Tag Archive: Democrats

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?”


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

Sep 04 2014

Vote Ramos for District Leader


Vote Ramos Sept. 9th.

UPDATE: Due to legal action, Jessica Ramos has dropped her bid for District leader. Her name will not appear on the September ballot.

District leaders are the rock of the Democratic Party, you’d be lucky to have one like Jessica Ramos in your community.

A good District leader is the first point of contact on the ground level with voters. The position is one of four that represent assembly districts in Queens, consisting of two men and two women.

No, they aren’t paid positions, they are strictly volunteers, but the best of which harness their energy and activism and do something productive  that helps improve the quality of life of people in their district. District Leaders don’t even introduce legislation on the floor, but they can lobby for it, and the title often lends a bit of credibility to their particular cause.

District leaders typically do not have a one size fits all characteristic, rather individuals make of it what they can. Some District leaders make a positive difference in their communities, or become labor leaders, even a steam valve for the entire neighborhood, while others don’t even seem to live in their district, or are appointed in absentia.

Take for example, Jessica Ramos, a Cornell graduate, who, at 29, for the past four years has served as a model Democratic District leader in the 39th Assembly District Part A which covers parts of Jackson Heights and Elmhurst. 

Ramos is a labor leader, an advocate for women, a community organizer, she’s fought for immigration reform and LGBT rights, and she’s even worked on historic elections, but for whatever reason, Ramos is running without party support.

Despite carrying her own petition, Ramos received numerous endorsements from unions and Democratic clubs — like one of the largest in central Queens, The New Visions Democratic Club —  including the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500. So to some people, you’ll always be District leader, even if you had to carry your own petition.

For her remarkable independence, her resolve in the face of adversity, and her genuine commitment to Queens County, Queens-Politics proudly endorses Jessica Ramos for District leader.

Political parties tend to shy away from costly District leader primaries, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. But once you do win, with or without Party support, you’re back in, and within two years you’re running on the slate again (hopefully doing the right thing in your neighborhood).

The point is, if you know a Jessica Ramos in your neighborhood, please vote for her on September 9th, it will be the best decision you’ve made in a long time.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2014/09/vote-jessica-ramos-for-district-leader/

Sep 02 2014

Queens-Politics Endorses Tim Wu for Lt. Governor

Tim Wu

We need more pragmatists in Albany like Tim Wu.

Queens stand up and vote Tim Wu for Lt. Governor!

It’s always good to have someone in office that hails from the same part of town as you do, it’s even better because they tend to have the same values. These aren’t values formed on the political trail, but rather from their environment, their background, and upbringing. In all these cases, one immutable fact emerges: that we, as residents of NYC, will better represented by Tim Wu as our Lieutenant Governor rather than Kathy Hochul.

Wu is a Columbia law professor, an academic, a pragmatic liberal which are few and far between in such high office. Let’s be clear: Wu is a bit different from his opponent, in fact he’s very different. His work in the world of academia is far-reaching into cyberspace exploring the fine points of net neutrality and telecommunications protocol and yet, despite the high-minded rhetoric of academia, you’re constantly assailed by the notion that Wu is writing down what you have always known, except that you’ve never thought of it. Let’s call him the benevolent professor.

And this is what makes Wu a natural pragmatist– he’ll reject unpractical ideas and accept good ones, if it works satisfactorily.

No, we’ve never met Wu, but anyone of us could have easily run into him at a Starbucks, heard him at a lecture, missed the same train, spoke with him at a networking event, or just passed him on the L.I.E, either way– Kathy Hochul, is at best a gun nut “Democrat” from upstate. She’s not NYC– Tim Wu is, and that’s why he needs our vote.

Is Wu’s campaign a long shot? Perhaps. But Wu is full of surprises. Just last week, he won the endorsement of The New York Times as well as other left-of-center groups as they criticized Hochul’s past opposition to state aid for illegal aliens and her 100 percent rating from the National Rifle Association, according to the New York Post.

Naturally, Wu has an outsider’s edge in the race, but his real appeal is the chance to bring a public advocate into the hallowed halls of Albany, especially if his running mate, Zephyr Teachout doesn’t win. Now we all know today’s reformer is tomorrow’s hack, Brooklyn boss Meade Esposito used to say, so we know there must be compromise in order to get anything done, but who better for reaching compromise and a middle ground than a benevolent professor? That is why we endorse Tim Wu for Lt. Governor.

