Here’s something ordinary New Yorkers don’t often get to see: a candidly worded strategy memo from a lobbyist on how to create the appearance of racial diversity.
Richard Lipsky, a lobbyist for the Neighborhood Retail Alliance, is trying to organize a “diverse umbrella coalition” of City Council members to support a crackdown on street vendors without appearing anti-immigrant, according to an e-mail he wrote.
In the e-mail, which was obtained by The Observer, Mr. Lipsky outlines 11 likely supporters on the Council and explains what they bring to the table.
Alan Gerson, who represents the Lower East Side, will “be able to bring a number of Chinese merchant groups into the expanding coalition.
Hiram Monserrate of Corona, Queens, is a “key player for us since his support for our position will go a long way towards reducing the anti-immigrant chants of the street vendor cohort.”
Flushing Council member John Liu’s “advocacy on the peddlers/street safety issue, given his constituency, would be very valuable.”
Miguel Martinez “has ties to the Bodega Association as well as to the National Supermarkets Association (independent Dominican supermarket owners).”
Leroy Comrie of St. Albans, whose committee is holding hearings on the legislation, “is someone who may play a key role in the legislative process. Not necessarily a forceful leader but, if he is given enough cover by his colleagues, can be instrumental in carrying legislation forward.”
And David Yassky, who represents brownstone Brooklyn, “will be an articulate spokesperson.”
The memorandum, dated Feb. 22, went on to explain the overall strategic imperative: “Currently, we will have the support of the Bodega Association, the Small Business Congress and the Korean-American Small Business Service Center in our effort to demonstrate the diversity of our coalition. We will also add a number of the Hispanic and Caribbean Chambers of Commerce to this group.”
Reached by phone, Mr. Lipsky confirmed that he wrote the e-mail.
Explaining the racial dimension of his strategy, he said: “There’s been a sense from certain elements in the Council that if we’re to be successful, we have to demonstrate the depth of support we have.”