At 21, Danny Squadron decided he wanted to own a bar, so he bought one, with the sort of money raised from the sort of contacts one makes when you’re an Prep School-Ivy League trustafarian; as a sanitized version of the story noted at the time, it was a “Yale Fairy Tale”. The real fairy tale was a bit more Grimm, and the business closed nine months after it was opened, but boy did they have fun while it lasted. Sort of like Dubya and the Texas Rangers.
At 28, Danny Squadron decided he wanted to own a seat in the New York State Senate, and now he’s trying to buy one with money raised from the sort of contacts who’d lend money to a 21 year old to open his own bar.
Next Year, will Danny decide he wants to be a cowboy or will it be an astronaut? Is he Woody or Buzz Lightyear?
In between his adventures in Preppy Fantasy Camp, Dan’s also lived out his own version of “Sullivan’s Travels”, going to work as if he were one of the ordinary people in order to soak up life experience.
In one such adventure, Squadron served as a Bloomberg educational “reform team" bureaucrat, joining other members of the best and brightest, who though inexperienced in running a school system, knew better than those musty educrats how to fix the schools. What do the educrats know anyway about fixing things? They only have degrees in education and years being corrupted by the decrepit system. And what do parents know? They’ve only spent years trying to navigate the system or tons of money trying to avoid it? Better to leave it to those whose lack of expertise and experience leaves them unbiased and uncorrupted.
Squadron is so proud of being part of this effort, that he is an unyielding advocate for renewing mayoral control without any real substantive changes.
And who can blame him. The results are now there for all to behold.
Kindergarteners in Tribeca being bussed to 1st Avenue and 23rd Street 1; admissions processes for pre-k designed by Franz Kafka and M.C. Escher. A gifted admissions process designed by Lester Maddox and Orville Faubus. The elimination of politicians but not politics from the school variance process, with the Tweed Court house accommodating its favorite out of district kids in schools that can’t accommodate children from their own zones. Parents being fobbed off on “parent coordinators” whose job is to block access to anyone who might actually be able to accomplish anything or answer a question. And no accountability to anyone.
In another adventure, Squadron was “body person” to Senator Chuck Schumer and ghostwrote Schumer’s book, a guide to Dick Morris style triangulation dedicated to pandering to self interest while promising half a loaf and carefully avoiding challenging anyone to follow their better angels or rethink their prejudices. Perhaps great political strategy, but hardly the social vision of one who calls himself a “progressive”.
Danny wants us to vote for him because Schumer supports him, but wants us not to hold against him Schumer's support of DOMA, the war, executions and the one-way Verrazano toll. “I spread the guy’s worldview like a social disease, but don’t blame me, I’m only the carrier.”
And to prove that Schumer was indeed the pinnacle of his career, Danny then went to work for Knickerbocker SKD, a “leading strategic and political communications firm” which represents warmonger Joe Lieberman and then cleanses its sins by handling public relations for that great builder of housing for the poor, Bruce Ratner.
Hey, don’t blame me; it’s Squadron who keep bringing up the company he keeps as if it were a plus.
In pursuit of his latest dream, Danny studied the City’s 2006 election results and saw an opportunity. Though he’s lived all his life in Riverdale, Scarsdale and Upper Manhattan, he suddenly heard Carroll Gardens call his name. Shortly before the deadline for establishing residency, he took an apartment on Court Street and joined his block association and a local Synagogue. His civic credential now established, he declared his candidacy for the upper house of the New York State Legislature. Late last year, he began polling, asking voters whether belonging to his religious congregation was a plus or a minus.
That little Danny wants us to know he has a football helmet rather than an anteater has become a major theme of his campaign. Civic leader Bob Furman of the anti-Ratner Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods puts it this way:
“What really angers me, however, is that Mr. Squadron made it a point to tell me about the synagogue he attends because I am also a Jew, and he thinks this may make me support him. Now I don't mind if people vote for their own, but I believe it is offensive to American concepts of fairness and diversity to advocate this.
