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August 30, 2010

In 18th District, Citizens Union prefers Pollard over Montgomery, who's reticent about addressing some reforms; challenger tries to thread AY needle

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder takes another look — two looks, actually — at the race for the state Senate's 18th district.

State Senator Velmanette Montgomery can point to some real achievements, as noted in a campaign mailer (right; click to enlarge), such as reforming the juvenile justice system and the Rockefeller drug laws.

But her reluctance to sign onto a full suite of Albany reforms means the 26-year incumbent, who has the support of veteran Brooklyn pols like Council Member Al Vann, may be sweating just a bit.

The Citizens Union last week announced it supported the reelection of only six incumbents, issued a "no preference" in several races, and endorsed several challengers, including Montgomery rival Mark Pollard.

(Pollard hasn't yet noted this on his web site. Montgomery doesn't have a current campaign web site--the one from the previous election has not been updated. Neither are particularly nimble in cyberspace; are they convinced that getting out the vote for the September 14 primary represents retail politics?)

While the CU did not elaborate on the Montgomery race (and some others), Executive Director Dick Dadey said the CU's preference "provide a clear signal to voters which incumbents have made an effort to bring change to Albany and which ones have stood in the way of reform and need to be replaced."

The CU doesn't hold the power it once had--its endorsement, for example, of Evan Thies in the 33rd Council District last year meant little--but it does aim to set benchmarks for good government practices.

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NoLandGrab: Neither does the CU have the reputation for integrity it once had, since it refused to take a strong stance against Atlantic Yards, despite the project's lengthy list of vices.

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, Ziggy for Pollard: a not-quite-Atlantic Yards connection in the 18th District Senate race

State campaign finance filings (32-day report, July periodic report) show that Mark Pollard, the pro-Atlantic Yards challenger to state Senator Velmanette Montgomery, has paid $8000 in consulting fees to Brooklyn Sports MMM, which just happens to share the same address as Brooklyn USA Basketball.

Both Brooklyn Sports Management, Marketing, and Memorabilia and Brooklyn USA Basketball are the work of Thomas (Ziggy) Sicignano, coach of a traveling basketball team that's gotten $10,000 in funding from Forest City Ratner and whose players have bolstered some Atlantic Yards rallies.

(He's also notorious for cooperating in a federal investigation of prostitution he organized at an Atlanta strip club he managed. Correction August 31: Sicignano points out that he did not receive probation, as reported in the Brooklyn Paper.)
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Sicignano said he's not working for Pollard at the behest of FCR, though he does think it would be "good for Brooklyn that we have a Senator who can deal with the developer."

NLG: By "a senator who can deal with the developer," Sicignano means "a senator who can provide unqualified support for the developer's deals."

Posted by eric at August 30, 2010 9:52 AM