Yes, yes, it is important to elect some new State Senators who favor the right of same sex couples to get married. I’ve written several columns explaining why.
As I’ve also explained, the way to pass same sex marriage is to pick up eight more votes in the State Senate. For perfectly understandable reasons though, LGBT political activists seem more focused upon extracting vengeance upon erstwhile allies who screwed them than they are on targeting the races that would get the job done.In fact, as I explained, any efforts to defeat the prime target of activist rage, Senator Joe Addabbo, may very well prove successful, but such success won’t yield supporters of same sex marriage one vote, and may actually be counterproductive.
Just yesterday, I got into a spirited Facebook argument with two fellow NYC bloggers about this very subject. One left blogger had just gleefully linked an article about LGBT political activists targeting Addabbo and other Democrats for vengeance. Another responded with some disapproval:
Red Diaper Grandpa: Whereas the Republican Senators who, to a person, voted against gay marriage, are safe as houses.
Oscar Wildcat: Whereas they didn't get millions of dollars with promises of support.
GATEY: Whereas, the only way you get same sex marriage is to take 8 seats, and you can't do that without taking out at least 4 Republicans (if not more) for the reasons I outlined elsewhere. Any money spent on Addaboo's seat is money wasted, since the only prospect to beat him is an anti-marriage Repub; but if you spent the same money to beat Frank Padavan, Jim Alesi, Carl Marcellino or (to name a Dem) Shirley Huntley, you would be making some progress.
Oscar: Gatey, write Liz. I'm sure she's just waiting for your insight.
GATE: the question is whether you are more interested in revenge or victory; since resources are finite, you probably have to chose.
Oscar: Someone else said it best, Gate:
GATE: Point taken, Oscar, but you yourself understand that victory entails hard unpleasant choices --Victory is about targeting your resources to achieve your goal. Churchill was willing to sacrifice all for total victory, but he still didn't squander his resources on quixotic errands just because they felt good. The question is, is victory about fucking those who fucked you, or is it about equal rights? You can make a case for either, but achievement of one is pretty much exclusive of achieving the other.
But the news for supporters of same-sex marriage keeps getting worse.
As I outlined last week, three or four (out of eight) of the Dems who voted against same-sex marriage may be beatable. One is Buffalo‘s Bill Stachowski, who was already vulnerable in both a primary and general election before this vote, but probably no more so because of it.Just to make this point crystal clear, Stachowski's first potential primary challenger, County Legislator Timothy Kennedy, an ally of Republican County Exec Chris “AntiChrist” Collins, comes out of the Pigeon-Golisano-Amigo wing of the party, and is probably a less likely vote for same-sex marriage than Old Billy Stack.
An even better prospect for a pick-up is the western Queens district of elderly, out of touch, George Onorato, where, unlike Stack’s seat, support for same-sex marriage is an asset, and there is no chance of electing a Republican. Strong potential candidates like outgoing Councilman Eric Gioia and Assemblyman Michael Giannaris are in generous supply.
In fact, the only possible scenario for an Onorato victory would be a field so fragmented that he could sneak back in. Or in the absence of Onorato, that social liberals so fragment the field that a social conservative like Councilman Peter Vallone runs and wins.
As such, I tremble with trepidation that the first anti-Onorato candidate out of the box is “Civil right attorney” Jeremiah Frei-Pearson. A few more self-proclaimed progressive activists in the race, and those voters hoping for an easy pick-up of a vote for same sex marriage will be rendered into the political equivalent of the flocks of pigeons who roost under the tracks outside of George Onorato’s Taminent Democratic Club. Better, such folks should focus on incumbents like Republican Carl Marcellino, who would otherwise be left without a strong challenger.Another sure pickup seemed the seat held by plague-upon-humanity-Hiram Monserrate. So imagine my horror being greeted this morning by news that the Queens Democratic Party’s handpicked replacement for Hiram, Jose Peralta, was embroiled in controversy over member item money he allocated to a group he appears to control.
The details would be shocking if anything in Albany still had the ability to shock us:
Jose Peralta, a State Assemblyman from Queens, has supplied more than $400,000 in state funds in recent years to a nonprofit agency that has been run by some of his closest aides and whose financial records have devolved into what its current director calls “a mess.”
Libre, a nonprofit group, had offices in Corona, Queens until November. In recent years, it received $400,000 in city money from Assemblyman Jose Peralta.
Libre’s latest director, who says its records are “a mess,” moved it to Jackson Heights, above, where he runs Latin Technologies.
