Monday, April 22, 2013

Albany Corruption Disconnect Holds New Yorkers Hostage

Voters Think Albany is Corrupt But Reelect 98% of All Incumbents

Member Items, Gerrymandering. the Election Law All Work to Keep Incumbents In Office

In an hour-long closed-door meeting, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver warned party members that corruption taints the entire chamber, though Silver’s critics say that his comments are hypocritical, the New York Daily News writes

Voters Want Term Limits Albany Won't Deliver
The latest Siena College poll finds that nine out of ten New Yorkers say corruption in the state Legislature is a serious problem, while Gov. Cuomo saw his favorability rating drop slightly from 64 percent last month to 62 percent this month* New York Voters Expect More Political Corruption Busts -- And Say Their Reps Might Be Next: Siena(NYDN) * : Backers of public campaign funding fear Cuomo will drop the issue in a trade. * 48-41, indepedent voters in say state heading in wrong direction *Video hits Cuomo on transparency * Fred Dicker decided the Cuomo administration indeed has an issue with telling the truth.

Term Limits
Why the most popular anti-corruption measure isn't on 's radar cc 

By Catering to Special Interests Incumbents Assure Their Reelection
Klein is pushing legislation that would allow construction firms to walk off tax-funded jobs amid payment disputes with local governments, with the main backers having contributed heavily to Klein’s campaign fund.
Klien'$ Pay to Play Union Strikes
Pol con$tructs base of support (NYP) Bronx state Sen. Jeff Klein is putting on his hard hat for campaign contributors — at the city’s expense, critics charge. Klein, the Senate Independent Democratic Conference Leader, is pushing legislation that would allow construction firms to walk off tax-funded jobs amid payment disputes with local governments. The main backers of the measure, the Subcontractors Trade Association PAC and Empire State Subcontractors, have pumped $61,200 in donations into Klein’s campaign kitty since 2004, records show. * A coalition called Fair Elections For New York, which supports public financing of state election campaigns, has raised $750,000 to $1 million for an ad buy targeting state Sen. Jeff Klein and his Independent Democratic Conference, the Daily News’ Ken Lovett writes:

Senate Corrupt Seat
 . . .  Soon They Will Need A Whole Row
A chair in the state Senate chamber has taken on sad symbolic meaning
The News on the NY Senate's "crooked chair": "Too bad it’s not electric"  How common has corruption become in Albany? So common that the state Senate reserves the chamber’s least desirable desk for a member facing indictment. By custom, senators are seated in groups — the Republican conference here, the regular Democratic conference there and the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference in yet another area.
The Democrats exiled Brooklyn state Sen. Carl Kruger there after he was hit with corruption charges that sent him to federal prison. Now, indicted on charges of trying to bribe his way into the mayor’s race, Queens state Sen. Malcolm Smith occupies the chair, certifying the start of a new tradition and place of dishonor: The Crooked Chair. Beautiful.
US Attorney Challenge to Journalist

Investigate Stop Copying My Press Releases
"Rather than just covering the cases that my office and other offices are already bringing, figure out ways to break new ground and to cover new stories," Bharara said. "Groundbreaking corruption coverage is not just good copy, it's a path to good government." Bharara

Bharara: No Investigative Reporters Equals More Corruption
Preet challenges journos to do investigative reporting (CrainsNY)
The press has a role to play, Mr. Bharara said, noting that he is saddened by recent reports of newspaper closings and staff downsizing. "Rather than just covering the cases that my office and other offices are already bringing, figure out ways to break new ground and to cover new stories," he said. "Groundbreaking corruption coverage is not just good copy, it's a path to good government."

 Ravi Batra On Journalism and Corruption
"Our media, driven by a 24 hour news cycle, twitter-length stories, and lack of any time for investigations and deliberation have bankrupted their vital function to protect society from the three branches of government. The Fourth Estate’s reckless speed matches its financial insolvency, while we all see Rome burn and the front pages carry press release-based stories of new laws and "best thing since sliced bread" a la Malcolm Smith. The lack of oversight by the Fourth Estate is the greatest gift to the corrupt and the corrupters - no one is seeing what is in open sight: control-cancer leads to diminishing America’s exceptionalism and threatens to make us a third world Banana Republic.   No less than Thomas Jefferson warned that "eternal vigilance" is the price of liberty. Who will help us be free of phony reforms dished out by "blinded eyes" in Casablanca?(Former JCOPE member)

Liu Trial

The issue of ethnicity hung over the jury selection process in the trial of two former associates of New York City Comptroller John Liu, with both the defense and prosecution accusing each other of using race and ethnicity to strike potential jurors.

