Tag Archive: Primary Day

Sep 05 2014

Avella Caught in Pay to Play Scandal

tonyavella

Talk about pay to play politics.

You have to see the light.

Tony Avella pledges 400K to a Co-op that hand delivered a tacit endorsement letter for his campaign to their shareholders.

Glen Oaks Village is a lovely, quaint little co-op in Queens with a tight-knit community governed and administrated by a Board of Directors and an Executive Board. As a co-op, they aren’t supposed to endorse candidates, but that didn’t stop Glen Oaks Village officials from hand delivering what can only be described as an “endorsement of Tony Avella” letter to ALL residents including all shareholders and tenants.

According to the letter, “The Board believes candidates that strongly support co-op housing and take positions that help Board members work effectively and keep costs down should be supported by voters.” The letter goes on to describe how Tony Avella has advocated for the co-op community and it goes on like this.

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You should question the motive behind this letter.

What kind of propaganda mill is Glen Oaks running out there? Are they blazingly ignoring the fact that John Liu did more for co-ops that Tony ever could have with one of his rallies? Or are they being misled by a political insider? As Comptroller, Liu audited property-tax rolls to determine why the values of some co-ops and condos shot up by as much as 147 percent, putting homeowners at risk of huge tax hikes. He never gave up, Liu found the root cause of the problem and advocated for reform. His office actually found flaws in the city’s valuing of properties. “According to the audits, the Finance Department suddenly and drastically upped condo and co-op property values without warning, leading to an uproar over alleged opaque practices. Liu’s audits also accused the DOF of ignoring errors made by a new and allegedly faulty multimillion-dollar computer system. “

That’s more accomplished for co-op owners than Tony Avella ever did. 

But something doesn’t smell right. And that’s because it’s good ol’ fashioned propaganda. The letter goes something to the tune of this: We, the Glen Oaks Village Inc., support candidates that fight for co-ops, Tony Avella fights for co-ops, you should support candidates that support co-ops too.

Well, we got news for you folks, this letter should be written in support of John Liu judging by who’s had a real, tangible impact on resolving tax issues in the co-op community.

Still, it’s very clever and it only cost taxpayers $400,000.

Tony Avella has always belly ached about good government and transparency, but what we have here is pay to play politics, and the scapegoats are the residents of GOV — they are being misled with complete falsehoods. If you listen to this letter, you’ll miss out on voting for the man that actually helped them. Tony’s the real hypocrite, a very smooth charlatan. So what do you say Mr. Avella? Did you buy this letter? We’ll leave the lights on for you.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2014/09/tony-avella-caught-in-pay-to-play-scandal/

Sep 04 2014

Update The State BOE Website NOW

Let’s bring it into the 21st century.

There’s a few things New York can do to improve voter turnout, for starters they could put the primary date and time clearly on their website.

Many of us have become very familiar with the New York State Board of Elections homepage, however if you were viewing the page to find out the election date, you’d be lost because the website is directly out of 1999.

In the Mayoral election, voter turnout hit a record low with only 24% of registered voters casting a ballot. That works out to barely over one million of the 4.3 million registered voters in New York City. If this is our measuring stick for the statewide primaries, turnout will be abysmal. 

So how do we improve the situation? Let’s start with updating the NYSBOE website to at least post the date CLEARLY on their homepage. See for yourself:

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it’s one step away from a BBS.

Note, the Primary date wasn’t posted until this week. And when it was, it was tossed into an excel column at the bottom of the page.

This website is outdated, boring, and confusing.

To see a better example, check out the city’s BOE website which posts the election date at the top of the homepage, including the time in five different languages.

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 9.28.05 PMWe’re not saying that updating a website is going to improve turnout. Same day registration, weekend voting, online voting, there’s a lot that we could do. But honestly, how much money would it cost to redesign the website? Let’s make it a little more visual and interactive. The City did it, why can’t the state?

Sure, we can rely on candidates, NGO’s, and the like, to GOTV, but where is the central hub to connect all voters, to urge and remind them about upcoming elections?

The BOE website is there, that is, if you like to look at artifacts.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2014/09/update-board-of-elections-website/

Sep 06 2013

Final Thoughts: GOTV Weekend Edition

Once more unto the breach, dear friends… -Henry V

AdamLombardiBilldeBlasio

Me and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.

