Category Archive: Blogs

Jan 29 2013

Failures of Mainstream Journalism Borderline Cronyism

From Truenews:

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Spitting in the Face of Thomas Jefferson Today’s Journalist Do Not Feel It is There Job to Informthe Public. . .  And They Do Not Care What You Think

As True News reported yesterday New Yorkers have no clue what the 2013 candidates for mayor will do if they are elected.  Today’s journalist spend more time spreading candidates and consultants spin instead of doing research to find out who these candidates are.  We have a public that knows nothing more about the candidates then the consultants want them to know and many in the press feel they are doing their job.   Many play ball with insiders, looking for high paying jobs from consultants like George Arzt or in government. Reporter Adam Lisberg last year got a high paying job with the  MTA.  Other journalist play ball because they need the tips and explanations of insiders because they are clueless about the subject they are covering.

 

The lessons of John Peter Zenger and generations of reporters who saw themselves as Jeffersonian truth seekers are lost.  Today’s journalist like their pols they cover lack the embarrassed gene.  They dismiss any person blame for dumb down thepublic. It is ironic that in an era where the internet and bloggers put information at the finger tips of today’s main stream journalist they have stop doing investigative reportering.  These same insiders journalist go out of their way to ignor and black list bloggers who write the real stories.  For 13 years blogger Rafael Martínez Alequín exposed the corruption of Padro Espadahe was even beaten by Espada thugs for information he was exposing about them.  The take over of Albany and the millions that the senator rip off from the government would not have happen if the media did not blacklist what Alequin exposed. More on the Failure of Journalism

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/01/failures-of-mainstream-journalism/

Jan 17 2013

New Blog Sheds Light On Political Expenditures

In keeping up with an age of increased transparency and citizen journalism, Jon Reznick has blown the lid off campaign finance expenditures with a brand new investigative blog called Follow The Money 2013.

Reznick, the Treasure of the New York State Young Democracts, said the inspiration came from observing that most critics concentrated on campaign donations, rather than campaign expenditures,”…most people look at donors, I’m interested in where these campaigns spend, and how their products are priced,” wrote Reznick.

But like most people shedding light on political issues, he faced some resistance. Reznick said he was contacted by the Campaign Finance Board alleging copyright infringement (they said he couldn’t use their logo) just a mere eight hours after the blog launched on Tumblr.

In response friends joked, “If only government responses were that quick.”

In the meantime the blog seems to be catching on quickly, and as the first round of campaign filings were made this month, surely he will receive a lion’s share of traffic in the immediate future.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/01/reznick-follow-the-money-blog/

Dec 08 2012

New Blog: The Barkan Report

He’s not exactly the new kid on the block, he’s Ross Barkan and chances are if you read the local newspapers, you’ve read his work. The former Queens Tribune reporter became a well-known figure in Queens politics in a very short time. And now, since his departure, he’s spearheaded his own blog, The Barkan Report and it’s already causing quite a stir.

Since we’ve been posting a lot about the Borough Presidents Race on Queens-Politics, here’s an excerpt from his article Peralta or Comrie? 

Interviews with multiple Democratic sources have revealed that the battle for the backing of the Queens Democratic Party in next year’s borough president race is between Councilman Leroy Comrie and State Sen. Jose Peralta.

Both are minority candidates, a plus for Party Chair Joe Crowley, who is looking to appear as a progressive leader at home while climbing the political ladder in Washington. After making what turned out to be a far-sighted move in backing Grace Meng for the 6th District seat, Crowley is searching for a candidate representative of Queens’ changing demographics who can replicate Meng’s success, according to sources.

Peralta may have the inside track because of Comrie’s fundraising struggles.

“The filing in six weeks is very important,” said one Democratic source. “The organization looks at the viability of candidates. No money is a problem.”

Comrie, according to his most recent filings, has pulled in a paltry $61,151. Peralta has just about equaled that number, though his fundraising efforts began more recently.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/12/new-blog-the-barkan-report/

Oct 04 2012

Behar says two years later and Albany is still a mess!

For interesting and thought provoking political commentary check out www.boycottevil.com

Steve Behar, a former candidate for Assembly and campaign manager for James Sanders’ primary victory, is calling shenanigans on so-called “independent reform” candidates.

Behar’s blog, www.boycottevil.com is a must read for political enthusiasts. In his most recent article (which caught my eye), names were omitted, however I’m willing to bet the farm he was referring to State Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (and other candidates too) who rode into office touting reform platforms and two years later have failed to deliver on any of their promises.

