A Hometown View From Albany
Redistricting maps are drafted, the Brooklyn Conservatives meet in Albany with their state brethren, raising the minimum wage is proposed and the Fidler-Storobin race moves along.
The first round of new legislative districts for the state Assembly and Senate were released last week, with the most dramatic change being the district held by Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson.
The proposed new district lines moves the powerful Canarsie Democrat into Mill Basin, Mill Island and Old Mill Basin, absorbing most of the old seat held by disgraced former Senator Carl Kruger. It also moves Republican Senator Martin Golden’s district into some of the old Kruger area.
Given the district lines as they are proposed, the winner of the special election in March, Lew Fidler or David Storobin would have to either move their home in order to run for a Senate seat in November or challenge an entrenched incumbent. Many government watchdog groups are upset with these lines and may challenge them in court.
The state Conservative Party held its 50th Legislative Conference in
Albany this week. Brooklyn
Conservative Party District Leader Alice Gaffney wants to see her candidate, David Storobin, discuss reining in rampant state spending when he campaigns in the district.
Gaffney, a Marine Park resident from Ryder Street, says she wants Storobin to campaign on repealing same-sex marriage and expose his opponent for not being of like mind with the residents of the Senate district.
“The number one issue for (Storobin) is to tell the people of the district they deserve a representative who shares their values,” she said. “He could capitalize on the representation for the Senate District that has been far more liberal than the constituency.”
Gaffney realizes that Storobin’s biggest challenge is name-recognition, as more people know the name of his opponent, City Councilman Lew Fidler. She says a big plus for Storobin is that the Republican Party will be involved in this race.
“Sometimes they (Republicans) don’t get involved with the day-to-day activities of getting someone elected,” she said. “We are successful when the local Republican Party is out there with us.”
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver wants to raise the minimum wage to $8.50 per hour, up $1.25 per hour from the current $7.25. The measure would take effect January 2013, if passed by both legislative houses. Senate Republicans, however, are balking at the prospect of hiking the minimum wage because they say it will hurt businesses. The state Business Council, New York Farm Bureau and other groups representing business owners oppose the measure saying it will put more people out of work than hiking the wage will help, because of the higher cost of doing business.
“It will decrease the amount of employment that is available for young workers,” declared Mike Long, state Conservative Party Chairman.
Many area lawmakers want to see the minimum wage increase to $9 or $10 and say Silver’s proposal does not go far enough.
Update on the Fidler-Storobin race – David Storobin went on the offensive this week striking back at Lew Fidler for spreading rumors about the Russian-born Orthodox Jewish Republican being “tied to Neo-Nazis, white supremacists and skinheads.”
Storobin says his ties to hate groups are outright lies. He says, as a journalist, he wrote a story about the antiimmigrant “Minutemen movement.” Storobin hosted his stories on the Internet. Those articles were linked by white supremacist hate group websites, an action Storobin had no control over.
Fidler also tried to put fear into a group of Young Democrats claiming that if Storobin wins the Senate seat “then no seat in south Brooklyn is safe.”
“If I lose this race, they’re coming for Steve Cymbrowitz, and Helene Weinstein and Bill Colton, and Alec Brook-Krasny and every single one of us here in southern Brooklyn,” Fidler said.