By Lincoln Anderson
November 3, 2014
BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Updated Mon., Nov. 3, 2 p.m. with correction: Howie Hawkins, the Green candidate for governor, warns that Andrew Cuomo will likely allow hyrdofracking in some form soon after Tuesday’s election.
“Cuomo, if he was going to ban fracking, he would have done it by now,” Hawkins declared last week outside the historic Stonewall Inn, on Christopher St. “Now this study will be done before the end of the year — but after the election.
“That health impact analysis we’ve all been waiting for for years, will suddenly become available after the election.”
Hawkins was referring to a health study on fracking that the Cuomo administration has been conducting for the past two years.
The Green candidate was outside the Stonewall Inn last week for a press event at which he and Alexander Meadows, who is running for Assembly on the Progressive line, endorsed each other for election.
According to some accounts, fracking opponents outnumber proponents in New York State. So why then, Hawkins was asked, would Cuomo O.K. the hotly debated drilling technique?
“He’s listening to his funders,” Hawkins explained. “The oil industry is putting a lot of money into his election. There’s two constituents — the big business funders and the voters. Big business and Cuomo are hoping there will be enough confusion to bamboozle the voters on Election Day.”
As for what Cuomo might decide on fracking, Hawkins said, the administration “leaked a trial balloon two years ago,” in which fracking wouldn’t be allowed in the New York City or Syracuse watersheds, while elsewhere “home rule” would prevail on whether fracking would be permitted.
Hawkins supports a total ban on the shale gas-drilling method in New York State.
Meanwhile, as the days till the election were winding down, Meadows had gotten no closer to debating incumbent Assemblymember Deborah Glick.
“I’m shocked that Deborah is unwilling to have a debate,” said Tom Connor, a Meadows and Hawkins supporter, at the Stonewall event. “We’ve been saying that there’s low voter turnout — and then she won’t do this. I know what she’s doing, but she’s supposed to be an open progressive.”
Connor is a member of Village Independent Democrats, which is both Glick and Meadow’s club. By “knowing what she’s doing,” Connor meant that, as a strong frontrunner, it makes sense for Glick to duck Meadows’s challenge to debate.
The Stonewall event was organized by Allen Roskoff, president of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, which has endorsed both Hawkins and Meadows.
A former Marine, Hawkins is heterosexual.
“We’re here at Stonewall to illustrate Howie Hawkins’s longtime support for the L.G.B.T. community and support of Alexander Meadows, who’s a member of the L.G.B.T. community,” Roskoff said.
As for why his Democratic club was supporting two candidates running on other-party lines, Roskoff said his club supports progressive candidates over politicians “who have outlived their usefulness.”
“It was monumental when we elected her to the Assembly,” Roskoff said of Glick, the state Legislature’s first gay representative. “She was the first person to represent us in Albany. But all good things come to an end. She has become part of the leadership in Albany.”
He slammed Glick for backing Christine Quinn for mayor last year and Cuomo over Zephyr Teachout in the recent Democratic primary, when voters in Glick’s 66th Assembly District “overwhelmingly” rejected Quinn and embraced Teachout.
Meadows said he’d bring a fresh outlook to the Assembly seat.
“We know that the system is rigged,” Meadows said. “Howie and I are looking beyond the old guard. We’re looking 10 to 15 years down the road. Our progressive values are aligned with the voters of the district and not the flawed values of the leadership in Albany.”
District Leader Arthur Schwartz, Meadows’s campaign attorney — who was also Teachout’s campaign treasurer — noted it was the first time he was ever asking voters to cross party lines and back a non-Democrat. He called Cuomo and Glick “bullies,” adding that Glick “sort of believes she deserves the seat until she retires. She hasn’t been challenged since 1994 or ’95.
“She has been taking her voters for granted,” Hawkins chimed in regarding Glick. “I’m proud to support Alexander Meadows.”
Roskoff has criticized Cuomo, in particular, for granting clemency to almost no prisoners. Hawkins said he’d grant clemency for all nonviolent drug offenders. He said he’d pardon Cecily McMillan, the Occupy Wall Street protester whose case was a cause célèbre earlier this year.
“I’d give her clemency the minute I was elected governor,” he declared. “A cop grabbed her breast and her elbow came up.”
Jim Fouratt, another V.I.D. member, noted he was “in the street the night of Stonewall,” referring to the famed riots that launched the gay civil-rights movement.
Fouratt criticized Glick on the legislation passed last year that allows development rights from Hudson River Park to be sold across the highway.
