Coming to Assembly District 50: Emily Gallagher

Ms. Gallagher writes:

Dear friends and family,

It’s official!

I’m really doing it.  After 13 years of learning from the best activists and advocates in our community, I’m running for New York State Assembly

When I came to New York City in 2006, I worked three jobs and slept on the floor of a shared 5 person apartment, thanks to my very generous friend, Sarah.  Since then, I worked my way through– and I’ve learned through action and experience. I am a regular person and I’ve struggled in the average New York City way, and together alongside my community, I’ve been able to find my bearings time and again. It’s now time for me to take what I’ve learned from this community and use it to our greater benefit. I believe that New York should be a beacon of progressive action, with North Brooklyn leading the charge.  I want to see more mobilization on environmental justice, climate resilence, gender & racial equity, safe streets, housing and healthcare for all.  I want to push us towards meaningful reforms at school, at work and at the polls. I’ve lived in this state nearly my entire life, and I love it deeply.  I believe we can be better, and I am willing to work for it. To do this I am going to need your support.  We have always been a team, and this year will be no exception.  I’d love for you become a stakeholder in my campaign, and on September 23rd, when we launch, I want you beside me.  Please bring a friend, join our team and attend! You can RSVP by donating HERE! No one will be turned away for lack of funds, but I guarantee you in this race we will need every penny you can spare. This email is a sneak peak– our campaign goes LIVE on the 23rd. You’re the first to know! When we get to launch day, I’ll share with you our new social channels so you can follow along! We have a great, educational campaign planned.

Much love to you,

Emily PS– If you can’t attend, please consider making a donation to help get us started!   You can even set up a recurring contribution! 

So there have you.

From The New York Shitty Inbox: A Word From Joe!

I asked for it— and I got it: a word (and then some) both via email and telephone from none other than Assemblyman Joseph Lentol regarding the recent turn of events regarding Vito Lopez. Without further ado here it the first (as authored this morning, August 30th at 12:30 a.m.!):

Let me be clear, Heather:I do not condone sexual harassment or sexual abuse by anyone. Since Friday when information about Vito Lopez’s problems became public I have spoken to many current and former members of the NYS Legislature, Democratic Party officials, dozens of constituents, Assembly attorneys and the press about the situation. To learn my reaction and views you can phone, stop at my office or email. You know I always reply. I do not always see everyone’s blog, but someone sent me yours tonight.

I’ve not been silent about the findings of sexual harassment committed by Vito, whose constituents can turn him out of office if he does not resign. Only the Wall Street Journal included one of my statements in one of its articles today. Adding a press release to all the others that have been issued is superfluous. Instead I will work to help tighten the Assembly procedures to make it faster & easier to make a complaint. Most important, however, are efforts to curtail sexual harassment in every workplace. And that’s where our efforts need to be placed.

So there have you— and thanks, Joe!

The Word On The Street, Part II: Silence Speaks Volumes

Unless you have been on vacation in Timbuktu, fellow north Brooklynites, you are undoubtedly aware of the recent allegations of sexual harassment as practiced by the fellow at left: the Honorable Assemblyman Vito Lopez. I for one found the whole affair so repulsive I saw fit to mention it on this site.

Mr. “Gropez” (as I have taken to calling him) has received a great deal of media attention as a result. I do not see this changing in the foreseeable future. The same goes for commentary* and questions tendered by my fellow citizens— and I can assure you there are many. But as of late the prevailing sentiment seems to be as follows:

Why haven’t our elected officials/public servants spoken up about (or at least acknowledged) this turn of events?

I for one think this is an excellent question.

Let’s take Christopher Olechowski, for example. As you can see from the above piece of campaign literature our current chair of Community Board 1 purports to be the voice of our community. I find this fascinating given he continues to be curiously quiet. To my knowledge Mr. Olechowski has yet to respond to inquiries regarding his “leadership” role in the fight against the TGE plant or requests that he participate in a debate with our current 50th Assembly District Leader, Lincoln Restler.

Perhaps silence is the voice of our community? The lack of any acknowledgement— much less a response— from fellow Assemblyman Joseph Lentol regarding Mr. “Gropez’s” alleged activities would certainly indicate this. But I digress.

