Jan 20 2012

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Snapple Fact for Ed Cox: The entire party system is in shambles. The old way of doing business is over as the torch has been passed to a younger generation tempered by the advent of social media and disciplined by the nepotism the Party demonstrates,

Snapple Politics: Made from the best stuff on Earth.

Will Ferraro, a friend of Queens-Politics.com, political observer, and blogger explores the innate nepotism in Long Island’s GOP politics.

We here in Queens can relate. Fantastic insight and well worth a read.

No Country For Young Men: The Iniquitous Legacy of Brookhaven GOP 

Early arrivals can’t make an entrance. They’re the eager ones – waiting at 9 o’clock sharp, anticipating local players, party leaders, dignitaries, whoever.

On this occasion, I won’t be caught sojourning in the reserved room at the Crowne Plaza in Holtsville, alternating Cokes and Heinekens while trying to figure out my best standing-posture through trial by error, until somebody walks in and shakes my hand. Been there, done that. Over-eagerness gets you trampled by the Republican elephant in Suffolk County, where the GOP is reputed to eat it’s young. 27 years is too old to be the perpetual young man; the perpetual volunteer.

Tonight is March 29, 2011. Special election Tuesday, and I arrive at the hotel well into the second hour of “Victory Night”, a celebratory countdown to the moment when Marty Haley is declared winner of Assemblyman Dan Losquadro’s vacant county legislature seat. When he wins – note the surety, as I am confident in this candidate, a man whose 3-to-1 money advantage in a Republican-friendly district makes victory a matter of course.

All the volunteering leads up to this, a soiree of social awkwards and aging stalwarts lining up to bring plates of catered buffalo wings into a half-empty reserved room. The everybodys of anybody are sequestered in the hotel bar/restaurant, ordering food you actually have to pay for. That means party leaders, judges, the idiot sons and nephews of said leaders and judges, and anybody who didn’t buy their suit at Karako. My suit was purchased there but F ‘em, I’m going in anyway, ready to network with a vengeance.

Next to me handing out business cards is the Executive Director of the Suffolk County Republican Committee, Mike Chapman. His job detail of late has been to deal with the internal crapstorm created by County Executive Steve Levy’s abrupt exit from his re-election race in the fall. The dark cloud of ethical suspicion that chased Levy off his hilltop now hovers over the $100,000 of campaign funds he donated to the county GOP.

“You think LaValle’s going to spend it?” I ask him, referring to the county chairman’s predicament over the Levy money.

“To be honest, I think he’s more concerned over who’s taking his Snapples,” Mike tells me. “This guy, no joke, sends me to the store to pick up his diet raspberry Snapples – sends me back when he sees I got him the glass bottles! He goes, ‘Nah, nah, that ain’t gonna work for me!’ So I returned them for the plastic.”

People begin to pack the reserved room as precinct-by-precinct election results are updated on the big-screen. I scan the room for Marty to wish him luck, only to be informed that he’s locked away in a private room with his advisers, which include chairman LaValle.

The first time I stepped into John Jay LaValle’s office, I immediately recognized it was furnished to resemble the Oval Office (complete with blue carpet). Given that the Suffolk GOP’s emblem is a Presidential seal complete with eagle, this did not surprise me. Cousin of State Senator Ken LaValle, John Jay is the former Brookhaven Town Supervisor who resigned in 2005 after many town officials were convicted of corruption. In 2009, he returned to politics by winning the chairmanship with the backing of John Powell, the former Suffolk GOP chairman who was convicted in 1999 and 2000 for multiple crimes including bribe-taking, racketeering, conspiracy, and extortion. Powell was sentenced to two years in federal prison for his role in helping to run an illegal chop-shop.

Anticipation turns to dread as the numbers pour in, precinct after precinct reporting a majority for Haley’s opponent, Sarah Anker. Hope dwindles as the margin for error contracts. 90% reporting – 95% – 99% – 100% – and its Anker by a hair. Marty is handed his third loss in four years, and the woman who was mocked for weeks by the Haley campaign as hopelessly stupid (“She’s a community organizer!”) just kicked in the door and took Park Ave. right off our game board. This was the Losquadro seat for Christ’s sake.

Nobody emerges from Marty’s private room – not him, nor Chairman LaValle, nor Fred Towle, the former legislator who pled guilty to corruption in the ‘90’s, whose involvement in the campaign was not to be made public. There would be no organized send-off, no thanks for all the hard work, nothing. Hell, Brookhaven GOP leader Jesse Garcia, another remnant of Brookhaven’s proud past, wouldn’t even be down to make good on his alleged offer of five dollars per Anker lawn sign. The wizards simply remained behind their curtain.

“Marty didn’t walk,” Mike remarks to me.

“Oh yeah?”

“I asked him the other day in his campaign office if he was walking districts. He told me he didn’t need to because everybody knew him.”

Politics is a game of golden dreams that are built like Aztec cities, with a greatness that is self-evident and susceptible to being destroyed in one night. This wasn’t the first time I witnessed a man’s aspirations burn to the ground.

In 2010, it was Randy Altschuler, whose failed Congressional bid was plagued by flawed strategy and Republican in-fighting, turning a prospect for victory into epic defeat.

After Marty’s election night debacle came Chairman LaValle’s third Waterloo in one year. November 2011 saw every non-incumbent Republican candidate for Suffolk County Legislature lose, most embarrassing of them all being John Giannott’s squandering of a sure-thing victory to the hapless Rob Calarco, who was severely outspent.

In the race to replace Levy, LaValle’s failure to recruit a worthy candidate or raise money (the two most essential functions of the Chairman’s job) led to the unlikely nomination of Angie Carpenter, who like Altschuler had been privately and publicly derided by the chairman until it became apparent he needed her.

Embarrassing defeats in Brookhaven and other towns overshadowed the isolated success of Islip GOP, one of the only town parties to distance itself from past corruption and embrace fresh, young candidates with disciplined organization and fundraising ability.

Since last year, the Suffolk County Republican Committee under LaValle’s leadership is on repayment plan to the county for the $100,000 in Levy donations it wound up spending on failed races. Brookhaven, previously the last bastion of machine politics in America, continues to withdraw credibility from the party like a fiend with an ATM card. The latest transgression came when Chairman Garcia awarded the ex-con Powell with a distinction of honor at a fundraiser.

[Democratic Machine is alive and well oiled in Queens! -QP]

Republicans young and old will continue to stand in dumbstruck awe of disappointing results each November as long as criminality, nepotism, and the lust for power for power’s sake continue to flow in the bloodstream of Suffolk County and Brookhaven.

LaValle has assured his many good soldiers that 2012 will be the Republicans’ year. My question to those tragic faithful is very simple: how many Waterloos will you permit before Napoleon is banished to St. Helena? 

Will Ferraro is a social media and policy analyst, and the Editor of The Influence. You can follow him on Twitter @FerraroW

Permanent link to this article: https://queens-politics.com/2012/01/gop-nepotism-trending-across-long-island-duh/

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