After Diss by New York Times, Gottfried Starts Facebooking

After Sheldon Silver helped kill the mayor’s congestion pricing plan, The New York Times published an editorial saying Silver should be punished with a Democratic primary challenge later this year.

As should some of his long-serving colleagues, the editorial added, using as an example Manhattan Assemblyman Dick Gottfried, who has been in office since 1970.

“I disagreed with it," Gottfried said, when I asked him about that editorial last night. "Quite a few people told me they were outraged by it." As for possible primary challengers, he said, “I operate on the assumption that somebody will run and either spend his or her own money, or raise money from all the land lords and drug companies I’ve annoyed.”

Nonetheless, Gottfried recently found a new way of getting his message to the public and reporters. Nine days after that April 12 editorial, the 38-year incumbent created his own Facebook page. Since then, he’s been busy making his Facebook presence known. Gottfried friended me at 11:58 p.m. the night he created the page, and has friended reporters and political friends in the days since. He also launched a page to push his plan for statewide universal health care.

Did he create the Facebook page in response to that editorial calling for him to challenged in the Democratic primary?

“No. Actually, that was in the works for a couple of weeks before that,” he said.

The singling out of Gottfried by The Times did seem unusual. Unlike Silver, Gottfried usually lines up with paper’s left-of-center point of view (medicinal marijuana, universal health care, election reform, etc.). But Gottfried said The Times has written editorials like this in the past, lamenting the death of good legislation and saying the people who have been in office for a long time should be thrown out. “It’s nothing new or personal there,” he said. After Diss by New York Times, Gottfried Starts Facebooking