Tag Archive: Bill DeBlasio

Sep 11 2014

Radical animal rights group influencing elects for carriage ban

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The next big battle of influence peddling in City Council will be the Horse-Carriage Ban. Let’s keep an eye on elects for any last-minute “changes.”

City Council Members should not be under the influence.

As supporters and opponents go head-to-head with their positions on the Horse-Carriage Ban, lobbyists will be targeting City Council Members with a full on assault to sway their votes, but there’s one legislator who could not be bought.

Councilman Rafael Espinal Jr., Chairman of the Consumer Affairs Committee (which currently has oversight of the carriage industry) held a press conference and officially announced he’ll oppose the elimination of carriage horses in Central Park. That’s quite a clear statement. Now here’s a legislator who did his own independent investigation and found the industry to be clean, safe and well-regulated, truly an icon of New York City, but more on that later.

As of now, of the 51 council members, 13 are for the ban, eight are against it, and 26 remain undecided. Meanwhile, radical animal rights activists are fueling up their lobbyists for an all out influence war in City Hall to change this.

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Save the horse-carriage industry.

So first, let’s talk turkey. Tourists love the horses, the industry generates millions of dollars every year in tax revenue, and employs over 300 people. According to a Quinnipiac poll, a whopping 61% of New Yorkers support the horses in Central Park –even Liam Niason came out in their support. But like all contentious issues, there’s a few powerful, rich elitists who have formed a special interest coalition and are using undue influence to promote their agenda to ban the horses contrary to the will of a majority of New Yorkers.

So how could they get away with it?

The conditions are ripe for inducements and kickbacks. With the ban up for vote, elected officials could be bought off in exchange for support, or receive sweet committee assignments  as inducements from the top– perhaps even throw in a little something extra for their district? De Blasio even campaigned on the promise to ban the industry, but later deferred to the Council to propose the legislation.

Nothing is as what it seems. Some of these animal rights groups supporting the ban could already be facing serious criminal charges, and we aren’t even mentioning PETA here. The Feds are investigating the independent expenditure group NYCLASS, the animal rights group that backed de Blasio during his mayoral bid and sank $174,000 into last year’s elections. A large chunk of that cash went to the political action committee NYC is Not For Sale, which ran nasty attack ads against Christine Quinn.

There’s already been intimidation and threats in City Hall, with more likely on their way. During the mayoral primary, “NYCLASS’s political consultant Scott Levenson of the Advance Group (a lobbying and consulting firm) told two Quinn aides that if she wouldn’t back a ban on the horse and carriage industry, the group would launch a campaign to bring her down. She didn’t back the ban, and the group went on the attack.”

The FBI is currently investigating. In May, the Advance Group was fired amid mounting pressure and replaced with Hank Scheinkopf.

Intimidation comes in many forms; if not in City Hall, even in Council chambers too — where leadership can dole out rewards or punishment — and whip up votes with the stroke of a pen.

Will your council member sell out to the radical agenda of NYCLASS? Let’s see who changes their mind in the next few weeks.

Perhaps the only way around the quid-pro-quo dance of animal rights lobbyists is a ballot question to let democracy take its course — after all, they can’t buy us all off. If you’re a believer in honesty and transparency, then don’t stifle debate, dialogue, or intimidate public officials, let’s keep the bribery of elects to a minimum and let the people decide. And if not, call your legislator and tell him or her that you support this industry because the horses are treated well, that you’ve always romanticized a carriage ride as a truly New York experience, and they should too.

NYC Carriage Horses in Central Park,  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

NYC Carriage Horses in Central Park

Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2014/09/radical-animal-rights-group-lobbying-elects-for-carriage-ban-nyclass/

Mar 01 2013

Cathy Guerriero is a great choice for Queens

Cathy Guerriero is it

Cathy Guerriero stands out from the crowd.

She could be our next Public Advocate.

She stood about 6 feet tall with long dark hair and a fire in her eyes. “I have always wanted to be the Public Advocate,” she said while telling tales from her past and describing her family in detail especially her father, a retired longshoreman. Her glance was piercing, her voice penetrative, and the audience was enraptured reflecting on her words empowered by a strong narrative which conveyed a sense of absolute authority – so much like an ideal Public Advocate should be doing.

A Brooklyn native, Guerriero doesn’t come from a family of privilege, nor does she have a pedigree in politics, but what she does have is the prerequisite for an effective public advocate: a take no prisoner’s attitude. And Guerriero was a natural.

So many of us are numb to the run of the mill political stump speeches, having become skeptical, even dismissive of the rhetoric, but something struck me as genuine about her. Guerriero spoke with facts and figures, highlighting problems and issues in our education system, and occasionally demanding empirical evidence (and throwing a dig or two) at a Mayor whom was not present in the room at the time.

Her PhD is in schools policy, but as a natural educator, she brought a sense of familiarity to a diverse crowd that were sitting in judgment of her every word. Obviously, she has a natural aptitude for conveying complex issues clearly and concisely. Put simply, Guerriero is a teacher’s teacher with a knack for politics, though admittedly she’s an outsider with humble roots.

Guerrero’s outlook on public policy is what can be loosely described as a long-range academic enthusiast. The primary difference between her and her predecessors would be that Cathy has what it takes to see the job through, a job most people don’t understand except that it’s not the Mayor.

