Wednesday, January 2, 2019


De Blasio echoes Trump as he calls news media 'pitiful' in emails with political firm advisers


Who said it: President Trump or Mayor de Blasio?
"First of all, the news media is pitiful and it's sad for our city and nation."
They might have wildly different politics, but Hizzoner and the President share a rabid distaste for the media — and a desire to shape it, new emails released by City Hall show.
The emails, between de Blasio and top outside advisers who work for the political consulting firm BerlinRosen, were released Thursday after the city spent months trying to keep them secret, arguing the consultants served as "agents of the city."
Internal communications between city employees are exempt from public release under the state Freedom of Information Law.
De Blasio argued that he considered BerlinRosen and two other consultant firms to be the equivalent of city employees that he dubbed "agents of the city." NY1 sued in 2016 to get them released.
De Blasio finally caved three weeks after a Manhattan appeals court ordered their release.
The 4,245 pages of emails make clear that from his arrival at City Hall, de Blasio and his team constantly sought ways to manipulate the press and polish the mayor's image.


Wednesday, November 28, 2018


16 minutes ago
From school buses to vendor contracts to the Renewal program and now travel expenses, is a textbook case of when an agency fails to monitor and correct problems in real time. The public shouldn’t have to discover this waste through an audit.

After de Blasio’s Renewal Schools Program to Keep Failing Schools Open the Mayor is Now Using Changing Admission Tests to the City's Elite Schools AS A DISTRACTION To His FAILED EDUCATION PLAN

Asian-American civil rights groups, parents sue over school diversification plan


Challengers of Affirmative Action Have a New Target: New York City’s Elite High Schools


Monday, November 26, 2018


NYSBOE the Interlocking-Directorates de Blasio’s Illegal 2014 Senate Coordinated Campaign

Subpoenas Fly At City Hall Laundering $$$



2016-1: In the Matter of Campaign for One New York and United for
Affordable NYC

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

A Real New York City Tale of Two Cities AMAZON

A Real New York City Tale of Two Cities: New York's Leaders Bring the Out of Town Techies into NYC, Pushing Out New York's Poor and Middle Class that Voted for Them and Build Out Great City

  A tale of two New Yorks: Billions for Amazon but rats, lead paint and mold for public housing via

Politicians who signed pro-Amazon letter now oppose city's deal (NYP)

n a case of be careful what you wish for, politicians who signed a boosterish Dear “Mr. Bezos” letter last year urging Amazon to come to New York City now oppose the deal as a giveaway.

The flippers include Brooklyn City Councilman Jumaane Williams, the frontrunner to become the city’s next Public Advocate.
Queens lawmakers Michael Gianaris and Jimmy Van Bramer, now campaigning to scuttle the deal, also signed the enthusiastic letter to Amazon’s CEO.
Another signatory, Manhattan Borough President Gail Brewer, now calls the deal “a scary precedent for every neighborhood.”
Bronx Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr., who supports Amazon, accused the supporters-turned-critics of “hypocrisy.”
“Last year, I signed onto a letter encouraging Amazon to consider New York City as a site for its new headquarters. This was intended to be the beginning of a conversation,” Williams said in a statement.
Melissa Mark-Viverito, who signed the letter when she was Council speaker, tweeted, on Wednesday “$1.2 billion to lure a company that exploits working people and destroys organized labor. This is #debezosnewyork”.
State Sen. Gianaris, who represents the Long Island City, said, “When that letter was signed, many of us thought that the jobs would be good. We never contemplated that public dollars would secretly be given to Amazon to get that deal.”
Gov. Cuomo, who worked in tandem with Mayor de Blasio to negotiate the Amazon package, said the flippers are ignoring the benefits of snaring Amazon.
“I’m old enough to remember when these pols thought 40,000 direct jobs, a 107,000 total job impact, $27.5 billion in revenue and a 9 to 1 return on investment was

. goes after and for criticizing deal after their parent companies also took large tax incentives from state. Says the “New York Times was not about to move to Alabama and become The Alabama Times.”
A warning from Seattle: What Long Island City and New York as a whole must learn now from Amazon’s hometown (nydn)

Amazon employees are reportedly already buying up apartments in New York City — and they started before the company even announced HQ2

Corey Johnson rips Amazon's plans for private helipad(NYP)

As Mayor de Blasio touts Amazon as savior for nearby public housing, tenants shiver without heat once again (NYDN) 


NYC Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen is Leaving de Blasio's Administration

How do legacies of & in shape the potential impact of and community responses to ? In this , we can see buildings built in the last 10 yrs in formerly redlined neighborhoods & CitiTower, to be rented by


What does Amazon’s HQ2 mean for Long Island City real estate?

