Under Cover, Dec. 18, 2013

Know when to fold?
It’s beginning to look more and more like the close of the City Council’s legislative session this year will bring with it the end of the Council’s Lower Manhattan Redevelopment Committee.

The committee, which formed in 2002 to help revitalize the area following the 9/11 attacks, has been led by Councilmember Margaret Chin ever since she took office in 2010, following her defeat of Alan Gerson, who had been the committee’s only other chairperson.

Chin said during her reelection campaign earlier this year that she thought the committee should fold at the end of the year, and during the committee’s Dec. 11 oversight hearing on the status of the Fulton Center, Chin said that it would “most likely” be the committee’s final one, in response to a question from Community Board 1 Chairperson Catherine McVay Hughes, probably the committee’s most frequent witness.

But it’s still unclear who will be the next Council speaker, so there’s been no official word yet on the committee’s end.

Rajkumar News
Speaking of Margaret Chin’s campaign, the name of her primary opponent, Jenifer Rajkumar, resurfaced last week as a possible candidate to run for a hypothetical open seat now held by State Sen. Daniel Squadron.

No one has talked openly — and for that matter privately as far as we know — about challenging Squadron, but Downtown politicos have been eyeing the seat for at least a year with the hope and expectation that he would be changing jobs, and then he lost this year’s Public Advocate’s race to Tish James.

Squadron’s name was floated more recently as a possible parks commissioner for the incoming de Blasio administration, but if he did have interest or a chance at that job, that apparently is no longer the case.

Amy Spitalnick, Squadron’s chief of staff, categorically shot down the possibility last week telling various outlets “anyone expecting a vacancy will be disappointed.”

Rajkumar, who filed paperwork to run for the seat, told us this week she wanted to be able to “hit the ground running,” but she would not challenge Squadron, and she was not dissuaded by Spitalnick’s statement either.

If Rajkumar does end up hitting and running, she’s likely to bump into her friend, ally and fellow Democratic district leader Paul Newell, who told us about his interest in Squadron’s seat a year ago.

“I think the world of Paul Newell,” Rajkumar said, ignoring the potential conflict.

She said she’s keeping her feet in the political fires, recently joining a new coalition of labor groups called SWEAT, to aid Assemblymember Linda Ronsenthal’s effort to make it easier for workers cheated out of wages to actually collect awards won in court.

Inbox Salivation
It’s a safe bet we were not the only ones whose eyes lit up Tuesday when we saw the email with the subject ”Danna DeBlasio to Lead PLA’s New York City Council Lobbying.”

Undoubtedly, former Shelly Silver aide Patricia Lynch and her staff at Patricia Lynch Associates, scored a high open email rate among journalists either anxious for transition news from Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, or on the lookout for an easy nepotism scandal story.

As the release makes clear, DeBlasio is not related to the Gracie Mansion bound family.

So the notice is not at all politically sexy, although it does have a little of the traditional kind since “Danna played a vital role” in Panama City coordinating a Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit shoot last year, as well as the filming in the city of “The Bachelor” reality show.

Joyous Coincidence
Funny postscript to Milo Hess’ page 1 photo of a little girl reaching up to an oversized play penguin in our last issue: The girl’s name is Joy, whose mother got an extra kick because one of the other headlines on the page read, “Four Seasons of Joy As Hotel Work Resumes.”

We got one too, and wish her and the rest of you a joy-filled New Year and a Merry Christmas to those who celebrate.

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