Legislative reform bills are also suggested and worth further exploration. I know they are mere suggestions but it’s more than most politicians have done in their first term(s).

Anyway, hope is not lost as another essay contest from disgraced ex-Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret Carrozza’s protege may very well clean up the cesspool in Albany.

Check out the article below:

From BoycottEvil: Very soon voters in New York State will once again head to the polls to vote in the upcoming Election.  While I am NOT a candidate for office this year, the season brings me back to 2010 when I was a candidate for the New York State Assembly.  It also reminds me of how dysfunctional our state government still is and how hard it will be to fix it.

In the two years since I ran for the Assembly, our state government in Albany has once again been a miserable failure and remains a cesspool of corruption.  Two years ago nearly every candidate from Montauk to Buffalo was a self-proclaimed “Independent Reformer.”  These charlatans promised to reign in the lobbyists and special interests, to institute independent redistricting and pass ethics laws to curb the corruption in Albany.  None of that happened in the last session of the legislature.

Lobbyists and special interests still buy and own our politicians.   Many times it’s not the most informed candidates who win an election.  It’s also not the most well-intentioned candidates who win elections.  Instead, most of the time it’s the candidate who is best at selling his or her soul to the monied lobbyists and special interests who get elected.  Once these rascals get to Albany, instead of writing and passing legislation for the betterment of their communities and our state, they push legislation and push contracts that support their financial backers.

Regarding independent redistricting, while in 2010 nearly every candidate signed Mayor Koch’s pledge to pass an independent redistricting law, once they got to Albany the same folks forgot their pledge and saddled our state with hideous, politically motivated districts for the next ten years. Instead of having an independent commission draw district lines that are concise and compact and keep communities together, we once again have politically motivated districts that snake through and divide communities in order to protect the incumbent representative’s re-election prospects.

The worst act of insult was the legislatures passage of a joke of an ethics law.  The law did nothing to stop the corruptive influence of dirty money in Albany.  No one cared to pass campaign finance laws to stop the corruption.  No one cared to close the loopholes that monied interests use to by-pass the current campaign finance laws.  No one passed any laws to stop the revolving door between government officials and the lobbyists.

My suggestion to the winners of the 2012 state elections is to go to Albany and actually do something!  I suggest you start with three important pieces of legislation.

1.     It’s time to pass real campaign finance reform that eliminates the strangle hold that lobbyists and special interests have on our politicians. Arizona, Maine and Connecticut each have enacted public financing of elections laws that have worked.   It is time to create such a program for New York.  It’s time that politicians answer to the people that vote for them and not the people who finance their political campaigns.

2.   While it won’t help for until the next decade, Albany must pass an independent redistricting law now so that we don’t have to deal with the political shenanigans that we witnessed this year.

…. For the full article visit the site.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/10/behar-says-albany-is-still-a-mess-reform-is-dead/

May 15 2012

True News: In the swamp of Queens politics Jennings might be the only pol not owned by Crowley machine

From True News: The Secret Congressional Race in Queens

The Media Does Not Want You To Know That This Former City Councilman is Running Against A Congressman Under Several Federal Investigations
The local Queens media has never been a fan of Alan Jennings.  When he was elected in 2002 the media arm of the Queens Democratic Machine the Queens Tribune attacked Jennings by calling him a gay pron star with the same name, titled “The Naked Truth”.  Jennings who beat the Queens machine candidate called the paper racist and threatening to sue this paper. It is the same paper which attacked Dan Halloran over his religion right before his election.  Jennings did provide the media with a string of odd behavior was given the council’s strongest punishment for sexual harassment $5000.  The one thing clear about Jennings is that he is a strong man who keeps moving forward and knows how to run for office against the Queens machine or a council speaker. In the swamp of Queens politics jennings might be the only pol not owned by Crowley machine. Jennings is running in the Democrat primary and has the GOP and conservative lines.

