Immigrant advocacy group Make The Road Action is wading into the bitter 4th State Senate District Democratic primary behind Assemb. Phil Ramos.
It’s an interesting endorsement not only because of the Hispanic-plurality makeup of the district, but also because Ramos, who was born in the Bronx, is challenging Monica Martinez, an immigrant from El Salvador who came to the U.S. as a child. Martinez is a former state senator who points to her work for farmers and support of the New York State DREAM Act as examples of her legislative immigrant advocacy. But Yatziri Tovar, a media specialist for the group, highlights renter protections and the fight to secure driver's licenses for immigrants living in the country illegally as key Albany priorities where Martinez voted no and Ramos was on the other side.
Make the Road Action has not endorsed Martinez since 2015, for Suffolk County Legislature, while the group has consistently endorsed Ramos for Assembly since it began endorsing candidates on Long Island.
The endorsement is a window into what could become an intense intraparty fight. The two Suffolk Democrats are not exactly friends — "clearly not,” says Martinez, adding that “egos have played a role.” Ramos’ wife Angela lost to Martinez in a 2017 county legislative primary.
Ramos himself has something of a free run this time due to the way redistricting blew up the election calendar — he can run for his current Assembly seat in November should he lose the current Senate primary. The blue lean of the district makes it a real prize, though, particularly stark given Martinez’s 2020 loss in her old district to Republican Alexis Weik.
There have been efforts toward reconciliation by county party leader Rich Schaffer, but the two Democrats remain at loggerheads. Ramos said that he had been excited to have a Hispanic woman in the seat when Martinez first won, but soon grew disillusioned: “I never expected that she would turn her back on immigrant issues."
Martinez denies that she has, calling the driver's license issue “one of the hardest votes I’ve ever taken.”
“It hurt me,” she said, given that she remembered being forced to take public transportation as a little kid. But she says she had privacy concerns about information becoming public, particularly at the time when Donald Trump was president.
She points to her own endorsements from Schaffer and unions such as the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.
— Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano
Historic Penn protest
This week marks the 60th anniversary of an unusual but fateful Manhattan protest in which dozens of architects and supporters spoke out against the destruction of the old Penn Station.
Pro-preservation sentiment is not particularly rare in New York anymore, and Penn Station and its redevelopment is still the subject of protests and attention. But in August 1962, a push to save the stately Beaux-Arts building was new enough to merit a bemused lede in Newsday and the observation that “some passersby seem surprised that anyone would care” if the place was bulldozed.
People did end up caring, including the New York Preservation Archive Project, which on Monday held a “toast” to the historic Penn Station picketers near where they once marched.
Among the attendees at the Midtown event was Peter Samton, 87, an architect who was among the protesters decades ago.
The 1962 protest may have been underappreciated at the time — that Newsday article labeled the picketers architects and “sentimentalists” — and the effort to save the old Penn did not succeed. But NYPAP argues that the campaign “brought preservation to the forefront of the public mind and permanently transformed the way New York City residents participated in preservation.”
Samton himself told The Times in 2012 that “I really believe Grand Central Terminal was saved because of what happened at Penn Station.”
It’s an interesting time to consider this moment in New York preservation history, given the controversy over current plans to remake Penn and its neighborhood. The very venue where the NYPAP toast took place — a bar appropriately named “Tracks” — has already migrated once to make way for Penn renovations. Now located across the street from the transit hub, its owner has said he’s concerned that the big redevelopment plan would mean another displacement.
— Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano
For more cartoons, visit www.newsday.com/nationalcartoons
One name not on the CD1 ballot
Cait Corrigan still has “for Congress” on her social media pages, and her website is still seeking volunteer sign-ups and donations.
But Corrigan, a minister known for her anti-vaccine mandate views, will not be on the primary ballot later this month in CD1.
Suffolk County Board of Elections officials told The Point that Corrigan, a Republican, hasn’t been considered a valid candidate for a while. Still, Corrigan fought the challenges to her nominating petitions and the board’s decisions regarding her candidacy in court, representing herself.
Last week, state Supreme Court Justice James Hudson issued a final ruling — that Corrigan had no “viable cause of action” and that her petition to try to restore her candidacy was dismissed.
Hudson’s decision took an unusual tack in how he specifically addressed Corrigan’s legal filings. He noted that Corrigan filed 86 pages in response to a motion — “far in excess of the 7,000 word maximum.”
But he said he’d offer latitude since Corrigan chose to represent herself.
Even so, however, the justice found Corrigan’s responses problematic.
“The Court must admonish the Petitioner for certain intemperate language used in her papers wherein she accuses Ms. Garone of incompetence and/or deliberately misleading the court,” the decision said, referring to assistant county attorney Alyssa Garone, who represented the Board of Elections.
In response to Corrigan’s actual arguments regarding the validity of her candidacy and petitions, Hudson wrote: “Ms. Corrigan advances her arguments with commendable vigor and great skill. Ultimately, however, they prove to be chimerical.”
Whether that language is too “elitist” for Corrigan, we don’t know — she didn’t return requests for comment.
— Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall