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2008 Awards Dinner Highlights

The Citizens Union 2008 Annual Awards Dinner was held on Tuesday, October 28th at the Waldorf-Astoria. We honored four exemplary New York leaders:


Agnes Gund, Robert F. Wagner Jr. Award

Janno Lieber, Business Leadership Award

Basil A. Paterson, Civic Leadership Award

Dennison Young, Jr., Public Service Award


Click here to view our invitation and here to view a list of Past Citizens Union Awards Dinner Honorees.

“Citizens Union is here to bring many different voices together. Not so that we can decide policy issues. We leave that for many of our politicians who are here with us this evening. But, we are here to try to inform the debate.”— Peter J.W. Sherwin, Chair, CU and CUF
“Citizens Union serves as our city’s and our state’s conscious of good government, challenging New Yorkers and our elected official to always fight in the public interest.” — Dick Dadey, Executive Director, CU
“One of the biggest and most important tools that we have to educate voters is something called The Gotham Gazette, our website. This incredible website…You will see this wealth of information. Everyday, we digest all the newspapers. You plug into all of the important and relevant stories. There are hundreds of links into blogs and other websites that provide invaluable information that go to the life and core of our city, its problems, its potential solutions.” — Robert Abrams
“We have to reform our political and government system. We have to have a valid campaign finance program so that there is not undue influence in Albany or any place else.” — Governor David A. Paterson
“When I was first elected to the State Legislature in 1965, I learned so much from George Hallett, past executive secretary of Citizens Union. I learned about governance, legislative process, full disclosure, transparency, and his pet project, proportional representation. It’s a very special honor to be here tonight and refresh my memories of George Hallett.” — Basil A Paterson, Recipient of Civic Leadership Award
“Citizens Union has played a tremendous role in the revitalization of the city. You understand that good government just doesn’t happen. Left to its own devices, government can become overpowering. It can decline. It can decay. We were warned of that by James Madison. If men were angels, we wouldn’t need government. If men were angels, we wouldn’t need Citizens Union. You sit there and you help us remain focused on what the real focus of government should be. And there is absolutely no substitute…no matter how effective the mayor is…no matter how effective the governor is. There is no substitute for being involved in the life of government. That’s really what makes it work.” — Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani
“Universally, I think, you [Citizens Union] are praised for standing up and trying to improve our lives. And you are creating the debate that is very healthy for all of us to, in fact, engage in to improve our lives. ” — Dennison Young, Recipient of Public Service Award
“I would like to pay tribute to not only to good government and also to all of the politicians. All of you who have served government, I’d like to thank you because politicians get a raw deal because democracy is about government. Politics is the engine of democracy. And politicians are the engineers of democracy. Yes. There are good politicians and bad politicians. Some even become statesmen. But let’s not attack politicians as no good for our democracy. They are necessary and important for what is democracy.” — Vartan Gregorian
“The Citizens Union is a very important organization because it focuses on civic life — not only on good government, which is such an important component of civic life, but on other civic goods: the richness of our urban infrastructure, for one; our diversity, and our global reach.” — Agnes Gund, Recipient of the Robert F. Wagner Jr. Award
“Citizens Union has always stood for principles about how public issues ought to be debated and how government ought to be run: substantive analysis, public-spirited competence, ethics. It’s a powerful brand.” — Janno Lieber, Recipient of Civic Leadership Award
Honorary Chairs:
Hon. David Dinkins, Hon. Rudy Giuliani, Patricia M. Hynes, Richard Kahan, George S. Kaufman, Ogden N. Lewis, Hon. Charles B. Rangel, Roy L. Reardon, Elizabeth F. Stribling, Diana L. Taylor, and Hon. Peter F. Vallone, Sr.
Dinner Chairs:
John Avlon, Hon. Robert Abrams, Judi Rappoport Blitzer, Christina R. Davis, Daniel L. Doctoroff, David L. Greenbaum, John H. Gross, Gail H. Hilson, Robert M. Kaufman, Harold Levy, Gena Lovett, Grace Lyu-Volckhausen, Peter J. Powers, Peter J.W. Sherwin, and Larry A. Silverstein.
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