Tag Archive: Yetta Kurland

Aug 30 2013

Quinn Lackey Propped Up By Quinn Machine

COREYWhile not in Queens, Queens-Politics has been keeping a close eye on soon-to-be former Council Speaker Quinn’s seat in Manhattan District 3 between Yetta Kurland (who challenged Quinn four years ago) and Corey Johnson. The reason being is that a watchful eye will give an inside glimpse into the Quinn machine, which is attempting to handpick her successor by paving a route to victory through unfair means for Corey Johnson – a barely qualified candidate with a questionable background.

Perhaps most alarming, just the other day, The Villager, made an endorsement in the race selecting Corey Johnson with a bunch of exaggerated claims. The Villager is long been rumored to be controlled by Quinn loyalists. Unsurprisingly in their endorsement, The Villager wrote in rave fashion that Johnson has a “better grasp” of the details of development issues in District  3 – which is a ridiculous statement not only because he is rumored to have just a high school diploma – but because his opponent, Yetta Kurland, is extremely intelligent and more knowledgable on development issues especially when taking into account her experience in the community combined with her education: she has a Bachelors, a Masters, and a law degree. Johnson on the other hand, only worked for a real estate development firm.

If The Villager’s endorsement meant that Johnson – while working for a million dollar real estate development firm – gives a better grasp of the minute details of development issues, well then we rest our case. However, after watching the debate, we’re convinced The Villager was bending the truth — if not outright exaggerating.

Case in point, tonight on The Road To City Hall, Kurland and Johnson were invited for a debate. Answering Errol’s question on how to keep hospitals open (an important issue since St. Vincent’s Hospital served District 3 before closing), Johnson erroneously claimed that St. Vincent’s Hospital was a private institution and proceeded to group St. Vincent’s in with other “profit-generating centers.”

This is incorrect on the most basic level. St. Vincent’s Hospital was a 501c3 non-for-profit charitable organization, not a private hospital. Luckily, Kurland was able to correct her opponent in time. And not only did she correct Johnson, but she offered a detailed plan to get a hospital back while her opponent was unable to articulate a detailed plan for a new hospital.  

And yet, somehow, The Villager claims Johnson has “details and vision.” Is this what they meant?

Contrasting Johnson’s performance on the NY1 debate with the endorsement claims made by The Villager raises serious doubt to their ability to objectively choose the best candidate for District 3, especially if anyone was thinking about taking this endorsement seriously. 

Also, there’s a lot of hypocrisy and whitewashing evident in Johnson’s campaign. For instance, Johnson, who for months criticized campaign spending by outside groups, has been silent now that his campaign is receiving support from the independent expenditure known as Empire State PAC.

The clear choice, the independent choice is Yetta Kurland.

See the video here.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/08/quinn-lackey-propped-up-by-quinn-machine/

Aug 14 2013

Kurland Highlights Blatant Hypocrisy of Quinn-Backed Candidate

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Bigot?

Doing one thing and saying the other.

Leading Manhattan council candidate for Christine Quinn’s seat, Yetta Kurland, is calling shenanigans on Quinn’s henchman Corey Johnson’s hypocrisy on the campaign trail hoping to increase accountability of her opponent’s outright bogus claims.

Kurland, a civil rights attorney called on Corey Johnson, a real estate executive “to put your money where your mouth is” regarding his repeated demands that Kurland sign a pledge against Independent Expenditures.

Johnson, who for months criticized campaign spending by outside groups, has been silent now that his campaign is receiving support from the independent expenditure known as Empire State PAC. 

On Corey’s campaign website you’ll notice an entire section glorifying his role in creating affordable housing, but this could not be further from the truth. In fact Corey worked for a billion dollar real estate company, GFI Capital, which has made a habit of evicting poor and middle class workers and replacing SRO’s with luxury hotels and condos. His former employer has even been sued by the Department Of Justice Civil Rights Division for discrimination.