Race and Ethnicity Hovered Over Jury Selection in Trial of Ex-Aides to Liu(NYT)
The defendants in the Manhattan fraud trial, a former campaign treasurer and a former fund-raiser for Comptroller John C. Liu, were each born in China.
  1. 3m
    Liu treasurer trial video - Pan knows FBI agent is giving illegal$ but Jenny Hou is told attendees are his friends+family he's brought.* Pan intros undercover to Liu, says "This is his event." Liu: thank you, nice to meet you." They discuss rsetaurant business.* Jenny Hou sent FBI agent $800 check back, rejected, bcs it was his 2nd such contribution.Pan says Liu is too concerned about his future to help in exchange for contrib. Suggests undercover contact the Mengs. Says theyd be cheaper

Mayoral Campaign

The Post’s Andrea Peyser writes that New York Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is openly gay, is losing support in the city’s gay community by going “mainstream”
Quinn’s ‘care’ package (NYP) Mayoral contender Christine Quinn wants to spend $32 million in public money to expand the city’s child-care tax credit to the middle class. Quinn, the City Council speaker, is hoping to vastly increase the bonus so it would apply to families earning as much as $170,000 — up from about $30,000 now. “That’s real money in the pockets of New Yorkers at a time when, more than ever, every penny counts,” said state Sen. Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn), who is sponsoring the bill in Albany.* Out against Christine(NYP) Quinn, who’s hanging on with fingers and toes to her front-runner status as the go-to liberal Democratic candidate for mayor, once enjoyed the uniform support of the city’s vast left-wing cabal, and a near-lock on the powerful gay vote.* Two sisters are determined to prevent Quinn from becoming NYC mayor, and have poured $200,000 into the $1 million “NYC Not 4Sale” campaign.* A Degenerate Political Junkie’s Guide to the City Council Speaker’s Race(Barkan) * ": middle class childcare taxcredit will ease the cost of childcare 4 hardworking NYCfamilies *Quinn Proposes Raising Tobacco Purchasing Age: City Council Speaker and Democratic candidate for mayor Christine... * NYC Council Speaker/mayoral frontrunner Chris Quinn wants to raise the city’s smoking age from 18 to 21.

The $70 billion question(NYP Ed) Can anyone say with a straight face that New Yorkers are getting a $70 billion-class government in exchange for their tax dollars? For fiscal 2012, the city brought in $858.6 million under “fines and forfeiture revenue” — up from $485.3 million in 2002.A 77% increase.

How Would the Mayoral Candidates Control Discipline At NYC High Schools?
High-school hells(NYP) Mayoral candidates in denial.  Last week two Democratic mayoral candidates — ex-comptroller William Thompson and his successor, John Liu — were at City Hall to endorse what would amount to an end to disciplinary suspensions in city schools. Two others — City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio — sent supportive notes.
Last week began with Democratic mayoral candidates calling for a kid-glove approach to chaos in New York’s public schools — and it ended with videos of rolling corridor fistfights at Murry Bergtraum HS in Lower Manhattan once more making their way onto the Internet.* Graphic Fight Between Lower Manhattan High School Girls (WCBS)

10 candidates seeking to be the next NYC mayor: Who do you(SI Advance)

NYPOST lead on Weine's return to Twitter: "Anthony Weiner has unzipped a new Twitter account. But it’s not as big as it once was."
Anthony Weiner (Photo: Twitter)Anthony Weiner Is Back on Twitter(NYO) *Anthony Weiner returns to Twitter(NYP) * Anthony Weiner Rejoins Twitter in Second-Worst Way Possible * You don't have to be worried about following he's not following anyone so he can't send direct msgs.

NY Post Headline Writers Walk-Out After Editor Imposes LImit of 12 Genitalia-References Per Day on Anthony Weiner Stories.
 Catsimatidis booed here at forum for expressing skepticism for man made global warming. Was only mayoral candidate to do so.
Navigating the Rental Market, When the Renter Is a Politician(NYT)

Cuomo Fracked

Cuomo to Frack or Not to Frack
Cuomo told state business leaders in a meeting at the Executive Mansion that one of the reasons he has delayed a decision on whether to allow hydrofracking for natural gas is he’s afraid the Legislature will stop him
Gov scared frackless(Dicker, NYP)Wary of Legislature nix. Gov. Cuomo has come up with yet another excuse for delaying a decision on allowing fracking for natural gas in New York’s Southern Tier: He’s afraid the Legislature will stop him. “The governor was pressed on why he’s waited nearly 2 1/2 years and still hasn’t made a decision,’’ said one of the participants at the luncheon meeting, during which Cuomo hosted the leaders of the Business Council of New York State, the state’s largest business organization and one that endorsed him for governor in 2010.* Oil & gas assoc.: "Our industry, which has operated in good faith and responsibly for decades in NY, is leaving."

