The Broadway Democrats Accuse Zead Ramadan of Dirty Politics, Make a Brutal Jim Crow Comparison

Categories: City Council

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Photo Credit: [mementosis] via Compfight cc
This weekend, candidate for District 7's City Council seat Zead Ramadan subpoenaed petition witnesses for Mark Levine and other candidates, who were working with the unaffiliated Broadway Democrats, the local Democratic Club. The subpoenas claim that many of Levine's 8,000 signatures were fake, even though he only needed 450 to get on the ballot. Since the matter is currently the courts, the Ramadan campaign has not commented publicly about its decision to go after Levine's ballot eligibility. But that hasn't stopped critics from condemning the move as a nasty political maneuver.

The Upper Manhattan district includes parts of Harlem and Washington Heights. Might this just be a case of a campaign verifying a petition in proper stewardship of the democratic process?

The Broadway Democrats don't see it that way. Curtis Arluck and Paula Diamond-Roman, leaders of the club, immediately circulated an e-mail lacerating Ramadan with accusations of dirty politics.

Though they do not claim that only women of color received subpoenas, they acted upon learning that Black and Latina women, many of whom live in public housing, received subpoenas for having worked as petition witnesses under them.

The e-mail reads in part:

Officially, it is part of a proceeding to invalidate Mark Levine's petitions and throw him off the ballot. But Mark filed over 8,000 signatures, and you only need 450 to qualify. This is clearly an attempt by a rich man to make Mark spend his resources on frivolous legal challenges. But much, much worse, it's an effort to harass and intimidate Mark's petition carriers, many of whom are women, most of whom are minorities, and all of whom have far less money than the nasty, desperate candidate who is so outrageously hauling them into court.

There is no way to wholly invalidate Levine's petition since nothing can prove the campaign knowingly collected forgeries. That can only mean one thing, says Arluck: The subpoenas are meant to tie up Levine's lesser resources in lengthy--and expensive--court proceedings.

Arluck further notes suggests that the Supreme Court's recent gutting of the Voting Rights Act ought to have made Ramadan think twice about moving against minority voters in his district, because of the "chilling" effect it might have.

"These were actions done with depraved indifference to the effect it was going to have on the people who received the subpoenas, in a proceeding that is completely unprecedented," Arluck tells Runnin' Scared. "These court proceedings are reminiscent of southern states in the 1960s."

The letter demands that Ramadan drop out of the race and the district's representative in Congress, Charlie Rangel, step in and condemn the suit.

Ramadan's campaign countered the e-mail by cataloging all of Ramadan's racial justice bona fides and his own status as a minority in a district of minorities. "To imply or suggest that I or my campaign would engage in the suppression or deprivation of the rights of any person, regardless of race, color, religion or gender, strikes at the very core of who I am," says Ramadan.

The Mark Levine camp has yet to respond to requests for comment.

Send your story tips to the author, Raillan Brooks.



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12 comments
shame_on_you
shame_on_you

I have a radical prediction: Zead Ramadan will lose this court case. And he will lose this election.  

One can only imagine that on September 10th, 2013, Ramadan will have to face a an additional crushing wave of embarrassment and defeat.

And to Mr. Zead Ramadan:

Those of us that reside in Washington Heights and Inwood will never forget you did this, and these communities will do everything in their power to remove you from any influence and seat you currently hold, after this primary election. You will never have any chance of holding an elected position. You have destroyed that opportunity, by choice.  

You will only be remembered as what you are: the person who delivered indignity to innocent people. That is now your legacy. 

You are alone.

Publilius
Publilius

Readers: No megalomania here.  The Voice's software is awry resulting in some of us posters having multiple posts of the same thing.

Publilius
Publilius

Well, yes, Ramadan's lawsuit does appear to be frivolous because of 8,000 Levine signatures gathered (mostly on the street), at least 25% should be valid (= 2,000 and only 450 needed) and an attempt to tie the candidate up in court and keep him from campaigning in that multi-candidate Council race.  Far from "unprecedented," this maneuver has been done before and will be done again.  It has its few adherents....Gather petition signatures, file with the City Board of Elections, object, file specifications, lawsuits to validate and to invalidate petitions, appeals--the price of democracy?--all of which is the drill.  To call this "racist" is Broadway's feckless "leaders" playing the "race" card themselves . . . The Broadway Democrats, although an integrated club, is in fact a "White" club; however, it's black members who petition in the Grant Housing project cover their Election Districts like a glove and know their voters, and in the main do a better and more prolific job in gathering signatures for the Party and club's endorsed candidates than all the other Broadway club members.  And apparently Arluck did not read the SCOTUS Voting Rights decision in full; it did not "gut" the Act.  Postscriptum, it is sadly amusing that Broadway leader Arluck's faulty filing of his club's petition for both judicial convention delegates and his county committee members were ruled off the Primary election day ballot by the Board of Elections for his claiming signatures gathered for other offices.  Clerical error?

sophie_
sophie_

A judge wouldn't allow a frivolous challenge... so maybe there is something there? As it turns out Curtis and Paula (white district leaders) are friends with Robert and Cynthia (neighboring white district leaders) who have also challenged their competitors' signatures in the same week and in the same court, maybe even with the same judge?... but they sued a Black man and a Latino woman! That's funny - have you heard about Robert and Cynthia playing "dirty politics?" No - not a sound from sentinels Curtis and Paula about defending democracy there. Bway Dem Club also may be connected to the Grant people who have been subpoenaed... so - if - they hired them and didn’t train them properly or review their signature submissions for accuracy, they may have handed Levine bad signatures. Some one screwed up, and it may point to one of them. Let's also look at Levine's history, this is his 3rd time running (two previous State Senate runs), he should be a petitioning expert. Ramadan had the chutzpah to legally and normally question the legality of the signatures, trying to make sure everyone plays by the rules... and he is undermining democracy? Let the judge tell us what he sees, rather than allow Levine's cronies to spread misinformation.

