Tag Archive: politics

Oct 04 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out the article below:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…. For the full article visit the site.

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

Jul 12 2012

They met online and changed the world

See you there.

Maybe you could too?

Queens-Politics has the honor to announce the wedding of Mr. Michael Serao and Mr. Jonathan Bench.

If you are not very careful, you can lose yourself in the dark underworld of local politics. You could study political science, and you could have the makings of an enlightened statesman, but when push comes to shove, most politics just isn’t pretty no matter how it’s described.

Sounds cynical, right? Don’t get me wrong, it’s not too shocking, but when something really exceptional happens, something that reveals our humanity, our common bond and  our love for one another – you don’t miss the chance to write about it.

My friend Michael is getting married and it’s far more newsworthy than pictures of sultry soda cans or the ineptitude at the BOE.

Allow me to explain. A successful businessman with a civic spirit, many people presumed Michael would opt for political office, but he didn’t (even if the chance presented itself). Instead, he chose a higher path that earned him the respect from neighborhoods across Queens. Michael is an activist, a humanitarian, and a strong voice in the community. Above all else, he’s a volunteer and it reflects in his philanthropy. Over the years he’s given thousands of dollars of self-made wealth anonymously to many organizations. “There was no need for public credit if your intent is to truly do good,” he said. On the weekends you will find him volunteering time to service organizations, often in a leadership capacity – yet he’s still willing to roll up his sleeves to get the job done.

Michael met Jonathan five years go. Both realized they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together, and I’m sure at some point they both knew their reception should be magical, tasteful yet delicate – a scene from Shakespeare if you will, but the timing wasn’t quite right. Gay Marriage wasn’t legal yet, and so the couple waited until the frustration began to hurt, after all, why were they denied an inalienable right the rest of us had?

In retrospect, he was sort of taken back that gay marriage was a problem for such a long time. He mentioned multiple political scandals and criminal activity that went ignored while the media focused on the brain-farts of gay marriage opponents. Civic discourse took a sharp right turn and it was very discouraging. But Michael, ever the fighter, stood up in protest. “The people’s fears were misplaced – we watched in horror as both gay marriage opponents and straight supporters embezzled money from numerous non profits and political campaigns while the pundits cried that we didn’t have the right. It made people worry about the gays but meanwhile we are the ones who donate the money.”

A valid point since the LGBT community can flood a campaign with big donations.

A year later, New York would see the Speaker of the city Council, Christine Quinn tie the knot in what was arguably one of the most politically infused wedding spectacles of all time. But something was missing from the festivities. A sprinkle of charity could have made it worth the grandeur. Being curious, I asked, “Michael, which wedding will be better. Quinn’s or yours?” He smiled and replied as if I should have known all along. ”I would say mine because as part of our favors we made a donation to a much-needed LGBT Cause, The Trevor Project – her wedding was just an election stunt for her mayoral campaign to seek support from the LGBT Community.”

One thing is certain, it will be very different from what we witnessed at Christine Quinn’s wedding. Of the 500 guests no political hacks were invited, but there will be a surprise guest and a performance. To an outsider, you will find it difficult to understand that sitting next to friends and family will be the righteous persons of civic activism – those that lead, those that volunteer, those that opt out of the public spotlight from any sort of recognition while they do God’s work here in Queens.

With fall colors, flowers and table linens from Cress Flowers, and photos by Michele Kawka, if you didn’t receive an invitation, you may have lost sight of your own humanity. Politics isn’t just about elections and showmanship, it’s about helping one another through our personal success and rationing our ambition. It’s about investing trust (and maybe a few bucks) to candidates that believe in a cause and then holding their feet to the fire. Maybe they haven’t changed the world yet, and maybe their mission is yet to be discovered, but Michael and Jonathan are already symbolic of the American dream.  We have much to learn from them.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/07/they-met-online-and-they-changed-the-world/

Feb 27 2012

You’re A Daisy If You Do

I'm your huckleberry. -Doc Holliday

Greetings readers! Queens-Politics is back. Well, we never really left. In the face of tyranny and persecution: NO! We won’t stand down.

QP is an independent citizens initiative to restore accountability in government and politics. And it begins with our elected officials and political hopefuls.

