|Member of the New York Senate
from the 9th district
|Preceded by||Karen Burstein|
|Succeeded by||Dean G. Skelos|
|Born||September 21, 1923|
|Political party||Democratic Party|
|Residence||Lawrence, New York|
Carol Berman (born September 21, 1923) is a New York Democratic Party politician from Lawrence, in Nassau County, New York, United States, who served in the New York State Senate from 1979 to 1984. Berman first achieved attention for her efforts to prevent the landing of Concorde and other supersonic transports at nearby John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Berman had been part of the leadership of the Emergency Coalition to Stop the SST, which sought to stop Concorde from using Kennedy Airport, whose runway approaches pass over her Lawrence home. Protests led by Berman and other groups opposed to Concorde ran a series of protests at Kennedy Airport starting in May 1977 in which as many as 1,000 cars drove along the main airport roadway at the 6:00 p.m. peak, driving at 5 to 10 miles per hour. Berman announced in August 1978 that her group was seeking to raise $100,000 to be used to help fund a lawsuit against the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and encouraged other area residents to sue the Port Authority.
Berman had been a district aide in the offices of Assemblyman Eli Wager and of Representative Herbert Tenzer. She had been vice chairman of the Nassau County Democratic Committee and was a delegate for Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson at the 1976 Democratic National Convention in New York City.
Berman was elected in 1978 to fill the vacancy in the 9th Senate District caused by the departure of Karen Burstein, who was appointed to fill a seat on the New York State Public Service Commission. The district included portions of southwestern Nassau County, including the Atlantic Ocean communities of Point Lookout and Long Beach, along with the Five Towns, and then crossed over into southeastern Queens, including Rosedale, Springfield Gardens and South Jamaica, all of which encircle Kennedy Airport. The district was split evenly between Queens and Nassau and contained roughly equal numbers of African American and White voters, and had a strong Democratic majority. The New York Times opined in 1979 that "Berman could make a lifetime career in the Senate seat since the district is predominantly Democratic with a large Jewish population in Nassau and a large black population in the Queens portion." In the Senate, she served on the Corporation and Authorities Committee, the Transportation Committee and was the ranking minority member on the Commerce and Economic Development Committee.
In 1982, one-term Republican New York State Assemblyman Dean Skelos gave up his seat to challenge Berman. The reapportionment following the 1980 United States Census changed the boundaries of the 9th Senate District, which previously included parts of Queens County. The new district, drawn by Senate Republicans, was now entirely within Nassau County and favored Republicans, after the Queens portion of the district had been removed to satisfy the objective of Federal judges to create a district in southeastern Queens that would elect an African American to the Senate. Skelos was endorsed by the Republican and Conservative parties. Berman, running on the Democratic and Liberal party lines won the race by 6,108 votes (55,504 to 49,396). Matthew Doyle, the Right-to-Life party candidate, received 2,520 votes in the three-way race. Berman's victory over the well-financed Skelos made her the only Democrat elected to fill one of the eight State Senate seats in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Berman filed a $6 million suit against Skelos in Nassau Supreme Court, citing campaign literature that she claimed mischaracterized her positions on the use of plain language in insurance policies and on busing children across county lines.
In 1984, Skelos challenged Berman in a rematch. This time, Skelos, who had President Ronald Reagan visit the district and campaign for him, defeated Berman in a two-way race. Skelos won 50.7% to 49.3% (67,834 to 65,876).
Berman ran for election in 1986, challenging Skelos in their third consecutive state senate contest. Skelos, running on the Republican and Conservative party lines defeated the Democratic-Liberal candidate Berman in a three-way race, winning 53% of the vote (49,761) to 43.7% (41,005), and expanding from a nearly 2,000-vote margin in 1984 to a better than 8,000-vote edge in 1986. Right-to-Life party candidate, Joan McDermott received 3.2% (2,967) of the vote.
Long Island Rail Road gap accident
In September 2006, Carol Berman made news when she broke her ankle during a fall into a 10-inch-wide (250 mm) gap between a Long Island Rail Road train and the platform at the LIRR station in Lawrence, New York. The following month, after reading about a Minnesota teenager killed in an August 2006 gap fall and a former Rockette paralyzed in a 2004 fall, she filed a $1 million claim against the Long Island Rail Road and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The lawsuit was settled in January 2009 for $150,000.
- O'Grady, Jim. " NEIGHBORHOOD REPORT: THE ROCKAWAYS; Ears Ringing? It's Cheering Over the Demise Of the Concorde", The New York Times, April 27, 2003. Accessed September 24, 2008.
- Kihss, Peter. "Turnout Increases in Car Protest Against Concorde", The New York Times, May 23, 1977. Accessed September 18, 2008.
- Staff. "$100,000 Fund Sought in Drive To Sue Port Authority Over SST", The New York Times, August 9, 1978. Accessed September 18, 2008. "Calling the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey 'arrogant in its disregard' for the people in communities near Kennedy International and La Guardia Airports, Carol Berman, leader of the Emergency Coalition to Stop the SST, said she hoped to raise $100,000 to finance the $1.84 million suit that a group of Long Island individuals have brought against the authority."
- Lynn, Frank. "POLITICS A Happy Landing In State Senate", The New York Times, February 4, 1979. Accessed September 18, 2008.
- Lynn, Frank. "KEY POLITICAL RACES ARE SHAPING UP AFTER DISTRICT SHIFTS", The New York Times, July 25, 1982. Accessed September 18, 2008.
- Staff. "VOTING IN NEW YORK STATE FOR 61 SEATS IN THE SENATE", The New York Times, November 4, 1982. Accessed September 18, 2008.
- Lynn, Frank. "DEMOCRATS MAKE INROADS IN G.O.P. BASTION", The New York Times, November 7, 1982. Accessed September 18, 2008.
- Lynn, Frank. "2 ELECTION WINNERS MOVE TO SUE LOSERS", The New York Times, December 5, 1982. Accessed September 18, 2008.
- Oreskes, Michael. "AFTER THE VOTING: LOOKING FOR GUIDEPOSTS IN THE NEW POLITICAL LANDSCAPE; LEGISLATURE'S ALIGNMENT IS UNCHANGED IN ALBANY", The New York Times, November 8, 1984. Accessed September 18, 2008.
- Staff. "THE RETURNS ACROSS NEW YORK IN CAMPAIGNS FOR SEATS IN STATE LEGISLATURE; THE RESULTS OF THE BALLOTING FOR NEW YORK STATE SENATE", The New York Times, November 8, 1984. Accessed September 18, 2008.
- Finder, Alan. "ELECTION LEAVES THE BALANCE OF POWER UNCHANGED IN NEW YORK LEGISLATURE", The New York Times, November 6, 1986. Accessed September 18, 2008.
- Staff. "THE ELECTIONS: FACTS AND FIGURES; Balloting for State Senate: New York's 61 Districts", The New York Times, November 6, 1986. Accessed September 18, 2008.
- Maloney, Jennifer (2006-09-26). "A platform plunge: In latest gap mishap, former state senator falls onto rails while getting off Lawrence train, breaking ankle". Newsday. Retrieved 2009-04-13.
- Epstein, Reid J. (2006-10-27). "Former state senator files $1M claim". Newsday. Retrieved 2009-04-13.
- Chang, Sophia (2009-01-14). "Ex-state senator gets $150G gap settlement from LIRR". Newsday. Archived from the original on 2009-01-14. Retrieved 2009-04-13.
|New York State Senate|
|New York State Senate, 9th District