The Gateway (Bea DeSapio Shaggy Dog Story Edition)
I know some expect me to talk about the State of the Union this morning, but as much as I enjoyed the speech (and agreed with almost all of it), I would rather talk about things which might actually impact public policy.
At any rate, by the afternoon, I suspect it will be a distant memory in NYS and we’ll all be talking exclusively about reapportionment.
I vote to increase Romney's taxes. The Election Will Determine Romney's Tax Rate andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com
Chait is funnier here than Bill Maher:
"[Romney] again cited having forced Ted Kennedy to take out a mortgage on his home as the metric of success for his failed 1994 Senate campaign. Was this ever an important conservative goal?"
"When asked what he had done to advance conservatism, Romney cited three things. The first two were start a family and work in the private sector. My God, I’m advancing conservatism, too! Can I have the nomination?"seems to have graduated from merely too-big sport coats to the comically oversize suits favored by David Byrne in “Stop Making Sense.”
Saint Jermaine Endeley changes his mind about running (Part 96)
It's deja vu all over again. After Vacillating, Candidate [Again?] Drops Primary Bid Against Diane Savino www.politickerny.com
GOP State Senate candidate Storobin files for an independent line in an attempt to add to the two lines he already has, confusing the right to ballot access with the right to free advertising space on the ballot itself.
The petition requires 2,387 valid signatures. Rumor is that one need not check a single signature on this petition for validity, because there are only about 1,700 of them.
That’s what happens when one trusts a fringoid wachadoodle like former Park Slope School Board member Gary “Rupert” Popkin.
Not that Storobin would ever have anything to do with wackadoodle fringoid elements.
Another story today calls to mind another former school board member from the Sunset Park/Park Slope area, Bea DeSapio.
A niece of the old Manhattan Democratic boss, Carmine, she was practically the only real Regular among the inner circle of the old 51st AD Regular Democratic Club.
The old regular club died in 1988, but through the miracle of Bea DeSapio and Louise Finney’s iron wills, managed to stay in control of the School Board and two Community Boards for years thereafter.
Bea eventually managed to outsmart herself right off the School Board she
Chaired, by knocking a popular Monsignor off the ballot (for blatant petition fraud personally committed by the candidate), who then got elected as a write-in, and running a rabbit (a sure loser who would, under the proportional system, transfer their votes to you) who won, when she was not supposed to.
But Bea kept on controlling Community Board Seven until around the turn of the century.
By that time, the only politician she really cared about was Billy Thompson, and she was really only concerned with ensuring the Community Board was run competently.
There was the matter of the District Managership. After Montalto became an Assistant Commissioner in the late 70s, Nick Sciarra became the DM. He was one tough mother.
Assigned by the Dinkins administration to tell the Board it would be evicted from its building and put into trailers while the old Sunset Park Courthouse was renovated to mostly house various Police units, I arrived at the Board meeting with a platoon of Police brass.
Nick looked at me, and said “this will happen over my dad dead body.” He then took a bite of his Italian hero sandwich, had a heart attack and dropped dead.
Nick’s assistant took over, but lasted little over a year.
Eschewing politics, Bea installed an outstanding, totally non-political public servant named Gene Moore as the Board’s DM.
She then asked me to give Gene, who was a Cobble Hill neighbor of mine, a primer in local politics. I introduced him to the Waterfront Alehouse and we soon became drinking buddies.
Gene Moore was a perfectly competent DM until Councilman Angel Rodriguez (later a convicted felon) finally took control of the Board, and using the Board Members he controlled, installed his own Chair (Sara Gonzalez).
It is one thing for a Councilmember to take out a Board Chair, which is an unpaid position, It is quite another to take out a District Manager; major political changes had not necessarily yield such a result elsewhere, and Gene hoped to stay in his position.
But Gene was perhaps too non-political to grok the bullshit.
Gonzalez, instructed him to send back all mail if it was addressed to DeSapio as Board Chair instead of her. Like any non-psychotic, he refused (I know the story is true, because I eventually had mail returned to my office when the secretary accidentally used some old mailing labels). Gonzalez took this as a personal affront to her dignity.
Soon, Angel Rodriguez went after Gene. As the Feds have shown, Angel was not averse to twisting a few arms, legs and other body parts to achieve his goals.
I tried to help, at the request of both Bea and Gene, but a staffer I’d hired as an underling at Bea’s request (his sister worked at the Board), only to have him promoted over me, told me “hands off.”
Gene, seeing he was beat, eventually agreed to resign, to be replaced (surprise, surprise) by Angel's Chief of Staff, Jeremy Laufer.
Although I think Dot Turano would be doing everyone a favor if she retired, I have to say that having watched Councilmembers try to dictate the hiring and firing of District Managers, I find it to be a thugly practice, and the definition of “undue influence.”
So I'm glad Lew Fidler is taking a hands-off attitude on Board 18’s decision. Those who advocate otherwise should remember that hard cases make for bad precedents. Fidler Staying Out Of Fight Over Kruger Companion [UPDATED] | City and State www.cityandstateny.com
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