Monday, March 9, 2009

New York’s Political Mob Wars

New York’s
Political Mob Wars

The leaders of New York’s Political Mob are the City’s party leaders who exist with the Tammany Hall power control template, unchallenged and unaccountable to the voters in New York’s broken down election system. Their soldiers are campaign consultants who also operate as lobbyists and are as accountable to the voters as Bernie Madoff was to his investors. In this war the 4th estate has limited itself to covering only the horse race and simply reprinting the candidate’s press releases. The press coverage of politics is amazingly similar to the SEC reviews of Madoff’s records over the years.

Lately it seems that the live and let live compact between the party leaders and lobbyists (so similar to the Mob’s Appalachian agreement in the 50’s), has broken down. One of the most aggressive party leaders Brooklyn’s Vito Lopez, was the first to make a hit when he supported the redistricting of a council district in the Queens leader’s territory. Last year he sent in his lobbyist Michael Tobman to take advantage of a split in the Asian community to support Grace Meng. The Queens machine is seen as the Godfather of all the leaders mainly because its late leader Congressman Manton was able to put together deals to elect the last two council speakers. The original deal made in 2001 to elect Gifford Miller still continues to this day. Last month Speaker Quinn supported a Queens representative, Michael McSweeney, to the highly political position of City Clerk, infuriating Lopez and the new leader of the Bronx Hestie.

This year Lopez and Tobman are widening their war to a new borough: Manhattan. Tobman is a consultant in the campaign of Leslie Crocker Snyder, who is running to replace Robert Morgenthau. The Manhattan establishment has hired Bill Lynch and probably George Artz to defend their territory with Cyrus Vance. According to many, Tobman ran a very well funded, sleazy, Karl Rove style campaign on behalf of Roger Adler for a civil court seat and yet lost.

Yesterday Lynch with his candidate for comptroller John Liu, organized a St Valentine’s Day type hit against many of the Queens Godfather political leaders and many of the other families of county leaders and lobbyists that run New York, when he openly said that city residents vote by race and ethic alliances, not by territory. And he is right. County leaders have used smoke and mirrors and a wimpy press for years to pretend that they control the vote. In spite of their failure to control the vote, they still have Tammany Hall-like powers in critical areas shaping the city’s politics - ballot access, picking judges and a petitioning process that lets them knock off challengers. As a result, they stay in their party positions unchallenged and unanswerable to the public. Many party positions are now helped by elected officials, making those positions more like pawns in an insider game than representative of the people registered in the party. Lynch knows that the party leader’s position has more to do with controlling the office than delivering the vote to a candidate and he has moved in to take over.

“The Democratic Party is weak in New York City — and it has no way to control people” said H. Carl McCall, a former Democratic state comptroller who ran for governor in 2002. “There is no loyalty and there are no sanctions for being disloyal.”

The Godfather Queens machine reacts to the Liu and Lynch hit in it’s own home, showing that it is clueless and out of touch.

"I don't know why [Liu] would do this," is what Mike Reich, executive director of the Queens County organization, told my Daily News colleague Liz Benjamin. "The more people there are from Queens in the running, the less likely it is that someone from Queens will win." By Reich's logic, Liu's run for controller will end up helping Councilman David Yassky of Brooklyn, the fourth candidate in the race. Seems Reich and his fellow Queens leaders have become fat on the millions they have made over the years in patronage and lobbying fees. What Lynch the young Turk knows is that with a generation of broken down political parties, race and ethnic background matter more than where someone lives when they vote.

Lynch is a lobbyist who has made a great living on his understanding of race and how people vote. He ran the successful Dinkins mayoral campaign. He has also been a leader in pay to play politics which destroy the neighborhoods and voters in New York.

Even Bloomberg tried and failed to weaken the control of campaign consultants who operate as lobbyists when he tried and failed to propose tougher limits on them. At that time the mayor criticized the overlapping interests of consultants who raise funds or dispense advice for public officials while lobbying them on behalf of special interests.

At yesterday’s announcement of the Liu candidacy not a single question was asked by the press about how Wall Street’s failing pension funds or the falling real estate market will affect city services. Not a word about the Cuomo investigation of the state controller’s office or how the city comptroller allowed fake non profits to exist in the City’s budget.

Even if the press and the Queens machine does not get it, there is a political mob war in New York and don’t be surprised if bodies all over town wind up buried in the mud. *** New York Needs A Sun Burn *** Organized Crime Politics Part 2 *** Organized Crime Politics Part 1 *** NY's Falling Voter Participation *** Tammany’s Ballot Control Again and Again *** The Real Campaign is to Suppress Challengers.

