Friday, December 28, 2007

We Made the Daily News! (How the heck did I miss that?)

The campaign was featured in the New York Daily News's Daily Politics Blog nearly three weeks ago. Columnist Elizabeth Benjamin even said I had the skill of self-promotion "down-pat."

Well, thanks, Elizabeth, for introducing your readers to my campaign and for your kind words. I can't say they're all true- part of good marketing, promotion, and public relations of course is monitoring the press for the results- and I'm quite embarrassed to say I just read your December 11th article last night.

The good news? Even though I didn't read it right away, lots of people did, checked out my website, and a few even contributed. One veteran political guy who read the blog and happened to watch me on Paradise Hotel back in 2003 even emailed me, met with me, and gave me 2 hours of terrific advice, re-energizing me just 2 weeks before my first filing deadline.

Segue alert: January 10th is the first contribution deadline for my all-important fund-raising...So if you're out there, and you haven't supported our campaign yet, or even if you have, and you'd like to give more, thank you so much in advance for clicking here to find out EXACTLY how to contribute.

Happy New Year's Eve Eve Eve Eve.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Movie Hopper No More

So, for years, I enjoyed moviehopping. For those of you that have no idea what this is, moviehopping is the practice of buying tickets for one movie and then staying to see a few. In fact, in my heyday, with my good friend Danny M, I saw as many as 8, 9, even 10 movies in one day. It was a lot of fun, if exhausting, and really passed the time well, especially for a Jew on Christmas.

But it was unethical, and probably illegal as well. Sure, I justified the practice by saying if the theater wasn't sold out, they were not losing any revenue, and I was spending more on food staying there all day, and lots of people movie hop, and the employees don't care, and blah blah blah, but the bottom line is, it was wrong.

Now I'm 31 years old and running for City Council, so it was time to finally retire from moviehopping. My first challenge came Saturday night, when I went to the movie Charlie Wilson's War in Douglaston with my wife. It was a good movie...but we wanted more. We had a babysitter for the night, and we were trying to get a head start in our annual quest to see all of the Oscar contenders. We decided to see Sweeney Todd, and then the big question pay or not to pay? It would be so easy- we were already in the theater, Sweeney Todd was about to start, we were seconds away from the hop...but right was right.

I gulped, left the theater, purchased 2 tickets for Sweeney Todd, and proudly reentered the theater, a legal, legitimate movie hopper for the first time ever. Doing the right thing felt damn good- and as I waited in line for popcorn refills, bragging to my wife about how great it felt to pay $55 for a night at the movies, I looked up only to see David Weprin, the current City Council member whose seat I'm running for.

"What movie are you here to see?," he asked me. "Well, I saw Charlie Wilson's war," I replied, "but now I'm going to see Sweeney Todd." Weprin had no idea what I was doing next, but I held up those Sweeney Todd tickets high in the air, proudly showing him the beginning of a new era.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

THANK YOU for an Amazing First Fundraiser!

Everyone will be getting personal thank you's, of course, but after a wildly successful Fancy Shmancy Campaign Kickoff event last night, all I want to shout from the mountain tops to my friends, family, and early supporters is THANK YOU. We had a wonderful time, and because of the generosity of those who attended as well as those who couldn't attend but have already sent in contributions, we raised nearly $10,000! While this is short of my original goal of $20,000, we are still nearly a month away from the January 10th filing date and deadline for this goal, and there are lots of friends who haven't sent in their contributions yet, so, who knows, we might get a lot closer to that 20K by January 10th. In the meantime, thanks again to everyone, with specific thanks / shout outs to:

-my amazing wife Carrie, who everyday is my Hall of Fame Partner in every sense of the word

-my MVP brother Phil and his girlfriend Joanna who came all the way from Washington

-my MVP friend Damon who made an appearance despite having his 2 little girls by his side, and our good friend Stacy, who made an an appearance despite being 9 months pregnant

-my friend Liz Crowley, who is running for the City Council in central Queens and made an appearance despite not feeling well after too many political functions of late.

-my friends from the greatest high school on the planet, Hunter College High School

-Carrie's awesome friends from Emerson College, and best family, who is now truly my family

-Joel, Estelle, Susie & Bert, my reps from the next-youngest generation

-the best marketing team I know, our incredible team from thekbuzz

-my dear friends from The Shops at Atlas Park, Tritonic and 106.7 Lite FM

-my friend Lindsey, who volunteered her services as Karaoke Queen

-Nick from the Queens Chronicle and Dee from the Times Ledger, both excellent photographers

-Karen and all of our other fantastic hosts from Trattoria Lucia (great food and service!)


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Stretch Drive for the Fancy Schmancy Begins

We're just 4 days away from my first political fundraiser ever! I am at once very excited and very nervous, which I'm not used to. Today we emailed 7,500 of our closest friends to remind them about the event and the campaign, and I invited 400 or so friends on facebook. Sure, many of these people live far away, but I figured I'd let the world know at least once about my newest endeavor.