“New Yorkers deserve honesty” said Kurland. “My opponent’s work for a billion-dollar Wall Street real estate developer is not the issue, so much as his sneaky attempt to hide it. And now we learn that after he spent months demanding that I live up to his example and disavow independent expenditures, Corey Johnson is benefiting from the money of those outside groups. The hypocrisy and dishonesty has got to stop,” she said.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/08/kurland-highlights-hypocrisy-of-quinn-backed-candidate/

Nov 08 2012

NYC Transit Forward Coalition and NYC Communities Step Up for Hurricane Sandy Relief

Help for the Rockaways is pouring in from all across New York City. Yetta Kurland, a City Council hopeful for Christie Quinn’s seat, led the Transit Forward Coalition to bring food, supplies, and an extra set of hands to help aid the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

[Press Release] The Transit Forward Coalition, a community-based coalition of New York City Transit Riders and Workers, has played a key role in responding to damage from Hurricane Sandy in New York . Most notably, members of the coalition from Transportation Workers Union Local 100 are working tirelessly to get New York City ’s essential transportation lifeline back on track. Within a few days, most lines in the 100-year-old system were restored. The work is arduous, often dangerous, vital and ongoing.

As though that were not enough, the Transit coalition spearheaded a major volunteer and donation drive throughout the five boroughs. Teaming up with members of the West Village in Manhattan , Transit Forward hosted a donation collection and distribution party at the famous Stonewall Inn on Saturday. The bar, site of the 1969 Stonewall Riots which gave birth to the modern LGBT movement, quickly filled with water, clothes, canned goods and medical supplies.

The following day, led by community organizer Yetta Kurland and others, over 100 volunteers transported the materials to community organizer Jacques Leandre who then distributed the goods to desperately underserved areas in the Far Rockaway section of Queens – neighborhoods that still had no electricity and very limited access to resources.

The Transit Forward Coalition was joined by members of Occupy Wall Street’s #OccupySandy movement. Their grassroots, no power organizing techniques proved perfectly suited for the unelectrified neighborhoods the community is serving.

Yetta Kurland said,

“My community has just gone through a week without power, hot water and lights. We can only imagine what our fellow New Yorkers in Far Rockaway are going through.  It was incredible to see the care and thoughtfulness of the donations that people made. But given the freezing temperatures we are even more concerned for the residents of Far Rockaway and other impacted areas.”

Jacques Leandre stated,

“Nearly a week after Hurricane Sandy, the people of the Rockaways are desperate for relief and assistance. It is not fair and it is not just that the residents of the Rockaways have not received the attention they deserve, while people’s homes are still underwater in our community and families are begging for water on the streets. Transit Forward is coming to the Rockaways to not only deliver food, water, and flashlights, but also to make sure voters can still exercise their right to vote.”

 Mona Davids, President, NYC Parents Union and member of the Coalition said,

“We’re so thankful for the support from the Transit Forward Coalition and LGBT Community. The outpouring of concern is overwhelming and uplifting. Transit Forward Coalition members are in Rockaways everyday helping families and giving them the assistance and support they desperately need to recover.

The Coalition is continuing to collect information, supplies and resources for New Yorkers recovering from the storm. If you need resources, or would like to help, contact the Transit Forward Coalition at http://www.transitforward.org/hurricane_sandy_assistance.

If you (or someone you know) doesn’t have access to the internet right now, contact the borough pepresentatives:


If you do not have access to the internet, contact our Borough representatives below.

Manhattan: Yetta Kurland | 917-701-9590

Queens: Jacques Leandre | 347-613-2315

Bronx: Mona Davids | 646-807-4191

Brooklyn: Rodneyse Bichotte | 718-744-8410

Staten IslandAhmed Tigani | 718-312-9105

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/11/nyc-transit-forward-coalition-and-nyc-communities-step-up-for-hurricane-sandy-relief/

Oct 17 2011

On The Front Line Of Occupy Wall Street…A Lawyer Named Yetta.

Yetta Kurland, a civl rights litigator and an activist says her primary concern is the use of excessive force by the NYPD against Occupy demonstrators. "It's a HUGE curtailment of our first amendment rights," said Yetta. Picture from FB.

QP Exclusive: The Wall Street Movement is not going away, says Yetta Kurland a civil rights activist and former city council candidate from Manhattan’s West side. Yetta is a lawyer, no not a blood sucking corporate lawyer, she’s the people’s rep, a civil right’s litigator and she’s been working pro bono for the demonstrators arrested down at Wall Street.

Yetta really knows her issues and the law. In the interest of bringing QP readers a front line perspective, we decided to interview her.

QP Interviews Yetta Kurland:

 Yetta, what’s the scene like at Wall Street?

