Friday, April 6, 2012

Bloomberg and DOI Commissioner Can Help Restore Democacy to NYC

Lame Duck Bloomberg May Be Our Last Hope to Reform the BOE

NYC Dept of Investigation Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn and Mayor Bloomberg have the power to end political control of the Board of Election that has been in effect since Tammany Hall ruled the city.  All they have to do is reverse there containment police and turn a few corrupt board workers to rat.  They have two investigation and a special election recount that can blow the BOE apart.  The first case became public yesterday when the NYC Board of Elections suspended an employee who’s also a top Queens GOP official, Stephen Graves, after he was caught on tape soliciting a “finder’s fee” from a voting machine contractor in exchange for recommending a particular lobbyist.  There is even questions about his education background to qualify for his HAVA job at the BOE.

Pinky Dennis Gallagher is a Lobbyist Do You Think He Knows GOP's Graves . . . 
All DOI has to do is expose who was the lobbyist who Graves want to receive the $1.250,000.  The chances are that lobbyist is a BOE lobbyist insider or Queens GOP operator who know where the commissioner who run the board bodies are buried.  Note the sting tapes on Graves were made by the BOE vender not DOI.  The second case involves the former head of the BOE Gonzalez who left the board right after a scandal of ballot fixing was disclosed in a Queens special election.  DOI said over a year ago that it was investigating what happen.  That investigation could be revived to force Gonzalez to rat on his former board members.  It is interesting to not that Gonzalez lawyer Stanley Schlein is also the registered lobbyist for the same company that Graves tried to shake down, Dominion Voting Systems.  

BOE: Down for the Count?

An opportunity seems to be coming to build public support for BOE reform.  The possible hand count recount in the special election to replace corrupt Carl Kruger. If the Fidler or Storobin victory margin is under 110 the BOE must recount every ballot by hand.  It has never been done with the new voting system and all Board observers believe that the BOE cannot accomplish that task and get ready for the presidential primary on April 24th and the congressional primaries on June 26th.

The Media Has the Power to Change the BOE All They Need to Do is Demand DOI do Its Job
WNYC Radio and Others Reported He Was Fired And DOI Was Investigating Him on Oct 26, 2010

Head of Board of Elections Fired One Week Before Election (WNYC) Sources at the Board of Elections say Gonzalez was fired over irregularities that initially appeared on the ballot of a special election in Queens for the City Council seat in the 28th district. His lawyer is Stanley Schlein who runs the Bronx county and helped Bronx DA Johnson win and residency case against him the first time he ran for district attorney.  Schlein is also represented the losing bidder for new voting machines that the BOE brought last year and is now being investigated by the feds.

The ballot in question had all of the candidates lined up one slot to the right of where they should have appeared. For example, the name of the first candidate on the ballot slot, Democrat Reuben Wills, was listed under the slate of Republican candidates. However, the ballot that voters will receive on November 2 has been corrected.  The issue is still under investigation by the New York Department of Investigations.  Tammany Hall Board of Election Control Goes On and On (True News)

The Gonzalez Schlein Connection
In October, 2010, the Board of Elections booted executive director George Gonzalez after revelations that he had incorrectly placed Wills on the Republican ballot line beneath GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, rather than beneath Democrat Andrew Cuomo, among other mistakes. The error would likely have cost Wills votes in the heavily Democratic district, but ballots were eventually fixed. A number of people close to the situation suspected the ballot placement was politically motivated, given Gonzalez’s close connections with election lawyer Stanley Schlein, who was serving as the attorney for Nicole Paultre-Bell, Wills’ chief rival in the Council race. The Department of Investigation launched an investigation, but the outcome is unknown. (C&S)  The architect of Gonzalez's promotion was Schlein, a charming and perennially troubled lawyer who has been helping make the big decisions for the Bronx Democratic Party for decades. The general consensus was that Schlein wanted George in the job for a simple reason: He did what Stanley asked him to do. 

Is the Mayor Protecting Gonzalez
One of the most important favors performed by Gonzalez for Schlein and others was to feed them early election returns. In a politically astute move, Gonzalez made sure that his friends at City Hall got the numbers first.  Even a top Republican with longtime dealings with the board confirms it: "Gonzalez was the inside guy," he says. "He was always protected. He was the mole for the mayor. Whenever I got returns I'd say, 'Where'd you get this?' The answer was always 'Gonzalez.'" When it came time for the board to choose the deputy director in late January 2003, top Bloomberg aide Vincent LaPadula worked the phones on his behalf from City Hall, calling all the Democratic county leaders to push them to support Gonzalez. When the $172,000 executive director job became available again in 2010, Gonzalez slid right in. He did so with the backing of current Bronx Democratic leader Carl Heastie, who, in his organization's great tradition, is taking his political advice from Schlein.
Election Board's "Bungle George" Gonzalez Was Mayor Bloomberg's Baby(Village Voice)


Liu all but double-dog-dared the feds to indict

Godspeed, Preet Bharara(NYP Ed) “Prove something,” Liu demanded— directing his challenge in no uncertain terms at US Attorney Preet Bharara, who has already arrested Liu’s former campaign treasurer on obstruction of justice and wire-fraud charges. NYP saysU.S. Attorney Preet Bharara should heed City Comptroller John Liu’s challenge to “prove something” about Liu’s questionable fundraising before next year’s elections,

Espada is All About the Family


Pedro & kin dined well on your dime: feds(NYP) Bronx political powerhouse Pedro Espada Jr. ate like a pig and stuck his publicly funded nonprofit with the big bills, federal prosecutors claimed yesterday while unloading a blizzard of restaurant receipts to detail the former state senator’s largess at the taxpayers’ expense. * Pedro Espada Jr. appointee was member of The Crystals(NYDN) * Pedro Espada appointed a woman to the Soundview board because she was a singer he liked. (DN)



 NYT Even Has Columnist Jim Dwyer Carry Water For Their Mayoral Choice

NYC's Media Controlled By Campaign Flacks
Titanic Ties in the Race for Mayor(NYT)By JIM DWYER A grandmother of Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker and a presumptive mayoral candidate, survived the Titanic to immigrate to America. More fluff news from Quinn's campaign  
 More Quinn Flack Spin to A Willing Media
Whopper of a bad idea: pols (NYDN) * Quinn doesn’t want Burger King handing out free food. (DN) * Christine Quinn Doesn't Want Your Whoppers, Thank You Very Much


Election 2012

Ailing Back Forces Congressman Rangel To Miss 103 House Votes(NY1) * Congressman Towns “I’m just kind of shying away from the campaign, and focusing on my government responsibilities.”(C&S) *Hakeem Jeffries Leaves Door Open For Third Party Run(NYO) * UFT President Mike Mulgrew suggested NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn re-think her relationship with SKDKnickerbocker, because it’s representing a NYStudentsFirst, a new organization close to Bloomberg and at odds with the teachers union.

ScarJo Hosts Third Bash For Mayoral Candidate(Huff Post)  * ABC’s new show, “Scandal,” is based on crisis consultant Judy Smith, whose advice made former Gov. David Paterson a “laughingstock,” according to one former aide.* The Barack Obama Democratic Club, co-founded by District Leader Mark Levine, backed Levine’s old rival, Sen. Adriano Espaillat, against Rep. Charlie Rangel.* The DNC’s Jewish outreach director had to apologize after calling her and her friends “Jewbags” on Facebook. * New York 2013: A mayoral election about education policy? (Capital) * The Rangel Rollout: Aide Says Charlie’s Return Planned For Tuesday(NYO) * Sean Maloney Hires Knickerbocker; Lancman Snatches Up Sheinkopf(NYO) * Conspiracy Theory About Velazquez Race Turns Out To Be True (C&S) * Clyde Williams misfired a bit with one of his attacks on Charlie Rangel.*  * Bill Thompson’s tweets refer to him as “Declared NYC mayoral candidate Bill Thompson.” 


Walcott Falls Back in Line

A day after straying from City Hall’s policy backing the full disclosure of teacher ratings to the public, Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott boogied right back into the company line yesterday

Ed. chief dances to new tune(NYP) Walcott backs off ‘hiding’ teacher ratings * One Year Into The Job, Schools Chancellor Walcott Defends His Controversial Policies (NY1) * At One-Year Mark, Walcott Sees Improvement in Education(NYT) * NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott admitted he made an “unforced error” when he said he was “supportive” of talks n Albany to limit teacher evaluation data to parents and not the public at large.* The number of working teachers in New York State dropped.  

