Tag Archive: Chairman

Jan 29 2015

“What About The Rest of Us?”

Frank MacKay

As the State Chairman of the Independence Party of New York, Frank MacKay gives us his first hand account of the growth of alternative politics in New York with his vivid retelling of the birth and expansion of The Independence Party of New York in his new book, “What About The Rest of Us?”

A behind the scenes look into the fastest growing third-party in New York and the case for why we really need one.

“What About The Rest of Us? poses a fundamental question in its title, and makes comparisons to the status quo hauntingly inevitable. The title is a red flag for both the left and right, in every sense of the terms. Frank MacKay, Chairman of the Independence Party of New York alludes to the compromise of one’s political integrity for the sake of aligning with dictatorial party bosses and their restrictive party platforms. The fallout is disastrous: legislative gridlock, hyper partisanship, dysfunction at the highest levels, and an inflated and inherently inefficient bureaucracy that encourages voter apathy. The best solution, MacKay argues, to stagnation in government and voter apathy is a non-partisan third major party, calling it “the most direct path to fixing our broken system.”

To the status quo, MacKay’s analysis is like shooting poisons in a barrel, but to pragmatists and reform minded centrist citizens everywhere, it’s a wake up call.

For far too long, viable third parties in the United States tend to get buried, minimized in the shrink-wrap world of red and blue politics. And all too often we hear that people are fed up with politics as usual — they don’t want to hear about republicans or democrats and if they do you’ll get an eerie cringe and a comment like “I don’t get involved in party politics,” or “It’s all rhetoric” followed by an uncomfortable silence. We’ve all been there. It’s at this point you need an icebreaker; you need an alternative, another option for all of these sensible and pragmatic people who resent partisan gridlock because it just doesn’t make any sense to them. Is it possible? Is there another option? Yes there is, and MacKay has the answer.

Brevity is the soul of wit. The heart of the book lies in a relatively simple proclamation in the Preface: “The purpose of this book is to educate the public, elected officials, candidates and future candidates on the values of the Independence Party of New York State and the emerging Independence Party of America movement.” It is from this starting point where MacKay launches an erudite tour of assessing dysfunction in modern government bureaucracy, party polarization, and the growth of partisan media.

The principal for writing this book is outlined in the first chapter where MacKay definitively lays out the position of the Independence party in stark contrast to the two-party system we’ve come to know. While both democrats and republicans have become more and more polarized, there’s a growing concern about the pernicious impact of fervently populist or ideological rhetoric in candidates running to the extreme left or right just to satisfy their party platforms and in the process compromising their own core beliefs. The results, MacKay argues, lead to voter apathy and disenfranchisement from this “broken system”.

What About The Rest of Us?Two-party system candidates have become compromised. MacKay recalls George H.W Bush, who in order to become Ronald Reagan’s running mate (and was running as an ultra conservative) had to abandon his pro-choice belief and hop on the right to life band wagon. Case in point, our two-party system severely limits a candidate’s true position, and the result leads to elected officials who don’t genuinely support said policy positions. And this is a huge problem MacKay argues, they compromised themselves and their values for the sake of an election. No wonder people are fed up!

The solution is what MacKay calls “local autonomy,” the key to the Party’s newfound success. Candidates on the Independence line do not have to take marching orders from political party bosses or follow tooth and nail a restrictive party platform insofar as policy positions and social issues are concerned, instead they are free to make conscious and pragmatic decisions as to what is best for their constituency. The Independence Party stands by the independence of their members. Such a stance scares critics and in particular republican and democratic party officials for rocking the foundation for which they have built their political power base. No wonder they assail the Party for “standing for nothing”, not realizing that they do in fact stand for their candidates and standby their autonomy, a foreign concept to many establishment types.

“There are millions of Americans who will no longer stand for this charade, and they have lost faith in the major parties and their respective leadership.   A new major party – a third choice – is what this nation needs.”