Jennings Might Be the Only Pol in Queens Not Sent to Jail . . . Mclaughlin, Seminerio and Now Espada

Jennings was stripped of a committee assignment after voting against a property tax increase supported by the Speaker Miller.   But for all his problems, the NYT said Mr. Jennings also gained a reputation in his short time in the Council (he was first elected in 2001) for running an operation that was highly responsive to constituents. In fact, his office became known for responding to constituents’ calls with either a call or a personal visit within 48 hours. In Crowley Queens dictatorship Jennings is one of the few independents who have survived.  Is he any worse than Rubin Wells who is a Queens councilman with warrants for his arrest. There is no hint of corruption around Jennings in a borough that has seen many pols sent to jail or under investigation.  This Time Jennings is challenging Congressman Meeks who is under both congressional and FBI DOJ investigation for a series of things including a $40,000 loan from a indicted Guyanese businessman Edul “Ed” Ahmad who the congressman help get $$$. Rep. Gregory Meeks Investigated Over $40000 ‘Gift’ * U.S. Representative Gregory Meeks Ethics Complaint  *  Feds probe New Yorkers Organized to Assist Hurricane Families led * The Stench Gets Worse | The New York Observer * Gregory Meeks » Queens Politics

Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/05/truenews/

Apr 16 2012

Meet the Influence

The Influence is an insightful blog with highly illuminating commentary. The author, Billy Ferarro is sharp as a tack with a crackerjack wit that reflects in his articles.

Based in Long Island, The Influence is like the cousin of Queens-Politics with a focus on political and social issues trending across the country.

The article, 12 Things You Need To Know Before Running For Office speaks with authority and a healthy dose of sarcasm. Below you will find a brilliant and canny guide to running a real campaign.

It is a must read for all politicos out there.

 

[From The Influence] Over the last eight years, I’ve worked for close to a hundred public figures in various roles. These range from volunteering and intern gigs, to being a legislative analyst in the state capital, to a campaign manager, fundraiser, “operative”, and social media consultant. From Republicans, to Democrats, to a slew of third party candidates, I’ve been around the best of the best, the very worst, and the ones who are so bad that I questioned the meaning of life, repeatedly, while downing shots of Wild Turkey…repeatedly.

This one goes out to the Hydes, not the Jekylls – every bad candidate I ever worked for, or ran into at an event, whose ideas were so bad that I was left mute, jaw clenched, eyes wide and stupefied by unfiltered stupid. Sounds harsh, right? Well I’m about to re-emphasize all the wonderful fundamentals about running for public office that you glossed over while daydreaming about your debate talking points, victory speech, future staff appointments, and 10-point plan to fix the economy. You need to understand right here and now, that solving the world’s problems is THE EASY PART. Winning elected office? That’s where it gets tricky.

So here are 12 THINGS YOU ABSOLUTELY NEED TO KNOW BEFORE RUNNING FOR OFFICE:

1. Run For The Right Reasons

Tell me you want to make a difference in the community. Tell me it’s your dream. Tell me you want money, power, and women. Those are powerful motivations that can carry you through this. But PLEASE don’t tell me you’re running because you hate the other guy.

There are more productive ways to settle the score with your neighbor or arch-enemy. These include: using your connections on the zoning board to fuck with his property, stealing his newspaper, spreading rumors, and/or challenging him to a duel. But don’t waste everybody else’s time on a vendetta. And don’t start grinding the axe because of some attacks or allegations made during the campaign. You lost the luxury to take politics personally when you announced your candidacy – be a man (or a woman) and DEAL WITH IT. Michael Corleone didn’t take personal offense when they shot his father, and he went on to a very successful career. Learn from him!

2. People Need To Know You

“You know, people really like me and love what I have to say.” This is what a candidate for local office once told me. The reality is, the only people who liked him were the ones he saw in the mirror when he imagined his stump speech. Know this: running for office isn’t political fantasy camp. If you’re interested in holding elected office and aren’t a multi-millionaire (and even if you are), start by joining a civic association, getting involved and running for school board, volunteering/donating to local non-profits, or attending public hearings. People mocked President Obama for being a community organizer, but that’s probably what got him elected to the Illinois State Senate. Clearly it launched him into bigger things.

Participation in the community is how people get to know and like you. Organizing is how you gain their trust. Say you oppose the building of a development on a parcel of historic land. Go to the public hearings, talk to like-minded people, meet and organize a petition drive, write letters to the editor, and create an e-mail list. When that seat you’re eyeing comes up for election, people will see your name and say, “Oh yeah! That’s the person who helped defeat that shitty development plan!” You can’t buy that kind of credibility.

