It’s Official: Corey versus Yetta in Race to Succeed Quinn - gaycitynews.com | gaycitynews.com It’s Official: Corey versus Yetta in Race to Succeed Quinn - gaycitynews.com | gaycitynews.com

It’s Official: Corey versus Yetta in Race to Succeed Quinn

Yetta Kurland (r.) greets a supporter during her December 10 City Hall campaign kick-off. | DONNA ACETO

BY PAUL SCHINDLER | Seven months after Corey Johnson, the chair of Community Board 4 in Chelsea, officially announced his aim to succeed Speaker Christine Quinn in the City Council’s District 3 seat, Yetta Kurland stepped up to say she too would contest the seat in 2013.

The December 10 City Hall press conference at which the out lesbian civil rights attorney and community activist threw her hat into the ring was hardly surprising; in fact, it was long expected. In 2009, Kurland took on Quinn, who had then been speaker for four years, and earned a third of the vote in a three-woman race, holding the incumbent to just over 50 percent.

Since then, Kurland’s visibility has remained undiminished –– tackling issues like the closure of St. Vincent’s Hospital and the rights of Occupy Wall Street participants to hold their ground in Zuccotti Park, and also hosting a weekly radio show on WWRL AM 1600. In announcing her candidacy, Kurland evoked her now familiar combatively progressive tone.

Saying New York, her home for the past two decades, is “the greatest city in the world,” she warned, “We’re heading toward becoming a place where only the richest can afford to live and where our public resources are being converted into private profit.”

The closing of St. Vincent’s and the damage Lower Manhattan and other parts of the city suffered from Hurricane Sandy, she said, represented “critical points in our sustainability.”

Kurland’s press conference included full-throated endorsements from Cathy Marino-Thomas, the co-president of the board of Marriage Equality USA (MEUSA), David Braun, the co-founder of United for Action, an anti-fracking group, and Penny Landau, a West Village resident and theater world publicist.

Voicing the Kurland campaign’s outsider message, Braun said. “We don’t need leaders who come here with a certain set of goals and them watch themselves get corrupted.”

During the press conference itself, which drew roughly 50 Kurland supporters who stood behind her, the candidate took no questions. Asked afterward how she expected the debate in the primary campaign to take shape, she responded, “I honestly don’t know who’s running,” and then lauded “active democracy where the more candidates the better.”

Community Board 4 chair Corey Johnson announced his candidacy early this year.

On Johnson’s role as her only declared opponent to date, Kurland said, “I haven’t seen Corey’s full set of issues yet.”

The candidate released a list of 65 supporters –– each of whom were quoted –– that included a number of other prominent LGBT New Yorkers, such as civil rights attorney Tom Shanahan, author and gender theorist Kate Bornstein, Queer Rising grassroots activist Jake Goodman, playwright Barbara Kahn, AIDS activist Andrew Velez, and MEUSA’s former executive director Ron Zacchi.

Attorney Christopher Lynn, who served as transportation commissioner in the Giuliani administration and ran against Quinn in her first election to the Council in 1999, was on hand for the press conference.

Producing blizzards of endorsements has become something of the standard in the nascent District 3 race. Earlier this year, Johnson, who is gay, issued a list that numbered nearly 600 names. Among many leaders in the LGBT community, Johnson announced support from Henrietta Hudson owner Lisa Cannistraci and former Human Rights Campaign leader Elizabeth Birch, as well as many gay men with high visibility, including Evan Wolfson, the founder of Freedom to Marry, Herndon Graddick, the executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), where Johnson formerly worked, Sean Strub, the creator of POZ magazine, Mitchell Gold, a worldwide premier furniture retailer who founded Faith in America to challenge religious anti-gay bigotry, and four former executive directors or board chairs of the Empire State Pride Agenda.

Both candidates boast endorsements from outside District 3, but Johnson’s list, at this point, is heavier on that score. In an email message to Gay City News, he highlighted his support from out gay US House Representatives Barney Frank of Massachusetts, Jared Polis of Colorado, and David Cicilline of Rhode Island and Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black –– even as he pointed, as well, to endorsements from “PTA presidents, block association leaders, tenant association presidents” and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.