The path to reform won’t be easy, MacKay says. And campaign finance reform isn’t likely because neither party would support meaningful change and are generally protected on first amendment grounds. His response reinforces the solution he proposed in the preface, “The only reasonable path to reform is through a viable third major party movement to counter-balance the current two-party system.”

MacKay offers The Independence Party as a model for such change; with a simple and straightforward platform that “promotes political independence and centered and pragmatic leadership.” The book takes us on an inside account of the Party’s history through its formation and the evolution of leadership, both successes and failures in all its Machiavellian detail. MacKay also describes the new wave of the Independence Party, a party that has learned from factional infighting to be reborn as a beacon of hope for pragmatists and centrists everywhere.

Thanks in part to such trials and tribulations, the Independence Party is riding a wave of success — and not just in terms of political seats won but particularly among the rising number of people who like to dwell on the frontier justice of independent politics. The evidence of their success is in the numbers: The Independence Party is now the largest third party in New York with 5000,000 registered members. The tome concludes with forecasting and predictions that lay the path to victory for a nationwide independent movement with a detailed profile of an ideal third-party candidate to run for President and ultimately leading readers with the notion that it could really happen.

I found the most interesting part of the book was his interview with Laureen Oliver, the first State Party Chair and former gubernatorial candidate Tom Golisano’s chief advisor who recounts the inside story of how the Party first achieved ballot status (with plenty of surprise insight in this chapter). In this chapter we are introduced to a true a grassroots activist that traveled through all 62 counties in New York to collect petitions and achieve the coveted ballot status. Imagine the stories she could tell? She’s a brilliant strategist and I could only hope that somehow she is still involved in independent politics.

In the recent past there have been numerous smear campaigns against the Indy Party too. Are these hit jobs politically motivated by operatives in the major parties or by a partisan media? Probably, but who really knows for sure? The biggest issue — and I use that term loosely — that the media blows out of proportion are the uninformed voters confused by the voter registration form and may have unknowingly registered in the Independence Party. Every now and again during election time some bright voter will find out that he or she unknowingly registered as an Indy when they meant not to register in a political party (and then the news will do an exposé on him or her and call the Indy Party deceitful and misleading, partisan media anyone?). Perhaps it’s not that the voter was uninformed (after all it’s nothing a quick Google search wouldn’t clear up), but rather the form can be genuinely confusing. Yes the form is ancient but even the Independence Party has advocated to move “I do not wish to enroll in a political party” to the top of the form in order to avoid any more confusion. Why hasn’t that passed into law already?

I would recommend this book to anyone has become discontent with politics as usual but is looking to learn more about the mechanism and driving forces behind viable alternative politics in New York. With Shelly Silver arrested, and throngs of democrats and republican state lawmakers breaking the law or locked in partisanship, if there ever was a time for an independent movement in Queens and across New York, it’s clearly now.

In the end, the book is a fascinating glimpse into a grassroots political party that has become the largest in New York State and for good reason: It’s fusion politics that gives movements like the Independence Party a fighting chance in New York, and for this very reason it is often at odds with Democrats who seek one party control by eliminating fusion politics altogether. We can’t let that happen. Witnessing firsthand the petty party politics, the wanton decrees from political party bosses, and the compromise of candidates positions just to meet those decrees inspired me not only to write this book review and set the record straight but  to join the Party of pragmatism where I’ve since taken a leadership post as State Committeeman in the 11th SD in Queens County (State Committee members of the Indy Party have one male and one female leader per SD) of the Independence Party of New York, the first in a long, long time. So yes, we are partial to the cause. Big things are once again on the horizon.

If you want to read the inside scoop about the Independence Party, read “What About The Rest of Us?”

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2015/01/frank-mackay-what-about-the-rest-of-us-independence-party-ny/

Jan 20 2012

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

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/166/400104804_3f2a4c727c.jpg

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/

Nov 02 2011

Judge Says Haggerty’s Caused ‘Confusion’

Ragusa TKO to South Queens Insurgents

I win.