Queens Politics

Vote Tim Wu on Primary Day.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2014/09/queens-politics-endorses-tim-wu-for-lieutenant-governor-ny/

Jun 09 2014

Messer Steps Aside, Focuses On Renewable Energy

John Messer, Queens Campaigner

Messer says Peace I’m out y’all

We have confirmation, the primary for SD16 will be a one-way race: Toby Stavisky vs. S.J Jung.

Defying speculation, in a press release sent this evening, attorney John Messer officially declared he will sit this one out for good.

“Renewable energies, like solar and wind power, have been important to me because they reduce our carbon footprint and help to protect our communities.”

Messer explained that his company, Invictus Energy Solutions, has been on the front lines reducing dependence on foreign oil and carbon-based fuels — a commitment he would to like to see through  to its completion.

“In an effort to improve our air quality, my company is in the process of implementing a significant project to replace these carbon based diesel generators with solar-powered alternatives which will run off the sun’s pure renewable energy. Queens shouldn’t be getting a failing grade for air pollution when every hour the sun beams enough energy onto our planet to satisfy our global energy needs for an entire year. Over the next several years, I want to work with you to bring renewable energies to our community, improve the quality of our air, our failing grade, and the overall health of our community.”

Meanwhile racial politics will still be in play, and in all likelihood Toby Stavisky will still be the victor. After all, she’s the most visible; a staple in the Flushing community and she has the proven ability to trounce her opponents, but like many districts, only a small percentage of the electorate actually show up for critical primaries – and those that do have proven over and over that they favor Toby Stavisky. So with Messer out, the “primary vote” will be safe for Senator Stavisky putting S.J in a perpetual uphill climb: registering new voters and pulling them out on election day, which is not as easy as it sounds epecially when voters doubt a challenger’s ability to trounce an incumbent of this magnitude. Furthermore, Stavisky also has enough clout in many sections of the Asian community to bridge the tribal nature of local politics, a bridge that may prove too long for S.J, even if he has some IDC help along the way.

No word on an endorsement yet.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2014/06/john-messer-steps-aside-focuses-on-renewable-energy/

Feb 26 2014

IDC Move Leaves Avella Vulnerable to Challengers


Benedict Arnold eat your heart out.

Say it ain’t so Tony, the people are outraged.

Tony Avella was sent to Albany with a clear mandate by the Democratic Party to tow the line yet what he did was disgraceful and self-centered.

The good people of the 11th Senatorial did not vote for Tony Avella just to give the GOP another seat and get another chairmanship; he was sent to do work as a DEMOCRAT, and many people in this community supported him for years, yet now he turned his back on us? That’s disloyalty.

According to a Democratic insider, “The IDC is about 5 senators crying over spilled milk by joining Dean Skelos –it’s about getting more money, more staff and a committee chair – it’s not about people it’s about self-interest.”

Tony’s betrayal will not come without consequences. Much of the Democratic establishment have already turned their eyes to seeking out a challengerThe sudden switch could hurt the efforts by mainstream Dems to reclaim control of the Senate in this year’s election cycle, and no one will just forgive that. However, in this district, Tony has some name recognition and he’s loved by many, that is, the many that can’t look past the cheap headlines. 

Nevertheless, with Tony switching sides, he’s vulnerable now more than ever for a worthy primary challenger to arise — especially when County leaves him hanging in the dust… Or will they?


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2014/02/idc-move-leaves-tony-avella-vulnerable-to-challengers/

Feb 26 2014

Avella Says Farewell, Joins Rebel IDC

From True News From Change NYC: Avella joins Albany Rebel IDC Democrats 
Realignment Buzz: Avella’s IDC Move Triggered by Queens Machine Losing Speakers Race. 
Sen. Tony Avella (D-Queens) is set to announce that he’s joining a dissident group of four Democrats that runs the state chamber with the GOP in an unprecedented bipartisan arrangement. The switch could be a serious blow to the effort by mainline Dems to reclaim control of the Senate in this year’s elections. * Avella moves to I.D.C., and Democrats grimace(Capital) Democrats, who are trying to reclaim control of the Senate in this year’s elections, were quick to criticize the move: “It’s unfortunate that progressive policies continue to be stymied because of divisions created by Senators who choose to empower Republicans,” said Senate Democratic Communications DirectorMike Murphy in a statement early this morning.* @TonyAvella is joining the #nysenate IDC. This will frustrate Democratic attempts to regain control of chamber (NYDN)

Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2014/02/avella-says-farewell-joins-rebel-idc/

Feb 18 2014

Meet Steve Israel’s Challenger

grantlallyRepublican honcho Grant Lally will tackle Congressman Steve Israel for control of CD-3.

