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Political Boss in Scandal - Nobody Notices

I’m surprised that there hasn’t been more comment about the Democratic political boss who got indicted for sexual abuse. You know the one with the patronage job and the wife who is a judge.

Oh wait – it’s not a New York City Democrat, it’s an upstate Republican!

I forgot. New York City newspapers couldn’t be bothered to print stories like this.

Stickin' The Schnoz Where The Sun Don't Shine

Is it true that sunlight is the best disinfectant? We're about to find out.

With help from the Sunlight Foundation, a newish nonprofit dedicated to transparency in the federal government, Room Eight will be launching its Congressional Wire in the coming weeks; a section devoted to coverage of the New York Congressional Delegation - slightly more intense then what is available now (which would be ... umm ...very...very...little.)

We'll be examining the delegation's behaviors, key votes, as well as the national and local interests who seek to influence them.  We'll also be profiling their pork, scrutinizing their lobbyists, and using words like "phat" and "megabux" as much as possible.

If nothing else, though, we promise to keep it lively.

So stay tuned!

- Ben and Gur 

Owning up to my mistakes and defending Ben Smith, all at the same time.

Last week wasn’t a great week for me for a variety of reasons. Apart from making a major blunder on this site, I saw some things on another blog which really disgusted me. Of my faux pas, I will refrain from discussing here at present, but of what disgusted me, well, that’s the topic of this post. I say this because I am in a “Gatemouth” moment; I will refrain from posting after the end of this month. I just have a few loose ends to tie up, and then I will reassess the utility/efficacy of my posts here. So I will be on hiatus before month’s end, or will be permanently gone thereafter. I am sure there will be many who would cheer this info.

Democratic State Committee Facts

Before and since the recent State conventions, there have been many comments on The Politicker and Daily Politics blog about who votes at the Democratic State Convention -   asking  who they are, how they are chosen , are dissidents purged, etc.

(For some reason, there is really letter comment about who votes at Republican conventions)

Many of the questions and comments reflected the fact that most people, even political junkies, don’t know a lot about this position.  Here are some facts:

The members of the State Committee are not delegates like those who pick Presidential candidates.  Delegates are selected to take in part in a single convention.

A Modest Proposal for Bloomberg

I have a modest proposal for Bloomberg.  That is Bloomberg LLC, the business media company.  I propose that it implement a huge pension enhancement for existing staff and those already retired.  Huge enough to push pension costs up to 25 percent of wages, force it to dramatically increase what it charges its customers, and cut back on some services.  Then, since its labor costs would be high, I suggest that the company drastically reduce starting salaries for all new hires, and their benefits, to the point where virtually everyone else in their industry in the New York area pays more to those they are recruiting.

Cuomo on NY 1

Thursday night on Inside City Hall, Andrew Cuomo presented a pretty weak defense when asked about a charge made be Mark Green.

Here’s the exchange started by Dominic Carter –

“When you left HUD, Mr. Cuomo, did you receive any honorarium from companies that while you were at HUD they received HUD grants."

Cuomo: "Dominic, after I left HUD I’ve given lectures, speeches, etcetera to companies, its part of what I do. I may very well have spoken before a company that directly or indirectly received HUD funding. But so what?"

Carter: "But is that ethical?"

"Paper to launch Free Paper for Government Employees"

From the New York Sun, June 8, 2006, pg. 3:

Just four weeks after the launch of Our Town Downtown, a free weekly aimed at families living below 28th street, local publishing conglomerate Manhattan Media will introduce a free monthly paper Monday for New York's government employees. Manhattan Media president and chief executive officer, Tom Allon, says he hoped the paper's in-depth coverage of insdier New York politics will appeal to local elected leaders, their staff, lobbyists, good government groups, and agency heads. Mr. Allon said City Hall is modeled after Washington D.C. papers like Roll Call and the Hill, which target employees of the federal government.

An Open Letter to Tom Suozzi

Dear Mr. Suozzi:

You probably won’t remember me, since we have met only once, at Sharpton’s MLK-day event last February. However, I have been admiring your political activities from a distance, for many years now. You have built a powerful resume. I am very impressed with you as a leader in our political party. I find you refreshing. I have even spoken to Ms. Devlin (your manager) about working with you, especially on your “fix Albany” initiative. I have spent the last year defending your potential candidacy on the blogs, and I have publicly admitted to leaning towards voting for you in the upcoming primary. I have impressed countless others to give your candidacy a serious look, and they have. Most are impressed. With all this as a backdrop I write this letter, since today the petitioning process starts. This is the time to make real hard decisions.

Who Should Pay for Rent Control?

Saturday’s NY Times has a column by John Tierney, advocating the end of rent control. (Can’t be linked to because it’s part of the Times’ pay per view section.) 