Anyway we're 4 days away, and I'm still not sure how many people are coming. I will say, people are responding very positively, and contributions are starting to come in, both very good signs. I got a great email today from a very involved parent and fellow alumnae of the best public school in the city, Hunter College High School. It's emails like hers that keep me going on a day that otherwise could have been very stressful.

For the final time in '07, Happy Hannukah. Now, after the countdown to the fancy schmancy, the countdown to Santa begins for my 4 1/2 year old. Good times...

Saturday, December 8, 2007

2008 Presidential Candidates Are All Over Myspace, Facebook, Youtube

This is a great article about how new media and social networks are affecting the 2008 Presidential Race. While I haven't seen a candid blog yet from a Presidential Candidate, it's only a matter of time. that's what people want- access, honesty, and true interactivity- and that's what new media can offer!

This blog will continue even after I'm elected to the NYC Council- so that I can always interact openly and freely with the people of New York City, the greatest city in the world.

Friday, December 7, 2007

4th Night Out in a Row and Joe Crowley's Plane Keeps Him in Washington

Last night I went to the Building Awards at Terrace on the Park, hosted by the Queens Chamber of Commerce, of which my company thekbuzz is a corporate member. Maybe I would've been in a better mood, but it was my 4th consecutive night out, and for 3 nights straight I had lit the Hannukah candles with my daughters and then left. So I was a bit on the grumpy side when I found out keynote speaker Congressman Joe Crowley was stuck in Washington with flight issues.

Still, I really enjoyed meeting a few people that even taught me a thing or two, including the publicity director for Councilman Erica Gioia, with whom I'm hoping to meet soon, and two ladies from Sunnyside Community Services, who won an award. SCS seems likes they're doing a terrific job serving seniors in their community- something very important to me for my district- so I hope to stop by their center soon and learn what's made them so successful.

Tonight- it's Hannukah at my inlaws house- which for some, might seems like a chore- but for me, will be such much needed rest and relaxation...even if they do send me home with a bunch of chotchkies I don't need.

And just in case you haven't noticed, my kickoff fundraiser party next Saturday Dec 15th has been moved to a new location: Trattoria Lucia, a beautiful Italian restaurant in Bellerose- but it'll still be 6-10 PM and feature open bar, a full dinner, karaoke, and LOTS OF FUN SURPRISES! Email me at for more info.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Happy Birthday Randi! and Happy Holidays Weprins!

I attended two parties last night, one held by UFT for Randi Weingarten's 50th Birthday Roast, and a holiday party held by the Saul Weprin Club. As an active UFT member myself and member of the Weprin club, I knew a lot of people at both functions, and while I was quite exhausted at the end of the day, I had a good time.

Missed my family a lot, though. It was the first night of Hannukah, and rushing off to rub elbows with Al Sharpton after lighting the candles with my girls wasn't exactly my dream Hannukah experience.

Tonight it's the JFK Club's Holiday Party. This is the club I began with, led by the tireless Morty Povman and Charlotte Scheiman along with President Herb Ryan. If any club is to support me in the early going, it's this one. Should be good times, and a t least tonight I had a couple of hours to celebrate Hannukah with my family. :-)

Monday, December 3, 2007

72 Hour Roller Coaster Leads to New Fancy Shmancy Location

Boy, whoever said campaigning was easy was wrong. Maybe nobody said that.

I got word Friday night at 6 PM that I couldn't host my first fundraiser at the Queens County Farm Museum as planned. Amy Fischetti, the Farm's Executive Director, called me herself to apologize - apparently a new employee booked the Fancy Schmancy a month ago without realizing they couldn't hold political fundraisers of any kind there. So despite my contract and deposit with them, and despite the event being 15 days away, it had to be moved.

This was potentially devastating news, but with Amy and my wife Carrie springing to action to help solve the problem, we eventually found a place. We looked at bowling allies, hotels, restaurants, and even empty mansions. It wasn't easy- according to some, this December 15th is one of the most heavily booked nights for parties in years. But we found an amazing, beautiful Italian restaurant with a back room opening just in time for us. Hope you can make it out to Trattoria Lucia, the new location for the official Campaign Kickoff and Fancy Schmancy Holiday Party December 15th.

At least it won't smell like farm animals.

Friday, November 30, 2007

A Tribute to This Week's Queens Tribune

In this week's Queens Tribune, out yesterday, there's a profile of me and my campaign on page 10! This is the first traditional media the campaign has received, and it's very exciting. The piece is very well-written by Liz Skalka, and describes my non-traditional background, some of my goals, and even mentions our kickoff fundraiser holiday party this Saturday, December 15th! Pick up your copy of the Queens Tribune at newsstands everywhere (ok, everywhere in Queens, NY) today!

Interestingly enough, just 3 pages later, the Tribune has a feature article about Jack Friedman, the new executive vice president of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, of which I am a proud member. Jack had been rumored to be my top competitor for the 23rd District City Council job- from the looks of this article, it appears that he chosen a different direction:

"Friedman sought to continue building that governmental resume as he seriously considered running for City Council in 2009. But that changed after he was offered the Chamber position.
“My only consideration right now is being executive vice president of the Queens Chamber of Commerce and doing the best job I can,” he promised."

