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Billionaire Asks For Support

The latest candidates to visit Crown Heights were billionaire John Catsimatidis and Scott Stringer, while Devorah Halberstam sat in with Christine Quinn. By COLlive reporter

The last time a billionaire ran for office, he remained there for 3 consecutive terms.

But other than money and political aspirations, there isn't much in common between Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Greek-American businessman John Catsimatidis who hopes to succeed him.

Recently asked if he'd follow Bloomberg's lead in taking a symbolic dollar-a-year salary, the owner of Manhattan's largest supermarket chain replied: "99 cents. I'm a grocer..."

Running on the Republican ticket, Catsimatidis came to the Crown Heights neighborhood on Wednesday evening, some 24 hours after his opponent Joe Lhota.

Meeting him at the offices of the local Jewish Community Council were Chairman Zaki Tamir, Executive Director Eli Cohen, governmental liaison Chanina Sperlin and activist Yaacov Behrman.

Also present were Rabbi Shmuel Butman, Executive Director of Lubavich Youth Organization who is a personal friend of Catsimatidis, and the candidate's Jewish liaison Yoel Lefkowitz.

"I can win in November but I need to win the Republican primary first," he told them, after a long discussion on affordable housing, job opportunities and religious freedom (in particular, the Bris custom of metzitza b'peh).

TRAINING THE NYPD

Meanwhile, another public Crown Heights figure attended a pre-Rosh Hashanah meeting that City Council Speaker and Democratic candidate for Mayor, Christine Quinn, held with Orthodox Jewish officials.

Devorah Halberstam, Director of Foundation & Government Services at the Jewish Children's Museum in Brooklyn, sat close to Quinn as issues such as the middle class struggles were discussed.

While Halberstam didn't speak up, she surely was pleased that the topic of her life's mission of security issues was raised during the meeting.

City-funded security for schools was discussed, as well as the need for the NYPD to enlist the expertise of outside groups in training their officers to respect the customs and beliefs of citizens.



Coordinating the meeting -without uttering a word- was the PR man Ezra Friedlander, CEO of The Friedlander Group and senior adviser to the Quinn campaign.

LONG-TERM FRIENDSHIP

Always versatile, Friedlander has his hand in other pots as well. ("Just watching him is..." Rabbi Joseph Potasnik of the New York Board of Rabbis commented about Friedlander. "...is exhausting," Quinn chimed in.)

He was seen escorting Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer to a private home in Crown Heights Thursday night to trump up support in his NYC Comptroller bid.

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Devorah Halberstam (L) at the Christine Quinn meeting with Orthodox Jewish officials
Devorah Halberstam (L) at the Christine Quinn meeting with Orthodox Jewish officials
From L: Halberstam, Rabbi Joseph Potasnik of the NY Board of Rabbi and Quin
From L: Halberstam, Rabbi Joseph Potasnik of the NY Board of Rabbi and Quin
NYC Comptroller candidate Scott Stringer (C) in the home of Chanina Sperlin (L)
NYC Comptroller candidate Scott Stringer (C) in the home of Chanina Sperlin (L)


From L: Ezra Friedlander, Chanina Sperlin, Scott Stringer and Eli Cohen
From L: Ezra Friedlander, Chanina Sperlin, Scott Stringer and Eli Cohen
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson in 770's main shul, Thursday night