It’s certainly been an adventure so far in this electoral season to say the least. As the candidates gear up for one last push to consolidate their voting blocs, Queens-Politics continues to ponder the possibilities that Tuesday’s Primary results will present us with.

So without further adieu, here are my suggestions to help guide you through this process. 

Hailing from North Queens, I’ve kept a watchful eye on the developments in Council District 19 because it’s important to me, it’s home. The real race comes down between two candidates: community activist Paul Vallone, whom I fully support, and a trained operative and spin doctor named Austin Shafran. This weekend, Shafran will be making his final push to concentrate the Jewish voting bloc by emphasizing his Jewish heritage – sort of ironic for a man who graduated St. Francis Prep and was married in a Catholic church, but I digress. Did I mention Shafran received money from special interests yet held a press conference to denounce such contributions and outside spending?

He’s really worried Vallone is going to win this thing, and I can’t blame him. Despite the misleading blog headlines, Vallone ran a completely positive campaign. Sure, this statement will certainly raise eyebrows on the blogs (which have apparently aligned themselves against Vallone and for lobbyist Paul Graziano) but the whole Jobs For NY issue was NOT connected to his campaign, after all that’s illegal. The powers that be behind the real estate backed PAC independently sent mailers which offended the delicate sensibilities of candidates who obviously could not handle the heat in the kitchen to face the truth about themselves: you can’t have a seedy past and expect to come up smelling like roses. Ignoring these issues is a disservice to the electorate. In politics your record will be challenged and sometimes it’s just not pretty. I believe it’s all part of the vetting process and definitely not for the feint of heart. I’ve faced it myself despite not running for public office and I took it all in stride. If I can do it, so can they. But never in my life have I witnessed such two-faced bigotry from questionable candidates who have fallen to the wayside and become desperate for a headline.  And it got even worse on TV. On the NY1 debate, to which everyone of Vallone’s opponents united against him in attack mode, all I saw was a bunch of insecure politicians that ganged up on the frontrunner and showed the public one thing: Paul Vallone will be the very best candidate for the 19th City Council district. 

As for Queens Borough President, it’s well known that I’m supporting Peter Vallone Jr. and as of now – despite not having the County’s endorsement – it looks like he could win, that is, if enough votes are pulled out. Name recognition credit goes to Vallone, as well as his unwavering support of public safety issues. Queens will be a safer place with Peter Vallone as Borough President. Did we mention the NY POST just endorsed him as well as the PBA?

Comptroller? I’m going to go with Eliot Spitzer, and I’ll even go as far as to say he will win Queens just based on name recognition. After all, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer has never come around to these parts. No one here has ever heard of him and that’s got to mean something.

Public Advocate? We’ve endorsed Cathy Guerriero. Cathy has also been endorsed by practically every law enforcement union in the city, and for good reason. The office of Public Advocate is not meant to be held by a career politician. The Public Advocate is the city’s chief ombudsman – and we need someone in there who’s outside the scope of politics and unafraid to call people out, cut the red tape and do the job well. Hailing from the outer boroughs, Cathy knows the issues important to Queens. That’s why I chose Cathy and I hope you do too.

AdamBillThompsonPeterVallone

Borough President candidate Peter Vallone Jr. and Bill Thompson.

Now I’ve helped out on elections across NYC and I’ve become quite familiar with poll site politics. Poll workers are political hires. They have allegiance to their District Leaders, whom in turn have their allegiance to the County organization (not all but most). In recent elections, there were instances when newly registered voters were told by poll workers they “accidentally” showed up at the wrong poll site and were redirected (sometimes across town). Upon arriving at the new site, they were told yet again they’re in the wrong place and they simply gave up at that point. And who could blame them? Some of these voters were even mailed the wrong poll site location from the BOE. It certainly has the makings of a conspiracy theory.

In NY politics, voters are easily disenfranchised especially if your recognized as supporting another candidate running against a County candidate at the polls; they just don’t want your vote to count and it’s hard to prove. As voters, our only defense is to be armed with knowledge and insist on an Affidavit ballot to protect our vote and mitigate any political factors that may have come into play at the polling site.

AdamandJohnLiu

Me and Comptroller John Liu.