Like the U.S Government, we will not negotiate with terrorists, or in this case corrupt elected officials. Our official stance is this:

Threats and intimidation tactics will not be taken seriously. This is Queens-Politics and I will laugh at you.

Politics is a dirty game of theatre that plays out on a desert resembling the wild wild west. Sometimes you just don’t know who’s telling the truth, or omitting it.  In Queens political reporting, you can’t be fair and balanced when dealing with people who are inherently not fair and balanced. It won’t work. Sometimes you have to pick a side, call a spade a spade and in the process snicker at the uphill battle.

It’s a duty for a citizen to respond, to stand up for the neighborhood. Fortunately we have blogs and the Internet to level the playing field and help spread the message.

So check back daily. Since launching in October 2011, twelve thousand individual IP’s logged in, read our work, and keep coming back for more. We’ve gotten props all over town. Internally we are stronger and more organized, we even have ads now. Click on them to help me keep up the good fight.

In the meantime, know this: as the elections heat up we will seek out potential candidates who are credible, accountable, and responsive to the people and tell their story.

And for our readers who might know someone running a vast government crime syndicate, you tell ‘em I’m comin’  and Hell’s comin’ with me.

-QP

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Have a news tip? Something interesting going down? Email Info@queens-politics.com.

Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/02/queenspolitics/

Nov 10 2011

One-sided War delivers 12 Democratic Judges

Under the present system, Beltrani didn't stand a chance at becoming Justice of the Supreme Court of NY -he was on the wrong side of the aisle..

If you enter politics in NYC for the sole purpose of becoming a judge, stay away from the Republican party.

People go into politics for different reasons. Some want a job, some want the rush, while others want the justly nobler endeavor to serve the community.  Some are a combination.

The way to become a Supreme Court Justice in Queens is to kiss up the party, help other candidates, become district leader, or threaten to run for office. There’s multiple ways to do it. Different people wait for years, but it’s the Democratic clubs that choose Supreme Court judges. Whoever gets the nod for the coveted slot by the County organization is the candidate that becomes the Justice, in a way they are anointed.

There’s a two party system, but  we really have a one party system. Not enough people ever vote, and when they do its usually Democrat across the board especially during a primary or a judicial race.

Like the Soviet Union, party bosses hen peck judges for the Supreme Court of NY.

In the 11th judicial district in Queens, a total of 12 candidates, six Republicans and six Democrats, competed for six slots on the Supreme Court. The winners, according to a source, were Allan Weiss, Pam Jackman-Brown, Rudolph Greco, Janice Taylor, Timothy Dufficy, and Ira Margulis – all Democrats.

Would it be so terrible to have one Republican Justice?

It’s an uphill battle for Republicans. When you’re the county candidate for Supreme Court Justice, a few things happen that make your run a lot easier.

You get a small army of free petition carriers otherwise they wont come out unless you pay them. Some lackey will iron your robe and provide you with unlimited boilerplate expressions to throw around town while you’re introduced to the who’s who of party politics. Grassroots candidates, and GOP candidates are ill-matched against the establishment. They have to hire their own people at cost.

If you want to become a judge, you will need to become comfortable kissing ass.

It’s like getting a job, in a sense you too are hired by the county organization rather than elected. It happens in legislative elections but the ‘race’ for Supreme Court Justice is the most egregious example. The leadership has to like you. There is a vetting system judge candidates must pass, like being an attorney in good standing for 10 years, but you may never get to that point.

It’s not who has the best legal mind, it’s who handed out the most flyers.

You want to believe the system is good, but for the election of Supreme Court Justices that’s just the way it is.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2011/11/supreme-court/

Oct 21 2011

Two Queens Candidates File For A “Run”


Born in Manhattan and raised in Queens, Justin Wax Jacobs is a lifelong resident of Briarwood. The recent graduate of the University at Albany has filed a campaign committee. Generally seen by insiders as tantamount to running for office.

 

From City Hall News,

 Justin Wax Jacobs looks like he’s giving politics another crack. The 22-year-old recently registered a campaign committee to run in 2012 against Queens Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz, after getting tossed from the ballot on the most minor of technicalities in the recent special election for the seat. The young politico gathered 1,600 signatures in six days to run as an independent, but was by the Board of Elections because he failed to write the correct district number on the top of every page – becoming a poster boy for a broken system. 