“The air rights that she has given away on the Hudson River Park Trust will fundamentally change the Village,” he warned. “And she has never explained [it], and she will not debate.
“I hope that when people go into that booth, they don’t get fooled by nice-sounding names, like Working Families Party or Women’s Equality Party — those are votes for Andrew Cuomo,” Fouratt said.
As for why she didn’t accede to a debate with Meadows, Glick previously told The Villager, for starters, that she was “booked-up” the last couple of weeks. However, she also charged that Meadows was “flouting campaign finance law” because he had not made the required filings of his campaign contributions and expenses. In fact, she said, she didn’t even know whether to consider him “a real candidate.”
Glick and her campaign spokesperson did not respond to phone and e-mail messages requesting comment on the criticisms of her at the Stonewall rally by the two candidates and their supporters.
One month ago, Meadows — in an article in The Villager announcing his campaign — claimed he had $30,000 on hand for his campaign, yet he had failed to post a required 32-day pre-election filing demonstrating that he actually had these funds.
However, about a week ago, he did post the required filings, and they are now on viewable the state Board of Elections Web site. His 32-day report notes $14,752 in contributions to his campaign and $10,678 in expenditures, for a closing balance of about $4,073. The brunt of his funds for this period were from a Darren Parslow, of W. 21st St., who gave $10,000 in July, and from Mark Lee, of W. 24th St., who gave $4,100 in September.
Meadows’s 11-day pre-election filing shows an additional $1,650 in contributions — including $500 from Richard Stewart, the Village-area Republican district leader and, like Meadows, a member of Community Board 2 — with a closing balance of about $3,700.
Asked at the Stonewall rally about his claim of having $30,000 in campaign funds on hand in early October, Meadows said that commitments had been made to him and “doors were opened,” but that some of those doors later closed.
Glick’s 32-day pre-election filing reported about $84,000 in cash on hand, while her 11-day summary showed about $74,500 of that remaining.
Meanwhile, joining V.I.D., Downtown Independent Democrats last week endorsed Hawkins for governor. The club also endorsed Hawkins’s running mate for lieutenant governor, Brian Jones.
“Howie Hawkins and Brian Jones are aligned with the Democratic values we support and that are stated in our bylaws,” D.I.D. said in a press release. “Hawkins is the only candidate that has consistently called for a ban on hydrofracking. Hawkins’s stances on the minimum wage, public education, single-payer healthcare, municipal taxes, clean energy and public transportation make him the only candidate New York progressives can support.”
Yet, one Downtown political club member who had initially supported Hawkins said she is now “in quandary” over it. Requesting anonymity, she said she is upset that Hawkins has thrown his support behind Meadows over Glick, and also that Hawkins advocates that the U.S. divest its financial support of Israel.
“Both those positions are not acceptable,” the club member said. “Deborah Glick has served us well and will continue to do so. As to Israel, it provides our most stalwart defense of democracy. Divestiture would be calamitous for us and the rest of the world as it regards the Middle East.”
Asked for Hawkins’s position on the B.D.S. (Boycott, Divest and Sanctions) movement against Israel, a Hawkins spokesperson sent the following statement from the candidate:
“I support gradually escalating sanctions, including boycotts and divestment, until Israel stops expanding the settlements on the West Bank, ends the blockade of Gaza, and starts honestly negotiating a settlement in accord with international law, a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 borders. The U.S. must end its unconditional support for Israel no matter how much it defies international law and denies Palestinians basic human rights. The U.S., and New York State with respect to its pension investments, must begin taking substantive action like sanctions so that the Israelis know that they do not have our support for annexing Palestine and oppressing Palestinians. The U.S. can play a constructive role by being a neutral broker for a peace settlement. As long U.S. military aid and investments continue to flow to Israel while it violates human rights and international law, the U.S. will not have the credibility with either side to play that constructive role.”
Hawkins and Jones have a forceful statement online in support of B.D.S. in which they brand Israel an “apartheid state.”
Correction: A version of this article posted earlier on Mon., Nov. 3, incorrectly stated that Alexander Meadows had not filed the required 32-day and 11-day pre-general election reports with the state Board of Elections. The default committee name that kept popping up in The Villager’s searches on the B.O.E. site was “Alex for New York City,” under which Meadows — who briefly ran for City Council in 2013 — had not raised any funds in 2014. However, the correct committee name for his Assembly campaign is “Alex for New York State,” under which the correct filings are now posted. Not helping matters any, Meadows had provided The Villager with an incorrect link to the site that yielded the result “Not Found.” Another local politico subsequently provided The Villager with the correct link.