The organization, Libre, which offers a wide array of programs and services for the Latino community, has not filed a tax return for the past two years. It has never registered as a charity with the state attorney general’s office, as required. And its director says unpaid bills and poor record-keeping grew so problematic that he had to all but shutter Libre last year.
“Libre is a mess,” said Rodolfo Herrera, the director. “I don’t think it’s a mess because they were stealing money. I think it’s because they didn’t know what to do with paper.”…
Now a spectrum of analysts, from auditors for the state comptroller to federal investigators to lawyers for the State’s Department of Investigation, are scrutinizing just what kinds of programs State Legislators are financing with the discretionary funds they control.
Libre, whose name stands for Latino Initiative for Better Resources and Empowerment Inc., has not been identified as the subject of any special review. But it resembles, in its close ties to Mr. Peralta, other organizations that have drawn scrutiny.
Mr. Peralta…negotiated the lease for Libre’s former office, according to the building’s superintendent, and one of the group’s former top executives says he was directly recruited for the job by the Assemblyman. In recent years, its four principals included two women who worked as Mr. Peralta’s chief of staff and his director of constituent services.
Mr. Peralta’s legislative and budget director, said the Assemblyman had no control of Libre and had believed that its finances and tax filings were “in full compliance.”
“The Assemblyman knows Libre provided services to the community and has been a strong organization…Yes, they went through some difficulties, but that was all their own internal difficulties.”
Libre has told State officials that it provides recreation and education programs, assistance to immigrants and job training for people in Queens. A more detailed picture of the organization’s activities was unavailable because Mr. Herrera said he was not directly involved in program services and other staff members did not return calls.
Neighbors of Libre’s former office in Corona, Queens, said that the office was seldom crowded and that staff members generally seemed to be involved in dispensing advice on how to reach government agencies.
Libre has also served as something of a clearinghouse for State funds. Mr. Peralta’s office said Libre dispensed a third of the money it received to other organizations that the councilman had deemed worthy of support, like the Corona Basketball League and the Colombian Parade Committee…
Until November, Libre operated out of a two-story building on National Street in Corona, where neighbors said the organization sometimes held evening English classes but generally opened for only part of the day and rarely had more than three people working.
The building’s superintendent, Ismail Gaiby, said the office grew more crowded when Libre sponsored voter registration drives, which he said were often attended by Mr. Peralta.
“There were a lot of people coming in and out,” said Mr. Gaiby, who also works at an Islamic book company and meat store on the block. “They would go out in the street and register the voters.”
Mr. Gaiby said Mr. Peralta, accompanied by another man, personally negotiated Libre’s $1,100-a-month rent in April 2005 and delivered the security deposit, but …the Assemblyman “does not recall having any participation” in that process.
Libre was incorporated in July 2003, but it has filed only one tax return, which covered the fiscal year ending June 30, 2005. That return showed revenues of $49,750 and expenses of about $25,000, made up mostly of $19,200 in rent and utilities and $3,520 for printing.
The return said the group provided “street activities, including music and cultural enrichment for youth and adults,” and “back-to-school equipment and activities for young adults.” It listed Yoselin Genao, who was Mr. Peralta’s director of constituent services, as the contact for Libre.
The return listed Mr. Peralta’s Chief of Staff as Chairwoman of Libre’s board of directors, and indicated it was an unpaid position. City records indicate that during the time period covered by the tax return...
Libre staffers have also been paid for work on Mr. Peralta’s political campaigns, records show….
The excerpt above is absolutely genuine, and is taken almost verbatim from the New York Times on April 28, 2008.
It differs from the original article in just a few small details:
1) There were some minor edits
2) Every mention of the State Assembly or Assemblyman should read City Council or Councilman.
3) Every mention of an entity of the State Government should be replaced by its City equivalent.
4) Every mention of Jose Peralta should be replaced by the elected official who actually financed Libre, then Councilman, and now State Senator, Hiram Monserrate.
One can be forgiven for being fooled, because the article is strikingly similar to the one written about Peralta.In others words, this is Gonzalez versus Espada all over again. Spare yourself the worry about which one may next be under investigation for member item abuses or other frauds, because, chances are it is both of them.
It would be nice if the Queens Dems offered us a better candidate than Jose Peralta, but even then he’d probably be guilty of drunken driving. Just be thankful, that unlike last time, they are offering us a candidate better than Hiram Monserrate.
Jose Peralta has never voted to put the State Senate in the hands of Republicans, he supports same-sex marriage and to my knowledge, he‘s never been convicted of assault.
If he’s a crook, at least he’s our crook, and better our crook then their, unstable, violent, traitorous, homophobic crook.
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