 

 

 

 

Silverstein is keeping his options open.

 

 Matt Silverstein, the former president of both the New York and Queens Young Democrats, took a step towards joining the fray to take on Republican Councilman Dan Halloran in 2013. Silverstein registered a campaign committee this week and may face off against several 2009 contenders for the seat.

 Silverstein said in an email he was simply keeping his “options open,” according to City Hall News.

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2011/10/2012-hopefuls/

Oct 20 2011

Queens-Politics Endorses Carrie Solages For Nassau County Legislator

Carrie Solages is running for Legislature in Nassau County. You should support him.

It’s not in Queens, but readers have encouraged me to look into the case of Carrie Solages, a Queens born Democrat running for Nassau County’s third legislative district in Elmont, Long Island that borders our borough.

They are the legislative arm of Nassau County. Like a City Council Member, but across the border.

Carrie’s campaign has faced the malevolent thrust of the GOP machine. The powers that be gave a tacit endorsement to send thug Vinny Prisco to harass the campaign with racist and sexist taunts, allegedly. While opponent James Ciotti, a Republican is under damage control, the Carrie campaign is moving forward.

Carrie is asking tough questions:

“How should the county solve its budget crisis? Should the police unions and the Civil Service Employees Association make contract concessions? Should county services be cut? Should there be a tax increase? Should the County eliminate its guarantee to refund other taxing districts’ (including school districts) share of property taxes paid in error due to County assessment errors?

This is an exciting time for our community to get real jobs that we need and have a real economic boost which we are desperate for,” Carrie said in an email.

Carrie is an attorney, former Bronx prosecutor and lifelong resident of Elmont. He graduated Georgetown University where he studied International History. He is also the former vice president of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association. He was born in Jamaica, Queens and raised in Elmont.

Carrie has grown wary of politics as usual and decided to throw his hat in the ring to bring Nassau County in the 21st Century. He has a plan to bring jobs into the community and is an avid supporter of programs to support young students. Quality of life issues are a top concern, as is zoning, two critical issues a local legislative candidate should always include as part of their proposal for county government.

Cuts will be tough this year, they are all across New York state. Carrie knows we have to make a sacrifice, but these cuts should come from the top, not from public transportation and first responders. Privatization is not the answer.

Carrie is the reform candidate running against the machine.

Queens Politics makes it a point to endorse candidates that are courageous enough to standup in the face of adversity. Elect Carrie and it will help change the state-wide balance of power in our favor. For these reasons and more, Queens-Politics is proud to endorse Carrie Solages for Nassau County Legislator.

Vote Carrie Solages November 8th!

Carrie Solages keeps his ear to the beat of the neighborhood.

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2011/10/solages-for-legislature/

Oct 14 2011

In Light Of Dubious Allegations John Liu Is Still The American Dream

Here I am watching a Poll site in Flushing, a few hours before John Liu would become Comptroller of the City of New York. I stand by my guy.

An article in the New York Times  raised some scathing questions about the source  of contributions listed on Comptroller Liu’s disclosure reports with the city’s Campaign Finance Board. What do I think? I say this is a waste of time. I’ll let Liu speak for himself:

Liu responds in Michael Howard Sauls article in The Wall Street Journal,

“If there is anything that is not fully above board, I don’t want those contributions, and I don’t need those contributions,” Mr. Liu said in an interview. “What we do is try to dot every I and cross every T.”

Let me tell you a thing or two about John Liu. He is the American dream incarnate. Liu is an effective legislator. During his tenure as Council Member, he would travel everywhere.

I live in Auburndale which is part of greater Flushing and outside his old Council District, but that did not stop him from being everywhere and helping everyone. His staff is fast and responsive and they tend to stick around.  He is a Queens man at heart, he went to Bronx High School of Science and graduated Suny Binghampton with a B.A in Mathematical Physics, whatever that is.

He’s not blue blood. I used to see him on the 7 train headed to City Hall.  I’m sure deep down inside that he feels most comfortable here. It would be nice to have a guy like this as Mayor. Really, it’s true.