Amazon’s presence will likely impact home in rent prices not just in Long Island City, but in those surrounding it and even further out

Amazon isn’t the first large corporation to set up shop in New York, and it likely won’t be the last. But many are now wondering what Amazon’s presence, and an influx of 25,000 well-paid workers, may mean for Long Island City’s culture, character, and—maybe most importantly—its housing. Additionally, the city’s adult population and job growth has been outpacing its affordable housing stock, and Amazon’s presence in Queens could contribute to the inequality issues the city is already facing.

Long Island City has, for the past few years, experienced a development boom that has shifted its once-industrial landscape into a largely residential one. In fact, a 2017 study found that the neighborhood has welcomed more new apartments (many of those market-rate) since 2010 than any other neighborhood in the county; by 2020, at least 6,400 more housing units will debut.
As a result, housing costs have been on a steady incline. According to StreetEasy, the median home price in Long Island City is around $769,000, while the median rent is $2,450/month. It’s already the priciest Queens neighborhood; since 2012, the median sales prices has jumped from $509,000 to its current amount, and its rents are significantly higher than the borough’s medians. And with news of Amazon moving in, interest in the neighborhood has already spiked, meaning things could get even more expensive—and quickly.
Amazon notes that the average HQ2 salary will be $150,000/year, and on the plus side, there’s no shortage of high-end developments for HQ2’s well-paid workers to choose from, should they choose to live in Long Island City. But that could still be a driving factor behind price hikes, though not necessarily within the neighborhood itself.


Insider gentrifying: Amazon employees buy LIC condos before HQ2 announcement

The deals came before the surge that followed the news


The company that’s killing storefront retail says it will deliver 25,000 jobs paying an average of $150,000 to Queens, while taking about $60,000 in public money and tax breaks for each of those jobs.

The trillion-dollar tech behemoth, de Blasio keeps saying, grandly if vaguely, is “going to transform people’s lives” here, as “the folks who live in Queensbridge Houses get an opportunity through Amazon; CUNY students get an opportunity through Amazon. It’s going to change their life forever.”

In wake of Amazon deal, Gianaris wants to bar state non-disclosure agreements with companies (NYT)

Amazon’s Recent New York Campaign Contributions Mostly to Members of Congress

AMAZON, NYC: Bezos takes Queens (Amasterdam News)

The firm Amazon used to lobby Albany is Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP. If that name sounds familiar to some it’s because it’s the same firm at the center of corruption scandals involving the governor. The firm employed Todd R. Howe who was the “bagman” for payments to Cuomo aide Joe Percoco. In September, Percoco was sentenced to six years in prison for accepting more than $300,000 in bribes.

Part of the deal between Amazon and New York also includes a signed nondisclosure agreement.

Amazon’s new home also happens to be a borough many immigrants from Central American countries call home. Knowing this, officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement have made it a point to do random checkups in Queens and look for undocumented immigrants to detain. In September, The Washington Post reported that Amazon officials pitched their facial-recognition system to ICE officials suggesting that the agency could use it to target and identify immigrants. Despite the negatives, some elected officials were happy to have Amazon make New York their home.

According to the reports by the Wall Street Journal, the announcement of Amazon coming to New York has sparked a real estate frenzy. With Long Island City already in the midst of nonstop construction and remaking of its skyline, brokers told the publication that they’ve been selling condo units in the area via text message (sight unseen) since the announcement. The boom in real estate worries certain organizational leaders who fear that Amazon in New York could lead to even faster rising rents, higher cost of living and the pushing out of working class residents similar to what happened in Seattle, the home of Amazon’s first headquarters. 