3. You Need To Have a Fundraising Plan

If any of these points are “least optional”, it’s this one by far. It goes without saying, you can’t run a campaign without money. So how do you develop a fundraising plan? You need monthly goals, reliable venues, and most importantly, a list of people you know. It sounds so basic, but it’s the one thing untrained candidates always miss. Instead, they go around to staff and volunteers saying, “If anybody can bring in money, they get a cut!” On multiple occasions, people who hired me and a partner to fundraise for them asked us, “So who do you guys know?” Let’s get something straight: it’s not about who your fundraiser knows, it’s about who YOU know. You’re the one running for office! A good fundraiser can show you how to take your contacts, and create a fundraising web out of them.

You may even think you don’t know anybody, but that’s not true. Write down the names of friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances. List them in categories from richest to poorest. Start at the top, and ask the most well-connected of your contacts who their richest friends are. For your first fundraiser, make it a small, intimate event where you can build confidence among your strongest contacts. Get them excited and energized to help you, whether it’s event-planning, volunteering, or fundraising. Most people can get 50-100 to attend a wedding, and all those people have friends that would probably come with them if invited, and those people have friends, and so on. That’s how you need to approach fundraising.

Don’t mistake a fundraiser for a bundler. A bundler is a rich, enthusiastic supporter who can put on events for you and has a cadre of rich buddies who love a good cause. Having good bundlers is a luxury; developing a coherent fundraising plan is not.

4. Start Early

We live in a perpetual campaign cycle, so the earlier you can start, the better. You know the election is in November – I would suggest having your first fundraiser by the end of the previous year. Don’t roll out of bed three moths before the election and expect to win. Tony Montana might sum it up something like, “First you get the money, then you get the people, then you do your petitions, then you run your ads, then you slime your opponent, then you get out the vote, and THEN you get the power!”

5. You Need 10 Super-Volunteers

Well, 10 is a nice number. I guess it could be 9, or 8, but shoot for 10. If you don’t know 10 people who like you enough to walk districts with you regularly, you have no business being on the ballot. I’m not talking about the people who find you via newspaper ads, television, or the internet. Those will come later. But you need to start off with a group of enthusiastic people who will be with you until the very end. They are probably family or good friends, and maybe one or two are rabid supporters who heard about or met you. Lean on them to help with events and get you through the petition drive. The organization will build over time, and more will come aboard. But again, this all goes back to the previous three steps. If you’re broke, started late, and nobody knows you, the campaign is all in your head.

6. Platforms Are a Three-Course Meal, Not a Smorgasbord

If you took a person from the community, explained to them that if elected you will “lower taxes, balance the budget, get more state funding for schools, get labor concessions on union contracts, protect land from overdevelopment, put more cops on the street, penalize companies that pollute, institute a recycling program, push for the decriminalization of marijuana, cut down on medicaid fraud, and promote green energy”, then said, “Now quick, tell me what I’m going to do if elected!”…how much do you think they’ll remember?

Probably next to nothing. The whole point of developing a platform is so that people remember it when they go to vote. Don’t overload them with your 25-point plan to save the universe. Hell, don’t overload yourself. Having a bold vision is great, put keep it to a few main points that are easy to remember. Think of it like a meal, or a dinner plate. You have your steak (big, bold proposal!), your baked potato (slightly less bold, but very much needed proposal), and your sweet corn (very cool, exciting idea). Overload the plate and by the time they’re halfway finished, the rest looks disgusting. If people want more info, they can go to your website. Of course you need a vision for the thousand-and-one problems affecting the community, but people will ask you about that in good time.

Your main platform is the two, three, or four talking points you drill into people’s heads over, and over, and over again until it becomes synonymous with your name. Facing a tough question you can’t answer? Bring it back to the platform. You can’t be all things to all people, so develop a brief, consistent platform based on your larger vision for the community.

7. You Have To Walk (Seriously)

Stop sitting around the campaign office acting like a big shot. Get off your fat, lazy ass, and go meet some people. YOU, candidate, person asking for votes – jump in a car with a team of walkers, and bang out an election district by dawn. If the election is in 150 days, and there are 50 election districts (EDs) in the wider legislative district you’re running in, and you walk one ED per day (or 7 per week), you will have walked the entire district three whole times before the vote. And guess what? It didn’t cost you a dime. No amount of mailers, phone calls, or commercials, all of which together cost thousands of dollars, are as valuable as the free time you spend meeting people. Sounds simple in theory, but it takes an incredible amount of willpower to keep that up over an entire campaign cycle.