Union Made Fracking
Fracking’s labor pains(NYP Ed)New Yorkers hoping one day to enjoy the promising financial rewards of fracking might not know whether to laugh or cry over a bill bouncing around the Legislature. “CJ’s Law” — named for CJ Bevins, a 23-year-old worker who died in a 2011 drilling-site accident — would set up a mountain of rules ostensibly meant to ensure safety at such sites. But it would also require drillers to use only unionized employees.* NY officials are basically batting .000 on their hydrofracking predictions: * IOGA wrote a pro-fracking letter to Cuomo on Earth Day, and also sent postcards to state lawmakers urging them to “open” the natural gas “gift” from the earth.

AP: NY comptroller urges brownfields cleanup overhaul
Teflon Corrupt Party Bosses

Cuomo Wants to Weaken Party Leaders
Newsday’s Dan Janison writes that Cuomo’s bid to strip party leaders of their cross-endorsement power would still allow nonmembers to seek a party’s nomination if they submit valid petition signatures

NY Elected Officials and Candidates Protect Party Bosses
Bloomberg Says They Are Party Bosses are the Causes for NY Corruption

"The only way to stop the spate of crooked pols and fix New York's “broken” political system is a public uprising against greedy party bosses" 
                Mayor Bloomberg  

6-10 Candidates For Queens BP  and Not A Single One is Running Against the Corrupt Rule of Boss Crowley 

The Candidates for BP have said noting that has more of the people they elected in jail that in office. Brian Mclaughlin, Tony Seminerio, Shirley Huntley (list in formation). Today's Queens Democratic machines still use the Surrogate Court (True News) *   A Court, Not Votes, Sustains a Political Machine in Queens (NYT) *  In 1998 Jack Newfield reported that Frank Bolz III, chairman of the Queens Democratic Party's law committee, is the single biggest recipient of assignments from Nahman - collecting $178,050 for 47 paid guardianship appointments since 1992. * True News: A Takeover Of Journalism by Lobbyist and Politicians * Corrupt Queens' Machine(Blog)


Disney Land Journalism

What Did You Expect Vinny Lawyer to Say?

What are they going to erase the tapes


Getting Rid of Disgraced Vito Lopez Who Has Already Lost Most of His Power Will Reform Little
The Making of A State Senator?
In Brooklyn many of the progressives have made peace with the New Party Boss Seddio as They Continue to Attack Vito Lopez. Problem is getting rid of Lopez who no longer has power beyond winning a council district, will not reform the epidemic of corruption among NY elected officials, the incumbent protection election law, the corrupt BOE or the corrupt Way Judges are selected, ETC.

NY's Other Half Poor

City Report Shows More Were Near Poverty in 2011(NYT)An analysis by the Bloomberg administration says that almost half of New York City’s population was poor or near-poor in 2011, raising concerns about any cutbacks in federal relief programs. n analysis by the Bloomberg administration shows that in 2011, 46 percent of New York City residents were making less than 150 percent of the poverty level, a rise of more than three percentage points since the national recession ended. 

The Jobless Trap(NYT) We are creating a permanent class of unemployed Americans
 Cuomo administration is finalizing a contract with Datrose, a Rochester-area firm that will design a recruitment strategy for the state as its workforce grows smaller and older, with a glut of retirements in the near future, the Times-Union reports:


New, more demanding state tests aren't the problem for school kids(NYDN Ed) It's past failures to provide a real challenge that set them up to fail

Some districts are in danger of losing their increase in state education aid because of side deals struck with local unions.* "Several districts ..quietly agreed w/their unions not to use the evaluations as grounds for teacher terminations" (NYDN)
Electric Taxis

Electric-Taxi Experiment to Begin in New York (NYT) New York City will introduce six fully electric taxis into the fleet this week as part of a pilot program, though some yellow-taxi drivers express doubts about the electric taxi’s viability because of the time it takes to charge the vehicles* Mike plugs taxis (NYP) New kick-gas car* All-electric cabs hit New York City streets Monday(WABC)

Stuy Town

[image]Stuyvesant Town Sets Its Strategy(WSJ) With a lengthy legal battle finally resolved, the company in control of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village wants to boost operating income at the sprawling Manhattan housing complex before putting it on the block.

