Sunday, November 17, 2002

Federal Judge: Voting Wrongs, State Voting Rights

"Jeffrey Feldman, the Brooklyn Democratic Party's executive director, collects $64,000 a year as his special staff assistant for voting rights on the payroll of a state senator." - Daily News Editorial, November 25, 2002

Federal Judge on Feldman
"Feldman’s response is difficult to reconcile with the defendants’ gauzy characterizations of a democratic process open to all party members who seek the office of Supreme Court Justice. He began by mocking the request for a list of delegates to lobby: “I erroneously believed that a learned jurist, such as yourself (Margarita Lopez Torres), would be well aware that Delegates and Alternate Delegates to the Democratic Judicial Convention stand for independent election in the Primary Election, yet to be held.”
Decision by Eastern District Judge John Gleeson

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Feldman Blocks Judge Lopez Torres Supreme Court Campaign

"Judge Lopez Torres, who earlier this month won a bruising primary battle against the county party to run on the Democratic line in November for a second term on the Civil Court, said she received no response from Mr. Norman.

One source close to the committee reported that two of its 16 members, upon learning of Mr. Norman's referral role, are considering resigning.

Neither Mr. Karp nor Mr. Norman returned phone calls seeking comment.
The Brooklyn Democratic party's executive director, Jeffrey Feldman, however, acknowledged that the screening panel performs a "gatekeeping" role, but said that "anyone" who writes to Mr. Norman or the county headquarters expressing an interest in a Supreme Court nomination is "referred as a matter of course to the screening panel."

When Mr. Norman was asked about his role by the Village Voice in August, he was quoted as responding, "it's my screening committee ... if I know there is someone we are not going to endorse, then what is the point."

Mr. Feldman explained the apparent discrepancy between the two responses by saying he offered a "technical" answer and Mr. Norman a "philosophical" one. A candidate who was "repugnant" to the party, Mr. Feldman said, might not be referred to the screening committee for review."

Monday, September 16, 2002

Feldman: Surrogate FEINBERG STAYING PUT!

"Jeff Feldman, executive director of the Brooklyn Democratic organization, which strongly backed Feinberg's 1996 election, said he'd just had dinner with Feinberg and reported, "He is quite comfortable being surrogate, as should all citizens of the borough be comfortable with him being surrogate. There is no basis…to suggest that Judge Feinberg will not continue for the infinite foreseeable future as the surrogate for this county."

But what about the investigation under way? "I don't know anybody in Kings County of any prominence who's not under investigation by one agency or another," Feldman said. Feldman meant that as a defense of Brooklyn politics, but it could certainly be construed more as an indictment of it." --- By Erik Engquist, As printed in the Courier Life Newspapers, September 16, 2002

Thursday, September 12, 2002

It Is Not About Ethnic Voting Dummy: It is About Integrity

"Jeffrey Feldman, the executive director of the Brooklyn Democratic party, attributed his group's defeat in the countywide races to a fundamental shift in ethnic voting patterns in the borough.

In the past, Mr. Feldman said, Jewish women in countywide races enjoyed a distinct advantage, but that was not the case this year, where the strongest turnout came in Hispanic and black communities. The two losers in the countywide race, Judge Yellen and Judge Sikowitz, are both Jewish. Justice Lopez Torres was born in Puerto Rico, and Judge Thomas is black."
Law journal September 12, 2002

NY Times Editorial Endorsement of Margarita Lopez Torres for Civil Court Judge
"To punish her refusal to hire law clerks referred by clubhouse leaders and other so-called acts of "disloyalty," Margarita Lopez Torres, an able sitting Civil Court Judge was denied the backing of the Democratic Party organization for a second 10-year term. Herdemonstrated independence only bolsters the case for her re-election and the enthusiasm of our endorsement. For voters looking for a way to register their disgust with the crude partonage politics that prevail in judicial endorsements, this is it."

Monday, September 9, 2002

Democracy Brooklyn Style: Knock Them Off the Ballot

"Jeff Feldman, executive director of the county Democratic organization, said it will take more than a handful of spirited races to unseat Norman.

A few months ago, they had about 100 people running - state committee candidates, judicial delegates, people running for every office," Feldman said. "At the end of the day there are four of them left. If that's supposed to indicate a changing of the guard in the party, then I don't see it."
Daily News, September 9, 2002

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Feldman: The Enforcer-in-Chief

"Petitions with too many stray markings or cross-outs can result in summary removal from the ballot. Candidates that changed political parties less than one general election ago may not witness petitions as members of a different party. And so on. Seven candidates for district leader in Central Brooklyn were bounced because their petitions indicated they were running for the office universally called "district leader." That would have been fine in most boroughs, but in Brooklyn the office goes by a different name: State Committee.

Insiders are unforgiving about such errors. Referring to the seven victims of the "district leader" goof, Jeff Feldman, the enforcer-in-chief of the Brooklyn Democratic organization, told me, "I'm not accusing these people of fraud, I'm accusing these people of utter stupidity."Daily News, August 21, 2002

Thursday, August 1, 2002

Feldman: Ballot Access Dead on Arrival

"But that may not be enough to get the insurgents on the ballot. 'Most of these insurgents are already toast,' the executive director of the Brooklyn Democratic organization, Jeffrey Feldman, said. "County's not even going to knock them off the ballot - they're dead on arrival."
New York Sun, August 1, 2002

Tuesday, April 2, 2002

We Are Above the Law

"As solid as the News stories were, they did not point out the case their own facts made for criminal charges. Between May and August of last year, Norman, who is also an assemblyman, got the county party he controls to make three loans totaling $115,000 to the assembly committee he controls. He told reporters that the interest-free loans were used to pay workers in a variety of city campaigns last year. ''The work of the Democratic county organization is performed by the local political clubs,'' he said. ''The various district leaders hire people to go out and give out flyers and to assist with the get-out-the-vote effort.''

The problem is that it's a misdemeanor violation of Section 2-126 of the state election law for a party organization to spend one cent of its money on a primary, or for ''any person representing or acting on behalf of a party or party committee'' to do the same. Since all of these loans--the largest in county party history, according to its spokesman, Jeff Feldman--came during the primary campaign, every expenditure made by Norman's committee designed to aid a primary candidate would constitute a potential misdemeanor. The loans cannot be explained, as Feldman claimed, by calling them ''a bridge loan'' designed to resolve ''a cash-flow problem'' with Norman's committee, since Norman had no race in 2001 and started the year with a $108,193 balance.

Feldman also contends that these so-called loans--which Norman repaid only after he was contacted by the News--don't violate state law because the prohibition covers only expenditures by a party committee, not loans. Presumably, any competent prosecutor could demonstrate that shifting the funds between committees was a transparent circumvention of the party's spending ban.

While misdemeanor violations of the election law are punishable by up to a year in prison, the statutes also provide that a repeated practice of violation can constitute a felony. Since Norman's committee did not report receiving two of the loans, it's not possible to fully determine how much of the party funds were dispersed for primary activities. But clearly some were--for example, immediately after receiving the one reported loan, the committee paid $2133 to a printer and $8000 to two Norman campaign operatives, Carmen Martinez and William Boone."
Village Voice, April 2, 2002