The State Senate Primaries (Part Three B): Amigos Are No Friends of Ours
In our last episode, I outlined in great detail the complete and ugly history of the greed, moral corruption and irresponsibility of the rascals known as collectively in the press as “The Amigos”: State Senator Pedro Espada, Ruben Diaz, Carl Kruger and former Senator Hiram Monserrate, as well as their partners in crime bloviating billionaire Tom Golisano and his oily operative Steve Pigeon, and their enablers Senate Republican Leaders Joe Bruno and Dean “The Dog” Skelos.
Except for their monumentally unlucky ally, Hiram Monserrate, who got caught apparently trying to do to a woman what he’d done to the State Senate, these bastards made out like bandits, which is what they are. They held New York State hostage, and we paid the ransom.
“Amigos” literally means friends. In the parlance of our young and amorous, “the Amigos” are truly “friends with benefits.”
To draw a Monserrate analogy, it is time they were cut (off from their benefits).
In our last episode, the main reason for dumping the Amigos were outlined in all their reprehensibility. The people involved put New York State through not one, but two different intervals where the resolution of control of a legislative chambers became an occasion for extortion, while the interests of the public, including cities and school districts concerned about their ability to operate, just had to wait.
But there’s more. If the state AG is to be believed, Pedro Espada’s little poverty empire has been used as his personal, family, and campaign piggy bank for decades, while he laughs at his poor Bronx constituents from the luxury of his mansion in Mamaroneck.
At least twice during fights over the Senate’s Leadership, Espada e attempted to use same-sex marriage as a political tool to facilitate the lining of his pockets, while at home, he practices the worst sort of voter intimidation tactics, and accuses anyone who call him what he is a bigot.Espada’s spent decades consorting with a bigoted cult of political extremists who’ve made common cause with the likes of Lyndon LaRouche and Pat Buchanan, while trying to recruit young children and the mentally and emotionally vulnerable into its questionable, abusive and deviant program of therapy, which seems mostly to consist of sleeping with the cult leader and working for his candidates.
Pedro Espada is such human garbage that I’d even endorse the candidate of the WFP and the Bronx Democrats against him. In the 33rd Senatorial District, Gatemouth endorses Gustavo Rivera for State Senate
Ruben Diaz, also controls his own social service empire, and though investigations of it have never lead as far of those involving Espada, they’ve occurred more than once. Moreover, sometimes it seems as if Ruben cannot tell the difference between his church, his Not-for-profits, his district office and his campaign headquarters.Like Espada, Diaz also has a disturbing habit of letting charges of racism fly on the slightest pretext.
Worried about another coup? Well Ruben‘s working against that by helping Republicans earn a majority even before the matter gets to the Senate floor. In perhaps the Senate’s most hotly contested race, Ruben’s already endorsed marginal Republican Senator Frank Padavan for re-election.
And let’s not forget Diaz’s lead role in ginning up hysteria about same sex marriage. I’m not sure Ruben qualifies as a bigot, but even if it is not hatred which motivates Ruben Diaz, he lathers himself into such hydrophobia on the issue that he needs to be vaccinated for rabies.
Diaz must go. In the 32nd Senatorial District, Gatemouth endorses Carlos Ramos for State Senate.Then there is Hiram Monserrate. No longer in the senate, Hiram is now running for Assembly. Even if we ignored Monserrate’s adventures with the Amigos, there would be Hiram’s race baiting, his own poverty pimpery, his politically unfathomable (he represented Jackson Heights) vote against same-sex marriage, and something else I can’t recall.
Oh yeah, he was convicted of assaulting his girlfriend, and, after the incident, drove past about a dozen hospitals in the hopes of getting her treated at one where he wouldn’t be recognized.
Hiram Monserrate is such a pathetic waste of blood cells that I’d even endorse the candidate of the WFP and the Queens Democrats against him. In the 39th Assembly District, Gatemouth endorses Francisco Moya for State Assembly.
Regrettably there is no candidate against the despicable Carl Kruger. Igor Oberman, an administrative law judge at the Taxi Commission, announced such a race, but dropped out after the fall weight of a Carl Kruger clusterfuck landed upon him. One cannot blame him for getting out while the getting was good.However, one can blame Oberman for his cowardly statement of retreat: “I believe [Kruger] is someone important to Brooklyn and the Democratic majority,…There was room at the table for another person, but at this point I would say that we need someone like him representing Brooklyn."
Forgotten but not gone, Igor Oberman has squandered what little credibility he had left.
Now we travel upstate.
Last time out, one of the most vulnerable State Senate Democrats was Billy Stachowski from parts of Buffalo and its whitest suburbs. In a successful effort to save Billy from defeat, Malcolm Smith promised all the local editorial boards that if Billy won, he’d become chair of the Senate Finance Committee, flooding western New York with the State‘s munificence.
Then came the Amigos, and Stach got screwed big time in favor of Carl Kruger.
Despite (or maybe because) of what occurred, in the summer of 2009, when Dean Skelos came to Stach promising a basket full of goodies for his support, Stach told Skelos to fuck off, probably in those words, and then went to the press.
Billy Stachowski is a hack, but he’s our hack.
But Stack is weak on choice, voted against same sex marriage, is lousy on environmental issues, and while not going the Espada route to tie up the entire state government for his own personal aggrandizement, did manage to personally hold up passage of the state budget to showboat on some local parochial concern.However, Stach’s opponent is Steve Pigeon‘s handpicked golden boy, Tim Kennedy. As outlined in our last episode, Steve Pigeon is at least as culpable in the Amigo adventures as any of the bastards themselves.
In fact, for helping to tie up New York state for an entire month, Steve Pigeon was awarded with a $150,000 a year job as Pedro Espada’s Counsel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Moreover, at Pigeon’s behest, Kennedy recently provided his vote to help turn control of the Erie County Legislature over to the Republicans.