From LI Politics:

Grant Lally is the managing partner of Lally & Misir, LLP. A top ranked attorney, Mr. Lally is an experienced practioner with an extensive background in commercial and corporate transactions, federal and state litigation, administrative proceedings, and appellate practice. He has practiced law for over twenty years in the New York metropolitan area, and is also a Solicitor in the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. Mr. Lally is an expert in legal and media crisis management and has handled many high profile matters, including those involving international jurisdictional conflicts. He has counseled and represented Heads of State, Government Ministers, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, and appears regularly on radio and television.

Mr. Lally’s past practice has included successfully representing President George W. Bush before the Miami-Dade and Orange County Boards of Election at the 2000 Florida Recounts; handling numerous complex corporate reorganizations involving multi-jurisdictional assets; recovering priceless stolen art from an international auction house; restructuring of clients’ business affairs to reduce their tax and liability exposure; successfully litigating major elections cases and appeals; representing media groups in domestic and international litigation; handling complex domestic relations, divorce, and custody matters; serving as general counsel to numerous corporations in the health care, media, manufacturing, and hospitality industries; and representing parties in multi-national litigation.

Lally’s partner, Deborah Misir, has filed legal briefs and participated in the most important litigation before the US Supreme Court in 50 years – the Obamacare case.

Mr. Lally graduated with his B.A. with honors from The Johns Hopkins University; his J.D. from Boston University, School of Law; and an LL.M. in International & Comparative Law from Georgetown University, Law Center.

At Lally & Misir, LLP, Mr. Lally specializes in handling complex civil litigation and transactions, including business transactional work, corporate and business litigation, international arbitration and litigation, multi-jurisdictional conflicts including business and divorce proceedings, and the media management of these conflicts and transactions.

Mr. Lally was Founding Chairman of the Federalist Society for Law & Public Policy Studies, Long Island chapter, and served as Founding Chairman of the New York State Republican Lawyers Association. He served on the National Board of Governors of the Republican National Lawyers Association (1990-2008), and on the Board of the Bay of Pigs Brigade 2506 Museum in Miami (2004-2006). He currently serves as National Co-Chairman of The Irish American Republicans, and serves on the Boards of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center, the Plattduetsche Home Society, the Institute for US-Cuba Relations, and the Brehon Law Society of Nassau County. He is a member of the Irish American Bar Association of New York, and the Nassau and Suffolk County Bar Associations.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2014/02/meet-steve-israels-challenger-grant-lally/

Feb 14 2014

Paul Vallone: Ready To Serve At A Moment’s Notice

Newly elected City Councilman Paul Vallone D-19.

Newly elected City Councilman Paul Vallone D-19.

It’s been little over a month since the new class of City Councilmembers were sworn in and while they’ve had just a short time to acclimate to their new responsibilities and duties, sometimes it’s not so easy getting a fully functioning office up and running ready to serve the community without delay, but newly elected Councilman Paul Vallone has done just that, and he’s ready to serve.

Located on a busy intersection off Bell Blvd. Councilman Vallone’s office held their first open house a few weeks ago inviting the entire community inside to see the progress. Once a dark and aging outcrop, Vallone relied on donations and volunteers, particularly Marsha Khan, Vice-President of the Clinton Democratic Club who helped design an ergonomic office by utilizing every inch of space. It’s truly impressive, yet what’s even more impressive is the work that goes on in here.

Beginning with a trained staff, Vallone hired brilliant advocates from the community that know the people and neighborhoods they are their to serve. Utilizing talent from his brother’s office, Jonathan Szott, now Chief of Staff helped ensure a smooth transition of Vallone’s neighborhood activism into a full service Council office. He’s even appointed local cultural and community liaison to get ears on the ground into every corner of the neighborhood.

In the meantime, while some candidates – even elects – disappear after an election (like his opponent Dennis Saffran who has not been seen since his loss), Vallone has been at every major event in northeast Queens, especially at the commitments he’s made before seeking election. It’s inspiring and hopefully will rub off on his colleagues in City Hall and all candidates to come in the future. Some people say he’s continuing a legacy, but we like to think he’s beginning his own.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2014/02/paul-vallone-ready-to-serve/

Oct 31 2013

Simon Says: It’s Go Time!