Boston Canadian Terror

BREAKING BOSTON UPDATE: Bomb suspect has been arraigned in hospital bed. The charges against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have been sealed Terror plot to derail Canadian train foiled * Canadian authorities thwart plot 'supported by al Qaeda' to derail train linking New York City and Toronto: report * Two men were arrested and charged with plotting a terrorist attack against a Canadian passenger train with support from al-Qaida “elements” in Iran.* Canadian Police Thwart Al-Qaida Linked Plot Against Passenger Trains (NY1)* 2 Arrested in Canada Planned to Attack Train, Police Say(NYT)

Boston suspects motivated by religion, but were not tied to Islamic terrorist groups: report(NYP)

BREAKING: bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been read Miranda rights, Fox News confirms. For more visit:

Accused of conspiring to use weapon of mass destruction; will be tried in federal court(NYP)
* : Law enforcement sources say Boston bombing suspect learned how to make bombs via instructions found on the Internet * BREAKING NEWS: 2 US officials say evidence suggests Boston suspects motivated by religion, worked alone  * Bomb Suspect Is Charged and Could Face the Death Penalty(NYT) * Transcript: Suspect’s Bedside Hearing NYT) *
[MUST SEE]: CNN Investigates Slain Boston Bombing Suspect’s Links To Jihadist Groups In Chechnya (VIDEO) * Did you hear about the Boston explosion? I did that.’(WASH Post) * Local Parade, Event Organizers Double Down On Security Following Boston Terrorism

Bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is alert enough to begin answering questions(NYP) * Wife of suspected Boston Marathon bomber faces FBI's heat(NYP) * Dead Boston bombing suspect was radicalized in the US, uncle says(NYP) * Ray Kelly Talks Lessons Of Boston Marathon Bombings(WCBS)  * Boston Police Chief: Suspects May Have Been Planning More Attacks(Huff Post) * Report: Carjack victim spared because he wasn't American(Politico) * Tom Brokaw on Boston bombing suspect: "He's also a Muslim" (Huff Post) * NY Times Calls Out Sen. Graham's 'Reckless' Case For Treating Boston Suspect As Enemy Combatant * a belated : , again, touts & calls 4 focus on in America * Lindsey Graham says FBI didn't know Tamerlan Tsarnaev went overseas for 6-mo. in 2011 because name was misspelled:* Scarborough Goes After Media Blaming Society For Boston Attack: ‘It Wasn’t Our Fault…Blame Them!’  (VIDEO)* Senator says dead Boston suspect's name misspelled on 2011 Russia trip, 'name never went into system'(NYP)

Sadness at final farewell(NYP)
* How to Handle a Terrorism Case(NYT Ed) Despite Republican catcalls, the civilian legal system can best prosecute the accused marathon bomber.
Bloomberg Says Interpretation of Constitution Will ‘Have to Change’ After Boston Bombing * Mourners say final goodbyes to marathon victim Krystle Campbell(NYP)
* Wife of suspected Boston Marathon bomber faces FBI's heat(NYP)

Stunt ‘bombs’ with cops at NY race(NYP)
* Higher costs on parade here(NYP) The cost of hosting big events in New York City will increase as organizers look to beef up security in the wake of the Boston Marathon terrorist bombings.  * Two Sunday Running Events in Manhattan Are Minor, but Security Isn’t(NYT) * Central Park Runners Sport "Run For Boston" Shirts To Honor Bombing Victims(NY1)
NYPD Commissioner Kelly on his call for more surveillance cameras for NYC(WNYC)

Boat owner Dave Henneberry wants to avoid spotlight after discovering suspect


A Modern City in East Midtown?(NYT)
At its most fundamental level, the problem with the so-called East Midtown planning study is that it’s not a plan. The best path toward ensuring the future of the area may well be that of preservation.
In the Times, Robert Stern, an architect and dean of the Yale School of Architecture, argues that New York City should not target old buildings for replacement in East Midtown, but instead develop a thoughtful preservation plan:


Six Months After Sandy: Tottenville Residents Torn Between(NY1)
How to turn a Robert Moses road into a dune forest (in time for the next superstorm)  

Deadbeat Gamblers Always Lose

Winner takes none (NYP)  Deadbeats can’t win. Gamblers known to be delinquent on taxes and child support are getting busted as losers when they try to collect their winnings at the Aqueduct and other racinos

Health Care

NYC proposing raising age for tobacco purchase
New York Proposes Age Limit of 21 to Buy Cigarettes(NYT)
Convenience Store Group Slams City’s Move to Raise Smoking Age(NYT)


Gotham gets in on the ‘action’ (NYP) The Big Apple broke its own record for the number of TV shows filmed in its borders this year — nearly tripling the number of prime-time episodic series produced here in just 10 years.
The trouble with cable news. That would be cable news.