From Heard Around Town City Hall News: The Queens Republican Party’s civil war is over – at least for now. A Queens Supreme Court judge ruled Friday that the rightful Queens Republican Party chairman was Phil Ragusa, rendering former Council Minority Leader Tom Ognibene‘s bid to replace Ragusa unsuccessful. A month ago, Ognibene’s insurgent faction of the party – led by Bart Haggerty and the now-convicted John Haggerty – tried to hold a separate meeting from Ragusa’s to elect Ognibene as chair, a move the judge wrote was meant to “create confusion” and to “disrupt the internal affairs of the Queens County Republican Party.” With the battle over, the question now is whether the Republicans can form any sort of detente that will allow them to defend several Council seats against in the next city election, take on State Sens. Tony Avella and Joe Addabbo in 2012, and defend Bob Turner‘s congressional seat.

James McClelland, a Queens Republican operative who works for Peter Koo, said he doubted the ruling would bring any sort of peace, and suggested instead that the Ragusa faction take over everything north of the Long Island Expressway, and the Haggerty faction take everything to the south.

“They’re going to have to do it like North and South Korea, where nobody crosses the 38th parallel,” McClelland said. “Ragusa can stand there with his pencil on one side, and Bart Haggerty can hold his pencil on the other side.”

I thought McClelland was Peter Koo’s chief of staff.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2011/11/ognibene-ragusa-haggerty/

Oct 21 2011

State Chairman Ed Cox Doesn’t Know What To Make Of Queens GOP

Who will head the Queens GOP?

If you didn’t know, there’s a power struggle going on across New York. What’s at stake? A leadership post for the Queens Republican party, now in complete disarray. Read for an update.

We have two hopeful chairmen of the Queens County GOP. Thomas Ognibene from south Queens who bears a striking resemblance to Colonel Sanders of KFC, vs. Phil Ragussa from North Queens.

Ognibene had filed court papers that he was Chairman with the Board of Elections right after an insurgent election that was held at Villa Russo, a restaurant known for it’s connections to sectarian Council Member Eric Ulrich (R-Rockaways), another chauvinist GOP defector.

Ragusa, whom I recognize as Chairman plenipotentiary, was unanimously reelected Chairman of the Queens County Republican Party at the Reception House in Flushing, except of course for the districts in South Queens who didn’t show and were presumably muscled to vote for Ognibene.

Subsequently, Ragussa, the rightful chair, filed an order to show cause which is legal speak for a petition to invalidate Ognibene’s certification. In the civil case, Judge Krug has not rendered a decision yet.

Where’s the state party to come in and mediate the dispute?

Rumor has it that Ed Cox, state chair of the GOP is staying neutral. He just doesn’t know what to make of Queens.

There’s a lot of power at stake especially at the state level, the GOP has a lot of patronage clout.

Stay tuned to Queens-Politics.com for the latest on the power struggle.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2011/10/ed-cox/

Oct 07 2011

Gennaro Puts Government Regulators In The Hot Seat

Council Member Jim Gennaro (D-24: Briarwood, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Hillcrest Estates, Jamaica Estates, Jamaica Hills, Kew Gardens Hills, Utopia Estates, & parts of Forest Hills, Flushing, Jamaica & Rego Park) is concerned about the environmental consequences of hydrofracking for all New Yorkers.

In an exclusive interview, QP speaks with Council Member James Gennaro, Chairman of the City Council Environmental Protection Committee on his mission to save our water,  thus proving that pollution does not abide by political boundaries.

Gennaro is not your ordinary Council Member, he’s also a trained geologist. What does a geologist do in the NYC Council? They offer a scientific approach to environmental public policy making. Gennaro is the Council’s point-man on environmental policy. Even though we’ve never met, I liked him immediately.

