Sunday, May 14, 2017

True News Special Investigation

Tammany Hall Still Runs NYC's Political Parties in 2017
Low Voting Caused by NY’s Undemocratic Voter Suppression Election Law Has Turned Modern Party Bosses into a New Tammany Hall, Cutting the Voters Out of Elections, While Enriching the Political Party’s Shadow Government . . . 
Our NY Democracy is Lost . . . 

In the last few weeks, news outlets have reported on Congressman Joseph Crowley using the Queens Surrogate Court as his own personal bank.  From reading the recent Crowley stories, you would never know that corruption of the Surrogate Court is not because of Boss Crowley, but is the result of the undemocratic Tammany Hall control of NY's voting caused by an election law that suppresses voter turnout.  The NYS election law does not allow early voting or election day registration good changes that will not fix NY election system. Today like never before, the political system is run by and for the political class, their lobbyists consultants and their clients developers, city contractors! For these folks it's a business or their livelihood. The Public has been cut out and they have stopped voting and running for office.  Tammany Hall Still Runs NYC's Political Parties in 2017 is the first in a series of True News investigative reports this municipal election year showing why voter suppression Tammany Hall election laws are responsible for falling voting rates and the lack of serious competition where 90% of the incumbents get reelected for city office.

Back to the Future: Modern Party Bosses Have Seen The Opportunity of Falling Voting Rates and Taken Advantage of It
The growing unchallenged power of the city’s party bosses is a dysfunction in our democracy caused by New Yorkers voting at record low numbers. In 1941 during the DeSapio’s Tammany Hall rule, Mayor O’Dwyer was elected with 60% of registered New Yorkers voted. Today, the bottom has fallen out for the City's voting. Only 20% of the City's registered voters cast their ballots in the last mayoral election in 2013.  New York's Falling Voter Participation Rate is A Canary in the Coal Mine Warning for Our Failing City and Democracy 2013 Was the Lowest Turnout Since Women Given Right to Vote in 1918.  The media controlled and owned by the developer class has not noticed that New York’s political parties have soviet style elections, making the press enablers to killing NYC’s democracy.   55 years ago, Tammany Hall’s Carmine DeSapio was defeated by the reformers led by Eleanor Roosevelt and former governor Herbert Lehman. Today’s NYC party bosses still have DeSapio like control of their party elections giving them the ability to make millions from government and courts, much like Tammany's Boss Tweed.  The modern party bosses may have even more power, because unlike their Tammany predecessors, they face little if any competition or media criticism or reformers like Roosevelt.  In the Tweed era hundreds of political clubs competed against each other, today there are only a few dozen political clubs that mostly function to reelect their local elected officials and district leaders
Falling NYC Voting Rates

The Modern Party Bosses Use Developers As the Fuel That Increases Their Bank Accounts and Runs Their Machines . . .  As Their Voters Flee Because of Gentrification Destroying Affordable Housing

The old Tammany machine got their power delivering jobs, housing and distributing turkeys during holidays in return for votes on election day.   Unlike the old Tammany bosses who served the voters while helping themselves honest and dishonest graft, the modern party leaders help themselves as the poor and middle class are driven from the city. The permanent government of NYC that used to include the media publishing, manufacturing, garment center is today mostly made of the developers and city contractors who do business with the city. The party leaders who have taken advantage of our low voting of this era, resembles more of an organized crime commission cutting up the city into gangs of lobbyists making government work for their clients and themselves against the public’s interests.  Pitta Bishop is strong on Staten Island, Parkside in Queens, MirRam in the Bronx and Berlin Rosen in Brooklyn, but in the last few years many of them are running campaigns outside their home boroughs
de Blasio's Developers Gentrification Express Street Car
More on Gentrification
More on Affordable Housing .

Their is A New Privatized Tammany Hall Made of of Lobbyists Campaign Consultants Who Both Compete and Cuts Deals With the Old Party Machines 
Tammany apparatchiks got their power based on how many votes they could bring out of their neighborhood.  Today’s party bosses get their power from the broken election system high incumbency and campaign contributions from developers, city contractors and unions to hire flacks, create PACS and hire lobbyists to run campaigns to mislead the voters. The lobbyists have become their own mini private bosses or machine that competes with and cuts deals with the party machines. The Manhattan Democratic boss Keith Wright is a lobbyist for a firm that makes millions from developers while pushing people out of their neighborhoods. With the low voters turn out in party elections there is little difference or public accountability between the so called elected party leader and the new private lobbyists bosses put in power by their clients.