I’ve worked for candidates who started their day early, made phone calls to ask for money, attended a public event, shook hands at a bus stop or supermarket, did a phone interview or wrote something for the local paper, and finished out the day by walking one or two election districts, stopping at around 7 or 8 o’clock. Any hours not spent meeting people or asking for money were dedicated to event planning. They met virtually everyone in the district many times over, and held a fundraiser 1-2 times per month. None of this cost them anything but time, and even a shitty fundraiser should break even. Needless to say, they were always competitive on election day if they didn’t outright win. If you already hold office, pray to Zeus you never run into a challenger like this, because they will force it to the final drive and MAKE YOU beat them.

Lazy, out of shape, weak-willed candidates do not survive the cycle. By October they already look beaten and worn (and they didn’t even do anything!). I volunteered for one guy who did nothing but sit in his office cracking jokes. He had a 3 to 1 money advantage over his opponent, actually held this seat once before, and said he was too old to walk districts, and that everybody knew him already. He went on to lose in embarrassing fashion to a woman who ran like her life depended on it.

Don’t send other people out to walk for you if the district is small enough that one person can cover it over the course of the election. People don’t want to talk to volunteers, or have garbage hung on their door knob with your big dumb face on it. They want to meet YOU. Walk, meet people, and when they’re not home, personally sign the garbage you leave on their door. They’ll remember it! If you’re too old to walk, then you’re too old to run.

8. Be a Gentleman (or a Woman)

You would be amazed at how many candidates have a problem with hygiene. Comb your hair, smell nice, and for fuck’s sake, try to get through a meal without spilling it on yourself. What are you, five years old? People don’t vote for nutjobs with maple syrup all over their shirt. In fact, if you’re my candidate, I don’t want you eating at events at all. I’m serious – don’t even sit down. If it’s a suit and tie affair with a buffet, stay away from the food, have a drink in hand (pretend to sip it for all I care), and work the entire room.

Pancake breakfast? Same deal. Grab a coffee, lightly sip it, have ONE PANCAKE just to show them you’re human, and that shit better be cut up nicely with nothing on it that drips. Walk around, sit with people, and shake everyone’s hand before you leave.

Don’t find yourself in a corner, stuffing your face, locked in deep conversation with the only person crazier than you. Congratulations, you and your soulmate solved the universe in three hours. If only there were 875 hours in a day, you’d have time to bond with everybody like that. Too bad there’s 24 and you just wasted an entire event on one person. “I’m shy; not really a people person.” That sucks – NEVER RUN FOR OFFICE.

9. Don’t Bitch About The Media – Use Them

Most of the town reads a local newspaper. It helps to be cordial with the people who write it! This seems to be a problem for Republicans, who get their rocks off dismissing all the local news as “liberal rags” that are out to get them. Even if that is the case, be cordial anyway, and always be highly accessible. It’s hard to slime a candidate who is friendly and likable, and all it takes is one bad experience with your opponent for them to decide, “You know what? Fuck that guy, I’m endorsing the campaign who treats me well.”

Beyond this, you should be submitting columns to them, having your most fervent supporters write letters to be published, and getting volunteers to share your campaign on Facebook, Twitter, and message boards. Conspiracy theories about the media never won anybody votes. Sometimes, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

10. For Third Party Candidates: Have a Goal Other Than Winning

This is a hard sell, but third party candidates have to realize what they’re up against. First off, the previous 9 points? That goes double for the third parties. You need to work twice as hard, twice as much as the other two, because there is no larger organization to piggy-back off of. The chances of you winning on a third party line are so low, so absolutely remote, that you would be doing a serious disservice to yourself and your supporters by not having a plan B.

I am a big supporter of third parties gaining traction, but they need to be smart. Getting one of the major parties to co-opt your platform (i.e. realize it’s working and steal it) is a good thing. That means in spite of losing, your issue won the day. But the only way that’s going to happen is if you can grab a decent portion of the vote.

Maybe your campaign operation scares enough people that they offer you a position that would allow you to impact the district in other ways, or provides a greater voice to your loyal following. Or maybe you’re just after whatever percentage of the vote that will gain your party “major party” status. There are plenty of reasons to stay in the race beyond winning, but you’ll still need to work hard enough to get something like 10, 15, or 20 percent of the vote.

11. If You’re Going To Primary a Party Favorite, You Must Divide & Conquer The Committee

Here’s the thing about primaries: regular people don’t vote in them. It’s all legislative staffers, organization hacks, and the friends and family of those people. If you’re going to shove a rocket up the party chairman’s ass, make sure you a) have a real list of the committee members and b) have a shot at dividing them. People need to be really upset with the “endorsed candidate” for them to consider an alternative. They have to believe their jobs or future with the party won’t be jeopardized by supporting you.

