In 18th District, Citizens Union prefers Pollard over Montgomery, who's reticent about addressing some reforms; challenger tries to thread AY needle
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? Update: a commenter notes that Montgomery has a new web site, though I'll point out it was not listed on her campaign material.)
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.
(Eric McClure of NLG reminds us: 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.
Indeed, I've pointed out the group's resistance to challenging AY and Mayor Bloomberg.)
The reforms at issue
Montgomery, in her CU questionnaire, avoided several questions, failing to answer "Support" or "Oppose" nor elaborating on the reason for her stance. For example, she took no position on:
- maintaining the current redistricting process
- banning contributions from corporations (while allowing them to form separate political action committees)
- limiting transfers from party committees to candidates
- requiring that two campaign finance reports be filed during the legislative session
- stricter requirements on the use of campaign contributions for non-campaign related activity
Montgomery--or her campaign--also missed an opportunity in filling out the CU questionnaire, failing to list her previous campaign promises and results.
By contrast, in her questionnaire for the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats (CBID), Montgomery elaborated on her accomplishments:
As chair of the Senate Committee of Children and Family Services I introduced a bill, now enacted into law that allows local districts to delay petitioning for termination of parental rights for parents who are incarcerated or in residential drug treatment programs.CBID endorsed Montgomery. It doesn't look like Pollard filled out a questionnaire, but his campaign likely didn't begin until after such questionnaires were due.
I introduced a bill, now law, that would allow foster children who are in foster care to be reunited with their parents if they have not been adopted by the age of 14.
Juvenile Justice reform is my main focus. One of the bills I introduced is on the finance committee agenda next week. It would redirect public funds to prevention rather than incarceration.
Montgomery's campaign goals
Montgomery's top campaign promises or goals, to the CU:
- support and expand school-based health/mental care
- reform the juvenile justice system
- work toward more affordable housing
- school-based health/mental health clinics
- fight transportation cuts
Pollard's campaign goals
Pollard's top five campaign promises or goals, to the CU:
- expanding support for small businesses and health care
- expanding availability of mental health care
- calendar transparency and full disclosure of outside income
- keeping a sharp eye on Atlantic Yards
- a second-chance (expungement of record) for nonviolent offenders
Also, Pollard's answer to the CU on mental health care is not part of his list of issues on the web.
Pollard's AY stance
From his questionnaire:
Keeping a Sharp Eye On Atlantic Yards Development: from expanding and enforcing community benefit agreements to mitigating disruption to local traffic and commercial strips during construction, and from leading muscular apprenticeships in the building trades to protecting commitments made to affordable housing, I will have staff in Brooklyn and in Albany dedicated to the Atlantic Yards Development.That sounds like a Hakeem Jeffries-esque attempt to thread the needle, to ensure the vaguely-defined benefits while mitigating unwelcome effects.
No legislator has proven particularly successful at such a balance, perhaps because no legislator has been able to exercise significant oversight. Even firm opponents like Montgomery and Perkins, at the one state legislative oversight hearing last year, were relatively gentle (and not well-prepared) when confronting state officials.
It's a reasonable bet that Pollard, who's had help from several Atlantic Yards supporters (though not developer Forest City Ratner), would lean in the community benefits direction, especially since he's said he seeks support (as per City Hall News) of "trade unions alienated by Montgomery’s opposition to the Atlantic Yards development."
A footnote from 2006
By the way, the campaign of Montgomery challenger Tracy Boyland paid $2250 in fines--30 times $75--for posting violations in 2006.