Publilius
Publilius

 Well, yes, Ramadan's lawsuit does appear to be frivolous because of 8,000 Levine signatures gathered (mostly on the street), at least 25% should be valid (= 2,000 and only 450 needed) and an attempt to tie the candidate up in court and keep him from campaigning in that multi-candidate Council race.  Far from "unprecedented," this maneuver has been done before and will be done again.  It has its few adherents....Gather petition signatures, file with the City Board of Elections, object, file specifications, lawsuits to validate and to invalidate petitions, appeals--the price of democracy?--all of which is the drill.  To call this "racist" is Broadway's feckless "leaders" playing the "race" card themselves . . . The Broadway Democrats, although an integrated club, is in fact a "White" club; however, its black members who petition in the Grant Housing project cover their Election Districts like a glove and know their voters, and in the main do a better and more prolific job in gathering signatures for the Party and club's endorsed candidates than all the other Broadway club members.  And apparently Arluck did not read the SCOTUS Voting Rights decision in full; it did not "gut" the Act.  Postscriptum, it is sadly amusing that Broadway leader Arluck's faulty filing of his club's petitions for both judicial convention delegates and his county committee members were ruled off the Primary election day ballot by the Board of Elections for his claiming signatures gathered for other offices.  Clerical error?


sophie_
sophie_

A judge wouldn't allow a frivolous challenge... so maybe there is something there? As it turns out Curtis and Paula (white district leaders) are friends with Robert and Cynthia (neighboring white district leaders) who have also challenged their competitors' signatures in the same week and in the same court, maybe even with the same judge?... but they sued a Black man and a Latino woman! That's funny - have you heard about Robert and Cynthia playing "dirty politics?" No - not a sound from sentinels Curtis and Paula about defending democracy there. Bway Dem Club also may be connected to the Grant people who have been subpoenaed... so - if - they hired them and didn’t train them properly or review their signature submissions for accuracy, they may have handed Levine bad signatures. Some one screwed up, and it may point to one of them. Let's also look at Levine's history, this is his 3rd time running (two previous State Senate runs), he should be a petitioning expert. Ramadan had the chutzpah to legally and normally question the legality of the signatures, trying to make sure everyone plays by the rules... and he is undermining democracy? Let the judge tell us what he sees, rather than allow Levine's cronies to spread misinformation.

sophie_
sophie_

A judge wouldn't allow a frivolous challenge... so maybe there is something there? As it turns out Curtis and Paula (white district leaders) are friends with Robert and Cynthia (neighboring white district leaders) who have also challenged their competitors' signatures in the same week and in the same court, maybe even with the same judge?... but they sued a Black man and a Latino woman! That's funny - have you heard about Robert and Cynthia playing "dirty politics?" No - not a sound from sentinels Curtis and Paula about defending democracy there. Bway Dem Club also may be connected to the Grant people who have been subpoenaed... so - if - they hired them and didn’t train them properly or review their signature submissions for accuracy, they may have handed Levine bad signatures. Some one screwed up, and it may point to one of them. Let's also look at Levine's history, this is his 3rd time running (two previous State Senate runs), he should be a petitioning expert. Ramadan had the chutzpah to legally and normally question the legality of the signatures, trying to make sure everyone plays by the rules... and he is undermining democracy? Let the judge tell us what he sees, rather than allow Levine's cronies to spread misinformation.

paco_rou
paco_rou

Right the guy who started the Malcolm X center is a racist. This race is getting ugly you can tell when the white guys are calling everyone a racist when noone has heard of their candidate.

vvposter
vvposter

@paco_rou Um. No. I would give Dr. Betty Shabazz credit for creating the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Center, not this guy. -- Additionally Broadway Democrats is an extremely diverse club, so I'm not sure what you mean by "white guys" -- whether or not Zead is a racist is irrelevant, his behavior here is hideous. In fact Zead Ramadan is the only one linking himself directly to racism. 

paco_rou
paco_rou

@vvposter umm. no. It was proposed by Dr. Shabazz in the nineties but after her death Ramadan helped the center open in 2005 and is a founder. All of my neighbors and I respect Mr. Ramadan for that accomplishment. Also theres nothing wrong with questioning petitions its done all the time. But when people are being subpoenaed chances are something actually made the courts investigate THATS REALLY BAD. And its not Jim Crow, its the democratic process and the courts in NYC functioning the way they should dumbnuts. The broadway democratic club should know this kind of thing since they are a political club. So my assesment is that they're playing politics and they started pointing fingers with claims of Jim Crow and claiming racial suppression. Whats so screwed up is that the leaders of the BDC are white and they are helping a white candidate when claiming the candidate of color is enacting voting suppression and jim crow when he is playing by the rules , thats screwed up. 

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