We have primary elections coming up here in NY. I don't live in Manhattan, so I don't get to vote there...so I don't really pay a whole lot of attention to the races there. That being said, since Robert Morgenthau, who is 90 and has been the Manhattan District Attorney for the last thirty-four years, is finally retiring, the DA position is finally up for grabs again.
Cy Vance, Jr., Leslie Crocker Snyder and some other guy (who doesn't seem to be a factor by anyone's reckoning), are all running for the post. I won't claim to know anything about any of them. Like I said, I haven't been paying attention since I don't get a say.
But, this morning, I saw one of Ms. Snyder's ads on TV. It seems that Mr. Vance (Jr.) was a defense attorney in Seattle from 1988 to 2004. He's originally from NY, but, for whatever reason, he went west to start his career. Ms. Snyder stayed in NY, worked in the DA's office and then became a Judge. Those seem like fairly good credentials to run on. But she's behind in the polls, so now, she's running against Vance's history.
Her new ad says, "Cyrus Vance fled to Seattle to defend murderers, rapists" and some other bunch of low-lifes I can't quite quote at the moment. I think it was about doctors accused of fraud. My reaction? OMG! A defense attorney defended BAD PEOPLE! I think that's kinda stupid and really hitting below the belt.
So, even though I have no dog in this race, and as I've admitted before, know nothing about the candidates, I think I'll lend my expertise to Mr. Vance for the purposes of rebutting this attack. Here is the ad I'd release if I were him. (Note: Mr. Vance should feel free to use this ad without attribution or remuneration. I would appreciate any slack he can cut me in the event I'm arrested in his jurisdiction and I'd like him to do something about the word remuneration, which I've always thought was kind of a funny word and just a little bit counter-intuitive, if you know what I mean.)
Anyway, here's what I'd run.
Visual: Shot of Cyrus Vance, Jr. catching babies as they're tossed from the window of a burning building. The shot widens to show that he's standing with one foot on the neck of a handcuffed man, presumably the arsonist. He may, or may not, be wearing a cape.
Audio: Cyrus Vance, Jr. has always stood for Truth, Justice and the American Way. His opponent, Leslie Crocker Snyder, however, is known to have THREE NAMES. Do you know who else had three names?
Visual: Cut to shot of Leslie Crocker Snyder wearing clown makeup. (This can be photoshopped if real pictures can't be found.)
Audio: That's right! John Wayne Gacy! And do you know who else had three names?
Visual: Cut to shot of Crocker Snyder poking her head out of a window at the Dallas School Book Depository.
Audio: Right again! Lee Harvey Oswald had three names. Yes, friends...the list goes on and on back through history. From Idi Amin Dada all the way back to Attila the Hun, Evil has had THREE NAMES! And she wants you to elect her over a man named Cyrus Vance, Jr.
Visual: Cut to a shots of happy people.
Audio: While she's parading around her Three Names, please consider the following people: Sammy Davis, Martin Luther King, Hank Williams, Harry Connick...all Juniors. Dale Earnhardt and Ken Griffey...Juniors! By God...even those hamburgers out west are named for Carl's JUNIOR!
Audio continues: The choice is clear...You can vote for a Junior...(overdub sound of a celestial choir), or you can elect a woman with THREE NAMES! (overdub sounds of gunshots and screaming).
Tag: My name is Cyrus Vance, JUNIOR and I approved this ad!
This has been my contribution to civil discourse for the morning. You're welcome.
How I stumbled onto your blog I know not. But, I do live in Manhattan and know a bit about the background in the DA race here in Manhattan. What Cy Vance, Jr. did is this: After spending 4 years as an ADA in Manhattan DA’s office he moved to Seattle 20 years ago to avoid riding his father’s coattails into his career. He sincerely wanted to be his own man. For 16 years Cy, Jr. raised a family and build a private criminal practice in Seattle and, yes defended some scummy clients (but, as you say that is what criminal lawyers do). Cy even served a two (2) Seattle based commissions concerning reforming the Seattle criminal justice issues. The problem with this story is that Cy, Jr. lost he conviction to be his own man and got talked into moving back to NYC 4 years ago so he could run on his father’s name to try and become Manhattan DA. Why?