I can’t honestly go on and accurately predict results because this season there’s too many factors and variables to take into consideration which change minute to minute. My only hope is that people like you will take my suggestions on candidates who have proven themselves to be strong advocates for Queens and cast your ballots accordingly. Now, it may be unscientific, but it’s what’s best for our borough (and yet still more scientific than some of the polls I’ve read), which is my guiding philosophy. Ultimately, neither official polls nor unofficial ones can truly say what will happen with certainty this year. However, the unpredictable nature of this primary election has not stopped a seemingly endless array of pundits, wonks, and psychics from bombarding the airwaves with their half-witted predictions. So who will be the predictive champion? Time will tell.

Yes, our posting schedule is quite random but Queens-Politics is here to stay. So check back often for the unfiltered commentary and if you have a tip email info@queens-politics.com. Again, no matter whom you choose, it’s time to get out the vote.

Polls are open from 6 AM – 9 PM.

To find your poll site click here: http://nyc.pollsitelocator.com/Search.aspx

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/09/final-thoughts-primary-election-edition/

Sep 20 2012

Absentee ballots could deliver a victory for Martha Flores Vazquez

Martha could still take the cake.

Tomorrow is the official count of absentee ballots and nobody is more excited than Martha Flores Vazquez who is anticipating a victory for the District Leader post in AD 40 Part B located in Flushing.

While Vazquez lost her bid for Grace Meng’s vacated Assembly seat with just 521 votes, hope is not lost for the longtime community service advocate whose name appeared on the ballot for two different offices.

Unofficial results were not available to the public according to the BOE and will not be made available until next week however, unofficial tallies indicate with 862 votes for the District Leader position, Vazquez could find the extra four votes she needs to win with 316 absentee ballots and 50 emergency ballots yet to be counted.

“I believe the absentees will go in my favor because of my name recognition,” said Vazquez. “In the meantime, I’ve jumped right back on track with working and dealing with the issues.  I’m dedicating myself to the community because for the past two years the District Leader has been absent…she’s just a district leader by title and people don’t like that, the people are upset because she doesn’t do any outreach. She doesn’t do anything.”

Ironically, Vazquez said she was already sent a letter requesting her presence to a special meeting hosted by the Democratic Party normally reserved for elected officials.

On Primary Day voters may have been confused. Vazquez made it on the ballot for both Assembly and District Leader slots, which she believes confused voters as to which office they were actually voting her in for. The total of her votes for both Assembly and District Leader surpass those of the winning Assembly candidate Ron Kim, a   sort of a feather in her cap.

While the election has yet to be certified, Vazquez remains confident.

“Technicality she [Vazquez] got more votes than every candidate that ran and a lot were not duplicates – they voted for one or the other,” according to a source familiar with the situation.

Martha believes a strong electorate builds strong communities.

Yet low turnout still defined the races in AD 40. According to Vazquez, there was confusion and irregularities at the poll sites that may have contributed to the low turnout.

“A lot of people didn’t want to go to their new poll site and names weren’t found in the book, but I made it a point during my campaign to inform people of their new poll site to the best of my ability even though we didn’t get the new list until 4 days before the election.”

Throughout the campaign Vazquez worked with community residents whom would not be able to make it to the polls with a strong absentee ballot drive and many of the absentees informed Vazquez that they voted for her.

“In the future I will do voter education for people to understand and I wont make that mistake again and will be picking one office instead of two.”

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/09/absentee-ballots-could-deliver-a-victory-for-martha-flores-vazquez/

Jan 27 2012

NY Primary Date Finally Set

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Save The Date: June 26th

 Colin Cambell from the Politicker: After some confusion, it’s finally been decided when Republican and Democratic candidates will be voting for their nominees in 2012.

A judge’s ruling set the primary date for June 26th, but only for federal offices: U.S. House and Senate races. There will be pressure for the other 2012 primaries, outside of the April 24th presidential primary, will follow suit.

It is still possible for Albany to keep a later primary date for state legislative races, but that would cost money and such a plan could face opposition from a governor that prides himself in fiscal restraint.

The issue had been complicated by a federal law passed requiring ballots be sent to overseas and military voters at least 45 days in advance of the election day.

The June primary, as opposed to a later primary that the Senate Republicans had pushed for, could push the redistricting process forward even faster. The later date would have allowed the legislature additional time to negotiate lines before the courts were forced to intervene so that candidates have actual districts to run in.

View the full ruling here, courtesy of Capital Tonight.

Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/01/ny-primary-date-finally-set/


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