Two Little Covered Races Hold the Key to Future Speakers of Assembly and City Council
There is a lot of talk about the lack of press coverage of the race that involves indicted Assemblywoman Diana Gordon. While it is important to get rid of an elected official that has abused and profited by their position, politics will not change in Brooklyn as long as the core group is still running it. This core group seems to have survived the change from Norman and Vito mainly because of an unknowing or an uncaring voting public and because of a press who no long see it role to inform the public like the late Jack Newfield did for us since the 60's.
But, there are outside forces like the like Federal Judge Gleeson decision to declare Judicial Conventions unconstitutional that will have sea changes on the politics of the city. Two important political races in the city which offer that type of sea change have also have also received almost no press coverage. When there is press coverage it only lists who is running or endorsing, no background or analysis.
Race 1 Queens
Right now the two factions of the Manton coalition are using the Sabini challenge to positioning for control. One faction are headed by Congressman, Congressman Crowley the other by Congressman Meeks. Congressman Crowley is working closely with Manton – law firm of Sweeney, Gallo, Reich & Bolz -- whose partners include Gerard Sweeney, former counsel to the public administrator; Michael Reich, executive secretary of the Queens Democratic Party. The firm and their supporters want to keep the gravy train of judicial patronage going. Jack Newfield reported in 2003 this Manton’s law firm has taken in at least $400,000 in patronage since 1996. Many of the appointments came from Queens Surrogate's Court Judge Robert Nahman, who his job through Manton’s got maneuvering. William Driscoll, party-boss Manton's former chief of staff, who now works as a campaign consultant for the Parkside Group (both a lobbyist and political consultant group), reaped $125,322 from 53 judicial appointments during the same time.
Other supporting the Crowley /Sabini group include: Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión, Queens Assemblyman Jose Peralta, Manhattan Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat, Brooklyn Sen. Martin Malave Dilan and Bronx Sen. Jose Serrano, City Councilman John Liu.
The Meeks/Monserrate group sees Manton’s passing as an opportunity to cut themselves both more political power and a chance to for a larger slice of the Queens county patronage. Meeks political team is bringing all their forces in to help challenger Hiram Monserrate. In an effort to blunt Sabinin Hispanic support the old Bronx guard represents by former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer endorsed Monserrate last week.
If Queens’ breaks out in a fight for control like Brooklyn it will have a major impact on the cities politics. Manton because he had total control of the elected officials in his county was able to use that power to pick the last two Majority Leaders of the City Council, Gifford Miller and Christine C. Quinn. If Monserrate wins or if Meeks and Crowley are unable to come up with a shared power agreement then the ability of the next leader of Queens to play a major role in selection Majority Leader of the City Council and the next speaker of the Assembly will be greatly reduced.
More importantly with the recent Federal Court ruling upholding Judge Gleeson’s decision to declare Judicial Conventions unconstitutional and the criminal legal troubles of retiring Assemblyman Brian M. McLaughlin the future of the judicial patronage grave train is jeopardy. There has not been a primary for judge in Queens for over 25 years.
Race 2 Brooklyn
The lack of press coverage for Jeff Feldman is even more incredible when everyone knows that he was running the Democratic Organization campaigns for judicial campaigns this year and you read Judge Gleeson decision to declare Judicial Conventions unconstitutional:
The other candidate picked by Vito this year was the daughter of Earl Williams (40AD), Jacqueline Williams. There are four other Civil Court judge candidates running for the two open countywide spots. Robin Sheares and Pia Woods are getting the support of a lot of Central Brooklyn elected officials, despite Sheares problems with charges that she gave a fake apartment lease to the former principal of Brooklyn Tech who lived on Long Island so he could enroll his kids in NYC public schools at no costs.
The other two candidates on the ballot are Philip Smallman and John Serpico.
The main reason why this race is very important with the Federal Court of Appeals agreeing with Judge Gleeson to do away with Judicial Conventions very close attention will be paid to see if Vito can deliver by electing their Civil Court candidates Williams and Douglas. If one or the other loses it was be a major blow to Vito’s ability to rebuild the Brooklyn Democratic organization in the Manton mode. Vito is pushing his people to work for his judges, there are on lots of flyers going out and even the reformers sent out an email for Dena Douglas.
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