Remember that the party chairman typically HATES democracy. Despises it, in fact. Their attitude is basically, “Shut up and support who I give you, dummy”. If it was up to them, society would be governed by an Aristotelian cadre of hand-picked loyalists. Essentially, this is the party process. When the committee is unanimously behind a candidate, chances are a primary is futile.

12. Keep Your ‘Crazy’ To Yourself

This is for the third partiers more than anyone else, but it applies across the board. Do not talk about conspiracy theories in public, do not tell people you watch Ancient Aliens on the History Channel, do not talk about fluoride in the water, and do not waste people’s time with revisionist history about “who really killed JFK” and other wacky nonsense concerning what you think you know about what goes on behind the scenes. Hell, you might even be RIGHT about one of your theories. But there is no point in polarizing people over something that never needed to be brought up. Stick to the issues they care about.

Also, give your staff a break and don’t repeatedly bother them with paranoid bullcrap like “They’re tapping my phone!” and “My opponent put a tail on me!” This is not a Tom Clancy novel, it’s real life, and you need to stop treating your campaign like the ultimate adventure. Don’t be wacky-fun guy with the catch-phrase and the odd getup either. Nobody needs that in their life.

On the contrary, don’t overcompensate so much that you’re showing up on people’s doorsteps wearing a suit and tie like a proselytizer from the freaking Church of Latter Day Saints. Take it from me: people won’t answer the door if they think you’re trying to convert them.

Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/04/meet-the-influence/

Feb 08 2012

Have You No Decency Sir?

Senator Tony Avella is a fierce advocate for his constituents.

At the Queens LATFOR hearing, pugnacious state Senator Tony Avella demands the attention of Senator Nozzolio with gusto.

Albany Watch: The folks at New York Now captured a great video of a very testy exchange between a pair of state senators on opposite sides of ongoing redistricting debate, with Queens Democrat Tony Avella going head to head with Republican Michael Nozzolio during a public hearing yesterday.

Shortly after the clip starts, Avella grows frustrated with Nozzolio and asks for his undivided attention. Nozzolio—a Fayette, Seneca County, Republican who co-chairs the Legislature’s redistricting task force—was conversing with an aide.

“Senator Nozzolio, can I have your attention?” Avella asked. “Senator? Can I have your attention while I’m speaking?”

“Continue,” Nozzolio said. “You’re time is running.”

Later, when Avella charged that Senate Republicans “have done something absolutely disgraceful” in gerrymandering district lines to protect their majority, Nozzolio fired back.

“You made a charge, senator,” Nozzolio said. “Where is your documentation? Are you submitting documentation of this charge for the record?”

“Look at my testimony, senator,” Avella said.

Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/02/have-you-no-decency-sir/

Jan 20 2012

IT’S A SHAME FOR YOU NOT TO MAKE GOOD MONEY – WHEN THESE MEN DO IT SO EASILY

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Snapple Fact for Ed Cox: The entire party system is in shambles. The old way of doing business is over as the torch has been passed to a younger generation tempered by the advent of social media and disciplined by the nepotism the Party demonstrates,

Snapple Politics: Made from the best stuff on Earth.

Will Ferraro, a friend of Queens-Politics.com, political observer, and blogger explores the innate nepotism in Long Island’s GOP politics.

We here in Queens can relate. Fantastic insight and well worth a read.

No Country For Young Men: The Iniquitous Legacy of Brookhaven GOP 

Early arrivals can’t make an entrance. They’re the eager ones – waiting at 9 o’clock sharp, anticipating local players, party leaders, dignitaries, whoever.

On this occasion, I won’t be caught sojourning in the reserved room at the Crowne Plaza in Holtsville, alternating Cokes and Heinekens while trying to figure out my best standing-posture through trial by error, until somebody walks in and shakes my hand. Been there, done that. Over-eagerness gets you trampled by the Republican elephant in Suffolk County, where the GOP is reputed to eat it’s young. 27 years is too old to be the perpetual young man; the perpetual volunteer.

Tonight is March 29, 2011. Special election Tuesday, and I arrive at the hotel well into the second hour of “Victory Night”, a celebratory countdown to the moment when Marty Haley is declared winner of Assemblyman Dan Losquadro’s vacant county legislature seat. When he wins – note the surety, as I am confident in this candidate, a man whose 3-to-1 money advantage in a Republican-friendly district makes victory a matter of course.

