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Breaking: Civil Rights Attorney Yetta Kurland Running For NYC Council



Yetta Kurland today on the steps of City Hall announced she is running for New York City Council’s Third District, which includes Manhattan’s Chelsea, Greenwich Village, Hell’s Kitchen, and parts of SoHo and Murray Hill areas. Kurland, a noted civil rights attorney, community organizer, small business owner, and LGBT activist for more than two decades, is also the host of the progressive news radio program, “Yetta Kurland LIVE!

“I know first hand the importance of having a government that represents all of us, including those of us who do not have a voice,” Kurland told reporters on the steps of City Hall today.

“I grew up a poor kid in upstate New York,” Kurland, surrounded by supporters, said. “I was able to afford college and law school only because of the educational opportunity programs that existed back then.”

“As a woman I came of age defending abortion clinics and women who were under assault from anti-choice efforts. I came out as a member of the LGBTQ community in an era when I could not hold my partner’s hand without fear of physical assault,” she explained.

“When the AIDS epidemic made clear our community’s powerlessness and invisibility, and when the idea of being able to marry the person I loved was laughed at.”

Kurland ran for the City Council seat previously, in 2009.

Here is the full text of Kurland’s speech, as prepared for delivery:

Good afternoon. I’m honored to stand here today on the steps of City Hall with fellow members of the West Village, Chelsea and Hells Kitchen. My name is Yetta Kurland. I have been an educator, community organizer and civil rights attorney for over to two decades on the Lower West Side of Manhattan.

I know first hand the importance of having a government that represents all of us, including those of us who do not have a voice.

I grew up a poor kid in upstate New York. I was able to afford college and law school only because of the educational opportunity programs that existed back then.

As a woman I came of age defending abortion clinics and women who were under assault from anti-choice efforts.

I came out as a member of the LGBTQ community in an era when I could not hold my partners hand without fear of physical assault.

When the AIDS epidemic made clear our community’s powerlessness and invisibility,

And when the idea of being able to marry the person I loved was laughed at.

But my true passion for advocacy has come in fighting for others.

I helped found the first ever Earth Day in my college. I started a language center in New York City which created jobs and offered resources to the immigrant community, I have been an outspoken advocate for the humane treatment of animals, I have worked as a civil rights attorney to advocate for better wages, to protect tenants, to defend the right of my fellow New Yorkers to freely assemble, and to stop discrimination in the work place.

I live in New York City because I believe it is the greatest City in the world.

But over the past twenty years, I have watched this City lose too much of its soul. We are headed towards becoming a place where only the richest can afford to live, and where our public resources are being converted into private profit.

I have watched too many of my friends forced to move because they can’t find a job, too many small businesses forced to close because they can’t afford the rent, thereby losing more jobs, and too many of my neighbors denied access to proper health care, educational opportunities, and other basic necessities.

The closure of our community’s only level 1 hospital combined with the recent devastation of Hurricane Sandy has made clear, we are at a critical point in our City’s sustainability. It is imperative that we have community representatives in City government to advocate for the public so that we can begin to recover what we have lost over the past decades and prepare for what awaits us in the future.

I am stepping forward today to announce my intention to run to represent the 3rd City Council District so that we can continue this work together.

As the lead attorney for the Coalition for a New Village Hospital, I have shown I can organize 8,000 community members to stand up to the most powerful real estate interests in this City. While we have not finished the fight, we have forced those in power to admit that by law, there must be a hospital at the site of St. Vincent’s. As your next City Councilmember I will not stop until we have a full service hospital for our community.

As a leader in the fight for Marriage Equality I was part of the coalition that won the right for New Yorkers to realize that which before we thought impossible, marriage equality. As your City Councilmember I will continue to fight everyday for LGBTQ New Yorkers and all of us who need a voice, because we are all in this together and because together we are greater than the sum of our parts.

As a community organizer I signed the letter authored by the Working Families Party to support paid sick leave and as your next City Councilmember I will fight to pass that legislation.

As an attorney I have stopped numerous evictions of small businesses as well as rent controlled and rent stabilized tenants. I have worked with organizations like the Housing Conservation Coordinators to protect single resident occupants in low income housing from predatory landlords. As the next City Councilmember of the 3rd District I will work to preserve and recapture affordable housing stock in our community.

In a post Sandy New York, we need experienced leaders who are committed to public interest. We can change the way politics happen in New York City.

We have proven that when we come together as a community, we can win.
So, to win this election, I need you. My job, as a public servant, will be to amplify your voice. In the months ahead I will be reaching out to you. Please let me know your thoughts.

Together we can bring our vision and values forward to address the issues we face as New Yorkers.


Editor’s note: An earlier version of this report stated Kurland was challenging Christine Quinn. Quinn is not running as she is term limited. 

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Lindsey Graham Admonished by Senate Ethics Committee



U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has been formally admonished by the Senate Ethics Committee for violating ethics rules and standards by repeatedly soliciting campaign donations during an interview at the Capitol.

The bipartisan committee issued Graham a Public Letter of Admonition after the South Carolina Republican solicited donations for Georgia GOP Senate nominee Herschel Walker.

“Based upon all available information, the Committee concluded that on November 30, 2022, you conducted a media interview with Fox News in the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building and that your interview was slightly over nine minutes, with over four minutes devoted to a discussion of the 2022 senatorial run-off election in Georgia. The Committee further concluded that during your discussion of the senatorial run-off election, you directly solicited campaign contributions on behalf of Mr. Walker’s campaign committee,, five separate times.”