Still Can't Fire Abusive Teachers

Found to Have Misbehaved With Pupils, but Still Teaching(NYT) * Sixteen teachers singled out for pervy conduct get to keep their jobs in New York City schools(NYDN) Lewd comments, kissing, thrusting and personal calls were not enough to get them fired Fourteen of 16 teachers the New York City Education Department wanted to fire for inappropriate behavior in recent years are still on the job thanks to arbitrators reducing their penalties.The 16 New York City teachers accused of lewd and inappropriate behavior with students, but kept on the job thanks to arbitrators, should be removed from the schools* They must go(NYDN Ed) Daily News editorial: "How can United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew sleep at night? * on teacher arbitration process: "Maybe if you were a serial axe murderer, you (WCBS)_

The Media Should Be Asking the 2013 Mayoral Candidates What It Takes to Fire A Teacher 

Mayor Bloomberg Muses on What It Takes for A Bad Teacher to Be Fired(NYO)  * Bloomberg blasts city arbitration system for booting bad teachers(NYP)




Roosevelt Islanders Discuss Planned Local Tech Center With Cornell Officials(NY1)


Keeping the Public Uninformed While Racking In the Millions

This Is What WCBS (2) Calls Informing the Public (The same headline news is repeated every half hour from 4:30AM to 7:00 AM by clueless newsreaders):
6:00AM  Weather, 6:02  Traffic, 6:04  News  Hit and Run driver suspect in SI surrenders, 6.05  News  Police need help in finding a groper in Queens, 6:06  News  Remains of some animals found along side the Hutchinson River Pkwy, 6:06  News  Parent sue police for failure to administer CPR, 6:07  News  Republican Primary, 6:08  News  Good Friday at St Patrick, 6:10  News  Passover, 6:10  Weather, 6:11  Traffic, 6:12  Commercials, 6:14  News Complaints about the odor from a mulch plant in Huntington, 6:15  News  Birds nest on a traffic light camera>Camera crew and interviews., 6:17  Weather, 6:19  Traffic, 6:20  Commercials, 6:23  Sports, 6:26  Traffic, 6:27  Commercials *** Local News Dumb Down Journalism (True News)
Bloomberg Agrees No Serious News

  Mayor Bloomberg: You can't find out what's going on by reading the newspaper. Not enough serious news, he says.

Shocking No Fix More Tixs 55% Increase

That’s a fix – traffic convictions soar In the wake of an NYPD ticket-fixing scandal in the Bronx, Internal Affairs officers have been monitoring traffic court proceedings and convictions are on the rise.More Cops Showing up in Court.

Report: NYPD Keeping Track Of Bicycle-Involved Crashes(NY1)


The Beacon after-school programs–formed in the wake of the Crown Heights riots–face drastic cuts thanks to budget woes. 




The $21 million sidewalk: Putting a price tag on privately owned public spaces(NY World)




Duties of the Expanded in Powers CCRB Unclear

Police Board's New Powers Are Unclear(WSJ) It’s unclear if the Civilian Complaint Review Board’s new oversight means NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly has to publicly explain decisions not to follow the board’s disciplinary recommendations

Collapsed crane’s cables went unchecked in January inspection(NYP) * City Officials Cite Defects in Hoisting System of Crane That Collapsed, Killing a Worker(NYT) * Defects' Seen in Fatal Crane(WSJ) * Deadly crane’s OK from Buildings Department a mystery(NYDN)

Deal Preserves Red Hook Port's Customs Inspections(NYT) A last-minute agreement will keep inspectors at the Red Hook Container Terminal, a decision that supporters say will keep hundreds of jobs there.* On the Waterfront(NYT) Use the Fulton Fish Market structures on South Street for a permanent market to nurture businesses dedicated to regional fish and food purveyors.


 Cuomo’s New York Works task force and the acceleration of $1.2 billion in infrastructure spending should help repair the state’s crumbling roads and bridges and reduce unemployment, Newsday writes:


 Shuttle lands here soon, so sorry Houston (NYDN)

A Public Park to Rival the Yankees’ Playground(NYT)Heritage Field is the last piece in the city’s seven-year struggle to replace the parkland used for the new stadium.



Public Loss of Memory Favors Developers

Yankee Stadium controversy down the memory hole: prominent coverage of belated ballfields, no dissenters heard (Atlantic Yard Review) Perhaps what Mayor Mike Bloomberg once said about the Atlantic Yards arena--“Nobody's going to remember how long it took, they're only going to look and see that it was done” --applies to the promises regarding the Yankee Stadium. if the Yankee Stadium controversy has gone down the memory hole. Is the Atlantic Yards controversy next?

Kodak Seeks to Shed Times Square Billboard(WSJ) What happens when an iconic company no longer needs its giant billboard in Times Square?




World Trade Center Sphere Being Moved From Battery Park To Storage(WCBS)


Texas Chain to Reincarnate a Landmark Theater(NYT) Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, the Texas-based movie theater chain famed for its no-tolerance policy on cell phone use, will move into Metro Theater at Broadway and 99th Street, which opened in 1933 as the Midtown Theater, and closed in 2005. The new theater is scheduled to open in 2013.




Election 2012: Gas and the Economy

March unemployment rate slips to 8.2% from 8.3% in Feb, but it's not a good thing. Fewer Americans are seeking work(WSJ)The U.S. economy added 120,000 jobs last month, fewer than expected.