All the volunteering leads up to this, a soiree of social awkwards and aging stalwarts lining up to bring plates of catered buffalo wings into a half-empty reserved room. The everybodys of anybody are sequestered in the hotel bar/restaurant, ordering food you actually have to pay for. That means party leaders, judges, the idiot sons and nephews of said leaders and judges, and anybody who didn’t buy their suit at Karako. My suit was purchased there but F ‘em, I’m going in anyway, ready to network with a vengeance.

Next to me handing out business cards is the Executive Director of the Suffolk County Republican Committee, Mike Chapman. His job detail of late has been to deal with the internal crapstorm created by County Executive Steve Levy’s abrupt exit from his re-election race in the fall. The dark cloud of ethical suspicion that chased Levy off his hilltop now hovers over the $100,000 of campaign funds he donated to the county GOP.

“You think LaValle’s going to spend it?” I ask him, referring to the county chairman’s predicament over the Levy money.

“To be honest, I think he’s more concerned over who’s taking his Snapples,” Mike tells me. “This guy, no joke, sends me to the store to pick up his diet raspberry Snapples – sends me back when he sees I got him the glass bottles! He goes, ‘Nah, nah, that ain’t gonna work for me!’ So I returned them for the plastic.”

People begin to pack the reserved room as precinct-by-precinct election results are updated on the big-screen. I scan the room for Marty to wish him luck, only to be informed that he’s locked away in a private room with his advisers, which include chairman LaValle.

The first time I stepped into John Jay LaValle’s office, I immediately recognized it was furnished to resemble the Oval Office (complete with blue carpet). Given that the Suffolk GOP’s emblem is a Presidential seal complete with eagle, this did not surprise me. Cousin of State Senator Ken LaValle, John Jay is the former Brookhaven Town Supervisor who resigned in 2005 after many town officials were convicted of corruption. In 2009, he returned to politics by winning the chairmanship with the backing of John Powell, the former Suffolk GOP chairman who was convicted in 1999 and 2000 for multiple crimes including bribe-taking, racketeering, conspiracy, and extortion. Powell was sentenced to two years in federal prison for his role in helping to run an illegal chop-shop.

Anticipation turns to dread as the numbers pour in, precinct after precinct reporting a majority for Haley’s opponent, Sarah Anker. Hope dwindles as the margin for error contracts. 90% reporting – 95% – 99% – 100% – and its Anker by a hair. Marty is handed his third loss in four years, and the woman who was mocked for weeks by the Haley campaign as hopelessly stupid (“She’s a community organizer!”) just kicked in the door and took Park Ave. right off our game board. This was the Losquadro seat for Christ’s sake.

Nobody emerges from Marty’s private room – not him, nor Chairman LaValle, nor Fred Towle, the former legislator who pled guilty to corruption in the ‘90’s, whose involvement in the campaign was not to be made public. There would be no organized send-off, no thanks for all the hard work, nothing. Hell, Brookhaven GOP leader Jesse Garcia, another remnant of Brookhaven’s proud past, wouldn’t even be down to make good on his alleged offer of five dollars per Anker lawn sign. The wizards simply remained behind their curtain.

“Marty didn’t walk,” Mike remarks to me.

“Oh yeah?”

“I asked him the other day in his campaign office if he was walking districts. He told me he didn’t need to because everybody knew him.”

Politics is a game of golden dreams that are built like Aztec cities, with a greatness that is self-evident and susceptible to being destroyed in one night. This wasn’t the first time I witnessed a man’s aspirations burn to the ground.

In 2010, it was Randy Altschuler, whose failed Congressional bid was plagued by flawed strategy and Republican in-fighting, turning a prospect for victory into epic defeat.

After Marty’s election night debacle came Chairman LaValle’s third Waterloo in one year. November 2011 saw every non-incumbent Republican candidate for Suffolk County Legislature lose, most embarrassing of them all being John Giannott’s squandering of a sure-thing victory to the hapless Rob Calarco, who was severely outspent.

In the race to replace Levy, LaValle’s failure to recruit a worthy candidate or raise money (the two most essential functions of the Chairman’s job) led to the unlikely nomination of Angie Carpenter, who like Altschuler had been privately and publicly derided by the chairman until it became apparent he needed her.

