Dredging Up the Record in Jackson Heights

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City Councilwoman Helen Sears has put out this flier about her opponent, Danny Dromm.

Sears, who represents Jackson Heights, was having an easier time when she faced three challengers, who could have diluted the anti-incumbent vote against her. But one opponent, Alfonse Quirroz, dropped out and endorsed her, leaving her with one major opponent, Dromm, and one newcomer, Stanley Kalathara. Each has raised more than $100,000.

Dromm is a district leader, is openly gay, and has the support of the Working Families Party. He’s a pretty well-known commodity locally, and he handles himself well for a candidate of his experience level.

Sears, who was a district leader before her election, voted to extend term limits, isn’t much of a policy wonk and has a tendency to ramble. But she’s attentive to her district, and has and has the support of the Queens County organization, which still means something in that part of the county.

The district is among the most ethnically diverse in the city. This would be the place for a candidate like Kalathara to make a mark, but his accent is thick and could deny him the cross-over appeal candidates from emerging communities often need to win.

Much of the political fighting has been between Sears and Dromm.

Sears got into some hot water for not denouncing a whisper campaign that brought to light Dromm’s arrests when he was young, including one for “prostitution” when he was a teenager. The Empire State Pride Agenda, Council Speaker Christine Quinn–not normally one to provoke the Queens machine–denounced the whisper campaign against Dromm.

Sears did too, but not loudly or quickly enough for critics. This flier suggests that maybe she was never all that bothered by it in the first place. The manila folder covering Dromm’s face and the black-and-white Polaroid of him paper-clipped to the front of it resembles the kind of police files voters will have seen on cop shows, vaguely alluding to the whisper campaign that nobody ever took responsibility for.