Columnist : Possible Lachman Council run?


OCTOBER 20, 2008
    Disturbed by the term limits battle, which he said demonstrates the “use of money and power is not positive in a democratic society,” former state Sen. Seymour Lachman is considering a return to public life in the form of a 2009 Council run.
    Assuming all goes according to Mayor Bloomberg’s plan, that could pit Lachman against Brooklyn Councilman Domenic Recchia, who was among the earliest supporters of the bid to extend term limits in the wake of his decision not to run for Congress in the 13th CD.
    “I thought my political future was finished when I left the Senate and went back to academic life,” Lachman said in an interview today. “But I might reconsider that future depending on how the vote goes.”
    Lachman stressed that he has yet to make up his mind about a Council run, but said he is being urged to run by his “friends in the Working Families Party.” He insisted that he came to them to express interest in Recchia’s seat, and wasn’t recruited.
    Lachman served nine years in the Senate and departed in 2004 (his seat is now held by Sen. Diane Savino). He now heads the Hugh L. Carey Center for Government Reform at Wagner College.
    The 74-year-old Brooklyn resident is right up the WFP’s alley: A reform-minded Democrat and author of the book “Three Men in a Room,” which is billed as an “insider’s expose” of Albany’s storied dysfunction.
    Lachman was particularly popular in the Brooklyn portion of his district, winning more than 80 percent of the vote there. The Staten Island piece was added after the 2000 Census, he said, and he performed fairly well there, too, (in the 60 percent area), but that point would be moot in a Council race since Recchia’s district is all in Brooklyn.
    The WFP has threatened a number of undecided Council members with primaries, focusing particularly on a number of freshmen memebers who will be able to seek re-election in ‘09 regardless of what happens with term limits.
    Among the WFP’s top targets are Councilman Tom White, who has at least one candidate actively raising money in his Queens district (Lynn Nunes), Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez (for whom the party is thinking of recruiting a challenger) and Councilwoman Inez Dickens (she’s too strong in her district to primary, but is being threatened with a loss of support should she ever seek the speaker’s post).
    NOTE: To clarify, the WFP is trying to persuade Dickens, but hasn’t mentioned the “p” word to her, nor suggested it would pull its support in the future. That was done, according to my sources, by other interests connected to labor. Sorry to conflate the two.
    Also in the crosshairs: Councilwoman Jessica Lappin, who is among the ever-increasing number of up-and-coming Democrats speculated to have designs on the Manhattan borough presidency.
    As Azi noted, posters sprouted in her district over the weekend urging East Midtown residents to call her and urge her to get off the fence — on the WFP’s side — on term limits.