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 8.28.21 PMLongtime community activist, Lew Simon has all the pieces in play to take back the 32nd City Council District.

This evening I had the chance to chat with Democrat Lew Simon about his path to victory. While Simon has run before and lost, this year he is more organized by hiring an experienced campaign staff from Red Horse Strategies. 

“We’ve been on the phones, going door to door and we will be pulling them out on Election day,” Lew said describing his campaign’s strategy as focused – not only having identified the support he intends to pull out but concentrating on a large-scale ground operation.  

Lew is running against incumbent Eric Ulrich, a one term Councilman who Simon said failed to serve the entire community during his tenure. Simon cites Ulrich’s poor attendance record at Borough Board and stated Council meetings, as well as his reputation for ignoring constituents pleas for help, as grounds for removal.

“He has one of the fifth lowest attendance at meetings! That’s unacceptable when you’re being paid,” said Simon who went on to explain that if elected as a member of the Democratic party, he would be empowered to chair a committee (Simon set his eyes on Parks and Recreation) unlike his Republican rival that while in the minority party cannot chair any committees thus limiting his ability to accomplish an agenda.


Lew Simon speaks at a local rally.

Counting on his experience as a longtime Assembly District Leader, Simon feels he’ll be better able to communicate with constituents. He mentioned the support his campaign received as proof, calling it a “fusion” including members of ethnic coalitions, civic organizations, even members of his opponent’s party.

“I never would have expected Republicans to come over and work with me and I’m proud to have them,” said Simon.

His agenda for City Hall is pretty robust. “My first priority is rebuilding after the hurricane.” Simon vowed to make sure his district gets everything available “by not playing favorites” and calling participatory budgeting “a great thing”.

Neighborhood safety is also a major priority. “There are many parts of the district that have not gotten help… We need better lighting, additional police, the old-fashioned way of police officers walking the beat, not cameras, cameras that don’t do anything,” Simon explained.

In terms of supporting the Community Safety Act, Simon said “it is ridiculous to threaten police officers with lawsuits,” and pointing to the Civilian Complaint Review Board, which is already in place, by giving it an enforcement mechanism by appropriate legislation.

Recently Simon had two stints placed in his heart, however the downtime had not taken him off the campaign trail entirely, in fact he made the most of it and campaigned right from his bedside.

“For the few days I was out, I’ve done more by phone, and the staff are working hard. Field operations are doing a superb job and I thank them.”


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/10/lew-simon-says-its-victory-time/

Oct 31 2013

Catsimatidis Campaign Responds To Queens-Politics

Queens PoliticsQueens-Politics received the following statement from the Cats campaign. The message read, “Just because Cats didn’t hire you for your “consulting” skills doesn’t mean you had to attack his campaign strategy. Remember there are no secrets in politics only truths backed by evidence waiting to come out.” 

Wow they finally understood something…. the nature of our post. I’m so glad, but maybe they took me wrong, I like John Cats, and yes I wanted to work for him. I always felt he had the money — therefore he would be the only candidate able to defeat Bill de Blasio!

But anyone who thinks Team Cats didn’t have a flawed plan should consider professional psychiatric help. Facts are simple, they really didn’t run a good campaign. That was the impetus to author that article — my disappointment in Cats ability to run a campaign on poignant issues with boots on the ground and community leaders with the resources necessary to achieve success.

Maybe if his team would have returned phone calls, or taken the advice of people who know how to win, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Yes, I wanted to work for Cats, but like most people I never got a call back. I’m glad I didn’t at this point. It’s shameful when your employees don’t support you because they work and you refuse to pay timely or at all.  So please take complicity, admit mistakes and take responsibility for your errors and yes, remember there are no secrets in politics only truths backed by evidence waiting to come out.

And here’s the evidence — CATS LOST.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/10/john-cats-campaign-responds-to-queens-politics/

Sep 11 2013

Queens Primary Election Results


Bad news for Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer.

Congratulations to all of the candidates, whether you won or lost. It was a long hard summer for everyone, and some of you really deserve a pat on the back. I especially want to give a shout out to all of the campaign workers, volunteers, and behind the scenes folks that really made this possible. Above all else, a thank you to all of the voters.