Kurland has been endorsed by the Transport Workers Union and the Communication Workers of America.

Johnson’s response to Kurland’s entry into the race mirrored the one she offered about him.

“I’m looking forward to a spirited race focused on the issues that affect our neighborhoods and residents of West Soho, the Village, Chelsea, and Hell’s Kitchen,” he wrote.

Like Kurland, Johnson said he was uncertain whether anyone else might jump into the race, adding, “I’ll be running on a long record of service and accomplishments both as an activist and in leading a community board.”

Johnson has scrambled to an early lead in campaign fundraising, reporting just under the legal limit of $168,000 in donations, which will allow him to gain the maximum public match of $92,400. According to the city’s Campaign Finance Board, Kurland has raised more than $75,000, or about 45 percent of Johnson’s private donations. She, too, will be eligible for the city’s generous public matching funds program.

Next year’s primary date has not yet been scheduled and could happen in either June or September.

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17 Responses to It’s Official: Corey versus Yetta in Race to Succeed Quinn

  1. Beth December 12, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Yetta, a civil rights attorney? Laughable.

    Reply
  2. MMM December 12, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    The gun-wielding Yetta from the Wild Wild Westside. Good luck. She's gonna need it.

    Reply
  3. Charles December 12, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Yetta has her feet in the progressive movement. It would be a shame if well connected power brokers from white, male, Dem establishment (gay though they might be) pushed her aside. Where is Corey in important issues that distinguish him from Quinn, like Paid Sick Days?

    Reply
  4. Chelsea Resident December 12, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    Yetta is just a horrible loudmouth with nothing substantive to say. Corey is a true community activist and concerned neighbor. I've seen Yetta let her dogs poop on the sidewalk while she gabs on her phone and she does not clean up after them. Disgusting. All must be done to stop this bad person from ever holding office.

    Reply
  5. Paul December 12, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    Yetta is a cigar-smoking, gun-toting, small-time ambulance chasing lawyer who has no political skill and would not be able to represent our district effectively. She's a hack and a miserable person.

    Reply
  6. Perley J. Thibodeau December 12, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    Do you honestly think Quinn isn't going to back someone who will guarantee her ongoing power in that district?
    Just like Bloomberg is backing her to keep his ongoing power in city hall.

    Reply
  7. Paul December 12, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    Yetta has more commitment. Corey has always been a phony.

    Reply
  8. W. Village Resident December 12, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Yetta has been instrumental in working to re-establish a hospital on the Lower West Side and has done so even when other community leaders have shied away. She has a long record of service in our community and is well qualified to be the next Councilmember from the Westside.

    Reply
  9. Donna Aceto December 12, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Such vague anonymous venom for the one person who really fought to save St. Vincent's.

    Reply
  10. Perley J. Thibodeau December 12, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    I agree that politics get extremely nasty in New York City.
    Especially when posters don't have the power of their own convictions to sign their real names.
    I have classic examples of this by someone we all know of, and now I got slammed in the head with mindless insults the other day by a relative of a possible new mayoral candidate.
    With false names signed by all.
    This is good for me, as I have 23,000 words blocked out for a murder mystery that has well known but anonymously named local politicians as villains.
    Of course, my name is going on the cover because I want the royalties paid to me.

    Reply
  11. Jkim December 13, 2012 at 1:29 am

    It is a very good sign that Corey's supporters can only offer knee jerk reactions and personal attacks. Yetta represents something that scares them. Humanity in politics.

    Reply
  12. Methusaleh December 13, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Two questions:

    Is someone guilty of elder abuse for cynically conning and stringing along vulnerable senior citizens that they will be getting a new hospital to replace St. Vincent's, when everyone else knew that was a pipe dream?

    Does anyone know if a certain civil-rights lawyer was packing at a recent City Hall political rally, the same way she was packing at the anti-gun rally she sponsored at Union Square to keep handguns out of of the hands of the rest of us?

    Reply
  13. Perley J. Thibodeau December 13, 2012 at 11:03 am

    I just posted this to the Daily News article about Republican Candidates for Mayor.
    I also placed it in the text of the murder mystery book I'm currently preparing about local politicians.
    Please think about it.
    How would it be to give all citizens a small device that would allow them to read the issues to be voted on by both the mayor and city council and allow them to press yes or no with the response going directly to and be recorded on a main computer and thus allowing everyone's input to become law.
    That way there won't be any greed, corruption, and we won't have to look at the stupid politician's faces, and hear their false promises.