This morning I:

  • a resident of Community Board 1
  • a constituent of the 50th Assembly District and
  • a very pissed off  registered voter with a vagina (and free time)

mulled the matter over. Finally I decided:

Fuck it. If they want to act like there’s not a problem, I will remind them there is one. On their proverbial doorstep.

So I dug into my war chest of Crayola sidewalk crayons (mere sidewalk chalk would not suffice), tossed on some flip-flops and took a walk.

A very long walk.

Here’s the deal, folks…

These public servants work for us, not the other way around. They are accountable to us, their constituents. Our votes can and have placed these individuals in office— and our votes can remove them. How much time and/or effort would have been required of Mr. Olechowski, Mr. Lentol or, dare I say, our City Councilman** to simply state (or have a staff member “tweet”) the following:

In light of recent allegations against Assemblyman Vito Lopez, I (insert name here) want to make it clear I do not condone sexual harassment. I want to assure you, my constituents/neighbors, I will be watching this matter very carefully.

My educated guess would be “very little”— and yet this has yet to happen. Think about this when you cast your votes in upcoming elections, north Brooklynites.

I know I will.

UPDATE, August 30, 2012: I have received both an email and telephone call from Mr. Lentol! You can read the first by clicking here.

*Including my personal favorite. A piquant observation which comes from a lady named Sarah:

Hey, Vito, don’t let the door hit you in the DICK on the way out.

**Stephen Levin, former Chief of Staff for Mr. Gropez Lopez.


From The New York Shitty Inbox: And Now A Word From Our City Councilman

This evening I was forwarded a most interesting piece of campaign literature which is being distributed at our local housing projects from an anonymous tipster. Without further ado, here it is:

Note that a cell phone number has been provided. So, I suppose, one can ask questions.* I wonder why nothing like this was circulated in Greenpoint? Anyone?

*Or simply pass it along— with a fully changed cell phones with unlimited minutes— to 50th Assembly District youths and tell them it belongs to Santa Claus. Not that I recommend this, mind you.

New York Shitty Day Ender: And Now A Few More Words From Chris Olechowski

(And his “friends”*)

Courtesy of a mailer sent to Chez Shitty!

How many folks do you recognize in the following group photo, 50th Assembly District Democrats?

Speaking as someone who calls Mrs. Klementovicz a neighbor (and a friend— the above footage of her being awesome hails from a meeting a few months ago. A meeting, I’ll note at which Mr. Olechowski was not present.) I really have to wonder if she is aware of the claims Mr. Olechowski has been making in terms of his role in the fight against the TGE plant. I doubt it.** In any case, I found the following endorsement fascinating:

I am proud to support Chris because he has always shown the extraodinary ability to bring our community together. — NYC City Councilmember Stephen Levin.

Behold Mr. Olechowski’s “community building” rhetoric for yourself.

(No Comment)

**As of today, August 22, she is. Here is a rundown of what happened:

…just came back from shopping on Manhattan Ave and Irene was strolling by, (For those that don’t know Irene was an activist from at least the 1970’s, she’s 83 now and was one of the leaders that eventually got the Greenpoint Incinerator shut down.) I told her the story that “some one”, leaving Chris’ name out, who was running for political office was taking credit for the TGE battle. She raised her eyebrows only as Irene can and at the end I told her it was Chris and her brows went up another notch. …she told me this story about supporting Chris. Chris approached her for support on environmental issues and Irene asked, “but what did you do?” Chris answered, “I supported you.” I’ll leave it at that…

So there have you.

*For example, this other mailer we received today.

TONIGHT: A Drink To Linc

Here’s the 411 per this event’s Facebook page:

Lincoln is facing an exceptionally tough reelection race as State Committeeman / District Leader for Greenpoint, Williamsburg, and Fort Greene. Vito Lopez and the Brooklyn Democratic Machine are doing everything they can to defeat Lincoln on September 13, 2012.

He needs your help to raise the resources to get our message out and ensure that every independent minded person comes out to vote. We can win this race, but we can’t do it without your help.

Join us in the beautiful backroom at Bellwether in Williamsburg.