Well that’s another interesting story. You see four years ago in 2005 Leslie Crocker Snyder (who like a lot of women decided to keep her maiden name along with her husband’s) had the guts to run against the 86 year old Manhattan DA Bob Morgenthau. Bob had been DA since in 1973 (I believe Tony Orlando and Dawn’s “Tie A Yellow Ribbon” was the #1 pop song that year). Whereas, Leslie lost, she did get 42% of the vote which, pretty much made clear to Morgenthau that he would be forced to retire this year at age 90.
So in 2006, the 87 year Morgenthau was so enraged that Snyder (or anyone) would dare challenge him and knowing Snyder would likely run again this year set out to find a candidate that could beat her. Not necessarily a candidate who was most qualified but, simply one who could beat Snyder. Re-enter Seattle Cy. Morgenthau convinced Cy, Jr. to move back to NYC (he even got him a job defending criminals here in NYC). Morgenthau then began calling in his 35 years of IOU’s to make sure he got to decide who would replace him (as opposed to the voters of Manhattan). You see, Morgenthau, who in addition to being a NYC criminal justice legend, is also the J. Edgar Hoover of NYC. He has files on EVERY PROMINENT NEW YORKER…politicians, socialites, you name it. He’s gotten more than a few big shots, their kids, their nephews, girl friends you name it out of more than a few jams over the years (remember we’re talking about the pre “just say no” 70’s and 80’s). If Cy Jr. were not his father’s son he would never ever be considered a serious candidate for DA. He has virtually no New York criminal Justice experience. Cr Jr. has 4 years as a Manhattan ADA, 16 years in Seattle private practice and another 4 in here NYC. Basically, Morgenthau’s IOU calls are so freighting that everyone is lining up to “support” Seattle Cy.
Leslie Crocker Snyder was a Manhattan ADA for 9 years, she created the Victims Bureau in the DA’s office, she co-authored New York’s Rape Shield Laws, she worked for the NY Attorney General investigating dirty cops and politicians and, then served over 20 years as a New York State Supreme Court Judge. If that weren’t enough after Katrina shattered the New Orleans justice system Snyder spent 6 months in New Orleans helping to rebuild it. Compared to Snyder Cy Jr. is a joke as a candidate for DA and yet the race is competitive. Why? Because Morgenthau hates Crocker Snyder because she forced him retire and now he is pretty much using his IOU’s to intimidate the NYC establishment to support Cy, Jr. in order to beat Snyder. Yes, Leslie Crocker Snyder’s campaign is using the media channels at their disposal to get facts out about the choices in this campaign.
By the way, the “other guy” in the race is Richard Aborn and, whereas, he is not in my mind as qualified as Snyder he has done great work in the area of gun control and has a very bright future.
That is the story from a longtime Manhattanite.
I'm fairly certain that it's obvious to anyone reading my post that it was written with tongue firmly planted in cheek. That having been said, why is it that you manage to make so much better a case for Crocker Snyder than she does for herself?
Like I said, I'm a Brooklynite with no dog in this race, so I'm just an observer from way across the river. But I do have to say that commercials that demonize someone because (gasp), they worked as a defense attorney, smack of desperation, (which may, in fact be the case at this point, but); it doesn't draw many votes from thoughtful people. (BTW, for the sake of full disclosure, one of my regular readers who also happens to be a friend is, (gasp) a defense attorney by choice.)
I'm not really taking you to task over any of this...I just think her case is better made by the concerns you've voiced than by her own advertising. That's a little sad.
You know, if you add some zombies to that legal thriller, you'd have a best seller. :D
Get your popcorn, it's going to be a good show.
Aw, crap. I go by three names in my professional life - I guess that means I'm evil. And here I thought it was because I just liked the rhythm of my full name.
Just goes to show - you never do know what'll lead you to evil.
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