IC developer seals large deal "just days before the official Amazon announcement." via

Amazon and the Urban Hypocrite (NYT)

Is it O.K. to shop on Amazon for everything and still not want one of the world’s richest companies to invade Queens?

"On Friday an Amazon employee based in Seattle made a deal to buy a 1-bedroom condo at the Craftsmen Townhomes, a low-rise development in the neighborhood. ... One-bedroom condos at the Craftsmen are listed for $800,000 to about $1.2 million." via

Amazon Employees Join the Rush to Buy Long Island City Condos

City Council looking into legal ways to challenge Amazon deal(NYP)


The anti-Amazon opportunists: Pols complaining about subsidies are really just upset they didn't get a seat at the table (NYDN)


Paddling up the Amazon: Elected opponents are in no position to complain (NYDN)

New York lawmakers who last year said they'd be thrilled to see Amazon land in Long Island City lead a chorus of outrage greeting Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio's deal to bring as many as 40,000 high-end Amazon jobs to Long Island City.
They might as well shout at themselves, for leaving the door wide open for the retailing giant to hack the state's generous economic development programs.
Queens Sen. Mike Gianaris, a leader of the new Democratic majority, headlined a protest condemning $3 billion in state and city subsidies, about half of which comes at Cuomo's discretion.
Council Speaker Corey Johnson and local Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer shout about a planned detour around routine city land use reviews that include a Council vote.

If the critics are so concerned about the tax breaks bestowed on one of the biggest and richest companies in the world without outside review, they should have given a hoot more than a year ago, when New York joined more than 200 other municipalities to compete, if not many years ago, when such disbursements to attract companies began.

Nearly $900 million in Amazon's benefit haul comes automatically, just for setting shop outside midtown Manhattan. Another $400 million is autopilot property tax reduction — both under state law Gianaris made no move to change in his eight years in the Senate, but now says he wants to completely overhaul.
As for $1.2 billion in Excelsior tax credits Cuomo promises: The state previously awarded Amazon up to $45 million under the program for 4,800 new jobs, including at a Staten Island warehouse, and has doled out hundreds of other such breaks to companies in the five boroughs. Crickets.
As for Johnson and Van Bramer, they proved they can be little trusted with make-or-break power over transformative development when Van Bramer nixed a worthy affordable housing project in his district with Johnson and the rest of the Council's assent.
The protesting politicians squandered power. Amazon wielded it savvily. Calling for a do-over doesn't change the outcome of the game.

A great deal for New York City: Amazon's choice of Long Island City validates our progressive policies and strengthens our metropolis for the future (NYDN)

Manhattan Apartment Sales in 2018 Sink to Low Hit After Financial Crisis

Sales fell 12% from 2017 levels and 22.5% from peak sales levels in 2013, Wall Street Journal data show

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

One Party Rule New York City Fake Progressives

The mayor has become more punctual and less self-congratulatory, but far more worrisome traits have emerged

Foremost among them is the mayor's coddling of campaign donors—which came to light in emails unearthed by media lawsuits and criminal prosecutions. Fears that pay-to-play politics would return to the city when Bloomberg—a billionaire who wouldn't accept a penny from anyone—left office have been realized, and then some. The emails make clear that anyone who forks over a pile of cash can have the mayor eating out of his hand in no time. It's no wonder the mayor tried hard not to release them. Indeed, some messages that he was obligated to divulge in response to freedom- of-information requests somehow disappeared, only to surface when donor Jona Rechnitz was indicted and authorities got the correspondence from him.
Which brings us to two other unbecoming habits of de Blasio's: hypocrisy and prevarication. His proclamations that he would have the most transparent administration in history were rendered laughable by his email secrecy, and his excuse that the messages weren't newsworthy anyway was insulting. The messages also proved untrue the mayor's claim that he hardly knew Rechnitz.
For a time, the mayor blamed his bad press on the New York Post having a vendetta, but then negative stories began popping up everywhere. Last week The New York Times reported that de Blasio rarely visits City Hall anymore, wastes aides' time by making them schlep to Gracie Mansion and goes years without meeting key agency heads. He replied that some meetings were missing from his public schedule. So much for transparency.

