“I am honored to have the opportunity to continue representing the people of western Queens and thank them for their votes. This year’s general election was historic with the reelection of our president and the State Senate Democrats retaking the majority, reflecting citizens’ call for their government to uphold our progressive values. There is still a lot of work to do, and I look forward to continuing our work together to improve our community and ensure our voices are heard in Albany.” – Senator Michael Gianaris (D-12)
Tag Archive: Michael Gianaris
Nov 08 2012
Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/11/a-message-from-senator-michael-gianaris-on-his-re-election/
May 14 2012
A new movie is being unveiled with the same producer, the same director, but with a new star actor. Please meet Evan Stavisky’s next piston in the Parkside machine, Austin Shafran.
When Rory Lancman announced he would not run for reelection to his Assembly Seat, it started a situation where years of pent-up political ambitions are being released.
In the days following the announcement, the newspapers mentioned the name of political hopeful Austin Shafran as a prospective candidate, however major details about his political history and personal networking with Evan Stavisky were ignored.
Shafran is said to know a lot of people. He has a big Rolodex. However, little is known about Austin Shafran in the Queens community. He’s a familiar face in Albany. His mother, Phyllis Shafran, worked for Donald Manes and Brian McLoughlin, a convicted felon and ex-assemblyman that stole from a little league (Parkside ran his campaign operation). In his professional life, Shafran worked as the former spokesman for Malcolm Smith, David Weprin, and the Senate Democrats. Presently Shafran is a Cuomo aide holding a patronage post at Empire State Development as the Vice-President of Public affairs. Celeste Katz called him ESD’s ‘top mouthpiece.’
So who is the real Austin Shafran and why does he want to run in a community that he has no connection to? Is he just another perennial opportunist? Why is Shafran even mentioned in articles exploring potential candidates? Peel back the layers and it is revealed: Shafran is the epitome of an inside servant to Evan Stavisky.
Shafran has been groomed to be the perfect Parkside candidate. According to some accounts he’s bright, articulate and presentable. But behind the scenes we all know where his loyalties are. He’ll do insider bidding over constituent bidding, Parkside’s bidding over the Democratic Party’s bidding. Behind the scenes people call him a handsome hack, the Mike Gianaris of Northeast Queens.
In 2010 a contract was leaked between the DSCC and Stavisky’s Parkside consulting\lobbying firm. The contract contained heavy-handed clauses meant to ensure DSCC candidates would hire Parkside for 80% of campaign operations, or face the consequences.
According to a report in City and State, “in 2010 alone, the DSCC reported paying Parkside $2.2 million so far during a cycle that the campaign committee finished the cycle $2.4 million in debt while losing the majority.” Parkside also billed a total of $500,000 to the individual campaigns of Democratic candidates David Carlucci, Tony Avella, Toby Stavisky, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, José Peralta, Mike Gianaris and Mike Kaplowitz.
The Parkside monopoly of political consulting fees was finally revealed.The leak set off a firestorm and the press began to scrutinize the contractual relationship. Acting as the spokesman for Senate Democrats, Shafran defended Parkside’s controversial agreement with the Senate Democrats.
“Parkside is one of the foremost political consulting operations in the state, and their track record is one of success,” Shafran said, explaining the contract. – CIty and State 2010.
Shafran used his bully pulpit to defend an enforced monopoly on consulting fees. He came to their rescue by pouring cold water on what should have been an investigation into a major corruption case.
Others suggest that Shafran graduated from the Hank Scheinkopf School of corruption because he worked for Scheinkopf, a notorious political operative, before becoming the spokesman for Malcolm Smith. Queenscrap called him Scheinkopf’s protégé. Maybe he’s sworn allegiance to both.
During the next couple months, don’t be surprised if Shafran finally shows up at a civic meeting. If he does, he won’t be listening to what people have to say but giggling on his blackberry with Evan Stavisky.
If Lancman doesn’t win the Congressional Primary, he will likely run for Jim Gennaro’s City Council Seat, but that’s another story. Should Shafran run for the seat, you could expect the same cliché political stances because he is an operative running for public office.
The People deserve someone better. A few noteworthy individuals were also mentioned to run for Lancman’s Assembly seat. Jerry Iannece is one of them. Although Jerry Iannece is known to be somewhat compliant with the Parkside Group, at least he’s the salt of the community; he’s the CB chairman. Dominick Panakel, Lancman’s Chief of Staff, has the energy and ambition plus grassroots experience working in constituent services. He’s also an avid campaigner. But given Rory’s current relationship with County, the decision might come down to Iannece or Shafran.
If we had to choose, we would choose Jerry Iannece.
We also speculate if Shafran ran he wouldn’t make the same mistakes as the last Parkside golden boy, Mike Sais, and be run out of the community. Expect Assemblyman Ed Braunstein to take over his District Leader spot.
It’s depressing to say with a one party system in Queens there will not be much opposition in the race. But who knows? Shafran hasn’t been elected and may surprise us and become an effective legislator like lightning caught in a bottle. Maybe his name is passed along to the media by another nameless source to scare some folks. But Shafran’s track record suggests he won’t be held accountable to the people, he’ll be accountable to Stavisky’s Parkside Group.