As a Democratic town, there were resounding victories all over Queens. I don’t want to rehash what you already heard, so let’s briefly go over some results:

Bill de Blasio defeated all of his opponents and put an end to Christine Quinn’s reign in city government.  A runoff election is still up in the air and is set for Oct. 1st after a recount where Bill will need to garner 40% of the vote to avoid a runoff. And runoff or not, it’s not over for Bill. In November he will still have to face off with Republican Joe Lhota, who won the Republican nomination against John Catsimatidis. A democrat has not won the mayor’s seat since David Dinkins did in 1989.

Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 11.28.48 AM

Mayoral results courtesy of CBS

Melinda Katz defeated Peter Vallone Jr. for Queens Borough President. The machine came out strong for Katz who will still have to face Republican Aurelio Arcabascio in November. Peter ran an excellent campaign, he stood up when others sat down. I’m sure he’ll be back soon. Congratulations are in order for Melinda.

Comptroller? Scott Stringer took the cake soundly defeating former governor Eliot Spitzer.

Cathy Guerreiro did not win the Public Advocate seat. I still believe she would have been an excellent P.A, her voice and thoughts on public policy were refreshing, however with the foundation planted for a solid campaign, she can make a run next time with better odds. It’s not often you win on your first try. Still too close to call, Letitia James, a City Council member from Brooklyn, will face Brooklyn Senator Daniel L. Squadron in a runoff.

Phil Ragusa defeated Sal Baccarella as the Republican State Committeeman for the 26th AD. A lot was at stake in this election and it looks like Ragusa will maintain his post and keep the power in northeast Queens. Dozens of other republican leadership races took place across town. As results come in, we’ll keep posting them.

In the 19th City Council District, Paul Vallone declared victory last night. It was a long hard battle, but Vallone won with 31%, or 2,723 votes to Austin Shafran’s 2,579 votes. A total of 98% of precincts reported leaving one precinct in College Point which did not report for some odd reason. Certainly Tony Avella must not be having a good morning, his handpicked candidate did not win. In November, Vallone will face off against Republican Dennis Saffran. It’s still a race to watch, but the first hurdle has been cleared.

In the 22nd City Council District, Costa Constantinides  defeated Gus Prentzas and John Ciafone (Gus lost by one vote to Ciafone coming in third place). Congratulations to Costa and his campaign team.

Rory Lanceman also declared victory in the 24th Council District as did Ruben Wills in the 28th, Lew Simon in the 32nd, and Donovan Richards in the 31st.

Lastly, Vito Lopez is no more. Antonio Reynoso took the 34th Council District, which is mostly in Brooklyn, but includes a part of Ridgewood so it’s worth mentioning.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/09/to-the-victor-go-the-spoils-queens-primary-results/

Status update

As a lifelong resident of District 19, I’ve had the privilege of getting to know and observing all the candidates running for this office. One candidate stands above the rest. Democrat Paul Vallone is the best choice for our neighborhood. Please vote for him today.

For more information: Paul Vallone is the best choice for City Council


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/09/vote-paul-vallone-for-city-council/

Apr 01 2013

Austin Shafran Is Full of Excuses


Austin Shafran was the official spokesman and defendant of the most dysfunctional legislative body in the United States, and he’s proud of it.

Cause everything wrong in government deserves a simpleton’s justification.

During the invasion of Iraq in 2003, American troops, tanks, and their guns of liberty crossed heaven and earth to prevent Sadaam Hussein’s use of nuclear weapons. As our troops rolled into the heart of Baghdad, Iraqi information officer Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf stood up, puffed his chest, and said on TV, “We are beating back the infidels… they are all crushed” as an American tank rolled through the background.

It’s worth a laugh. Around that time, The Brennan Center of Justice said it outright, “New York’s legislature is the most dysfunctional in the nation,” yet their findings haven’t stopped a few of it’s most prolific, even pugilistic defenders say to us: hey, everything is fine, and no, of course we Democrats aren’t corrupt, what a silly notion!

Like Muhammed Saeed al-Sagaf, Austin Shafran was the Democrat’s top information officer, and just like Muhammed, he used his platform to whitewash the facts with lie after lie in an attempt to exonerate democrats from any wrongdoing.

Shafran has made a career of trying to express to the world why every bit of misuse of taxpayer money, tax hikes, misuse of government resources and governmental inefficiencies were okay.

Excuse making was just a routine part of his job. This is the man who tried to tell us that the Dems in control of the Senate were not corrupt, inept, or dishonest. In fact, they were quite the opposite and it’s the Republicans fault. While Rome burned and a historic coup took place, Austin played his fiddle, pointed his fingers while high on the hog (he made a ton of cash doing this) and even worse, he proclaimed – just like Muhammed – don’t worry, we are beating back the infidels. Yea, right.

