordham Law professor Zephyr Teachout.
Groups scheduled to participate include the National Organization for Women (NYS chapter), the Chelsea Reform Democratic Club and the Coalition for a District Alternative.
A number of sitting Senate Democrats are also either expected to attend or have given a signal they support the vigil, including Sens. Liz Krueger, Gustavo Rivera, Brad Hoylman and Jose Peralta.
At the same time, Senate candidates John Liu, Oliver Koppell and Robert Jackson have also endorsed the vigil.
UPDATE: Liu sent the following statement: “I am not participating in this event, nor did I agree to lend my name to it.” UPDATE2: I’ve learned that Sen. Jose Peralta (Queens) is also not participating, despite the fact that his name appears on the flyer. The same goes for Sen. Brad Hoylman (Manhattan, Chelsea area). UPDATE3: Add to the list of non-attendees Sen. Gustavo Rivera (Bronx), who called to say: “I’m very busy in my primary campaign and in my district.” UPDATE4: I just received a call made on behalf of Sen. Liz Krueger (Manhattan, East Side) informing me that she’s not going to be there, either.
Do you see a pattern developing here?
There are also a number of Cuomo critics, including Bill Samuels and former NYc Public Advocate Mark Green (who was one of Cuomo’s 2010 AG primary opponents), listed.
A flyer advertising the event notes that Ronald Reagan, as governor of California, issued clemency 579 times, while Democratic Gov. Hugh Carey of New York did so 155 times.
In addition to the flyer — with 1,000 being distributed around Mount Kisco, Bedford and the surrounding towns — the group is mailing it as well. The flyer notes that Mount Kisco is the “home of Gov. Cuomo”, and the vigil will be held, literally, at the house Cuomo shares with Food Network star Sandra Lee.
The governor has granted pardons — which is different than clemency — on rare occasion.
Cuomo issued three pardons to New Yorkers who had completed their sentences, but “whose legal status and rights were hampered by their criminal records,” according to his office.