A helpful reader sent in this recent mailing from Assemblyman Dov Hikind of Brooklyn which features rather prominently a man by the name of Joe Lazar.
That’s the same Joe Lazar who is running for City Council in Hikind’s section of Brooklyn, and, hypothetically, could benefit from this kind of taxpayer-funded exposure.
“As of now he wants to run, but he hasn’t made up his mind finally,” Hikind told me just now. “I don’t think anybody has announced to be honest with you.”
It’s an important distinction because, according to Hikind, announced candidates can’t appear in publicly funded mailings like this.
“The fact that somebody is thinking about running is a whole different ball game,” Hikind said.
“Again, anyone can be a prospective candidate. I know the rules. If he was a candidate he would not appear in anything that I’m issuing. I can tell you that right now. You know, I’m very tough and strict about that. He is not a candidate. The fact that somebody is thinking about it, I don’t think that automatically puts you in a category where you can’t appear in these kinds of things.”
In a quick scan of Lazar’s web site, I didn’t see a mention of City Council. But, if you google "Joe Lazar," the headline that pops up above the first hit that brings you to his web site does say "Joe Lazar for New York City Council-Home."
Here’s what Lazar said: “You know, you can read anything you want to into anything. But I’ve been doing things for the community, and for all communities actually–I retired last year, about a year and a half ago, with about 35 years in government service. I don’t have to look for a cell phone project to get my name known in the community. And I wouldn’t cheapen myself to do something like that.”