By COLlive reporter
The last time a billionaire ran for office, he remained there for 3 consecutive terms.
But other than money and political aspirations, there isn’t much in common between Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Greek-American businessman John Catsimatidis who hopes to succeed him.
Recently asked if he’d follow Bloomberg’s lead in taking a symbolic dollar-a-year salary, the owner of Manhattan’s largest supermarket chain replied: “99 cents. I’m a grocer…”
Running on the Republican ticket, Catsimatidis came to the Crown Heights neighborhood on Wednesday evening, some 24 hours after his opponent Joe Lhota.
Meeting him at the offices of the local Jewish Community Council were Chairman Zaki Tamir, Executive Director Eli Cohen, governmental liaison Chanina Sperlin and activist Yaacov Behrman.
Also present were Rabbi Shmuel Butman, Executive Director of Lubavich Youth Organization who is a personal friend of Catsimatidis, and the candidate’s Jewish liaison Yoel Lefkowitz.
“I can win in November but I need to win the Republican primary first,” he told them, after a long discussion on affordable housing, job opportunities and religious freedom (in particular, the Bris custom of metzitza b’peh).
TRAINING THE NYPD
Meanwhile, another public Crown Heights figure attended a pre-Rosh Hashanah meeting that City Council Speaker and Democratic candidate for Mayor, Christine Quinn, held with Orthodox Jewish officials.
Devorah Halberstam, Director of Foundation & Government Services at the Jewish Children’s Museum in Brooklyn, sat close to Quinn as issues such as the middle class struggles were discussed.
While Halberstam didn’t speak up, she surely was pleased that the topic of her life’s mission of security issues was raised during the meeting.
City-funded security for schools was discussed, as well as the need for the NYPD to enlist the expertise of outside groups in training their officers to respect the customs and beliefs of citizens.
Coordinating the meeting -without uttering a word- was the PR man Ezra Friedlander, CEO of The Friedlander Group and senior adviser to the Quinn campaign.
Always versatile, Friedlander has his hand in other pots as well. (“Just watching him is…” Rabbi Joseph Potasnik of the New York Board of Rabbis commented about Friedlander. “…is exhausting,” Quinn chimed in.)
He was seen escorting Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer to a private home in Crown Heights Thursday night to trump up support in his NYC Comptroller bid.
They walked up to the must-stop spot on President Street in an election season: The elegant home of Chanina Sperlin, governmental liaison of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council (CHJCC).
Accompanying Stringer was also New York State Senator Eric Adams, who is himself running unopposed for Brooklyn Borough President.
Stringer, running against former Governor Eliot Spitzer, asked for the community’s support in the September 10 Primary, but said that “regardless, I’m committed to assisting the community in every way possible after the election.”
And one more candidate spotted in the Eastern Parkway vicinity this week was Ken Thompson, candidate for Brooklyn District Attorney, who chatted with late-night congregants at 770.
Later, at a private visit with community activists and leaders to discuss issues relating to fundamental fairness in law enforcement and community safety policies, Thompson pledged to address concerns regarding public safety, bias crimes and interactions with law enforcement.
The Crown Heights Political Action Committee (PAC) has not made any endorsements as of yet.