Tuesday, August 21st, 7:00-8:30pm
594 Union Avenue at Richardson Street
L to Bedford Avenue
Suggested Contribution Levels:
$25 – Fan
$50 – Supporter
$100 – Ally
$250 – Partner
$500 – Diehard

Contribute online at or send check payable to Lincoln Restler for State Committee to 168 Engert Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11222

Special thanks to owners of Bellwether (and Calyer, Anella, Jimmy’s Diner) Blair Papagni and Josh Cohen!

Closing on a (somewhat) related note, the idea has been floated— to a rather enthusiastic response, I’ll add— that a debate be conducted between Mr. Restler and his opponent, Christopher Olechowski. Mr. Restler has gladly acceded to this request. An answer from the latter’s camp has yet to received.
Nonetheless, if/when a date and location are set, I will share it here. If this strikes any of you, gentle readers, as being a good idea why not drop Mr. Olechowski’s an email? You can do so by clicking here. Otherwise, it has been brought to my attention that an online petition has also been created in the hope of making this debate happen. This you can sign by clicking here.

New York Shitty Day Starter: Au Contraire!

As some of you might recall, I posted the above letter a couple days ago. In it Mr. Olechowski asserts that he had a leadership role in the fighting the TGE power plant here some time ago. Simply put, gentle readers, this does not “jibe” with my understanding of how things went down. Wishing to get the skinny on exactly what Mr. Oelchowski’s role was in the fight against the power plant, I decided to post his tome on a few listserves. The responses were almost immediate. The following comes from a very nice, very dedicated activist for our community: Kate Yourke. She has been kind enough to grant me permission to post it here. It pretty much speaks for itself. Enjoy!

Reading this campaign letter from Community Board #1 Chair Chris Olechowski, I am shocked to discover he claims to have “led a coalition to fight against a proposed power plant on the waterfront on the Bushwick Inlet.”

The only power plant proposed for the Bushwick Inlet was the 1100 MW Trans Gas Energy plant, which was opposed by a phenomenal, comprehensive coalition, known as the Greenpoint-Williamsburg Waterfront Task Force.

The work of organizing this coalition to oppose the TGE plant required the committed focus of a great many community members for over 2 years. From its inception, I served on both the Steering Committee and the Outreach Committee of the GWWTF. I do not recall even meeting Chris Olechowski during this effort.

I also served taking notes and writing minutes for nearly all the GWWTF meetings. Reviewing my notes, the only references I see for Chris Olechowski are as described below.

An email establishing who would receive what level of information, dated 1/1/2002

categories are described as follows:

  • “first-rung email list, based on ongoing involvement and responsiveness to decision-making”
  • “people who have shown consistent involvement in the issues” and
  • “General Task Force email list… (which) receive a monthly update”

Chris Olechowski’s name appears on the third category.

In Steering Committee minutes from 1/27/03 (the following year) the formal structure and committees were reviewed and finalized Chris Olechowski’s name does not appear.

The only places I could find reference to the participation of Chris Olechowski were in a list of targets for outreach, and as a potential volunteer.

The volunteer effort this struggle required was overwhelming. Those who made the commitment to see this fight to the end made tremendous sacrifices to prevent another environmental degradation of this community. I am OUTRAGED to find Chris Olechowski claiming to have “led” this effort.

I would like to salute those members of the GWWTF who did contribute their time, energy and intelligence to the successful defeat of the TGE power plant.

So there have you. I have requested copies of the above documentation from Ms. Yourke. These I should hopefully receive later today. When I do I will post them here. See gentle readers, politics can be fun! In closing (and in the interest of giving credit where it is due) Mr. Olechowski has (albeit fairly) recently spoken up on an issue with serious environmental ramification hereabouts: this being the proposed siting of an incinerator in our community. Skip to 5:52 and see for yourself. It took a little “help”, but Mr. Olechowski did manage to muster the word “incinerator”.

In addition to having a faulty memory it would appear this fellow is also afflicted with the opposite of charisma. But I suppose these qualities are considered to be “leadership caliber material” in some circles. In any case, if you thought watching this video was hard just imagine filming it. If anyone reading this tome is wondering to whom the unseen woman’s voice belongs who said “incinerator” before the Chairman of the Community Board did, it was yours truly. Yup.