De Blasio: I don't get enough credit for my progressive achievements



Speaking Truth To Power Under One Party Rule

One of the more famous axioms of the Democratic Party is the importance of speaking truth to power, but what happens when that truth becomes the power?

Like Russia or any other country in the world under one-party rule there can be small differences of opinion, but there is no room for anybody outside the ideological tent. Question one and you question all. Try to compromise with the Republican Party for the good of your constituents or come up with a mix and match ideology, cherry picking the best of both parties, and you’re cut off like a bad arm.

 But politics, like war, is a winner take all game. For better or worse the Dems won, along with their ideological belief in modern liberalism including bigger government, social and economic equality, and increasingly in identity politics.

So knowing that try to say something good about the GOP. Maybe that they care more about small businesses and entrepreneurship and the American ideal of pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps. That maybe Malliotakis has a reasonable plan regarding this city’s inequitable and skyrocketing property taxes.

Or try challenging the one-party Democratic machine. Question for instance the possibility that it is the Democratic Party in power and not market forces that is spurring gentrification and driving the working class and poor out of the city.

Or dig even deeper. That it’s the institutionalized Democratic Party that is redistributing generational wealth in the black and brown communities, taking fully paid off and owned properties under highly questionable circumstances, and giving them to favored non-profits and for-profits in the name of affordable housing.

Or perhaps question how it is the city and state can offer millions of dollars in subsidies to bring Amazon, Facebook and Google to NYC with their high-paying jobs for the newly educated, while refusing for years entrance to Wal-Mart with its cheaper goods and working-class jobs. 

Perhaps it is these types of policies, and not ignorance or racism, which is the reason why rural America just doesn’t get Democrats.
But in the afterglow of the Democrats finally achieving one-party rule in all of New York things like this are better left unsaid.
Unless you are serious about speaking truth to power.

Republicans Hit Rock Bottom in New York. Can They Bounce Back?




New York poised to lose two congressional seats
             Census says state leads country in outward migration

A Supermarket King Expands His Inventory(NYT)

John Catsimatidis, known for owning Red Apple and Gristedes stores and running for mayor, has been busy building apartment towers in Brooklyn.


The Real BOE Story: The Political Party Bosses Vs the Voters


Competence Is Missing From New York City's Elections Board ...  2016 Brennan Center

NYC Board of Elections Riddled With Problems, Dept. of Investigation Finds DNA 2013

Nepotism, political cronyism, violations of voter privacy and untrained workers run rampant inside the city's beleaguered Board of Elections, according to a 70-page report released Monday by the Department of Investigation after a six-month probe.

 DOI officials released a list of 40 recommended organizational changes to the body charged with ensuring the rights of voters to participate in the political process on Monday, just a day before avowed BOE critic Mayor Michael Bloomberg was set to hand over the reins to Bill de Blasio.


In addition, the investigation found 69 board employees who appeared to have a relative working within the BOE, with the likelihood of many more, the report noted.
"DOI found significant areas that require a steadfast resolve to strengthen and improve operations if BOE is to raise its level of performance to one in which our city can take pride, and to which we are all entitled,” DOI Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn wrote in a statement. "The City’s Board of Elections performs one of the most important missions in government, enabling our citizens to exercise their right and civic responsibility to vote in free and fair elections."

Add basic ethics to long list of the Board of Elections’ failures

If demonstrated incompetence isn’t enough to force change at the city Board of Elections, how about ethical no-no’s?
NY1 caught the board’s executive director, Michael Ryan, failing to report five trips paid for by the company that makes the city’s ballot scanners.
Ryan did report four other trips, and blames clerical errors for the ones he didn’t. He also notes that his unpaid service on an advisory board for the company, Election Systems & Software, was cleared by the city Conflict of Interest Board.
(Sigh: The COIB has a long record of going easy on high-level folks while dropping the hammer on underlings for less egregious lapses — but that’s another editorial.)
Note that Ryan soft-pedaled criticism of ES&S’s DS-200 scanning machines after the chaos on Election Day, which saw more than 10,000 scanner complaints recorded, compared to just 2,000 in 2016. Instead, he blamed an “untested” two-page ballot, plus the day’s high humidity, for jamming the machines.
He also said it’s past time to replace those machines. He would, of course, have a say in what company to go to for the new ones. Would he favor the firm that’s been giving him freebies?
This flap might endanger Ryan’s job, which still seemed secure despite the November nightmares. Firing him is up to the city’s 10 election commissioners — one Democrat and one Republican from each borough, named by the county party chairmen.
In the end, those political hacks care most about patronage positions at the board — some of the last such jobs the parties still control. How many Election Day disasters will it take to force reform of this system?