I remember that former Governor Hugh L. Carey, who I knew when he lived in Park Slope, was quoted as telling a supporter who said ‘We beat the Jew’ (his primary opponent in 1974, the late Howard Samuels), ‘he's an American too.’ That represents the best of America.”
Squadron’s latest mailing is almost an exercise in profiling—a targeted Jewish piece that looks like the trailer for “Fiddler on the Roof: The Next Generation”. Or maybe we should call it “An American Tale”.
“My grandfather, Jack, left Galicia – in what would later become Poland – in 1900 and came through Ellis Island to settle at 81 Ludlow Street," Squadron is quoted as saying.
"It was a time when working families could still depend on the promise of New York: that with hard work, solid values, and good public schools they could make a better life for their children. It's a promise that today, for too many, seems out of reach."
Soon we hear the poignant story of how his grandfather worked as a deli man so his father, Howard, could go to Bronx Science, City College and then Columbia University "and the American Dream." Squadron also highlights his father's post as president of the American Jewish Congress, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations and a member of the UN Human Rights Commission.
There is even a token bone thrown to the Schwerner/Goodman type progressives, with a postage stamp sized picture of some meeting his mother attended during the 60s in Mississippi; some of the people appear to be black, but I'd misplaced my reading glasses, so it was hard to tell. Otherwise it’s all pictures (12 of them) of white people with Semitic features, and stock footage of the Jewish Lower East Side, being mailed to a district which is 54% minority.
I think it’s safe to assume that it did not go to Mrs. Spinelli, Mr. Henandez or the Chong family.
Frankly I’m a bit of a snob—if Mr. Squadron wants to send such schmaltz to alter kockers who live in Grand Street, Southbridge Towers, Cadman Plaza and Village View, I think we can all understand the cynical cost-benefit analysis that went into such pandering and maybe even overlook it; but does he really think that profiling Brownstone Brooklyn residents like me, who happen to have German and Eastern European surnames names, as if we were Schtetl Yids from Sheepshead Bay is a big vote-getter?
He must; he’s done a poll.
And while Squadron continues to portray himself as the grandson of little “Fievel Mouskewitz”, he continues to portray the incumbent Marty Connor, who came out of the anti-war and reform Democratic movements as “Honest John”, the untrustworthy corrupt oldtime Irish hack.
On April 15, Squadron challenged Connor concerning a past tax lien. Like many a taxpayer stupidly trying to save a buck, Connor tried to figure his own taxes and got tripped up by the great scourge of the New York Upper Middle Class, alternate minimum taxation. He misfigured, and couldn’t afford to pay what he owed, so he swallowed a hunk of interest and penalties and eventually paid it off. Serves him right for spending three hours a week on a law practice.
One can’t avoid death taxes or parking tickets. It’s the sort of problems that people who need to work for a living understand, so naturally Squadron didn’t.
When a reporter asked Squadron about his own returns, Squadron said he would release them when Connor released his own. So, Connor said "I'll release my last 5 years", and Squadron said OK.
At the DFNYC debate, and at several club meetings, Connor said "Dan and I are releasing five years of our tax returns", and Squadron sat there and nodded. You can even watch Squadron nodding on the video of the DFNYC debate posted by Azi Paybarah.
So, Connor released all five years, unredacted, together with five years of Ethics filings with letter categories revealed.
And look what Squadron does?:
Contact: Matt Stolbach
SQUADRON PLEDGES FULL DISCLOSURE FOR EVERY YEAR IN PUBLIC OFFICE
Campaign Will Make Tax Return and State Disclosure
The Squadron campaign will make the candidate's 2007 tax return and New York State disclosure form available for review. The availability is part of a pledge by Squadron to release this information for every year he holds public office.
Where: UAW 2325, 568 Broadway, 7th floor, Suite 702A (off Prince Street)
When: 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM, Tuesday, July 8th, 2008
What is Squadron hiding?
(Thank you 11:28 and Julia for pointing out that "What Bar" failed; I apologize for the misinformation I conveyed that it was merely sold)