Peering in from the outside on a system filled with irregularities and fraught with red tape, she has her work cut out for her. But one thing is certain; it takes a lot of guts to be the Public Advocate of NYC. It’s one of three citywide elected offices with 9 million constituents and definitely not for the faint of heart. Her description of the public advocate’s duties gave us a clue as to what she will do with the position, which in reality is much like that of the Borough President, it’s what you make of it.

Her facts checked out, and overall I liked what I heard. Having witnessed her opponents in action, I became convinced – we need a public advocate like this. What we don’t need is another talking head or lame duck. And while the office is a bit subjective (remember it’s what you make of it), we have a few basic requirements wherein Guerriero’s temperament seems to match, even, dare I say it, stand out from the crowd.  She’s blunt at times in such a way that most reporters have not heard from a candidate often startling them with her straightforwardness.

As for specifics, a good public advocate is someone who is accessible (she answers emails within 10 minutes), someone whom the people can go to for support, a person with enough good sense and moral fiber to investigate and process our complaints from across this great city, someone unafraid to lock horns with the speaker, and of course, to fearlessly preside over the entire council. We need a chief ombudsman, and Cathy Guerriero is it.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/03/cathy-guerriero-good-choice-for-queens-public-advocate/

Oct 23 2012

Forcina predicts Quinn’s downfall

Former North Queens Assembly candidate Elio Forcina gives his insight into Christine Quinn’s run for New York City Mayor.

The Emperors New Clothes

Attention: the Editorial Board of Queens Politics

It’s a foggy night in North Queens and Mayoral candidate Christine Quinn is addressing the crowd. She tells a joke. Dead silence as no one laughs. An innocent nine-year old in the back yells out “That joke wasn’t funny!” The Emperors New Clothes fairy tale is very similar to what is being played out in Queens County over the Mayoral race. Many political insiders, lobbyists, and politicos who want access to City Hall are participating in a charade with Christine Quinn and are pretending that she is Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny all in one.

Christine Quinn’s rise to City Council speaker was orchestrated by political insiders and party bosses. And now, some of the many same ones, are trying to promote her for Mayor. The problem is once people on a city-wide level start seeing her ranting and raving and punishing her own constituents, she will turn people off and is going to have a tough road ahead against more kinder, less vicious individuals such as Bill Thompson and Bill Deblasio.

Just last week, Christine Quinn made an attempt to raise her profile and raise money, by fabricating Pro-Life violence and harassment. There is an old political strategy saying “If we don’t have a crime, and you need one so you can hit the political lottery, hey why not fabricate one.” Christine Quinn’s latest attempt to attack sidewalk counselors offering alternatives to abortion to women who have no place to go and to demonize innocent prayer vigils is more evidence of her unfitness for public office.

Last year, Christine Quinn passed a bill trying to shut down pregnancy centers by attacking their Free Speech. As speaker of the City Council, she attempted to have NYU destroy a business, Chick-fil-a, because management are religious and support traditional marriage. Anyone who believes that she is fit for mayor needs to have their head examined. Don’t think the attacks on Chick-fil-a is an isolated incident she can very well hunt down any business where management does not share her religious beliefs. Her attacks on Chick-fil-a is a dangerous precedent. She can start going after businesses here in Queens County. On a personal note, the Queens College Kosher Cafe Pizzeria was a special place where I would go to have lunch in my first semester of college. I remember the hardworking religious Jews who owned that pizzeria and the thought that Christine Quinn would use her position in government to try to destroy their business because they are religious Jews is disturbing. If she went after Chicker-fil-a she can go after every business where the owners are devoutly religious. Other Mayoral candidates such as Bill Thompson and Bill Deblasio, although are more progressive than most religious folks on social issues, based on the testimony of insiders, there is no evidence that they are out to hurt anyone who does not have the same religious beliefs as them. They seem like they are more understanding than Christine Quinn and realize that we have to share the city with many people, ideologies and religions and appear to be not out to hurt the other side.

Christine Quinn, as speaker, hurt the residents of Queens multiple times not only on social issues. She cut funding of groups to North Queens and South Queens because she was trying to punish and harass Councilman Tony Avella and Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, with no thought of the constituencies that would suffer. Now she expects those constituencies to rally for her candidacy for Mayor, why? Because she’s so sweet? Christine Quinn has cut funding to districts where she is having petty and caddy outbursts towards some council members. She turned the City Council into a reality show version of the movie Mean Girls. To all the insiders who are playing in the charade that she is not a mean-spirited person unfit for public office will soon find out that she probably will not be the mayor. Once everyday ordinary New Yorkers start hearing and learning about her malicious attacks on religious free speech, religious business owners and her treatment of constituencies that are represented by council members that she wants to punish they will be inclined to be turned off by her.

For all the politicos who are hoping to land a job in economic development or commissioner of an agency, mark my words: She is not a shoe-in for Mayor and once the great residents of New York start seeing her for who she really is, expect her poll numbers to go down even lower. Just ask any nine-year old to watch her malicious rants and raves on Youtube and they will tell you “It’s not funny.”

 

Sincerely,

 

Elio Forcina

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/10/christine-quinn-elio-forcina/


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