Gennaro received national acclaim in 2010 for his prominent role in Gas Land, a feature picture that examines the dangers of Hydrofracking, an issue with serious environmental consequences for the people of Queens.

Fracking, according to the Safe Water Movement is an energy and water intensive, highly toxic process whereby methane trapped in impermeable rock (shale and tight sands) is extracted from the ground by pumping chemicals into the Earth.

On September 28th, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation released Hydro-Fracking regulations, which are the rules Big Energy corporations must abide by in order to operate. Gennaro said these regulations were based on a fatally flawed draft of an Environmental Impact Statement that was completed in just three weeks and escaped public scrutiny.

Oh my.

According to the press release,

“In a legitimate environmental regulatory process, the environmental impact statement (EIS) – which is supposed to inform the drafting of environmental regulations – is finalized before the drafting of regulations is commenced. During the finalization process  (Finalizing an EIS involves the submission of public comments to the DEC, written responses to the comments by the DEC, public hearings on the EIS by the DEC, etc.) In this case, these regulations are not only informed by a draft EIS, but an EIS that is, as stated above, a fatally-flawed document that does not come close to assessing properly the myriad of environmental issues and impacts associated with hydraulic fracturing.”

Gennaro’s Interview With QP:

Jim, I know you’re the EPC chair, but other than that, why is Hydrofracking a critical issue for you?

“[Hydrofracking] places the NYC water supply at risk,” said Gennaro who dedicated 21 years of his career to the protection of the NYC watershed and the water it produces for Queens residents.

What headway have you made so far?

“On Fracking — myself and Speaker Christie Quinn and the Bloomberg administration, I think the city has had some success in getting the state to recognize the precious nature of the water supply.” The Cuomo administration and the DEC under Cuomo placed bans on fracking in certain watersheds in Syracuse and other areas.  But the battle is far from over.

According to Gennaro,

“Primary aquifers have been placed off limits to fracking. If you really want to protect you need not only the 2000 square mile watershed but also an adequate buffer with regard to the city’s critical water supply tunnels.”

Policy aside, let’s talk geology. What’s so bad about hydrofracking?

“[Hydrofracking] is an inherently environmentally problematic endeavor.

How So? Tell me more.

“This is just an activity that creates abundant contamination to water supplies but also on the surface, through truck trips, erosion, and pipelines to form a network to transport this gas to the water.” But there’s more to the damage, there is subsurface damage, said Gennaro, and a lot of air quality issues.

Who’s in charge of hydrofracking regulations? Who will save us?

“There is no federal regulation of this activity. This is an industry that can go state to state.”  Energy companies seek a lax regulatory paradigm, he said.

“Although New York will be stricter in the other states to have this process. This is clearly the type of activity that cries out for federal regulation.”

Why aren’t the feds doing anything about this dangerous process?

“The federal EPA is now currently legally prohibited from regulating hydro fracking as per the 2005 energy policy act which does not allow for regulation of this activity and which is currently being studied by the EPA. They are exempt from the clean water act.”

Gennaro expressed his grief with the politics on the federal level and encourages a state solution:

“It’s an abomination. I don’t see any movement in congress to move this around, they have become more and more conservative. I don’t see any movement on the national level to regulate hydrofracking”

“Any such regs would have to pass through a pro-energy and pro-fossil fuel Republican House and they are never going to vote for this it must be fought at the state level and that’s what they’re doing.” 

See State Senator Avella’s bill to ban hydrofracking.

Gennaro thinks that the governor has said some very good things about the science but,

“there is a big disconnect between what the Governor says and what the DEC says and is doing.”

Which City Council Members from Queens are supportive of anti-fracking initiatives?

Peter Vallone issued a statement and I think, the members of the council are very united…all the other boroughs are united.  Some Council Members play a more prominent role, said Gennaro.

“There are those like myself that try to play a prominent role, [and] there are others that are generally supportive of all the time and effort the Council used to push this forward. The speaker has allocated abundant resources to press the case… [although]

“We have no control over what the state ultimately does.”