Low Single Digit Voting Caused by NY’s Undemocratic Voter Suppression Election Law Has Turned Modern Party Bosses into a New Tammany Hall
The power of today’s Tammany party bosses is a result single digit voting for party offices. Just 3% of the registered Democrats participated in electing the party boss and district leaders in 2016.  2% in Queens, 4% in Brooklyn,0% in Staten Island, 4% in Manhattan and 5% in Queens.  Less than .005% of the county committee which selects county leaders in the major parties were challenged in 2016.  Most county and district leaders in both the major parties stay in their seats for decades unchallenged. The voting participation in the GOP and the other minor parties is even lower.  Low or no voting in party elections keep political bosses in power.   It’s the district leaders who pick the county committee members to run for office, who then elect party bosses in the Democratic and Republican parties in NYC.  Flatbush District Leader Jacob Gold has been in office for over 40 years.  Long time Queens district leader and campaign consultant Even Stavisky lives in Rockland with his wife who is the Democratic Rockland County Leader. His father was a long time Queens Assemblyman. 

Minor Parties Gained Their Power from A Left-Wing Congressman With An Election Law That Has Become A Tool for Today's Party Leader to Gain Power
Some of the city’s minor parties are controlled by inner circles that elect the same leader for decades.  The Conservative Party Leader Michael Long, who ownes a liquor store in Bay Ridge, has run his party which has had the third line on the ballot for over 30 years. The Working Families Party has also had the same leaders since it as founded by labor bosses 27 years also.  An addition to New York's election law written in the Tammany Hall era of 1947, prohibited members of one party from running in another party. It was called the Wilson-Pakula law, aimed squarely at left wing Congressman Vito Marcantonio. The law gave party bosses the power to cross-endorse, or choose not to endorse, a very useful tool for party leader to get favors from mayors and governors.  Without left wing Marcantonio the right wing conservative party would not have been able to deliver it 328,605 votes in 1995 to Pataki, the margin of victory in defeating Mario Cuomo.  Rudy Giuliani was elected mayor in 1993 with the help of the votes he received on a third-party line and Mike Bloomberg had to pay off the five GOP bosses to run as a Republican because he was not registered in the party. In the 2013 election Senator Malcolm Smith tired to buy the GOP line using the Wilson-Pakula law. Smith and GOP party leaders are now in jail for their plot to buy and sell the party. In 2009 After Bloomberg change the term limits law to allow him to run again, he still needed the Wilson-Pakula Law to add the Independence Party's 150,073 votes to win.  A campaign operative who used the million Bloomberg gave to an upstate county committee controlled by the independence party to run his campaign, to buy his home, when to jail. 
The WFP and Berlin Rosen Has Played Fast and Lose With the Election Law, Data and Field Arrests
More About WFP Data and Field 

The Only Way the Kings County Bosses Have Left Their Party Position for Generations: Corruption Conviction, Sexual Abuse or Jail
Today’s Party Bosses and district leaders have taken advantage of NY’s low voter broken election system to not only keep control of their party organizations, but also to control the election of most of NY’s judges and elected officials.  The number of insurgent candidates running in NYC is down over 75% from the heyday of the Viet Nam protests that created the modern reform movement. The 70's reform movement has aged out replaced by a new generation of social progressives, that that have no problem giving only lip service to political reforms, while working with the political bosses.  Most of the city council incumbents, all of the borough presidents and city controller are unopposed.  Low voting and weak competition always favors machine backed candidates, usually incumbents seeking re-election.  NY’s elected officials know that as they serve the party leaders with favors.   This inner circle mob not only does nothing to change the election law that suppresses voter turnout, they also protect each other by ignoring corruption even when their fellow politicians get convicted of a crime. Party leaders have gamed the election system so much that the only way they leave office is by: death, scandal or a corruption conviction.  The Kings County party leader before Frank Seddio was Assemblyman Vito Lopez was forced out of party leadership because of his sexual abuse scandal in Albany.  Judge Boss Seddio left the Surrogate Court after a Daily News editorials exposed his illegal campaign donations after Albany created for him a second Surrogate Court Judgeship, after a reformer beat the machine's surrogate judge candidate for the first time in 100 years.. The Brooklyn leader before Lopez, Clarence Norman was convicted of selling judgeships and when tio jail.  Two county leaders before Noman, Meade Esposito was convicted of paying off a Bronx congressman for favors.  In 2013 three of the five GOP county leaders were removed after trying to sell their party’s ballot line to former State Senator Malcolm Smith.  Smith, the GOP Bronx leader, and top leaders of the Queens GOP party all were sent to jail by the feds. During the Koch administration parking ticket scandal the Democratic leader from the Bronx Stanley Friedman and others went to jail for ripping off the city’s Parking Violations Agency.  

