By Julianne Cuba
Well, at least it’s all in the family.
Community Board 14 member Kalman Yeger, who announced last week he is running for the Council, is slamming his cousin-in-law and competitor for the seat, incumbent Councilman Chaim Deutsch, claiming he makes too much money from his private real estate to be an effective member of the city’s legislative body.
“He’s one of the few council members who earns an outside income … while we are paying him to do a job,” said Yeger during a phone call on June 13. “It’s an outrage we are being ripped off.”
The well-connected Yeger is backed by Councilman David Greenfield (D–Borough Park), Councilman Alan Maisel (D–Marine Park) and former Councilman Lew Fidler. Yeger held a fund-raiser last month and has $84,615 in the bank for his campaign to oust the man who is married to Yeger’s cousin Sara.
In 2012, Yeger worked on Simcha Felder’s campaign for the state Senate, and was the executive director Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer campaign for mayor in 2005. His wife, Jennie Berger, works for Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.
Right now, Yeger is as an attorney, and manages Greenfield’s two campaign accounts, one for city elections and another for state, but he pledged to quit his job if elected.
“I am giving up my outside income, 100 percent,” he said.
Deutsch, who has so far raised $73,640, according to city records, said he isn’t worried about his cousin’s run, and is confident his record as councilman will get him reelected.
“We live in a democracy where anyone is entitled to run for public office,” he said. “I have a proven record of results and I look forward to continuing to work for the 48th district in my second term.”
Ortiz eyes Council
Veteran Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D–Sunset Park) is angling to give up his more than 20 years in Albany and his gig as Assistant Speaker for a pay raise in the Council — eyeing freshman Councilman Carlos Menchaca’s (D–Sunset Park) seat, registering as a candidate on June 7, city records show.
Ortiz, who wouldn’t comment for this article, claiming he would speak to us when he is back from Albany on Friday, joins a hotly contested race which also includes former Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez, the former Assemblyman Javier Nieves (whom Ortiz succeeded), and Sunset Park attorney Delvis Valdes.
Menchaca — who has drawn ire from a handful of pols for what they claim are his anti-Israel positions — has the most in campaign coffers with $83,439, Gonzalez has $49,145, Valdes has $31,842, Nieves has $4,270, and Ortiz has not filed any contributions yet, according to city records.
If it comes down to Ortiz verses Menchaca, one insider says Ortiz would put up a tough fight — even for an incumbent.
“If two of them drop out for Felix, that would be a real challenge for Carlos,” said district leader Nick Rizzo. “Felix has certainly been around the district longer than Carlos has.”
But Menchaca’s record in the community as a supporter for immigrant and working class families is unmatched, said his campaign spokesman.
“After a decade of dysfunction, Councilmember Menchaca is giving a voice to working families, immigrants, and seniors in City Hall and delivering the resources we need,” said Matthew Rey. “Carlos has been unafraid to stand up to real estate developers and wealthy special interests, and is proud to have secured three new public elementary schools and Universal pre-K.”
The local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America — who have endorsed Khader El-Yateem for Councilman Vincent Gentile’s Bay Ridge seat — accused his Republican opponent Bob Capano of igniting a red scare after he charged that El-Yateem’s radical views “are out of touch with Brooklyn and the nation.”
About 100 Democratic Socialists canvassed for El-Yateem last weekend, and a few days later, Capano sent out a press release calling on El-Yateem’s fellow Democrats to denounce his “socialist beliefs.”
But leaders of the New York City chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America fired back, accusing Capano of communist fear mongering and of being out of touch with the needs of voters — noting that Bay Ridgites voted for Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton 3,986 to 3,441 in the April Democratic primary.
“These comments, in a district that democratic socialist Bernie Sanders won in 2016, show just how out of touch Trump’s Republicans are with the residents of South Brooklyn,” said the group’s co-chairman Zelig Stern. “Capano should turn off Fox News and step into the real world — anyone who thinks that the status quo is working is delusional.”
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