Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Barrons of ENY

Making History Together

The Barrons of East New York

Meet City Councilman Charles Barron and Assemblywoman Inez Barron, the first husband and wife to be elected to public office at the same time in New York City. We all know Charles as a passionate voice for his community and one who owns many controversial sound bites in the New York media. What is less known about the East New York leader is his outstanding skill as a politician. Last year while he was collecting as many member items for his community legitimately as the speaker was from the slush fund, he managed to engineer his wife Inez's victory over County, Congressman Towns and machine boss Vito Lopez's candidate Earl Williams.

This week Inez Barron replaces Diane Gordon who was convicted last year of receiving a bribe for offering to help a developer acquire a parcel of city-owned land in her district, in exchange for a free house in a gated community in Queens. Inez is a former teacher, principal and vice president of a non profit that worked to empower people by developing leadership skills.

The media has both helped and hurt Charles by its coverage of him. His controversial statements in the media give him bargaining power in the backrooms of the council. However, by limiting it's coverage of Barron to his headline grabbing statements without telling his complete story, the media has limited his appeal and acceptance, preventing his popularity from growing to a wider cross-section of the public.

The Untold Barron Story
Besides missing the fact that Charles and Inez are the first husband and wife to serve in elective office at the same time, the press has never done a complete analysis of one of the most complicated and interText Coloresting politicians in our city. If they did, they would find that even the hard core New York Post readers were moved when he stood up to power and gave passionate speeches against the extension of term limits. He has supported and spoken out in advocacy of many other moral causes that would impress even those who oppose him because of his public image. The press has also missed the fact that Charles Barron the former Black Panther activist and close ally of the Rev. Al Sharpton, has used his skills to become the political boss of East New York.

The fact that the press misses the real story of Charles Barron can be explained by an addiction to one liners and sound bites that is all too common in today's media. What is not so easy to understand is the inexplicable fact that the media has never featured the story of the first husband and wife office holders in New York. At a recent holiday party for district leader Olanike "Ola" Alabi with both Barrons in attendance, Brooklyn election attorney Mitch Alter was overheard saying that if Charles and Inez were white they'd be on the cover of New York Magazine and Vanity Fair with photographs by Annie Leibovitz. If the court challenge to the term limits extension fails and the U.S. Justice Department OKs the extension, look for Charles to run for reelection to the council and then look out Towns.

Term Limits Get Reprise, This Time in Court
The group challenging an extension of term limits argued their cases before federal judge Charles Sifton Monday. (the only daily paper to cover this story was the Times)

“A term-limited mayor and a term-limited City Council majority made a conscious choice out of naked incumbent protection to vote themselves the opportunity for a third term,”
Randy Mastro, lawyer for the plaintiff
"We’re talking about different interests,” said Judge Sifton, whose ruling will essentially decide the makeup of the citywide ballot. “It’s difficult to convert into some common denominator.”

One primary issue in the lawsuit filed by the challengers is whether the law extending term limits violated the voters’ constitutional rights to free speech, by annulling a decision they had endorsed at the polls, and their due process, by giving two-term incumbents an unfair advantage over challengers. Kitzinger the attorney for the city apparently hoped to discredit some of the lawsuit’s other claims, including one that called it a conflict of interest for politicians to vote on a law expanding their own time in office. Judge Sifton said he would have a written decision as soon as possible. Lawyers opposed to the extension are hopeful that could happen in the next few weeks in time for the term limits question to go on the ballot later this spring.

Albany Update Rebel Dems, Malcom Smith close to Senate deal, say sources - that Kruger would become chairman of the powerful Finance Committee, Diaz Sr. would become chairman of the Aging Committee. Bronx Democrat Espada Jr. would receive an "influential policy position" *** State Senate Leadership Down to the Wire *** State Senate Democrats remain teetering on verge of control *** Political Limbo Remains Strong In Albany *** SEIU 1199: No intervening in Senate fight *** Senate Democrats yesterday demanded a criminal probe of a bombshell memorandum showing Republicans plotting to use their state-funded Senate staffers for campaign purposes *** Hiram Monserrate: NYPD, DA pursuing a "political lynching" *** Avi Schick stepping down as president of the Empire State Development Corp *** State fiscal woes impact parks, historic sites *** State Legislature Likely To Hold Answer On Fare Hikes *** New York State Budget Crisis.