Delegates Up for Grabs in Primary in New York  Mitt Romney is expected to win New York’s Republican presidential primary, but Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich could pick up delegates thanks to the scrapping of a winner-take-all system *  Poll: Romney Far Ahead in New York Primary(WSJ)* Super PAC Stalled Despite Obama Greenlight(WSJ) * Romney Predicts Primary Sweep On April 24 (NPR)* 143 days until GOP convention* Gingrich Health-Care Think Tank Files for Bankruptcy(NY Mag)The Silly Spin Of A Damaging Primary(TPM) * Obama's Divide and Conquer Campaign - Peggy Noonan, Wall St. Journal * Romney's Views, Not Gaffes, Will Cost Him - Jonathan Alter, Bloomberg * The Pathways to 270 Electoral Votes - Erin McPike, RealClearPolitics * Obama vs. the Constitution - Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post 

President Obama, Romney spar over March hiring data(NYP)* On Jobs, Obama and Romney Argue Over Fullness of the Glass(NYT)* The latest jobs report serves as a reminder of electoral forces outside the campaigns.  * Mitt Hits the Bull's-Eye - John Podhoretz, New York Post * Romney Has a Big Health Care Problem - Charles Madigan, Chicago Tribune * Has the RNC Been in the Tank for Romney? - Kenneth Vogel, Politico * White House Looks to Capitalize on Gender Gap - Alexis Simendinger, RCP * arack Obama is setting himself up to run against the Supreme Court. (AP) * Bella Santorum taken to the hospital (Politico) * Obama’s campaign continues to attack Romney on women’s issues. * Obama's Plan: Make This About the GOP - John Cassidy, The New Yorker * What Romney Needs in a VP - George Will, Washington Post * Why Rubio Has a Tight Grip on GOP's Future - Juan Williams, FOX News * Indiana GOP Senate Primary: Howey/DePauw: Lugar 42, Mourdock 35


NBC News In Turmoil Over Trayvon Martin Error(Huff Post)

Broadcaster With Murdoch Link Admits Hacking(NYT)

Keith Olbermann In Current TV’s Cross-Complaint: ‘Can You Assassinate Him Please?’


SI man arrested in accident that killed 'heroic' woman who died saving grandson(NYP)

Bumbling Lower Manhattan jewel ‘thieves’ busted All but nab selves after downtown drama(NYP)


Press pass among items found in Tommy Shots' pad(NYDN)

 Law and Order

Plea deal in Qns. deli slay(NYP) * Parole Bid by Tyco's Ex-Chief Is Denied (WSJ) * NY1 Online: Brooklyn DA Hynes, Rev. Youngblood Explain Program To Settle Minor Criminal Offenses * SI man arrested in accident that killed 'heroic' woman who died saving grandson(NYP)* Granny dies hero — saves kid in hit-run(NYDN) * Chamberlain niece details night that led to deadly cop shooting (NYDN)* New look at ’92 murder of off-duty cop(NYDN)* Murder rap for gang-banger (NYDN) * Nab 3 thieves in getaway bid (NYDN)* Ex-con pleads guilty in S.I. slay (NYDN) * Ex-Tyco head convicted of fraud denied parole(NYDN) * Another accuser against man charged in death of infant(NYDN)* SI man arrested in accident that killed 'heroic' woman who (NYP) * Grandmother killed in hit-and-run(Fox5) * Suspect identified in burglary, sex assault(WABC) * Three wanted in Queens jewelry heist(WABC) * Staten Island woman dies after she pushes her grandson to(SI Advance) * The Occupy protesters who propped open subway gates were arrested.* Staten Island hit-and-run driver jailed for hero grandma's (NYDN) * B'klyn woman found strangled in apartment, cops searching(NYP)* Cops search for suspects in Queens forcible touchings(WABC) * Victim in Brooklyn fire had gunshot wound(WABC)* Driver Arraigned In Death Of Staten Island Grandmother(NY1)


State judiciary vows to reverse troubled Bronx criminal court merger (NY World)

State Attorney General Seeks To Ban Sex Offenders From Online Gaming(NY1) * Video-Game Companies Agree to Close Sex Offenders’ Online Accounts(NYT)* New York Moves To Ban Sex Offenders From Online Gaming(WCBS)

Family Prepares Lawsuit Against Policeman Who Allegedly Let Girl Die In Asthma Attack(NY1)

Weapons king 'Merchant of Death' gets a break, but it's not enough for Moscow(NYP) * Russian Weapons Trafficker Avoids Getting Life in Prison(NYT)