If you didn't know, Yetta Kurland is the phenomenal activist-candidate poised to make history in this year's New York City elections. Running in the same district that mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn is from, Kurland is essentially the anti-Quinn: a proud lesbian who isn't in the pockets of the real estate industry and who hasn't been anointed by 1 percenter Mike Bloomberg to carry on his legacy.
Here's her latest video, which dropped today:
My connection to her comes from the darkest days of Occupy Wall Street, when activists were being arrested and brutalized, the city was engaged in illegal shenanigans to harass folks at Zuccotti Park, and even Netroots New York was nearly cancelled because of our association with occupiers. As a leader in the National Lawyers Guild, Kurland was tireless in defending the civil and political rights of New Yorkers and earned a respect in all the circles she traveled in - labor, lgbt, civil rights, healthcare, neighborhood activists, and the legal community.
Two communities she failed to impress include real estate and Wall St. So no one was surprised with Corey Johnson, a hollow candidate if there ever was one, entered the race with Christine Quinn's blessing. Reading his resume you might be impressed with his public track record of activism. One thing stands out though: no mention of how he earns a living.
It's easy to understand why. As CityCouncilWatch.net reports"
What it turns out he is covering up and scrubbing from his Internet presence is his work as Director of Governmental Relations and Community Affairs for GFI Development Company, beginning in July 2008. GFI Development is the real estate development branch of GFI Group, which according to the company website “has been at the forefront of credit derivative brokerage services, leadership that we are now leveraging to help establish an active, liquid Exotic Credit Derivative market.”To recap, not only is Kurland a fantastic candidate worthy of our support, but she's running against the recession era caricature of pure, unadulterated evil: a real estate lobbyist in Manhattan working for the leader in the 'exotic derivatives' industry. A starker choice could not be made.
Exotic credit derivatives, for those among us with short memories, are those quaint financial instruments that enable banks to make massive bets on the failure of loans, without having to actually own any of the underlying debt. Credit derivatives caused a minor kerfuffle in the markets in late 2008. GFI Group “handled as much as 40 percent of the credit-derivatives trades between the world's banks in 2007,” according to Bloomberg.
Well, Corey Johnson had nothing to do with any of that, of course…he worked for the real estate development arm of GFI. And real estate development firms are wholesome, salubrious entities. Which must be why after I asked Johnson’s campaign manger about his work there, his speaker bio at the Gay Center website was scrubbed. (Compare here and here.) And his LinkedIn profile was closed.
Visit Yetta Kurland for Council.
Full disclosure: I don't live in Kurland's district but I love her. She got me out of jail when I was arrested for operating the Illuminator. She shows up at political events across the city and across issues. And she's a warm, authentic human being who puts the professional political class to shame.