Embarrassing defeats in Brookhaven and other towns overshadowed the isolated success of Islip GOP, one of the only town parties to distance itself from past corruption and embrace fresh, young candidates with disciplined organization and fundraising ability.

Since last year, the Suffolk County Republican Committee under LaValle’s leadership is on repayment plan to the county for the $100,000 in Levy donations it wound up spending on failed races. Brookhaven, previously the last bastion of machine politics in America, continues to withdraw credibility from the party like a fiend with an ATM card. The latest transgression came when Chairman Garcia awarded the ex-con Powell with a distinction of honor at a fundraiser.

[Democratic Machine is alive and well oiled in Queens! -QP]

Republicans young and old will continue to stand in dumbstruck awe of disappointing results each November as long as criminality, nepotism, and the lust for power for power’s sake continue to flow in the bloodstream of Suffolk County and Brookhaven.

LaValle has assured his many good soldiers that 2012 will be the Republicans’ year. My question to those tragic faithful is very simple: how many Waterloos will you permit before Napoleon is banished to St. Helena? 

Will Ferraro is a social media and policy analyst, and the Editor of The Influence. You can follow him on Twitter @FerraroW

Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/01/gop-nepotism-trending-across-long-island-duh/

Dec 19 2011

I Shed No Tears

Jackson Heights resident, Bill Meehan is the author of a poignant and socially conscious blog titled the Bill E Pulpit. Read Bill’s latest post, I Shed No Tears where he ruminates on how honor shouldn’t come by default.

Diogenes admonishes “De mortuis nihil nisi bonum”, loosely translated as “Speak no ill of the dead”. Judith Butler, an American post-structuralist philosopher, states: “some lives are grievable and some are not.”

Two “important” people died this past week, Christopher Hitchens and Cardinal John Foley. The obituaries, for the most part, adhered to Diogenes’ advice; I would follow Butler and state that neither death was grievable. 

Publicly mourning someone like Hitchens in the way we are supposed to do — holding him up as someone who was “one of us,” even if we disagree with him — is also a way of quietly reinforcing the “we” that never seems to extend to the un-grievable Arab casualties of Hitch’s favorite wars. It’s also a “we” that has everything to do with being clever and literate and British (and nothing to do with a human universalism that stretches across the usual “us” and “them” categories). And when it is impolitic to mention that he was politically atrocious (in exactly the way of Kissinger, if not to the extent), we enshrine the same standard of human value as when the deaths of Iraqi children from cluster bombs are rendered politically meaningless by our lack of attention.

Corey Robin wrote that “on the announcement of his death, I think it’s fair to allow Christopher Hitchens to do the things he loved to do most: speak for himself,” and then assembled two representative passages from Hitchens’ post-9/11 writings. 

In the first, Hitchens celebrated the ability of cluster bombs to penetrate through a Koran that a Muslim may be carrying in his coat pocket  (“those steel pellets will go straight through somebody and out the other side and through somebody else. So they won’t be able to say, ‘Ah, I was bearing a Koran over my heart and guess what, the missile stopped halfway through.’ No way, ’cause it’ll go straight through that as well. They’ll be dead, in other words”), and in the second, Hitchens explained that his reaction to the 9/11 attack was “exhilaration” because it would unleash an exciting, sustained war against what he came addictively to call “Islamofascism”: “I realized that if the battle went on until the last day of my life, I would never get bored in prosecuting it to the utmost.”

Hitchens, of course, never “prosecuted” the “exhilarating” war by actually fighting in it, but confined his “prosecution” to cheering for it and persuading others to support it.

The above, with the exception of an editorial comment or two is from :
Christopher Hitchens and the protocol for public figure deaths
www.salon.com

The other deceased was Cardinal Foley, the retired Vatican spokesman who once referred to AIDS as God’s sanction against homosexual activities. Nothing in the Times obit suggested that as he grew in “wisdom and age” he disavowed this hateful comment which portrays God as some sadistic monster.

In most institutions a comment of this nature would be publicly disavowed and be an automatic career killer. Not so in this instance. It was Archbishop Foley who made the remark and who was later elevated to the rank of Cardinal. I would have definitely remembered if his superior or his mitered brethren distanced themselves from his remark. 

So much of the violence and death inflicted on the LGBT community is done in God’s name, done by crazed people who believe they act in the name of God and as his/her emissary. Too often, organized religion remains silent and thus complicit.

Two “important” men died this week. I shed no tears

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2011/12/i-shed-no-tears/


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