NYC Department Of Investigation Chief: Board Of Elections "Hostile" To Reform Recommendations NYDN

nday, March 2, 2014

 The new head of the city Department of Investigation testIfied Friday that his staff has encountered "outright hostility" at the highest levels of the Board of Elections while trying to get the embattled agency to clean up its act.

The Board has not been “anywhere near as cooperative” as necessary in responding to a 2013 DOI investigation that detailed nepotism, incompetence, inefficiency -- and even possible crimes, DOI Commissioner Mark Peters (pictured center) told a joint hearing of the City Council Government Operations and Oversight and Investigations Committees.

Peters said DOI has referred several issues for possible civil prosecution, and said criminal charges are still possible. In describing "illegal" activity at the Board, Peters told the lawmakers, “I use the word deliberately. This is an ongoing investigation, so there are aspects of it I am not prepared to discuss."

The scathing Dec. 30 DOI report, including 40 recommendations to improve the elections agency, said family favoritism, waste and ineptitude hobble the Board.

"The level of nepotism and the level of politics in hiring [at the BOE] is greater [than] anything reported in recent memory," he said.

The DOI inquest grabbed headlines in large part because of the 63 DOI agents posing as voters disqualified because of death, felony convictions or a move out of the city, nearly all were allowed by pollworkers to cast ballots.

However, the BOE provided data from its state counterpart showing that 39 of the cases where "dead" voters cast ballots, the Board never received a death notice from the Health Department so the names could be removed from the rolls.

A mismatch in middle names led to 10 more people not being flagged as deceased; in three cases where the city Board did get information that a voter had died, the names were removed.

Peters, who testified as Board of Elections Executive Director Michael Ryan, state Board Co-Chairman Douglas Kellner and representatives of good-government groups looked on, insisted that the "dead" voters weren't the main point of the DOI's push for a "corrective-action" plan. 

The investigation, he said, was not about "voter fraud," but about a broken system that needs a real overhaul.

To a degree, Peters said he accepted that the Board -- which requires bipartisan balance throughout its ranks -- is inherently at risk for problems because of the way it's set up by law.

"The proof is the system isn't working," he said, later adding that "there are things we can do even with this faulty structure to ameliorate the process."

Ryan, when his turn came up, insisted the agency has been entirely helpful to investigators -- to the point where he said much of the information in the DOI report came from the Board itself in an acknowledgement of its problems.

"You don’t get to say you 'found' my wallet or my cell phone if I hand it to you," Ryan insisted. "I have been and will continue to be extremely cooperative."

But Ryan (pictured center) -- as he has in the past -- argued that the Board is a "ministerial agency" that only carries out the policies set in election law. "I believe that that report does not accurately reflect the reality when it comes to come certain of the recommendations," he said.

As far as the bipartisan system, Ryan told the lawmakers it does matter even among the rank and file, as "down the rung" employees may be, even more so than their supervisors, in a position to cause "mischief" in elections.

He tangled -- protractedly -- with Councilman Ritchie Torres of the Bronx about the definition of "nepotism," saying that just because members of the same family work at the same agency doesn't indicate de facto corruption.

Torres countered that the agency -- which gives limited notice of job openings when it gives them at all and hires many of its full- and part-time workers through a patronage system linked to the county parties -- has an inarguably high degree of family relationships in its ranks.

Other members of the council questioned whether agency and per-diem pollworkers are paid so poorly as to put the agency at a disadvantage in hiring the best candidates.