    Reply
  14. MarkVA71 December 13, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    I remember when Corey made news being an out gay kid on his high school football team. Girl has come a long way! Is he taken? ;o)

    Reply
  15. smith aldich December 18, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    While both candidates look good and presentable each voter has an obligation to look beyond the sheen . Kurland played a shell game with her fake Coalition for a New Village Hospital. Yes she was out spoken about the hospital but claimed it as HER issue and closed it off to other political people like Andrew Berman, Brad Hoylman and almost every other elected officials.. District Leader Keen Berger sees red when you mention Kurland's name. Rumor has it Kurland pocketed the 20,000 + mailing list that the small group of activist that supported the Coalition had gathered and melded it into her campaign contact elist. She apparently would not make it available to any other group or individual in her so called Coalition. Although dead as a group for over 10 months, Kurland still has tables outside the site of the Rudin Building site collecting signatures for her Coalition. Bad sign I think if this is how she practices transparency. I have been told Kurland has a habit of buying people off, one way or another: She gave downtown District Leader Paul Newell a job in her law office. She named St Vincent 's nurses union head , Eileen Dunn, Woman of the Year and hence forth Dunn became the pit bull barking at anyone who raised a question about Yetta and the Coalition. I saw other community residents at Community Board meetings like 11th Street mom Evette Katz. health advocate Tim Lunceford and downtown celebrity Jim Fouratt raise their voices loud in an attempt to save a hospital. Interestingly I do not see them on her endorsement list . Wonder if they are supporting her? . Kurland has a long history of not delivering on her her progressive rhetoric.. Have talked to a couple of former clients of hers who expressed extreme disappointment in her actual legal work .And than there is that GUN issue

    Reply
  16. smith aldich December 19, 2012 at 12:01 am

    While both candidates look good and presentable each voter has an obligation to look beyond the sheen . Kurland played a shell game with her fake Coalition for a New Village Hospital. Yes she was out spoken about the hospital but claimed it as HER issue and closed it off to other political people like Andrew Berman, Brad Hoylman and almost every other elected officials.. District Leader Keen Berger sees red when you mention Kurland's name. Rumor has it Kurland pocketed the 20,000 + mailing list that the small group of activist that supported the Coalition had gathered and melded it into her campaign contact elist. She apparently would not make it available to any other group or individual in her so called Coalition. Althought dead as a group for over 10 months, Kurland still has tables outside the site of the Rudin Building site collecting signatures for her “Coalition”. Bad sign I think if this is how she practices transparency. I have been told Kurland has a habit of buying people off, one way or another: She gave downtown District Leader Paul Newell a job in her law office. She named St Vincent 's nurses union head , Eileen Dunn, Woman of the Year and hence forth Dunn became the pit bull barking at anyone who raised a question about Yetta and the Coalition. I saw other community residents at Community Board meetings like 11th Street mom Evette Katz. health advocate Tim Lunceford and downtown celebrity Jim Fouratt raise their voices loud in an attempt to save a hospital. Interestingly I do not see them on her endorsement list . Wonder if they are supporting her? . Kurland has a long history of not delivering on her her progressive rhetoric.. Have talked to a couple of former clients of hers who expressed extreme disappointment in her actual legal work .And than there is that GUN issue; When the NY Times profiled her as a gun owner she attacked the Times for revealing this secret which shocked many of her supporters. In light of the horrible shooting of children in Newton Conn I expected to hear of her turning her gun in. Nada so far. Who is she hunting in Manhattan? As to Johnson, he really must 'fess up and tell us why as a Democrat he supported Mayor Bloomberg rather than the Democratic Bill Thompson in the last Mayor;s race,. Is he another Quinn whose actions are in oppositions to his rhetoric? I am .looking forward to the debates where we hopefully will see their "true colors'"

    Reply
  17. MJJ December 19, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Corey is connected to that troublesome dishonest blog Towleroad, though. You can look it up from a post there this week.

    Reply

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