Today’s Bronx and Staten Island Shadow Bosses Figure Heads With the Power Hidden Among the Lobbyists and Elected Officials
Today’s Bronx Boss is more of a figure head with the power really in the hands of long time lawyer lobbyists Stanley Schlein, the MirRam lobbying group and Assembly Speaker Heastie, who worked out a great home owner discount for himself from the former Bronx DA and the Bronx court whose judges and clerks were elected and selected by the Bronx machine.  Schlein, a protege of Friedman, helped get a lot of Bronx judges and politicians elected.  In turn, the Bronx machine awards Stanley with lots of patronage gigs (like court-appointed legal guardianships) and his lobbying clients with city contracts.  The Staten Island Surrogate Court is the island’s former democratic leader.   The Surrogate Judge before Gigante, former Republican city council member John Fusco, works for Staten Island BP Jimmy Oddo who some view as the de Facto party Boss in Staten Island.  de Blasio gave Republican BP Oddo's wife a plum judgeship. Staten Island is the only borough in the city were the GOP are the bosses.  Oddo is the go to guy for lobbyists Pitta Bishop and developers seeking government deals. Former Republican- Conservative BP James Molinaro now works for Pitta, Bishop, who are representing builders of the Wheel and so called outlet stores on the Staten Island waterfront. Molinaro was the main force in getting local officials to support the development. The buzz is that Oddo will run for reelection in November and then get appointed to or run for Surrogate court judge. He has planted stories that he will take over for Gigante who will be aged out of the job in 2018.

More Hidden Power of the Party Bosses Inside the Court House Dumping Judge Laura Jacobson Who According to Her Lawsuit Tried to Keep A Hospital Open Who the County Leader's Law Firm Was Hired to Close
The 5 county DA who count on the support of party leaders to get elected, almost always ignore political corruption.   U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara upset the deal between the political bosses and the city's county DAs by putting over 30 elected officials in jail before he was fired. The one time a DA went after a political boss was in 2007. When former Brooklyn DA convicted and sent to jail former Brooklyn boss Clarence Norman who tried and failed to beat Hynes with former Senator John Sampson. Sampson is headed to jail next month not for using court appointments to fund his campaign for DA, which he was indicted for before a statute of limitations motion dismissed that charge.  Sampson is going to jail for 5 years for lying to the FBI during the investigation. Democratic County leaders pick almost every one of the city’s Civil Court, Supreme and Surrogate Court Judges.  Last years the Brooklyn machine pulled a Stanley Friedman when they dumped Judge Laura Jacobson.  According to her lawsuit against the Brooklyn machine Judge Jacobson was fired because she voted to keep LICH Hospital open, which Boss Seddio law firm was hired  by SUNY to help close it.  The ongoing Judge Jacobson lawsuit says Brooklyn boss Frank Seddio uses the court and judges they help elect as their own personal piggy bank.  Has anyone ever heard of a Brooklyn big developer losing a case?  Just read the JudgDawn Jimenez-Salta decision on closing the Brooklyn Heights library.  It the Jacobson case is allowed to continue by the federal court, we will learn a lot more how the city modern political machines operate.  The Brooklyn machine is spending big money on high price lawyer to get the case dismissed. They have hired Gore;s recount lawyer Boies.
Who Watchers the Watchman, Lobbyists, Grand Jury, AG - DAs Conflict of Interests 
More on the Jacobson Lawsuit
Corruption and the Surrogate Court'   
Queens Party Boss Crowley's Surrogate Court Bank is A System of A Much Larger Dysfunctionalism of Both NY's Court and Election System

The County leader of Queens, Congressman Joe Crowley and his top aides have made millions from the Queens courts where they elected every judge for decades.  Former Congressman Thomas Manton who was Queens Boss before Crowley also made millions from the Surrogate Court, both belonged to the same law firm.    Crowley and his fellow city party bosses have elected almost 40% of the Assembly and Senate members in Albany because of the Tammany Hall election laws which allow them to pick the democratic nominee in special elections.  Special Elections are very low turnout elections, in heavily democratic NYC.  Anyone given the democratic ballot line by the party which is what the election law dictates is a guarantee win.  In what some have called the Soft Machine elect officials working with party bosses time their retirement or forced exits by way of the prosecutor to set up a special election, so they can pick their own successor.  The retiring elected officials are usually family member or loyal aides who have worked in their office to replace them.  