Tuesday’s Times had letters defending rent control, the gist of the argument was spelled out in one letter - “Tell me, John Tierney, if you were an 83-year-old widow living on your Social Security in the same apartment, now rent-controlled, for 49 years, and the apartment became decontrolled, what would you do? “

I don’t think Tierney wants 83 year olds to be homeless and neither do other opponents of rent control.

Congress Members Adrift...

The Center for Public Integrity just completed a study examining 23,000+ privately funded trips taken by members of Congress and staffers over a 5.5-year period.

Lots 'O Fact Finding.  And among their many interesting discoveries, we learn that the office of Queens Rep. Gregory Meeks finds itself smack dab atop the list of Congressional travelers; meaning, it consumed more than $350,000 worth of travel during this time period.

What Happens In Cuba, Stays In...Separately, we also learn that as a result of the Center's efforts, NY Congressional Dean, Charles Rangel, has acknowledged a violation of House ethics rules, and reimbursed two of the sponsors of a trip he took to Cuba fours years ago with his wife and son.

Grapevine #2

I know that I said I would update this segment every 2 weeks, but I am coming in a few days early this time, since it seems that I have pissed–off many people, and as such I need to clarify a few things.

So fasten your seatbelts, here goes.

Firstly; Eric Adams is going to win the 20th Senatorial race. I have said this before and yet his “peeps” are still angry at me. Even if 1199( union) hadn’t endorse him, he was still going to win this race. Anthony Alexis couldn’t even get an endorsement from his political club, and his former boss-lady (Rhoda Jacobs) is carrying Adams on her petitions to booth. Two other opponents (Elizabeth King and Bill Phillpotts) seem to have been running stealth-candidacies, and Moses ‘Musa’ Moore, the only challenger (to me) who could have made it a lil difficult for Eric, has withdrawn, as far as I know. Plus, Eric had has been wracking-up endorsements like nobody’s business. Plus, he has raised the most money in the field, and has the highest name-recognition by far. I know it is real early, but you can stick a fork in his opponents. This is not even a tough call folks. You can bet the rent-money on this race.

NY Taxes: High However Measured

One of the tricks, or possibility of playing a trick (which I would never do), in the presentation of social and economic data is adjusting it – for population, income, inflation, and other conditions – so it is truly comparable and meaningful across geography and time.

With the May 31 release of fiscal 2004 state and local finance data from the U.S. Census Bureau, you may have heard that New York’s state and local taxes are still the highest per capita in the country.  The per capita measure doesn’t take into account the higher overall wages and costs in downstate New York, which both limits the pain of higher taxes and requires them to purchase public services of equivalent scope and quality.  Thus I have always used the Bureau’s other measure,  revenues and expenditures as a share of the income of area residents, as the more fair and accurate metric.  No matter:  New York is still number one among states, and by some margin, and New York City is much higher than the rest of the state.

Fox's Fascista Briganti Brings It to Ben

From the woman who referred to Christiane Amanpour as a "spokeswoman for Al-Qaeda" and to Jack Cafferty as "unstable as CNN's programming line-up," comes this whale of a sucker punch to our own daily politicker.

"Ben has struggled to regain relevance since leaving the New York Observer, which is why you need a blood hound to find his column. We're happy he's making more than the $29,000 he made at the Observer... then again, you get what you pay for."

Mind you, this garbage came in response to Ben's insistence that Fox News isn't ... how shall I say it ... always that fair and balanced??

MIke's Bogus Argument

The Bloomberg administration is making a pretty dumb argument when they say in Friday’s Post “that anti-terror grants may have been spread around the country for political reasons”.

If we buy that line, then isn’t Mike admitting that his strategy over the last 4 years was a failure? He’s admitting all the money he contributed or raised for various right-wing Republicans ended up not helping the City. Isn’t he saying that the warm welcome he gave the Republicans during the 2004 convention wasn’t useful? That the supposed clout that Republican Congressmen like Peter King, John Sweeney & Tom Reynolds have in DC doesn’t amount to much.

The Year of the Withdrawals: 2006

It was somewhere around this time (early June) a few years ago, while musing with a political crack head, I hinted that each new petition-drive was becoming more and more mundane. His answer felt like a bucket of cold water thrown into the sleeping face of a political addict. He told me that he looked forward to every new election-cycle with eager anticipation and excitement, since each New Year in politics, brings unique personalities, situations, events and occurrences. He was right. And although I fall off the wagon from time to time-especially when these somnambulant black electeds piss me off (which is often) - I always remember his words around this time. You see, this is when the phone starts ringing non-stop, as people recruit help or references while putting together late campaigns. This year however is slightly different. This is the year of the withdrawal(s). Lots of candidates are withdrawing, and by the end of this article you will get the inside scoop on some more withdrawals upcoming. Some may or may not surprise you.