LAST GASP: & Now A Word From Christopher Olechowski

As it would happen, I had the pleasure of having a conversation with two individuals canvassing for this fellow earlier this evening. Initially I was content with simply recounting the hilarity on Facebook* and letting the subject go. However, when the above missive found its way to my inbox, well, I felt it was worth sharing. What I found particularly interesting (aside from the items I have seen fit to highlight and/or annotate) is Mr. Olechowski’s emphasis on safety. It reminded me of what I saw while walking by the McCarren Park Pool this afternoon. You see, he in his capacity as Chair of Community Board 1 this fellow was present at that (not so) “secret” meeting about the pool recently.

All in all, I counted ten police vehicles total. Yours truly almost shit her pants beholding the law enforcement at hand— and mind you, I was not even IN the pool! Numbers “1” and “2” were from the 94th Precinct. “2” and “5” were from the North Brooklyn Task Force (READ: The fellows who are called when serious shit hits the fan.). But what I found most interesting was in front of the pool’s entrance.

For those of you who are not in the know:

  1. “Impact” vehicles (and the officers who man them) are assigned to chronic high crime areas.
  2. The 75th Precinct (whose assistance pool-goers apparently require) is located in a high crime area: East New York, to be precise.

As some of you might recall, I spied a NYPD vehicle from the 83rd Precinct, which also has its fair share of problems, last week. And once again I’m asking myself:

Why are we allocating police manpower to this facility when it is clearly needed elsewhere?

But don’t take my word for it. Let’s compare CompStat numbers.

It is not my intent to criticize our Finest. They are simply following orders and I for one think D.I. Hurson has proven the be the best Commanding Officer we have seen in years (really). But is this the best possible use of their manpower? I for one do not think so.

I wish Mr. Olechowski would dedicate more time to addressing, say, the dearth of affordable housing here for ALL citizens rather than fear-mongering. In closing, I’d be remiss if I did not point out that while a purported proponent of “public safety”, I have not seen Mr. Olechowski at any Public Safety Committee meetings of Community Board 1 (over which he ostensibly presides as Chair) since the town hall meeting regarding the proposed homeless assessment center at 400 McGuinness. This came to pass in 2011.

* A few highlights:

Friend of Christopher Olechowski: Good evening, are you a registered Democrat?
Me: Yes.
FOCO: We’re spreading the word about Chris Olechowski.
Me: I know who he is. I’m voting against him.
FOCO: Are voting against him or for the other candidate.
Me: A little column a, a little column b.
FOCO: Why are you not voting for him?

(I give rather extensive feedback which ends with “This is highly questionable from an ethical point of view if you ask me”).

FOCO (while parsing through paperwork, presumably that of registered Democrats): Do you happen to know what apartment (Mr. Heather) lives in?
Me: As a matter of fact, I do. He’s my husband— and he is not voting for Mr. Olechowski either. In fact, I am telling everyone I know not to vote for him.
FOCO: Have a nice evening.

And of course there are these videos to consider:

Which comes via this web site (which does not, anywhere, disclose Mr. Olechowski’s party affiliation).

New York Shitty analysis: If Mr. Olechowski (or his hired guns) cannot even spell the sinecure in question correctly, he should not be elected to it.

New York Shitty Day Ender: Caption This

June 27, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

As my professors in art school often said:

Context is everything.

And by all appearances this concept appears to have been lost on this fan of our current Community Board 1 chair and aspiring 50th Assembly District Leader, Chris Olechowski. Or perhaps he (she?) has a sense dark sense of humor? Only he knows for certain. In any case, this Nassau Avenue business owner could have at least placed Mr. Olechowski’s visage in front of premium, two-ply asswipes. Standards, people!

P.S.: I have decided a prize is in order for anyone who sees fit to give this image a snappy caption. See “comments” for details.

Spotted On Manhattan Avenue: Chris Olechowski

June 6, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

(Sort of)

New York Shitty analysis: to my knowledge not too many registered voters in the 50th Assembly District— be they Democrats or otherwise— patronize gumball machines. I fact I can only think of one: yours truly. And let’s just say this fellow will not be getting my vote.

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