Take a look at my new street light. Take a look at my new stop signs by my house. It’s all thanks to John Liu.

As Comptroller, Liu’s audits have recovered millions of dollars while saving 700,000 individual pension benefits. He’s also an advocate of LGBT rights. Many of his accomplishments tend to go under the radar, that’s because the nature of his position as Chief Financial officer. He’s a number cruncher that works on behalf of tax payers – to make sure we get the most out of our buck.

Liu has the responsibility for auditing city agencies, city contracts, and advising the mayor and city council about the city’s financial situation.

For a full list of his legislative accomplishments click here. 

I live across the street from a car lot. Sometimes they get neglected. Sometimes they become a dump. With one phone call, John Liu tracked down the owner and had the entire place cleaned up.

When John Liu ran his campaign – I volunteered on it – he tapped immigrant communities yearning for a voice in government. They helped him win the election.

I feel a little bit of xenophobia going around especially  when I mentally picture NYTimes journalists in downtown Flushing on Farrington or Prince Street at dusk for an ‘investigation.’  

If you don’t know the neighborhood, then you don’t know the neighborhood.  I think it will blow over soon and we’ll be calling him Mayor, especially if I have anything to do with it.

John C. Liu is the 43rd Comptroller of the City of New York, the first asian-american to hold a city-wide office, independently elected and sworn into office on January 1st 2010.

 

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

Oct 12 2011

Peter Vallone Under Attack By Graffiti Vandals

City Council Member Peter Vallone (D-Astoria) overlooks the clean and healthy district that he has vowed to protect from malicious graffiti vandals..

QP Exclusive: How would you like to wake up to a brazen hatch-job with your name all over public property? Chair of The NYC Council Public Safety Committee Peter Vallone Jr. knows what it’s like and he’s taken it all in stride, just part of the everyday life for “The Man Who Hates Graffiti,” a nickname given to him by  the NY Times.

For the past 10 years Vallone has been a staunch advocate of graffiti free neighborhoods, but sometimes the vandals strike back. Sometimes they organize themselves and mimic campaign signs.  A conspiracy perhaps? Not likely. This is New York City and yes, some vandals are capable of a half assed political hatch-job.

Vallone has authored some of the toughest anti-graffiti laws in the country. Right here in NYC, the place that some consider a ‘bombing palace,’ which is slang for the best place to vandalize to become ‘infamous’ or ‘all-city’.

Graffiti culture is very strong in New York, especially Queens and the Bronx.  There are some people that even glorify it and call it art. This is not true. I don’t see art in graffiti. I see vandalism and so does Vallone.

 JA – adek – les – pinz . Chances are, you’ve seen the work of these notorious Queens vandals many times.

I see young people buying Sharpies and Krylon and aspiring to destroy public and private property. There’s no glory in it. But there is infamy. QP asks CM Peter Vallone what he thinks of the fake signs that were put up illegally and without his authorization.

QP Interview With CM Peter Vallone:

Peter, who did this?

“I think this just another attack by graffiti vandals and they wanted two things: to call me a hypocrite for committing acts of graffiti [Vallone referring to the act of campaigning – vandals often try to equate bombing to democracy] and they wanted my campaign to get fined

…but they were too stupid to get the sticker right.”

How did you respond?

“I reported it to the police and the Department of Sanitation. Well see where the investigation leads.

Bombing destroys property and they know it. Most people feel the way you and I do.”

How do we stop vandalism in the future?

“It’s unfortunate that a lot of these vandals get the support of big corporations that are trying to make money by using graffiti.

It sends the wrong message and ends up putting them all in jail.

There’s even a beer called ‘bomb beer’ and its marketed at the younger crowd of vandals and it’s just pathetic. 

I will do my job as public safety and chair the toughest anti-graffiti laws in the country”

SEE City Council OK’s Vallone’s Storefront Gate Bill

Clearly Peter, you must be doing something right if they are going through that much trouble to attack you. Keep up the great work. -QP

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2011/10/vallone-on-fake-stickers/

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

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2011/09/queens-gop-dukes-it-out-for-control-of-nothing/


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