While he hasn’t even announced his intentions, there’s already a whisper that Austin Shafran is Mike Gianaris Part Deux.
Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/05/meet-michael-gianaris-part-deux/
Dec 19 2011
Queens-Politics looks into the crystal ball to find out what political hopefuls and hotshots could be doing in the near future.
There is very little competitive campaign action in most parts of Queens because one party and one firm control the electoral landscape. The only exception is on the north end where a cast of ambitious characters strut their stuff and vie for the next available seat — or do what they can to get a choice candidate elected into office.
Having studied the subjects in detail, let’s examine what could probably become of them, say ten years from now.
- Steve Behar, a former Assembly and Council candidate goes national. Fed up with the corruption in Queens County, Steve realizes he’ll never raise enough money without submitting to the lobbyists and decides never again to work in local politics. Eventually he becomes National Director for Howard Dean’s campaign in 2020. Still driving the same truck.
- Ed Braunstein rises to Speaker of the Assembly. When Shelly finally retires, Ed asks, why did my uncles get me into this mess? Eventually he gives up civic life to open Eddy’s Irish Bistro on Bell Boulevard. He becomes happiest man in Queens. Please note it has a kosher menu.
- Dave Fischer becomes Chief of Staff for Ed Braunstein’s successor, Terrence Park. He spends his Saturday nights studying the Rosetta Stone to learn the Korean language.
- Ann-Margaret Carozza is still practicing law off of Bell Boulevard. She buys another mansion, this time in Westchester County.
- The Haggerty brothers take over the Queens GOP after John does hard time. Vince Tabone moves back to Astoria to resurrect the Frank Kenna Republican Club and runs against Michael Giannaris for state Senate every two years for a decade. Loses every time.
- City Councilman Dan Halloran becomes Congressman Dan Halloran. Dan shows up in Northern Ireland with Joe Crowley both wearing kilts to broker a peace deal. Dan and Joe win over the leadership of Sinn Féin with their karaoke duet.
- After numerous times of being passed over, State Committee Member Matt Silverstein becomes District leader without the county nod. He opens up a political consulting firm with the elderly Corey Bearak to make a killing of the growing Asian population. To celebrate, Matt orders 10,000 balloons from Devon O’Connor. In the year 2021, he makes a 7-figure salary and buys up an entire floor at Bay Terrace. Loses support after arguing with the Bay Club Board of Directors because they won’t let him install a Jacuzzi.
- Elio Forcina, an attorney and Former Assembly candidate, defends Evan Stavisky, founder of the Park Side Group for his indictment of influence peddling. They become best friends and Elio soon switches parties and moves to Rockland County to live in Evan’s 200-unit coop development.
- Evan Stavisky, having made all of the judges in Federal court, beats all 91 charges. He becomes Chief of Staff to President Andrew Cuomo and appoints Elio Forcina Ambassador to Israel and G. Gordon Liddy as Secretary of Labor.
- Tony Avella remains State Senator for many years but gets disenfranchised with the Animal rights movement after they make fun of him for wearing leather loafers. Tony later admits independent redistricting is like beating a dead horse.
- After losing three more races to Frank Skala for chairman of the Community Board, Jerry Iannece makes a comeback worthy of Richard Nixon. While leaving the last Community Board meeting as presiding Chair, Jerry is overheard mumbling to himself, “you’re not gonna have Jerry to kick around anymore.” Years later he becomes Queens Borough President and decides to close all the Community Boards, calling them “a giant waste of time.”
- Debra Markell tries to stop Jerry from shutting down the Community Boards using the legal service of Councilmember Paul Vallone. Debra decides to drop the case if Jerry offers her and three family members patronage posts in Borough Hall. Afterwards, Debra donates her land to Al Centola for development of a bocce ball court. Assembly Member Terrence Park protests saying there are too many bocce ball courts for the Italians, we need more poker tables for the Koreans.
- Warren Schreiber lobbies to have Bay Terrace become a separate city. Proposes name change to Stavisky Land.
- After working a few years with the Queens Courier, Robert Hornak made Vicki Schneps use her connections to get him a job at Fox News. He becomes the political Joe Franklin and wins an Emmy for his round table debate with Dennis Gallagher and James McClelland.
- City Councilmember Eric Ulrich eventually loses his seat. Realizes there are no Republicans in South Queens and moves to Whitestone. Erects marble statue in memory of Tom Ognibene at the Frank Padavan Library in Queens Village. Never quite makes it to Governor.
- Harry Giannoulis beats federal indictments and sells his share of the Parkside Group to Austin Finan. Revenues go down 10,000%. Harry eventually repents for his high crimes against the people of New York and opens up a storefront church on Northern Boulevard in Douglaston.
Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2011/12/where-will-they-be-in-2020/
Nov 29 2011
How does the Democratic party perpetuate its own power? Through manipulating the court system, according to the NY Times.
The Queens county surrogate court is a bastion of power hungry party loyalists. They are the batteries that makes the machine function.
Operatives and future candidates stay in the loop by towing the party line.
Luckily, a few brave souls that are not afraid to speak out against a good ol’ boy system where loyalty is measured by submission.
Read the scathing NY Times article for the full scoop.
Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2011/11/in-the-halls-of-justice-the-only-justice-is-in-the-halls/