Is Kennedy a future Amigo?
No, Kennedy is already an Amigo.
Just to put things in context, the Republican County Exec in whose interests Kennedy and Pigeon acted was Chris Collins, the guy who compared Shelly Silver to the Antichrist (as opposed to Carl Paladino, who compared Silver to Hitler).Kennedy is also the Conservative Party choice, which might actually be a point in his favor in a district where the Republican might very well win, if Stach himself weren‘t the choice of the Independence Party (who, despite their Carl Kruger connections, have apparently never forgiven Pigeon for the 2002 Golisano war described in the last episode).
Tim's already assured the Conservative Party he will fight against Medicaid abortions.
However, Kennedy does, despite his social conservatism on nearly every other issue, support same-sex marriage.
I don’t believe him.
Fightback New York does believe Kennedy, and I suppose they’re in the position to know, but the local Conservative Party Leader seemed awful smug in opining that Tim will listen to "reason" and ultimately go their way on marriage as well.
I’m sorry, but while I cannot endorse a State Senate candidate who voted against same-sex marriage over one who supports it, Tim Kennedy has already proven himself unworthy of either trust or public office.
More importantly, to discourage such conduct in others, Steve Pigeon must be punished.
In such cases, there is another option:
There are two other candidates in this race.
Tom Casey thinks both Stach and Kennedy lack a commitment to reform.
And he is correct.
He also thinks Stach and Kennedy are too socially liberal.
So, he’s nuts.
On the other hand, Michael Kuzma, who cut his political teeth trying to make Dennis Kucinich the leader of the Free World is, by definition, nuts as well.
But Kuzma supports both same sex marriage and choice.
Billy Stachowski deserves thanks for his service to his community and for being a loyal Democrat, but given his crucial vote against same sex marriage, he cannot be supported in this primary, even though he is surely preferable to the anti-marriage Republican in the general election.
Tim Kennedy is the puppet of an evil man. He may indeed be preferable to a Republican in the general, but that is an argument for another day (if and only if he wins the primary).
Both candidates are unacceptable to the point that I’d even endorse a lunatic lefty against them. In the 58th Senatorial District, Gatemouth endorses Michael Kuzma for State Senate.
Better a wasted vote than toxic Pigeon waste.
I’ve one more.As many of you know, last year, I did a two part series on our state’s political parties, where among other things, I outlined how the Senate Republicans have managed, even in the face of defeat, to remain a coherent force. To the extent the Republicans exist in the City of New York, they are, barring a few idealists, mostly an offshoot of the State Senate Republican Campaign Committee, which was the crucial force in all of last year‘s unexpected City Council victories.
The Senate Republicans have a symbiotic relationship with the Mayor, to whose campaigns he funnels money, both directly and through laundering second only to the WFP in its clever resourcefulness. Bloomberg money, in all its varied manifestations, is behind only Senate Democratic disorder and national trends in keeping the hopes of the Senate Republicans alive. And the Senate Republicans and their resources were second only to Bloomberg cash, in all its manifestations, in delivering to Bloomberg the Republican nomination last year.
It is instructive that, other than the self-financing Peter Koo, now a City Councilman, who ran a 2008 race for State Senate against Toby Stavisky, and therefore also has connections to their tribe, those Republicans City council candidates who made an effort, or who had any semblance of a chance of victory, were all running in districts which strongly overlapped seats held by Republican Senators or were recently so and are now Republican targets. All (including Koo), not coincidentally, had the endorsement of the Independence Party.
Koo now serves as the Republican Senate’s roving good will ambassador for Republicans seeking Asian support when, unlike his fellow Republican Councilman Dan Halloran, they aren’t busy Asian-bashing.
But strangely, this summer, Koo is not spending his time helping a State Senate Republican to beat a Democrat (that’ll come this fall, when joins Ruben Diaz in helping to campaign for Frank Padavan against former Councilman Tony Avella), but is instead trying to help a DEMOCRAT IN NAME ONLY beat a State Senate Democrat.
Koo’s candidate is Isaac Sasson, a self-financing Orthodox Jewish doctor from Syria who made most of his considerable fortune by winning the lottery. Last year, Sasson employed a divide and conquer strategy in seeking a Council seat in an Asian majority district, and having lost the primary, endorsed Republican Koo in the general, helping to kosherize this Peking Duck. Now Koo is returning the favor, pushing Sasson as the de facto Asian in the primary against incumbent Toby Stavisky.
But it is not mere gratitude that underlies Koo’s efforts. Sasson is a DINO who campaigns for “traditional marriage” and tuition tax credits for Yeshivas.Sasson's challenge to Stavisky is being run by Jay Golub, a Republican activist. It seems clear that the Republicans have, as I outlined in our last episode, revived the “Doghouse Democrats” strategy that led us to a month of Pedro Espada’s antics last summer (not to mention their prelude the previous winter).
How does one say Amigo in Ladino?Incidentally, there is also a third candidate, John Messer has spent the past few months campaigning on a platform to help middle-class homeowners, even though he once headed a firm embroiled in a multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud and identity theft ring that targeted vulnerable, middle-income New Yorkers. Messer’s company was also involved in dozens of foreclosure proceedings against Queens homeowners.
Messer‘s response to all this is "I was a victim," which seems to take self pity to a new level.
Given the circumstances, Messer’s last name is almost Dickensian in its accuracy.
Toby Stavisky is a savvy and unobjectionable moderate liberal with a solid record in the community. If Dean Skelos wants to come after her, let him do it in a general election.
In the 16th Senatorial District, Gatemouth endorses Toby Stavisky for State Senate.
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