What role are you playing?

“We are playing the role of advocate. Vallone sits on the EPC he’s been active on the issue.  I don’t know any members that have not been supportive of my efforts. Lord knows there’s been a lot of brain power for the council as an institution dedicated to this issue.”

Is our drinking water really, seriously threatened or is this a game of politics?

“The regulations proposed by the state would allow fracking, immediately adjacent underneath our water supply tunnels which could lead to the direct contamination to the water transported by these tunnels by fracking fluids.” That is the threat, said Gennaro.

“This is what the scientists believe. Also as a geologist, the city’s DEP put forward  – almost two years ago – a large body of science that there should be at least a seven mile ban buffer zone with in any kind of infrastructure like a tunnel. The state DEC is offering rather than a mile buffer, but a 1000-foot buffer. Forty times less than what the city asked for. The state’s buffer is not a true buffer. The Battleground is the buffer to make sure the city can protect the water supply. There are areas upstate technically outside the watershed near our critical water supply tunnels, and that area is not protected.”

What message would you like to send to Big Energy Government Regulators?

Gennaro said the message is not meant for Energy corporations. Corporations by design are motivated by maximizing profit and therefore responsibility for the environment falls on regulators to ensure these companies are operating in a safe capacity.

“Many folks in the fracking debate have all kinds of things to say to the big energy companies, I have a lot more to say to the government regulators who set the rules to which Big energy has to play, there are many people that are involved in the anti fracking movement that have a lot of animus toward Big Energy. It is not big energy’s job to protect the groundwater. Government Regs are charged with responsibility to be good stewards of our natural resources and not putting forth regulation that would cause big problems.

I save my punches for Gov regulators, Gennaro quipped.

“If anyone thinks that big energy is going to be more environmentally protective to our natural resources than the government allows them to be, that’s just not the reality.

The health and safety of people is not at the feet of Big Energy its at the feet of Gov regulators who are blinded by short term tax revenues that comes with liquidating natural resources.

I think it’s a fool’s argument. At the end of the day it’s the people we elect to protect us.”

Council Member Jim Gennaro is doing just that. Bravo Jim.

Rally at Minisink, NY Town Hall. More than 100 protestors attended to Stop The Compressor Station.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2011/10/council-member-jaems-gennaro-puts-government-regulators-in-the-hot-seat/

Oct 03 2011

Chairman Or Chairmen? Robert Hornak On The Power Grab For Control Of The Queens GOP

Queens GOP Spokesman Robert Hornak interviews with Queens-Politics.

The Queens GOP is locking horns with what I call, the Southern Insurrection. It’s all over the news and political insiders are getting giddy. While the the criminal trial of political operative John Haggerty is underway, a renewed battle is now being fought again for control of a party once thought to be insolvent.

In an exclusive  interview with Robert Hornak, spokesman for the Queens GOP, Queens-Politics got the inside scoop of what’s going to go down in the next few days. Here’s the interview:

Q. Robert, why is Tom Ognibene attempting to usurp the GOP party?

Robert gives some background and presents Ognibene’s motive(s):

A. That’s a really good question, Adam. Ognibene has been in political limbo since he was term-limited out of the City Council and named as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in a 2001, case involving bribe-taking and building-code inspectors.

“Ognibene wanted to be a judge, but considering the nature of his case, it wasn’t going to happen”

Then he [Ognibene] ran for Mayor, said Hornak, and he was subsequently knocked off the ballot by the Haggertys. Hornak chuckles…

“The GOP went with Bloomberg and Tom got very angry,” said Hornak, adding “Ognibene once called the Hagggertys ‘poison in the well’, now he [Ognibene] is anti-Ragusa.” According to Hornak, the reasons for this alliance are not confirmed. “No one can explain why,” he said.

