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Boro insider falls outside Dem party machine plans

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After flirting with the possibility of entering the race for the state Senate or the state Assembly and bucking the Queens party bosses, longtime Democratic political insider Jeff Gottlieb has decided he will not run against the party choices for the seats.

Gottlieb decided last Thursday that he would not try to dethrone 10-term state Assemblywoman Nettie Mayersohn (D-Fresh Meadows) even though he has $60,000 in the bank from his aborted run to replace his former boss, City Councilman Morton Povman.

“I didn’t get the support of the district leaders and of the Democratic organization,” said Gottlieb, who is 60. “I am upset and it is not easy to get un-upset. There is no vengeance and I will help those people who I think are good candidates.”

Gottlieb would not divulge his conversation with the Democratic party bosses, but said he still is open to running for an elected office and has discussed the possibilities with the party. Gottlieb said he would remain loyal to the party and not “push.”

Nevertheless, Gottlieb pointed out the longtime loyalty to his party has not helped him get rewarded with the party’s backing in a race for an elected seat.

“Whatever will be will be,” he said.

In May 2001, Gottlieb, being a party loyalist, bowed out of the city council race eventually won by Jim Gennaro at Queens Democratic Party chief Tom Manton’s request. The party had endorsed Barry Grodenchik for the seat. Grodenchik recently received the party’s blessing in his run for the newly created assembly seat in Flushing against Democratic district leader Ethel Chen.

Gottlieb, the legislative aide to City Councilman David Weprin (D-Hollis) and a longtime aide to two powerful Forest Hills Democrats, Povman and former Assemblyman Alan Hevesi, obeyed the party and dropped out of the council race. Rumors circulated that he would be tapped by the party for state Sen. Daniel Hevesi’s (D-Forest Hill) seat.

That deal fell by the wayside when Hevesi’s seat was redistricted and combined with state Sen. Toby Stavisky’s (D-Flushing) seat. Hevesi then announced he would not seek re-election in a race against Stavisky.

While he waits his turn for the chance to run for office, Gottlieb said he would continue working with Weprin on legislative matters, press and community relations.

In addition, he said, he would pursue his volunteer activities with the Queens Historical Society, giving symposiums, guiding historical walking tours around the borough and building plans for the development of a Queens Jewish Historical Society.

Gottlieb also has promised the Greater Development Corporation that he would put together a walking tour of downtown Jamaica focusing on the long, colorful history of the diverse neighborhood.

Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

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