Meanwhile, the slow and steady debasement of public service in New York becomes more and more visible across the spectrum, characterized by: Brian McLoughlin, Hiram Monseratte, Malcolm Smith, Donald Manes, Gregory Meeks, Carl Kruger, Pedro Espada, Elliot Spitzer, and Anthony Weiner, just to name a few. Yet while sin and corruption are not new, we have to take a look at where all of these corrupt pols got their start and then turn inward and ask how did these criminals get into office in the first place? Was it their swagger? Was it their sex appeal or charisma that won over voters? Maybe low turnout?

Despite penetrating the thin veil of scrutiny the local papers try and apply, New York still leads the nation with criminals in elected office, but its propaganda ministers like Austin Shafran who have used their persuasive rhetoric to deceive and misdirect the voter’s attention from a stark reality, and now this chronic excuse-maker is running for public office!

As voters of the 19th District begin to examine the candidates for Council, let’s look beyond sparkling appearances and into the facts. For starters, Queenscrap did a great job of exposing Austin Shafran’s sham website for Council which is totally misleading.

Shafran has had a corrosive impact in public policymaking and it could extend into the 19th if we aren’t more mindful of whom we vote for, especially if we allow him to sanitize his history with one alibi after another.

When the Brennan Center published its findings on the most dysfunctional state legislature — you know, the one that Austin represented — he was like Muhammed beating back the good government advocates as the “infidels” with his mis-truths that were so paper-thin and incredulous he might as well have held the press conference in front of his desk piled high with envelopes filled with our tax money.

It’s people like Austin Shafran that have created this crisis of public ethics and its way out of control. On this April Fools, let us remember this one thing: the biggest joke is Austin Shafran trying to make a fool out of us all.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/04/austin-shafran-full-of-it/

Mar 14 2013

Can Dems Can Learn From GOP Infighting?


Maybe we’re looking at this the wrong way?

Good for democracy but bad for parties.

Fueled in part by intense media scrutiny, the constant tug of war inside GOP party politics may have a bright side after all.

For far too long the GOP’s lack of party unity is said to be a bad thing. Factions have waged a seemingly endless war for control of limited resources between what is called north \ south alliances (which often conjure up references to a “civil war” and the token comparison to the Hatfields and McCoys).  While everyone seems to nip at each other’s heels, the media tends to reinforce a negative view with comparisons to their Democratic counterparts which appear (at least on the outside) to have far more solidarity and party unity.  Let’s set aside the present situation and look at the bright side.

James Madison said we need faction to counteract faction. Not only does faction create dialogue, but it also opens up a multi-pronged approach to the Democratic majority in Queens. Republicans have choices, real choices, at least in their primaries. Through the infighting, one fringe benefit for voters is that Republicans tend to exercise independence not only from their respective factions but also from each other, much more so than their Democratic counterparts do. The internal strife and power struggles help dilute a paralysis of views, and while the infighting continues, independents arise with a chance to stand out from the maddening crowd.

As voters, we should appreciate that pettiness, hubris — and other seemingly meaningless motivational factors — offer us differing Republican candidates and choices for leadership. As political people, we can see how harmful such aggressive efforts to seize power can weaken party structure and impede their ability to win elections.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/03/dems-can-learn-from-gop-infighting/

Mar 14 2013

Dem Endorsement of Shafran Could Hand Election To Halloran

Democratic Donkey

Shafran’s lack of any community service within CD19 notwithstanding, the only candidate with enough name recognition and campaign experience to beat him is Vallone.

The Barkan Report mentioned it this week that Paul Vallone and Austin Shafran are frontrunners for CD 19 and I agree, this is an absolute truth, but whispers in the air still hold that County will shy away from endorsing Paul Vallone. To do so will come with a little egg in the face.

If Shafran should face off with incumbent Dan Halloran in a general election, he’ll lose. Dan is too strong for Shafran, whom despite adequate fundraising, still needs to work on basic name recognition.

While it’s still a little too early to tell, one thing seems to go unnoticed: the organization will do what’s best for the organization and long-term planning cannot ignore the dismal prospect for democrats in a Shafran vs. Halloran general election.

Hopefully they won’t lose sight of this when it comes time to make their pick.



Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/03/dems-endorsement-of-shafran-could-hand-election-to-halloran/

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