Dateline: In Brooklyn, On Vacation and Home with a Fever.
And now, the biggest story of the day:
Chris Bragg has started a new blog. Bragg Blog braggblog.com
The still incomplete details of Silver's Lopez Hush Money are probably the best news Vito had all day, since it has allowed him to split the spotlight with another miscreant. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/28/nyregion/claims-vito-lopez-harassed-staff-cost-state-103000.html?_ www.nytimes.com
This News Editorial actually has more details concerning the settlment than any news article.
Soon after Silver censured Lopez as a groper, word leaked that the Democratic-controlled Assembly had secretly settled with a woman whose high-profile lawyer, Gloria Allred, had previously reported inappropriate conduct by Lopez.
As far as the facts can be discerned, the deal hushed up a claim made against Lopez, a ranking Silver ally, with $103,080 in taxpayer funds. The paperwork, obtained by the Daily News under a Freedom of Information request, seems designed to obscure the nature of the transaction…
…According to the version presented by key Assembly personnel, Allred contacted Silver’s counsel on behalf of a woman who worked for the Assembly and alleged impropriety by Lopez.
An Assembly lawyer is said to have asked Allred whether the woman wanted to file a formal complaint. Allred reportedly responded that the woman preferred not to but wanted to reach an accommodation. Allred declined to comment.
The conversations led to an understanding to allow the woman to leave the job but to give her the amount she would be owed if she worked till the end of the year. The $103,080 payment document obtained by The News describes the money as being paid for “LEGAL SERVICES-SETTLEMENT” and for “LEGAL-ATTORNEY.”
Because the matter was handled informally, the Assembly and Lopez avoided having to report a settlement to the attorney general’s office.
The secrecy was so tight that even the Ethics Committee was kept in the dark — on the ground that because the woman had not filed a complaint, there was nothing for the panel to act on.
Only after two other women filed formal complaints against Lopez did the panel find out about the first case and then come down hard on him...
…Silver’s written policy calls for sending sexual harassment complaints to the panel for investigation. Given that the Assembly counsel settled with Allred’s client, it’s a dodge to say there was no complaint, so there was no need for a referral.
The Assembly under Silver used public money to keep Lopez out of a public mess… http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/speaker-sheldon-silver-handling-case-vito-lopez-full-probe-article-1.1145741#ixzz24qBEBbNg www.nydailynews.com
Bill Thompson (!?!) joins Bill DeBlasio (?!?) and Chris Quinn (!?!) in the Lopez pile-on.
Lopez seems oblivious.
Perhaps someone should organize an intervention. Twitter / MichaelHwrdSaul: Mayoral candidate Bill Thompson ... twitter.com
As the opera draws to a close, District Leader Betty-Ann Canizio comes up to take her solo and proceeds to do a finely executed tarantella on the Leader's windpipe. Onetime Vito Lopez supporter predicts a shutout in Brooklyn | Capital New York www.capitalnewyork.com
Spot-on analysis by Colin over the impact of the Lopez troubles on the local primaries.
My own thoughts:
1) While quicker action is possible, one can make a serious process argument against removing a Leader two weeks before an election which could seriously alter the electorate which chooses his successor, even though doing so sooner could resolve important issues like who (if anyone) holds the Organization’s proxies at the County Committee meeting which enacts the Party’s rules, and what those proposed rules are.
However, it must be noted that the TJ Club's call for Lopez to step down was actually a call for him not to seek re-election. Since having TJ in the dump Lopez forces is a big plus, one should probably expect that Lopez will serve out the last two weeks of his term as Leader.
2) Lopez is loaded for bear to prove his power--probably even if he's dumped as leader before the primary . This means protecting Marty Dilan and beating Lincoln Restler. Lopez will likely pour all his resources in those races (although this may have also been true before his troubles). Concomitantly, I suspect Nydia Velazquez will act in the same manner.
3) As Colin points out, without his Housing Chairmanship, Lopez has far less in his quiver to motivate the Zali Satmar Hasidim to turn out in force. However, I expect the Zali will turn out anyway. The Zali have traditionally stuck by their friends who've stuck by them, even when those friends are going down. Further, it serves the Zalis purpose in showing the world they dance with those who brung them, even in the worst of times, and that they can deliver for their guys, even under the worst of circumstances. For the Zalis, Lopez is both the right choice, both ethically and pragmatically.
