Hosted by the Liberty City LGBT Democratic Club, the April 18 meeting drew a diverse crowd — as well as a few candidates and spokespeople.
Among those in attendance were city-controller challenger Brett Mandel and Traffic Court judge candidates Inja Coates and Bob Tuerk, as well as a few other judicial candidates.
Liberty City's endorsement committee Sara Jacobson said the selection process starts with the endorsement committee, which makes recommendations. The membership then votes on those candidates.
The club endorsed Joseph C. Waters Jr. for Superior Court judge; Vince Giusini, Daniel D. McCaffery, Giovanni Campbell, Leon A. King II, Daine A. Grey Jr. and Stephanie M. Sawyer for Court of Common Pleas judge; Martin Coleman for Municipal Court judge; Coates and Tuerk for Traffic Court judge; Seth Williams for District Attorney and Mandel for city controller.
Jacobson said the committee was not particularly drawn to either candidate in the controller’s race: Mandel or incumbent Alan Butkovitz. The topic became the evening’s biggest debate.
“There was a passionate discussion on Mandel and Butkovitz. Both state Sen. Larry Farnese (D-1st Dist.) and state Rep. Brian Sims (D-182nd Dist.) spoke on Mandel’s behalf. Mark Segal and Michael Williams spoke on behalf of Butkovitz There were a lot of other supporters on both sides,” said Jacobson.
Other discussions involved whether to endorse attorneys only for Traffic Court and whether to endorse candidates for the Court of Common Pleas who are recognized by the American Bar Association.
“It comes up every year. It is particularly relevant this year because the committee will only recommend judicial candidates who were recognized by the bar association. The conversation was with the membership on whether we should choose to endorse them if they had been recognized,” Jacobson said.
She added that she was pleased to see a wide range of members taking interest in the election and the organization.
“One of the great things we have seen during this endorsement season is more increasing diversity in membership — more women, more people of color, and new faces. I think that is a positive development for Liberty City.”
Jacobson said that, overall, she was happy the meeting brought forth passionate discussions on various candidates, as well as the importance of LGBT candidates.
“It is nice that people feel very strongly about the controller debate, which is a good thing and good to have people participating in the democratic process,” she said. “We endorsed three out candidates — Inja Coates, Bob Tuerk and Leon King II. It is always nice when we can not only have gay-friendly but LGBT candidates on our endorsement lists.”
For more information on Liberty City and the endorsement meeting, visit www.libertycity.org.