The City
PARADE OF MAFIA BIGS ENDS JAIL STINTS IN '09 *** CONEY ISLAND PLAN MIGHT NEED TO SEIZE LAND *** BLOWTORCH BUNGLE: CHEAP CHINA WELD DOOMED E. SIDE CRANE *** QUINN'S CASH DISPENSER - $1.2 million in member-item cash poured by the council into a nonprofit founded by former Councilman Stephen DiBrienza *** ENOUGH HOLDUPS, ALREADY - Fordham University - NYP Ed *** Yankees fail to produce subpoenaed documents *** Sports stadiums suffer from really bad timing From the Wall Street Journal *** Huge turnout at Broadway-Flushing rally - decision to not designate Broadway-Flushing area as an historic district *** Bloomberg On Board With MTA Reorganization Plan *** Homes Hit Auction Block At Javits Center *** At Foreclosure Auction, Houses Sell, in a Frenzy *** Smith: How Bloomberg Could Finally Build Moynihan Station *** New York’s Middle Class *** Grip of the Mob Is Gone in This Race, a Union Says - school bus union *** In the Rockaways, Mourning for a Renaissance Unfulfilled *** Midtown office tower sold at deep discount *** Waterside park is still a dream *** Recession? Ha! Not for still-booming 5th Ave. stores *** Patients' wellness bonus for city doctors *** Falling through the cracks - lawsuits against the city *** Benjamin: Mayor Mike's got pal in Al D'Amato *** Editorial: Low-grade fever - Report Cards for teachers - DN *** The DN says the Assembly Democrats' Rockefeller Drug Law reform plan comes "dangerously close to decriminalizing even hard-core drugs" *** Justices Decline New York Gun Suit

On the Road to City Hall VANCE EARLY TO THE DANCE - DA Campaign *** THOMPSON RIPS 'TRICKLE DOWN' MIKE *** SE�BLOOMY TALKS THE TALK - mayor can't seem to stop speaking spanish *** Mayor hones Spanish to woo Latinos *** 'PIT BULL' LIU IN COMPTROLLER RUN *** STATE GOP GIVES RUDY A GOV-RACE DEADLINE *** Liu protest stopped at City Hall *** Look out ol' Mikey is back! From Gangbox *** Liu's in for controller, irking pols in Queens *** City Controller William Thompson steamed at overtime costs *** Here's video of Thompson criticizing Bloomberg for being an out-of-touch billionaire *** Ken Mitchell has won the 49th CD recount *** Exempt New Yorkers From Bridge Tolls, Weiner Says *** DiBrienza, Quinn, Yassky and a Dysfunctional City Council.

Who In Charge?
Why does the press cover gov't leaders saying gov't should get something done? What did we elect them for?
Lawmakers Push For 311 On The Go

Albany DAVE DITHERS ON MTA *** BRIDGE TOLLS HIT TROUBLED WATER *** PERV GROUP PUTS 10G 'HIT' ON ANDY *** New York State Senate To Hold Public Hearing On Progressive Taxation *** Albany Power Vaccuum Lets Speaker Get on a Shelly Roll *** Independence Party chief has AG Cuomo as LI headliner *** State’s shrinking pension fund making riskier ... *** Money for nothing... $35M loss worth *** One year later: The Spitzer call girl scandal that still reverberates in Albany *** The Senate Democrats have yet to produce much in the way of results since taking the majority in January *** The state Temporary Commission on Investigation is facing an uncertain future - again *** Upstate hospitals are fighting a proposed shift in doctor-training funds to downstate facilities *** The reasons why high-speed rail may not be a pipe dream *** Jay Gallagher writes that Democrats may have the Senate majority, but they are too weak and divided to impose their will.

President Obama STEM-CELL CASH BAN ENDS TODAY *** Obama Is Leaving Some Stem Cell Issues to Congress *** 3 JOINING EC-O-NOMIC TEAM *** O BUDGET DIRECTOR'S SCREWBALL - promise to block earmakrs *** OBAMA MULLS HOLA! TO CUBA *** IRAN 'TIGHTENS FIST' MISSILE TEST DEFIES O'S OFFER TO TALK *** Health overhaul tests Obama's political skills *** Analysis: Clinton's hard bargain on missile shield *** White House budget director says economy is 'weak' *** Obama’s Political Protector, Ever Close *** Behind the Curve The Obama administration’s economic policy is already falling behind the curve, and there’s a real, growing danger that it will never catch up - Krugmanm NYT *** Who’s Filibustering Now? President Obama should not let the Republicans interfere with how he chooses federal court judges - NYT Ed *** Auto Team Wraps Up in Detroit *** NYT Peppers Obama With Questions About Socialism *** September U.S. troop withdrawals scheduled *** Tax cop trips up W.H. nominees *** How Obama plays the pundits *** Holder vows to restore DOJ civil rights *** The man behind the firewall - pres internet man *** Obama's Science Overhaul *** Commentary: Is it Obama's economy yet? *** Obama quickly takes sharp turn on foreign policy *** Lobbyists slipping into Obama administration