Greenfield says city expects pollworkers to perform critical duties, but "We’re going to pay you bupkis – that’s not a technical term"

Asked about Peters' implication that there could be another shoe dropping, "I think what he said is his investigation is not complete and it could lead to criminal charges," said Ryan, an attorney by trade.
"Speculation about criminal charges often go nowhere. There is no way for us to tell whether it's going to happen or not happen. I would simply say let the DOI do its job... and at the conclusion of the process, those folks if it's found that engagement of wrongdoing occurred, then those folks will live with the consequences of that."

City Councilman Ben Kallos of Manhattan told the News after the hearing -- his first as chairman of Govermental Operations -- that his goal "was to get the Board of Elections to commit to a series of items from the Department of Investigation report that that they've been previously unresponsive on.

"To the extent they've agreed to nearly a dozen or more items from the report, where previously they'd responded to two, I believe that this was successful -- but the ultimate measure of success will be where we are in a month from now," he said.

The Council said it is now awaiting updates from the Board on issues including:

·         Standardized hiring and screening process and providing this publicly and to community
·         DOI's requested Corrective Action Plan to be provided within one month
·         Commissioner consideration of Civil Service Exams for employees
·         Report on Ballot Security in Manhattan and corrective actions
·         Commitment to investigate and terminate within rules any employee found to be requiring or punishing political activity
·         Regular updates to committee on progress
·         Cost estimate on using DOI background checks for high-level staff






Add basic ethics to long list of the Board of Elections’ failures NYP

If demonstrated incompetence isn’t enough to force change at the city Board of Elections, how about ethical no-no’s?
NY1 caught the board’s executive director, Michael Ryan, failing to report five trips paid for by the company that makes the city’s ballot scanners.
Ryan did report four other trips, and blames clerical errors for the ones he didn’t. He also notes that his unpaid service on an advisory board for the company, Election Systems & Software, was cleared by the city Conflict of Interest Board.
(Sigh: The COIB has a long record of going easy on high-level folks while dropping the hammer on underlings for less egregious lapses — but that’s another editorial.)
Note that Ryan soft-pedaled criticism of ES&S’s DS-200 scanning machines after the chaos on Election Day, which saw more than 10,000 scanner complaints recorded, compared to just 2,000 in 2016. Instead, he blamed an “untested” two-page ballot, plus the day’s high humidity, for jamming the machines.
He also said it’s past time to replace those machines. He would, of course, have a say in what company to go to for the new ones. Would he favor the firm that’s been giving him freebies?
This flap might endanger Ryan’s job, which still seemed secure despite the November nightmares. Firing him is up to the city’s 10 election commissioners — one Democrat and one Republican from each borough, named by the county party chairmen.
In the end, those political hacks care most about patronage positions at the board — some of the last such jobs the parties still control. How many Election Day disasters will it take to force reform of this system?

Ballot scanner maker misled NYC over their weakness to humidity: docs

Nebraska-based Election Systems & Software claimed its scanners could operate in any humidity level in a key document it filed as part of its winning bid for the $56 million contract.
But ES&S contradicts itself in the very instruction manual it publishes for the model of scanner the BOE purchased, filings with authorities in other states show.
“Humidity and wetness were a factor in the paper jams on Election Day and ES&S was not transparent in the contract about the implications of wetness and humidity,” said Alex Camarda, an elections expert with the government watchdog Reinvent Albany.
At a City Council hearing Tuesday, ES&S executive Judd Ryan denied humidity played a role in the Nov. 6 fiasco.

Lobbyists Who Help Win ES&S for the City's BOE

ES & S has hired powerhouse lobbyists Hank Sheinkopf, Norm Adler and Davidoff & Malito, while Dominion has Greenberg Traurig and Bronx megalobbyist Stanley Schlein, who had been head of the city’s Civil Service Commission, but paid a fine to the Conflicts of Interest Board in 2008 for allegedly misusing that office’s resources for his own legal work.

Machine politics

Vote-switch charge in elex machines - New York Post

ES&S wins NYC bid, Lobbyist indicted, The Limitations of Paper ...