The Political Bosses Pick the Council Speakers and Get Paid Back in Millions in Member Items, Jobs and City Contracts
Most of the City Council speakers, the second more powerful position in city government, got their position because of deals between party leaders.  Speaker Quinn won after a deal between the Queens, Bronx, and Manhattan district leaders. The party bosses even have a hand in the control of the state senate.  Two of last IDC Senators converts were supported by the party machines Jesse Hamilton won his senate seat with the help of the Brooklyn machine.  Tony Avella was supported by the Parkside Group that helps run the Queens machine.   County leaders and their district leaders also help the governor and comptroller candidates avoid the petitioning process at State Conventions ever four years.
Ethics Board Fixes Speakers Election

The Party Bosses Has Made the Board of Election and the Courts Gate Keepers to Protect Their Candidates for Generations
Tammany election laws still control who runs the Board of Elections.  Democratic and Republican party bosses, two from each borough, pick commissioners who frequently knock off challengers to party back candidates and judges.  Even if a party candidate running against a candidate back by the party gets past the BOE commissioner gatekeepers, that outsider candidate still face a challenge in the courts where every judge who sits in the court’s election part was elected by the party machine. When de Blasio was knocked off the ballot in 2009 for a petition problem he and his lawyer went to the county leaders who ordered their commissioners to put him back on the ballot for public advocate.  Every year dozens of challengers are knock off by the BOE who do not have de Blasio or his election lawyer Henry Berger’s connection to the city’s party machines. that control the BOE’s rulings on who runs.for public office or judge.

The Media Protects the Modern Party Boss by Covering Up the Power They Have to Control Who Gets Elected
The biggest opposition to Tammany Hall in its heyday came from the city’s elites and the media they owned or controlled.  Boss Tweed blasted Harper's Weekly not for the articles they wrote against him, but for the cartoon Thomas Nast drew for the magazine’s covers.  Tweed said he did not care what the papers wrote, but Nast's cartoons were killing him, because his people could not read.  Today’s media that covers-up the control the political parties have over NYC are mostly owned by the city’s elite which today consist of developers who use the party bosses shadow government to make money.  The Media no longer cares who runs elections, they just want weak elected officials who are more loyal to the lobbyists and party leaders than the voters who put them in office. Weak elected officials selected by the lobbyists and their permanent govt client makes it easy for media owners who are developers, or their developer advertises to make money. The lack of coverage on campaign lobbyists, PACs and lack of competition is intentional by the media. In NYC we have always had fake news that cover up our broken democracy.

Busting Up the Power of the Political Party Bosses After Bharara Only a Hope
The only real way to bust up the power of the parties is to build a reform movement in the parties by allowing online voting for party offices, to assure more candidates running and more voters participating.  The path to voting reforms in Albany remains a tall order.   Party boss and the new gangs made up of the lobbyist political consultants like Berlin Rosen and George Arzt both use those the assemblyman and senators they elected to block voting reforms.  Unlike the party bosses, the lobbyist’s gang are not elected, they exist because of the clients who hire them, a new growing private Tammany Hall.  Since modern party bosses have gamed their elections; there is really no difference between the private or elected Tammany bosses of today.  They both make their money from the permanent government who make their money from government working against the interests of people.   Another long shot at reform is finding a way to battle the political establishment to hold a State Charter Commission.  If we get a charter commission next year it would be the first time in 50 years.   A Commission could forced New York to overhaul its voting system, create ethic rules and term limits for Albany.  Albany has never passed voting reforms.  The only reforms to NY’s petitioning process offered was when George W. Bush threw John McCain off the ballot in 2000 and a federal judge reformed the petitioning process for ballot access as he restored McCain to the ballot.   Don’t count on a constitution convention being held in 2018. Unions, elected and party leaders are already telling voters to vote no this November against holding the convention. The permanent government which blocked the last two chances for a convention is much stronger today than when the late Journalist Jack Newfield wrote a book The Permanent Government.  Newfield spent his life trying to expose and defeat the shadow government.