Q. So, What makes Ragusa the better choice for the Queens GOP?

A. “Where do I start?” asked Hornak, rhetorically. “Ragusa energized the party, and continues to do so. he recruited young people with skill sets to run with the ball,” said Hornak and he [Ragusa] is open to new ideas like harnessing digital communication technology to bring the party up-to-date with new voters.

Q. Sounds packaged, tell the readers of Queens-Politics more about  him.

“He reinvigorated the party,” referring to Ragusa. After he said that, I probed a little further:

Hornak claimed Ragusa has been growing the party and reaching out to immigrant communities.

“We’ve found a lot of new immigrant communities that lean conservative and we’ve reached out to them with success.“Phil has worked tirelessly on this,” said Hornak.

In terms of political success, Ragusa was instrumental in electing Halloran, Koo, fund-raising, and now he’s working on judgeships, according to Hornak.

Q. So, You guys were instrumental in electing City Council Member Eric Ulrich, why is Eric going off the reservation with his endorsement for Tom Ognibene?

A. “He’s off the reservation completely…Eric is somewhat immature and short-sighted for an elected official. It’s probably to feed his ego and personal aspirations.” Hornak added that while Ulrich interjected himself  into party politics, he has neglected the community he was elected to serve.

Q. What is your prediction regarding the judge’s decision?

 “My prediction is that we’ll see clearly from evidence than Tom Ognibene was never Chairman.”

Even if he is elected, a far fetched scenario he laments,

 “Ognibene is [still] a puppet put up by the Haggertys, John Haggerty would be the new Chairman even if Ognibene succeeds in court.”

Q. I know similar events happened two years ago, are we to expect this every time the County Chair is up for grabs?

A. “I think this is their last hurrah, John Haggerty will be in a state-house [prison] and Tom Ognibene… he’ll find something else to do.”

Q. What message would you like to send to the Haggerty brothers, Tom Ognibene, and Eric Ulrich?

“Come to the table and work with us.”

Hornak said their have been a multitude of instances to extend an olive-branch and come to the table for negotiation with the Southern faction for the sake of party unity. “Every attempt at outreach has been rebuffed or ignored,” said Hornak. “The Haggertys are into nothing less than full control.”

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2011/10/qp-exclusive-interview-with-robert-hornak-director-of-communications-for-the-queens-county-republican-party/

Sep 30 2011

Two Convalescent GOP Chairmen Battle In Court For Control Of Nothing

The Queens GOP is engaged in a great civil war for Chairman of the Board, and it’s North vs. South all over again.The Northern faction is led by Chairman Phil Ragusa who risks losing control of a party in dire straights to radical insurgent Tom Ognibene of Middle Village, who ran for Mayor in 2005. Ognibene has teamed up with the notorious Haggerty Brothers for the pincer move.

Ognibene, a two time election loser from Southern Queens bears a striking resemblance to Colonel Sanders. If that’s not enough to say out of touch with reality,  it’s his radical right-wing family value politics that should frighten the pants off of you. He’s a gay bashing anti-semite that doesn’t believe in Marriage equality and he wants to spread his filthy beliefs around Queens by supporting like-minded candidates for the Queens GOP. When will you leave the public spotlight Mr. Ognibene? I think it’s time to retire.

The Haggertys are much more digestible in terms of personality then their minion, Colonel Sanders who calls the shots and tends to send a chill down the spine of any self-respecting liberal. They come in a neat and tidy package united by their blood lust for Phil Ragusas position as County Chair.

While one of the Haggertys is under federal investigation, the other is Chief of Staff to City Council Member Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park).  The Brothers are veteran political operatives so let’s keep an eye and watch as their court case unfolds against Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

I’ve met both alleged Chairmen and in between their off-color jokes and egocentric racial slurs in a chaulky smoke filled room, I’d place my bets with Ragusa. Although there’s no telling what may happen in the court room as these tricksters duke it out. It’s going to get ugly. Real ugly.

Read: Dueling Queens GOP Chairs

 

 

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