Vote-machine lobbyist was in ‘rig’ trouble

E-Voting: Digital Democracy or a Cash Cow for Consultants

ES & S has hired powerhouse lobbyists Hank Sheinkopf, Norm Adler and Davidoff & Malito, while Dominion has Greenberg Traurig and Bronx megalobbyist Stanley Schlein, who had been head of the city’s Civil Service Commission, but paid a fine to the Conflicts of Interest Board in 2008 for allegedly misusing that office’s resources for his own legal work.

Qns. elections official under fire for soliciting money ... - New York P

Sean Crowley - Partner - Davidoff Hutcher & Citron | Linke

Joe Crowley's lobbyist brother gets millions from Corey Johnson

How People Close to Joe Crowley Have Gotten Rich While the ...

The Queens Machine That Turns Foreclosures Into Cash | Village Voice

True News (The Bund): NY Corrupt Party Boss Crowley 7896

A lobbyist working for the company believed to have the edge to win a multimillion-dollar contract to replace the city’s lever-operated voting machines was once embroiled in a flap over ballot fixing.
Anthony Mangone, a Westchester-based lawyer and lobbyist hired to help Election Systems & Software, testified that he tampered with ballots in a voting-fraud criminal case against a political operative working for then-state Sen. Nicholas Spano (R-Westchester) in 2002.
Mangone was called by prosecutors trying Dennis Wedra Sr. on charges of masterminding a ballot-fixing scheme to help Spano win third-party primaries. Having the minor-party lines increased Spano’s chances of holding his seat in the general election in 2000.
Mangone testified that he opened up about 30 Green Party ballots, filled them in, “sealed them up” and then had them sent to the Board of Elections, the Journal News reported at the time.
Spano won the Green Party primary by a thin margin, but lost his seat years later.
Mangone — who declined comment — was never indicted, and Wedra was acquitted.

Government Watchdogs Call for JCOPE to Investigate Keith Wright's Arrangement as Party Chairman and Lobbyist
Watchdogs want probe of Democratic leader's lobbying job(NYP) Government watchdogs on Friday urged the state ethics agency to investigate whether Keith Wright is violating New York’s conflict-of-interest-law by working for a high-powered lobbying firm while continuing to serve as the Manhattan Democratic leader.  The Post first raised questions last month about Wright’s unusual dual role — becoming a lobbyist at Davidoff, Hutcher, & Citron while remaining the local party boss.  “Keith Wright can be a party chairman or a lobbyist, but he can’t have it both ways,” said Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York.  “The opportunities to wield his political position for personal enrichment, or use his position to advance a client’s agenda present a clear conflict of interest. He’s got to make a choice.”  Wright, a former Harlem state assemblyman, lost a bid to succeed Charles Rangel in Congress last year. Dick Dadey of Citizens Union called Wright’s dual roles a “troubling conflict.”  “Chairman Wright cannot possibly fulfill his public role as the county chair of Manhattan Democrats, while also serving as a private lobbyist. Chairman Wright cannot lobby Manhattan elected city officials for support on interests he represents, while at the same time working with these same officials on political matters over which he has considerable power as county chair. He can be one of the other, but not both,” Dadey said.  The advocates cited Section 73 of the Public Officers Laws that states that political party chairpersons are prohibited from receiving compensation for lobbying before a state or city agency “where such appearance or rendition of services is in connection with the adoption or repeal of any rule regulation having the force and effect of law.”  They called for JCOPE to conduct a “thorough investigation” and provide an advisory opinion of Wright’s dual roles.  

The Gonzalez Schlein Cover Up
The City's Knew Schlein Was Involved With the Ballot Fixing At the Board in 2010 . . .  He Appointed the Commissioner Who Was Forced to Resign

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. * Election Board's "Bungle George" Gonzalez Was Mayor Bloomberg's Baby(Village Voice)

Lobbyists Stanley Schlein

Prominent Lawyer Is Fined by Ethics Board (NYT)

The New York City Conflicts of Interest Board has fined Stanley K. Schlein, a prominent political lawyer, lobbyist and former chairman of the New York City Civil Service Commission, $15,000 for misusing city resources and personnel to perform work for his private law practice.
The fine, the third-highest in the board’s history, was part of a settlement with Mr. Schlein, who admitted wrongdoing in an affidavit that was released by the board.
The board said that Mr. Schlein acknowledged using workers at the Civil Service Commission to perform “non-city tasks” for him while on city time. The statement said that workers used computers, telephones and various machines to do work related to Mr. Schlein’s private law practice. The board said that Mr. Schlein had workers making more than 2,000 calls for matters unrelated to the commission from January 2004 to September 2006.
 Mr. Schlein did not respond to messages left on his cellphone. But a spokesman, George Arzt, said, “Mr. Schlein decided to settle this matter on an expeditious basis and has agreed to the stipulated payment called for in the settlement.”