Good luck, Jack, in all of your endeavors!
And thanks most of all to the Queens Tribune for reporting on all of the early happenings in the City Council '09 race!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Night with new Union Friends

I attended a fundraiser last night with my wife for Liz Crowley, who's running for City Council in the district where my firm's office is located, at The Shops at Atlas Park. I met Liz at a candidate training a few months ago- she's been noting but supportive and friendly to me, so I'm happy to support her.

My wife Carrie attended with me and we met a bunch of nice people (and a couple not so nice.) We talked for awhile with James Conway of the International Union of Operating Engineers- crane operators. My wife, looking for something to say, said, "So, should operating a crane be something on my list of things to do before I die," to which my new friends James, replied, "No." :-)

I also met Mike McGuire of the Mason Tenders District Council , a nice guy who said he'd add me to his list of candidates running for City Council in '09. And it was really exciting to meet Jean Kim of TLM Associates, who works for Tom McMahon, whose daughter Ryann I used to teach.

But the person I was most excited to meet last night was Eric Gioia, current Queens City Councilman who's running for Public advocate in '09. I have great respect and admiration for Gioia, who ran for City Council in '01 without the initial support of the Democratic Party of Queens, and still won! Eric was very cool to offer to sit down with me over breakfast and share his advice.

Thanks in advance Eric, and thanks Liz for having me at your party. Oh, and Happy 30th Birthday Liz!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Why I'm the Unpolitician


pol·i·ti·cian [pol-i-tish-uhn] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation –noun
1.a person who is active in party politics.
2.a seeker or holder of public office, who is more concerned about winning favor or retaining power than about maintaining principles.

Holy Sh-t!
I can and I can't believe these are the first 2 definitions given for politician. On the one hand, people think of typical politicians the way they think of lawyers. They don't like them. In a few months of telling people I was considering getting into politics, I've been told dozens of times not to because, "you're too honest" or "you don't make enough money" or simply "why bother?" I get it, people don't like the typical politicians, but, on the other hand, can't I be better than that? What is inherent about public service as an elected official that seems to cause definition 2?

That the 2nd definition includes "more concerned about winning favor or retaining power than about maintaining principles" is atrocious. If I can't maintain my beliefs and principles and do this, I won't do it at all. Call me a crazy idealist, but I do believe I can do it, honestly and effectively. Time will tell. Thanks to this blog my words are recorded forever, so hopefully one day my constituents can hold me up to them.

The Tribune
interviewed me today. Very exciting, as I begin doing press for this new venture in my life. Look for it on newsstands everywhere (in Queens, NY) next week.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Back in the Ballgame

Day 2 of the invitations waiting game, and today was much better. First, no returned mail! That's always a good thing. More important...I got my first contributions in the mail today! This was incredibly exciting and inspiring. People are taking the invitation seriously, and friends, family, and business acquaintances are reacting really positively, for the most part.

I met with a non-profit group that had wanted me for their Board of Directors, but had to turn me down when they found out I was running for Council. As it turned out, they may want my firm to help market them into the 21st century and beyond. Ironically, they can't let me help them for free on the Board but they can hire my firm to work with them at cost.

I called myself "theunpolitician" on this blog but the reality is that to a certain extent, I've got to play the game: hold fundraisers, seek high-dollar donors, court the Democratic Party, etc. I do pledge to keep blogging throughout the process, to give readers a chance to see the makings of a political campaign from the insider's perspective, and to run as non-traditional, un-political, and creative a campaign as I possibly can...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Did I ask for too much money?

Invitations for my kickoff fundraising event went out a few days ago.
Nearly 400 invitations were sent and dropped off.
Today, the mail came, and I rushed to the door to see who the first person to RSVP would be.
6 envelopes to Vote for Dave Kerpen! Wait a minute...Upon further review, they're all returned mail - yes, invites that went out to wrong addresses.
Score at the end of Day 1: -6

However, I remain hopeful. The Fancy Shmancy must go on! The $95 suggested contribution may be a bit high, but I'm trying to play with the big boys (and girls!) here - the "real" politicians. Friends- if you're out there somewhere and can't afford the $95 bucks - please come to the party and and give a few hours of your time to volunteer for the committee...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Campaign Begins

I just sent out letters and Campaign Kickoff party invitations to 400 of my closest friends and family members as I officially begin my campaign for City Council in New York. I'm nervous, but mostly really excited. I haven't campaigned for any office since college, I have few political connections if any, I am not an attorney as most successful politicians are, and I am running against at least 2 established people in the community.

On the other hand, I'm getting started really early, I am a dedicated and successful teacher and business person, I have a firm understanding of the power of new media, I am good at fund-raising, and most important, I have an amazing network of friends and family who will support me however they can, led by my fearless and tireless wife Carrie. Thanks Carrie for all you have done and will do. You will always be my one and only.

Now I'm off to deliver more Kickoff party invitations to businesses in my district.