Chicago Tribune Buys Boston Globe Pizza After Marathon Bombing Coverage(Huff Post)
To the Boston Globe newsroom:
We can only imagine what an exhausting and heartbreaking week it's been for you and your city. But do know your newsroom colleagues here in Chicago and across the country stand in awe of your tenacious coverage. You make us all proud to be journalists.
We can't buy you lost sleep, so at least let us pick up lunch.
Your friends at the Chicago Tribune.


REPORT: CATO, Norquist, Rubio talking points reference Boston terror attacks...
Immigration Bill Addresses America's Foreign Ski Instructor Shortage(NY Mag)
Evidence Mounts of Suspects' Radical Turn - Mark Arsenault, Boston Globe
Make No Mistake, It Was Jihad - Michael Mukasey, Wall Street Journal
Tsarnaevs More Like US Mass Murders Than al-Qaeda - Joan Walsh, Salon
CNN Tarnished Its Brand With Boston Coverage - David Carr, NY Times
At Every Turn, Things Spin Out of Control - Michael Barone, DC Examiner
The Conservative Paranoid Freakout - Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast
Putting Lipstick on the ObamaCare Pig - John Fund, National Review
The Way Forward on Guns - E.J. Dionne, Washington Post
Gun Vote Likely Won't Affect Midterms - Sean Trende, RealClearPolitics
This Earth Day Heralds a New Generation - Frances Beinecke, Politico
Nothing Says Earth Day Like a Reactor - Jack Spencer, The Daily Caller
Putin's Political Nemesis on Trial - Bill Keller, New York Times
The Beginning of the End for Hezbollah - Michael J. Totten, World Affairs
In Praise of Surveillance Cameras - L. Gordon Crovitz, Wall Street Journal
We Don't Need More Government Surveillance - Tim Carney, Examiner
The End of Macro Magic - Robert Samuelson, Washington Post
The Case for the Market's Morality - Rupert Murdoch, New York Post
Sunday Panels: Meet the Press | FOX News SundayFTN | This Week

Lindsey Graham's Recklessness - New York Times
Enemy Combatants in Boston - Wall Street Journal
Grief & a Rush to Help Residents of West - Austin American-Statesman
Europe Becoming a Green Energy Basket Case - Washington Post

Law and Order

Broken Justice in the Bronx(NYT Ed)Unconscionable delays plague criminal courts in the Bronx.The Times argues that changing the culture in the Bronx court system, where delay and dysfunction are the norm, should start with a commitment from the district attorney and court administrators to improve the management and work ethic

Mourners Demand Road Safety At Crash Site Where Seven Family Members Died Last Year(NY1)

‘Stop & frisk’ adds years to your life (NYP)  The decline in New York City’s murder rate — which the NYPD credits, in large part, to stop-and-frisk — is so dramatic that it has helped boost the average life expectancy of Big Apple residents.

Former AG Dennis Vacco is crying foul about the uneven enforcement of New York cigarette taxing laws and charges that improper motivations are behind a case he is defending for a politically connected Seneca tribal member.
ity Says It Will Represent Officer in Occupy Protester’s Lawsuit(NYT)

Fare trial for ‘crazy’ cabby (NYP) He’s the hit-and-run cabby from hell, Manhattan prosecutors say — a monster who rammed his taxi into three men rather than drive them from Midtown to The Bronx.

Police Release Video Of Man Suspected Of Two Brooklyn Sexual Assaults(NY1)

Sketch released of man who groped 9-year-old girl in East(WCBS)
Man Carjacks Yellow Taxi in Manhattan (NY1)

Three Teens Wanted For Multiple Robberies Near Fort Greene Park(NY1)

After Arrest in Rapes, Another Man Is Sought in 2nd Brooklyn Case(NYT)

A group of Horace Mann alumni have hired former judge and sex crimes prosecutor Leslie Crocker Snyder to conduct an independent investigation of the alleged sexual abuse at the school.* Alumni tap ex-NYC judge to lead independent probe(WSJ) * Alumni tap ex-NYC judge to lead independent probe(Fox 5)
* A group of Horace Mann alumni have hired former judge and sex crimes prosecutor Leslie Crocker Snyder to conduct an independent investigation of the alleged sexual abuse at the school.

Man Carjacks Yellow Taxi in Manhattan(NYT)