Senate Campaign PATERSON GETS PERSONAL IN VETTING CAROLINE *** So You Want to Be a Senator? Answer 28 Pages of Questions *** Kennedy Shadow Looms Over Senate Hopefuls *** New poll sez Caroline is unsweetened *** Pete King vs. Caroline Kennedy Battle Looms *** Caroline: The Reasons Why *** Carpenters Back Kennedy for Senate *** Missteps may not trip up Kennedy *** Recalling the case of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., former congressman Andrew Jacobs, Jr. says the Constitution could not be clearer: the Senate has no right to reject Roland Burris.

Washington Burris declares he's a senator...Franken declares he's a senator... *** Minnesota certifies Franken's victory - by 225 votes *** Stuart Saves His Family Election With Recount Win *** Senate rejects Burris' certificate of appointment *** Obama picks Leon Panetta to head CIA *** Feinstein rips Obama on CIA-Panetta pick: 'I was not informed'... *** OBAMA WANTS BUBBA BUDDY FOR CIA BOSS *** Panetta pick puzzles spy community *** BAM $OUNDS THE ALARM - economy "bad and getting worse" *** Obama hits D.C., huddles with Dems *** If Obama Can Bring Change to DC, Why Not Middle East? *** Portraits, taken from the pages of Vanity Fair, of every president since Woodrow Wilson *** Richardson, Obama Teams Trade Blame *** How Far Should Obama Go for GOP Support? *** The economy and Blagojevich are only the first tests for Obama.

Gambling at Rick's Cafe
Try Checking Campaign Contributions to Members of Congress from Wall Street

Brennan Center has suggestions for lawmakers Times Editorial: Still Broken After All These Years - New York’s government is still a secretive, boss-driven, anti-democratic disgrace.

Dysfunctional by Design $$$
Gotham Gazette on lobbying *** Lobbyists Making Big Money in Albany's Chronic Logjams *** Spitzer-LovinLobbyists Head to Albany *** Albany lobbyist: Investigators asked for records in Bruno probe *** Lobbying Investigation Prompts Raid of Albany Firm *** New York - Lobbying Albany: A Recession-Proof Industry - Runnin ... *** Bolton-St. Johns: Client Services - Lobbying *** Big Bucks = Big Influence In Albany *** Lobbying Expenditures in Albany *** N.Y. red-light cameras may depend on lobbyist connections ... *** Changing Albany's Political Culture.

Mayor Bloomberg's 'odd' delay on federal approval on term bid
More than two months after signing the controversial law allowing him to seek a third term, Bloomberg still hasn't sought the required federal approval for it.

City Hall Mayor Bloomberg digging for votes *** Bloomberg wants faster development *** Community input may be on the outs - City looking to re-examine uniform land-usage guidelines *** Community-Board Crankies Ready to Go Bananas on Bloomberg... *** New York Housing Plan Is Delayed *** Striking Declines Seen in Manhattan Real Estate Market *** Streeteasy study finds home sales in Manhattan drop 34% *** Housing market hammered in fallout from woeful economy *** Manhattan luxury housing market takes a hit *** Homeless may be left in cold by city funding cuts, say advocates ***The Bronx Zoo funding endangered *** Candidates lining up to grab Monserrate's Council seat.

Construction Mess CRANE BOSS IN CHEAP TROUBLE REFUSED TO MAKE $400 FIX: DA *** Rigger in Crane Collapse Pleads Not Guilty to Manslaughter *** DA: Crane contractor "reckless" and "negligent".

Wall Street Mess MADOFF BIG-BUCK GIFTS A BID TO STASH LOTT: FEDS - Mails $1 Million in Jewels *** Representative Gary Ackerman to SEC: ‘You Suck’ ***Live Blogging at the House Hearing on Madoff *** PIGGY MADOFF SKIPS POKEY TIME ONCE AGAIN *** Jail Bernie for mailing jewels to pals, prosecutor says *** Prosecutors: Madoff violated bail conditions*** Prosecutor to NY judge: Jail Madoff without bail *** Newfound Thrift Battering Economy *** Fannie Mae’s Last Stand.

Health Care Post Editorial - Hospitals scamming the public - more than $50 million in lost Medicaid money *** STAFFERS BLEW LID OFF MEDI'FRAUD' *** Medicaid junkies.

Media The Secrets of His Succession Michael Wolff's book on Rupert Murdoch *** More Times-Speak on Obama appointments for the Justice Department - Happers