Congress Sen. Joe Lieberman singing a new tune on Obama *** Senate Republicans: Some big banks should close *** G.O.P. Senators Say Some Big Banks Can Be Allowed to Fail *** Senate Gets Serious As Economy Worsens *** Budget Bill Delayed Over Earmarks Opposition *** The Cobwebbed Chamber The Senate should join the digital age and electronically file data about who’s financing senators’ election campaigns and in what amounts - NYT Ed *** Obama leads crowd in emotional Ted Kennedy birthday tribute *** For Dems, '60' is a four-letter word *** Business, unions swarm Hill *** Illinois Dems eye Burris seat *** McCain: 'We fought a good fight' *** McCain: Stop propping up AIG, GM, banks *** Toomey to challenge Specter again *** Dems, GOP take different approaches in Minnesota marathon battle for Senate *** Inside the nation’s top 10 House races *** Minn. Gov. Pawlenty: GOP must modernize to win back electorate *** Ex-House Staffer Indicted in Abramoff Case *** The two U.S. senators from Wisconsin want to take away Senate appointments after the drama in New York *** New York lawmakers defend earmarks in the spending bill.

Wall Street Mess HAMPTONS UNDER THE HAMMER - Real Estate Auctions *** MONEY TO BERN? TRY THIS BANK *** Recession on track to be longest in postwar period *** Silence On AIG Gains *** World Poor Bears Brunt Of Global Crisis *** McClatchy plans to eliminate 1,600 jobs *** BACK-DOOR BONUS: SUBSIDIZED CITI DOLES OUT $3.5M IN BROKERS' GIFT CARDS *** A Rising Dollar Lifts the U.S. but Adds to the Crisis Abroad *** Merck to Buy Schering-Plough for $41.1 Billion *** Geithner, With Few Aides, Faces Challenges *** Top-exec pay train runs full steam ahead *** Tighter Fannie Mae lending rules threaten deve... *** Madoff Aide Allegedly Got Fake 'Tickets' *** Dow 5000? It's a Bet That Looks Possible *** Buffett: Economy Has 'Fallen off a Cliff' *** Lean Factories Find It Hard to Cut Jobs *** New Fears as Credit Markets Tighten *** Clean-Energy Sector Seeks Help *** GM, Canadian Union Outline Deal *** BusinessGE's Immelt Says He'll Survive Financial "Armageddon" *** Lupica: We must learn from Madoffs of the world *** Big deals on foreclosures *** Let 'em all crash and burn, say GOP bigs *** Circuit City closes its doors for good *** Dithering on bank crisis? *** Money Woes Boost Sales of Sedatives, Antidepressants *** World Economy Set to Shrink *** Ken Lewis: The Truth About Banks *** 'Bailout fatigue' collides with job losses

International After 2 years, no word on American missing in Iran *** Irish Assault Raises Specter of Brutal Days *** Seeking Justice, Chinese Land in Secret Jails *** Pakistan Regains Control of Remote Area, for Now *** As Olmert’s Time in Office Nears End, Captive Soldier’s Saga Gains Urgency *** Housing Spat Strains Israeli-U.S. Ties *** Brown Visits Attack Site in Northern Ireland *** Musharraf Draws Applause in India *** Price to Woo Syria Could Be Steep *** No Lifeline Guarantee for Russian Tycoons *** Darfur Aid Agencies Leave Sudan *** North Korea Threatens "War" If Satellite Launch Is Intercepted *** Iran can make nukes: Israel *** Secretary Clinton's safety dance *** Somalian pirates continue attacks

National Thomas L. Friedman: The Inflection Is Near? *** Unions Face Obstacles in Effort to Reunite *** Fear of Lost Jobs Is Hurdle to Reining In Defense Contracts *** U.S. to Nation’s Schools: Spend Fast, Keep Receipts *** U.S. to Make Push For Global Stimulus *** Universities Gain on Stem-Cell Switch *** Next Front Opens for California Budget *** Florida Highway Upgrade Goes Private *** Funds Attract City, County Officials *** WATCH: SNL: Rush Limbaugh Electric Shocks Michael Steele On Update *** Rush is toxic, says fellow GOPer *** SuperRush called supertoxic to key voters *** VIDEO: Sunday show wrap up

Media Mess Documentary Filmmaker Ken Burns Losing GM Backing *** CNBC Thrives as Hosts Deliver News With Attitude *** A Matrix of News Winners Buoys NBC *** Could Customized Newspapers Bring Readers Back? *** How Silicon Valley Can Help Save Newspapers *** NEWS IS BROKE: NY TIMES sells, leases back part of building...