4) The Aroni Satmar political leadership, which does not place the same premium on loyalty as the Zalis, are going to be newly emboldened. They will now sell the line that a vote for Lopez delivers the community nothing. They will also likely push the details of Lopez's disgrace, which will shock many in this straitlaced community, especially women (although it should be noted that at least one purportedly puritanical political operative associated with the Aroni maintains two families).
5) The Lopez news should help to wake up the Yuppie/Hipster/Artist community, which will be good for Restler. And, it cannot be helpful to Chris Olechowski among the more conservative ethnics he is counting on. Both of these communities (and the Hasidim too) are less significant in the Dilan/Otano race, but the analysis for these communities remains the same in both races.
6) The impact on the Genovesi-Montelione Judicial race? Genovesi's operation was never really a Vito operation to begin with, and in fact, her campaign's list of prominent helpers reads like a lot like a Lopez shit-list. Meanwhile, Montelione's supporters' ability to raise the issue has been severely limited by the blistering criticism the campaign took from the Citizen’s Union’s Dick Dadey, who lives in the district and is also prominent in the LGTB community which has been Montelione's home-base.
7) Walter Mosley probably wasn't getting many troops from Vito to begin with, but now is surely getting even fewer. Further, his refusal to call for Vito’s ouster, in contrast to the equivocal call by Olanike Alabi, and the strong unequivocal statement by Martine Guerrier are not going to stand him in good stead with the Buppie/Yuppie/Hipster vote.
8) There are races elsewhere in Brooklyn where I suspects the challengers will try to tie the incumbent to Lopez, but if one can't really beat Junior Boyland on what was out there before last week, it's hard to see how this will help much. Similarly, it's hard to make the case that Rhoda Jacobs is really closer to Vito than is Rodneyse Bichotte. However, I do expect that Gary Tilzer makes sure that Ben Akselrod will make the case that Steve Cymbrowitz is somehow responsible for Vito Lopez's impulse control issues. Given, the hatred Akselrod has been spewing thus far, talking about hands and thighs will actually raise the level of the debate. Which Races Are Most Affected by Vito Lopez’s Implosion? politicker.com
Recently, Chris Owens proposed the Dems elect a female County Leader; now two names have emerged, both of whom he Owens at least some relationship with.
It is hard to see how Owens’ co-leader, Jo Anne Simon, a brilliant attorney and community activist, and a leader of the semblance of what passes for a "reform" faction in Brooklyn politics, is going to be able to put together a majority, even under a best case scenario. I would argue that this may be a shame, but one cannot argue with the facts of life.
Since Simon is no fool, one must assume that her candidacy, if that is indeed what it is, is a holding action--a place for "reformers" to park their votes while they negotiate.
Annette Robinson, on the other hand could be a viable candidate, but while Owens has worked with Robinson since the early days of the old Coalition for Community Empowerment (though they've been on the opposite side of many recent races, including his own for Congress), it is hard to see how Owens squares support for Robinson, who has voted three times against same sex marriage in the Assembly, with his own rather heated rhetoric:
"Let me be clear about one thing, however. To protect the Democratic Party's true mission here in Brooklyn and in New York State, I don't have a problem with writing off social conservatives who are really right-wing Republicans -- or worse. If you oppress women, discriminate against people different from you, and pursue ridiculously selfish public policies, we really don't need you -- and we certainly can't trust you. The tent just ain't big enough for that level of disagreement.'
It should also be noted that Robinson, who opposed the implementation of the Independent Judicial Screening Panel pushed through by Simon and Lew Fidler, would be an extremely odd choice for reformers in others ways as well. Robinson, Simon Floated as Next Brooklyn Dem Chair if Lopez is Ousted www.cityandstateny.com
Still Fighting the Last War Department:
Two white candidates fight the Jew/Italian thing in an Asian plurality District. Jerry Iannece's Non-Profit Explicilty Promotes Candidacy, Race Baits Against Opponent braggblog.com
Ryan call rape "a method of conception."
Yes, and gunshot wounds are a method of cosmetic surgery. Paul Ryan Said Something That Should Force Him Off the Ticket, But You Probably Didn't Hear About It www.huffingtonpost.com
And You Didn't Believe in Miracles Department:
The Pennsylvania GOP has found a way to make pro-choice voters enthusiastic about Bob Casey. Pennsylvania GOP Senate Candidate: Getting Pregnant From Rape Is ‘Similar’ To Having A Baby Out Of W thinkprogress.org
Bad Karma Department:
Republicans attacked by "a throbbing purple penis surrounded by a rainbow." Pat Robertson, Call Your Office andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com