Yetta begins by saying it’s been more calm but, “You know what’s amazing? The visuals of the Times Square and Washington Square. The movement has grown so massive and very tense, riot gear and horses were out with significant arrests nearly 100 arrests but not mass arrests that folks were concerned with”.

You just can’t arrest that many people,” according to Yetta.

I understand you’ve been down at the courthouse volunteering your legal services as an attorney on behalf of demonstrators. Can you tell me more about that?

“I have been volunteering, it includes arraignment at the court house, and visiting precincts.” It’s easy to get lost in the system, said Yetta who has split her time between visiting precincts and at the courthouse at 100 Centre Street for more than 100 arrestees. “It can be extremely time consuming  — keeping track of those arrested,” she said. It’s a lot of work [and] it’s unfortunate and frankly unnecessary. 

“My primary concern is excessive force.”

“On one of my cases, Ari Douglass was horribly injured by police who basically ran into him knocked him over and left him pinned under a motorcycle, and in response rather than giving him care, they gave him a number of criminal charges including criminal mischief, and resisting arrest.”

“If you look at the video, he’s clearly not.”

So, what are the demonstrations being charged with?

“Disorderly Conduct, Resisting Arrests, Obstruction of Government administration– different charges routinely used. Ari was charged with criminal mischief. Criminal mischief depending on the degree s a felony charge.”

When Occupy Wall Street began, did you predict an end – that is for the demonstration to fizzle out?

“I don’t think this is going to fizzle out. I don’t think weve seen the full momentum of the movement.”

“971 cities across the world, Rome Los Angelas, London, Chicago. 175 arrests. Folks are willing to put themselves on the line.

Yetta continues, “When we see brutality you see more people coming out in solidarity. I don’t see any thing fizzling out.  There is obviously a question about the cities want to shutdown the efforts and weather or not the folks will be able to continue there. Last week was a great victory they were supposed to shutdown the park – and they didn’t. We are moving forward and everyday is a victory… I think that these occupiers are reclaiming public space — public spaces for the public good, I mean the public interest.”

Its really resonating not just with New Yorkers. It is true the whole world is watching this…. I don’t see this coming to an end anytime soon I see this as transformative.:”

What do you think will be the outcome on a national level?

“I hope that the outcome on the national level  is that we reinvest the public sector. I hope that we find ways to prioritize the collective public interest of our country and to seperate government from private interest — that we have check and balances to ensure a free democratic society.”

Are you advocating electoral reform?

“I think it has to happen on every level, electoral, corporate, financial reform in the way we do business reform in the way the NYPD tactics to deal with protesters in public space.

 This is a referendum on police tactics post 9\11. Riot gear, massive arrests… It is a huge curtailment of our first amendment rights.

What’s your next step to support the movement?

“My only role is to act as an attorney to represent the folks down there.”

At the time of this interview, Yetta was traveling to the courthouse at 100 Centre Street.  “There’s additional activities and well keep monitoring and helping to deal with people that have been arrested. We have to go back to work perhaps go to trial. It’s a lot of expense.”

Yetta points out that the police presence is costing an exorbitant amount of tax dollars:

“Every time a huge group of police officers there’s a lot of costs involved in that we complain about financial difficulties we shouldn’t waste tax payer dollars for that.”

What do yo think about Mayor Bloomberg extolling the virtues of free speech, but denouncing the demonstration on Bloomberg radio?

“Confusing—“I’m not sure what he means by that… and free speech is exactly that: It’s not always with something you agree, or even with the medium. He’s lost in his position.

Curious, are you thinking of running for public office  again?

Oh I don’t know— it’s years away, but if I do, I’ll let you know.”

See Politicker NY article.

What’s your message to all the naysayers out there? You know – armchair politicians?

“Come down to Liberty Park and talk to the people. Remember that its easy to step back and not want to be involved or engaged. Bob Dylan said the times they are changing and if you have to wrap your head around that,” said Yetta.

“It’s undeniable. It’s not for us to naysay it’s much bigger… it’s a social movement.”

“History is being made by brave minded making a stand and standing up to simply ask for integrity in our system and that we have a balancing of our powers a truly democratic society,” according to Yetta.

Keep up the good work – QP. If you need to contact Yetta, email yetta@yettakurland.com.

A photo of Yetta during her bid for City Council (3rd district) against Council Speaker Christie Quinn.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2011/10/on-the-front-line-of-occupy-wall-street-a-lawyer-named-yetta/


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