Mayor Bloomberg yesterday named 13 members to a panel to institute nonpartisan city elections - and it included the lawyer for radical activist Lenora Fulani. Attorney Harry Kresky said he was "thrilled" to be named to the fast-tracked Charter Revision Commission and was proud to be associated with Fulani, who's been accused of making anti-Semitic statements.
"Dr. Fulani has been a client of mine for many years," said Kresky. "I worked with her in building the Independence Party."
Bloomberg, a Republican, received 59,000 votes on the Independence Party line when he won City Hall last year.
Kresky said he expected Fulani to campaign for the mayor's proposal to have candidates run without Democratic, Republican or other party labels in future elections here.
Former Mayor Ed Koch, a Bloomberg supporter, said he doesn't have a problem with Kresky because "you cannot judge a lawyer by his clients."
But Koch said he'd never accept support from Fulani because of her anti-Semitic rhetoric.
Koch also said he'd oppose the charter commission, which includes five of his former appointees, if it tried to rush through proposals so they could appear on the ballot in November.
"They can't possibly do the job in six weeks and come up with an intelligent proposal," said Koch. "I like the mayor, but he's not always right. On this one, he's dead wrong."
Bloomberg said the issue was "not that complex. If you think about it, the Constitution was written in a few months."
Bill Cunningham, the mayor's communications director, defended the appointment of Kresky, saying, "He's done a lot of work in nonpartisan elections" in his role as counsel to the Independence Party.
Cunningham tried to distance the administration from Fulani, saying the mayor "maybe met her twice."
In a speech in January, Fulani said Bloomberg "kept his distance from me" in the campaign last year because "he was afraid of the media."
Fulani also said there was no reason for Jesse Jackson to apologize for his infamous "Hymietown" slur.
"The remark was, of course, no more or less anti-Semitic than millions of remarks made every day in the black community - just as millions of racist remarks are made in the white and Jewish communities," she said.