Don't Fire Until He Feels the Tights of Their Thighs
Dateline: Lewes, Delaware
This morning on Facebook, I posted my last Vito Lopez item from the era before the end of the beginning of the end:
Money quote: “Mr. Lopez proceeded to discuss the race that he cares little about for about 30 minutes before hanging up" Small Election Race Causes a Stir online.wsj.com
The quote almost perfectly summed up the overbearing arrogance of “The Man Who Was Not From Bushwick.”
A perhaps apocryphal story goes that, in the early nineties, three Brooklyn political operatives were discussing the health of Vito Lopez, who had been stricken with leukemia.
All three agreed he was not long for the world, and they were talking in terms of weeks. The three were Norman Botwin (alev ha-sholem, 1993), Billy Gelfond (alev ha-sholem, 1993) and Gerry Dunbar (alev ha-sholem, 2007).
A lot of people who’ve written premature obituaries for Vito Lopez, whether literal or political, are now remembered, if at all, with yartzheit candles, whether literal or political. Lopez is one wily and ruthless player, but it is hard to see how he gets out of this one.
This time, the usual suspects who call for Lopez’s resignation on a weekly basis were nearly trampled getting to the microphone by terminal cynics like Marty Markowitz and Christine Quinn.
Blood is clearly in the water, and even the eleven horses who Lopez personally appointed to the Party’s Executive Committee are more likely than not going to join in the feast.
Perhaps a few years back it would have been different, but that was before Ridgewood-Bushwick was under investigation and partially reorganized; and it was before Lopez went on his kamikaze crusade to beat Nydia Velazquez, and got his ass handed to him. Lopez’s other power bases have already been constricted; now with the loss of the Housing Committee, most of his Assembly payroll, and with the loss of the smoke and mirrors symbolized by his vanishing institutional support, it is hard to see how Lopez survives.
And all this over accusations never before part of the public Lopez narrative, even among his most spiteful blogger enemies.
Take down Lopez because of hubristic dictatorialism? You have a case.
Take down Lopez over allegations of corruption in his not-for profit empire? I’m listening, let’s see the proof.
But over this? This is like getting Capone on tax evasion.
If only he and Naomi Rivera had hooked up instead, so many problems could’ve been solved.
I know sexual harassment is serious, but the slimy and pathetic encounters documented by the Assembly Committee are an unworthy exit vehicle for a giant, even if in my life he was mostly a giant source of aggravation.
Vito Lopez, a young social worker, came to the Bushwick community as a young man and built almost literally by hand a social service empire which bettered the lives of tens of thousands, if not more.
His entry into politics was to serve those goals; power was a means which later became the end. (Although, even then, he was an extremely accomplished legislator, especially in the area of housing--nine out of ten loft tenants agree).
Progressives who delight in the coming storm should note that the bandwagon is filling up rapidly, and the final knife will probably be placed by those who come as friends.
Progressives will not control the outcome, and the outcome might not be an improvement.
My suggestion is they get together, decide on a list of their negotiable demands, and then start preparing for the negotiation. They might not have many votes, but they are worth the same as everyone else’s, and rules changes are just as negotiable as patronage, if that’s what you’re really looking for.
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