Jo Anne Simon claims she is an effective reformer and community advocate. We wanted to take a look at her record to see how effective she really has been. We decided to take a look at two issues that she has touted: traffic and judicial reform.
On traffic, Simon claims to have advocated for transportation and traffic improvement for fifteen years. One need look no further than Downtown Brooklyn to find the answer of whether she has been effective. The traffic is worse than ever. The parking is non-existent for local residents. Smith Street is an absolute mess in the mornings and it has been getting worse. Just spend some time at Smith & Bergen. It is a nightmare. There has been no real progress on a residential parking program even though it has been discussed for years. The issue is now stuck in the State Legislature (good luck with that!). Simon has complained about service cut backs on the G-train. That has gotten worse as well. Simon also points to her work on the Gowanus Expressway Task Force, which proposes placing the thoroughfare underground. It’s a nice idea but is it happening? Bottom Line: While it is unfair to blame Simon for the sad state of traffic and transportation in the 33rd District, she has no record of accomplishment despite touting fifteen years of work on the issue.
On judicial reform, her record also falls short. Simon says it shows that she stood up to the Machine. But if you compare her December 2005 reform recommendations for the Kings County Democratic Committee’s Judicial Screening Panel to the rules actually adopted you see she accomplished nothing:
- Simon Recommendation: Have the Screening Panel (not Vito) pick the Panel’s chairperson. NOT ADOPTED.
- Simon Recommendation: Panel members should not be partners, suite mates or associated with party officials: NOT ADOPTED.
- Simon Recommendation: Have the Screening Panel use the same review standard for incumbent judges. NOT ADOPTED.
- Simon Recommendation: Have a reconsideration process for unfavorably rated candidates. NOT ADOPTED.
- Simon Recommendation: Have a “Highly Qualified” option for judicial candidates. NOT ADOPTED.
- Simon Recommendation: Have a judicial candidate forum for District Leaders and others to see the candidates. NOT ADOPTED
- Simon Recommendation: Allow Panel members to communicate their review directly to district leaders. NOT ADOPTED.
- Simon Recommendation: Adopt the standard NYC Bar judicial questionnaire. NOT ADOPTED.
- Simon Recommendation: Panel review committees should consist of 2 or more individuals. NOT ADOPTED.
- Simon Recommendation: No Panel members can act as a reference for a candidate. NOT ADOPTED. Panel members are allowed to communicate directly with the (Lopez picked) Panel chair about a candidate.
With basically all of her recommendations being rejected, the County’s record on judicial selections since her December 2005 proposals is completely abysmal:
- Lopez backed his girlfriend’s brother, Jack Battaglia, for a seat on the Kings County Supreme Court over more qualified lawyers. Daily News, September 18, 2006
- Lopez backed Richard Velasquez for a judgeship even though the New York City Bar Association and the Brooklyn Bar Association from him unqualified. Velasquez had worked for Lopez’s girlfriend, Angela Battaglia, at the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council. New York Post, February 15, 2009.
- Lopez backed anti-gay and completely unqualified candidate for the bench, now-Judge Noach Dear, even though Lopez promised that the Party’s judicial screening panel would only back candidates that were deemed qualified.
If Simon did not get her recommendations adopted, and the County’s record on selecting judges is as corrupt as ever, can she lay claim to being a reformer in this area as well? We don’t think so.
The bottom line is that when you look at Simon’s record as a reformer and community advocate, you see years of work but no results. Even the New York Times couldn’t point to anything! It makes us wonder how effective she will be as a council person.
Keeping It Real