The letter notes that Sen. Graham had previously violated the same standards when he solicited campaign donations in a federal building in October of 2020, but said it was an “unplanned media interview.” When a reporter had asked him about fundraising, Graham “directly solicited campaign contributions” for his re-election campaign.

READ MORE: Watch: GOP Lawmaker Orders Grieving Parkland Parents Removed From ‘ATF Overreach’ Hearing

The Committee noted “mitigating” circumstances and did not cite him for that violation.

“The public must feel confident that Members use public resources only for official actions in the best interests of the United States, not for partisan political activity,” the letter concludes. “Your actions failed to uphold that standard, resulting in harm to the public trust and confidence in the United States Senate. You are hereby admonished.”

CNN’s Manu Raju posted the letter to social media.

You can read the letter below or at this link.

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Watch: GOP Lawmaker Orders Grieving Parkland Parents Removed From ‘ATF Overreach’ Hearing



U.S. Rep. Pat Fallon (R-TX) is being criticized for having the parents of a victim of the Parkland school massacre removed from a GOP-led House committee hearing on “ATF Overreach” after he deemed them “out of order” for remarks they made while a Member was speaking. Minutes later, Capital Police pinned the father to the ground in the hallway and arrested him.

“See this is, exactly what we have to avoid!” Rep. Fallon, chairing the joint hearing, angrily declared as he pointed his finger after the father, Manuel Oliver, made a remark that was inaudible. “Which is some minority of folks trying to silence dissent. Dissent shouldn’t be kryptonite.”

“There’s a decorum that should be adhered to,” Fallon, who recently refused to sign a statement denouncing white supremacy, said as he chastising Oliver.

After another, louder outburst, Fallon mockingly asked, “Is this an insurrection? So will they be held to the same — I don’t want another January 6.”

READ MORE: ‘Unlawful Incursion’: Manhattan DA Schools Jim Jordan for Demanding He Testify in Ongoing Trump Investigation

Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) responded, “If they’re trying to overthrow the government, they oughta be held to the same standard, but I think they’re trying to express their frustrations.”

Angrily again, Rep. Fallon interjected.

“Whoa whoa whoa whoa,” he shouted as he banged the gavel.

“Member’s out of line,” Fallon said (incorrectly. The term is “out of order.”)

Shortly thereafter, Rep. Fallon had both Manuel and Patricia Oliver removed.

ABC News reporter Will Steakin, who was in the hearing, tweeted video and said bot Manuel and Patricia Oliver “appear to leave without resistance… moments later there was a loud thud outside the hearing room and I found Manuel being pinned to the ground by multiple officers.”

“Manuel Oliver, the father of a 17-year-old Parkland shooting victim, was arrested Thursday on Capitol Hill after he appeared to shout at a Republican lawmaker who was speaking during a hearing on gun regulations,” NBC News reports. Patricia Oliver, his wife and the mother of their 17-year old son, Joaquin Oliver, who was one of 17 people who died in the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre, was not arrested.

READ MORE: ‘National Security Implications’: Former DOJ Official Speculates on Ruling Ordering Trump Attorney to Hand Over Docs

On social media critics expressed anger at Fallon.

“Rep. Pat Fallon (R) thinks parents of slaughtered children should just sit down & shut up as Republicans maintain outrageously dangerous gun laws. He had this parent expelled rather than just giving a warning, which is the usual,” wrote one Twitter user.

“Texas Rep. Pat Fallon: You are the EXACT problem with the gun violence and why it keeps being the leading cause of death in children today,” wrote another.

According to the NIH, gun violence is the leading cause of childhood death.

Still another Twitter user blasted Fallon: “What disgraceful & despicable behavior by Representative Pat Fallon. Exercising your right to free speech is being an insurrectionist? The man lost his son. Have you no compassion? I think he has more than earned the right to be heard by Congress. Such an abuse of power.”

And one called Fallon “feckless.”

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‘Repercussions’: Biden White House Warns Uganda ‘Kill the Gays’ Bill Could Force US to Cancel $950 Million in Annual Aid



The Biden administration may cancel the $950 million in annual assistance the U.S. provides to Uganda if President Yoweri Museveni signs into law its latest “Kill the Gays” bill, which calls for the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” and between ten and 20 years in prison for other LGBTQ “acts.”

National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby on Wednesday made clear if Uganda further criminalizes homosexuality and the LGBTQ community there could be “repercussions that we would have to take.”

“That would be really unfortunate because so much of the economic assistance that we provide Uganda is health assistance,” Admiral Kirby said at a White House press briefing.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also told reporters Wednesday the Biden administration has “grave concerns” over the Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA), and “increasing violence targeting LGBTQIA+ persons.”

READ MORE: Florida GOP Lawmaker Who Wrote ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Facing Up to 35 Years After Pleading Guilty in COVID Fraud Case

“If the AHA is signed into law and enacted, it would impinge upon universal human rights, jeopardize progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, deter tourism and invest in Uganda and damage Uganda’s international reputation,” Jean-Pierre warned. “The bill is one of the most extreme anti-LGBTQI+ laws in the world.”

Kirby and Jean-Pierre’s remarks came on the same day as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken denounced Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” legislation, saying it “would undermine fundamental human rights of all Ugandans and could reverse gains in the fight against HIV/AIDS.”

“The United States provides more than $950 million in aid to Uganda each year, according to the State Department. The money supports development and health care measures, such as combating HIV/AIDS,” Courthouse News reported Wednesday. “Uganda is already among 30 African countries that ban same-sex relations. The new proposal would broaden penalties and appears to be the first to outlaw identifying as LGBTQ+, according to Human Rights Watch.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

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