A Seasoned Bronx Power Broker Looks to Rise With Carl Heastie 

he NY Post Missed the Fact That Wright Appoints BOE A Commissioner Who Has Great Power On Challengers to Elected Officials Remaining On the Ballot 

"Under the eye of Assemblyman Keith Wright, chairman of the New York County Democratic Committee, members voted unanimously to nominate Jeanine Johnson, his chief of staff and attorney—who received a drunk driving charge last year, according to the New York Post." NY Obsever
Wright won’t be the first political party chairman from New York City to earn a living as a lobbyist. Stanley Friedman, a former Bronx County Democratic leader, was a registered lobbyist for taxi- fleet owners. In 1986, Friedman paid for his double-dealing when he was convicted of corruption charges in a wide-ranging scheme to defraud the city Parking Violations Bureau. He served four years in prison and was released in 1992 before landing a job running a hotel on Staten Island.
A Look Back At the Manhattan Democratic Reform Movement

Board of Elections Says Extra Machines Were Not Deployed on Election Day (NY1)

State Assembly Holds Hearing on Election Day Issues

The state assembly held a hearing on election reform

18 hours ago
Here's who is NOT testifying today at oversight hearing on NYC Election Day problems: the commissioners of the Board of Elections, who are chosen by the county parties and appointed by the Council. The commissioners select the executive director of BOE, who got the grilling.

NYC officials rip Board of Elections as 'national embarrassment'(NYP)

Embattled city Board of Elections Director Mike Ryan heard his agency called a “national embarrassment” during a City Council hearing Tuesday, where legislators didn’t buy his endless excuses for the chaos on Election Day.
Ryan cited the new perforated ballots, old scanners, untrained poll workers and an antiquated state election law for hours-long waits that snarled voting on Nov. 6.
“The first step to fixing the problem is admitting that you have a problem,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who ripped Ryan for offering up “excuse after excuse after excuse.”
Johnson repeated his call for Ryan to step down. But only the Board of Elections’ 10 political party-appointed commissioners have the power to remove him.
“We’ll keep pushing that,” Johnson said.
Councilman Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx) chimed in, saying, “It is nothing short of a national embarrassment that a city so great runs its elections so poorly.”
Ryan apologized for initially blaming high voter turnout for the long lines and instead claimed that state-mandated perforated ballots were “the major cause of the increased ballot jams” and “presented a series of problems never before experienced by the board or anywhere in the country.”
The BOE turned down $20 million from the city in 2016, in part because the deal came with conditions, including more poll-worker training, he said.
But on Tuesday, Ryan called for more staff to clear machine jams at every poll site; replacing paid volunteers with municipal employees as poll workers; and revisions in state law to allow technology upgrades.

Committee holds seven-minute meeting after widespread Election Day complaints.
If members of the New York City Board of Elections were concerned about the broken machines and long lines on Election Day that turned some New Yorkers away from exercising their right to vote, they sure aren’t showing it. The ten-member board’s first public meeting since Election Day lasted just seven minutes and 20 seconds, and voters’ woes weren’t even mentioned – except for when a board member piped up to defend much-maligned BOE Executive Director Michael Ryan.

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De Blasio allies oppose Board of Election fixes (nyp) 

Mayor Bill de Blasio will have to go up against political allies if he wants to overhaul the city’s widely criticized Board of Elections.
Brooklyn Democratic leader Frank Seddio and his Bronx counterpart, Marcos Crespo — who help pick the commissioners who run the board — told The Post they would oppose de Blasio’s push to remake the embattled agency.
“Why isn’t [the BOE] considered professional now? Even Michelangelo needed a hammer and a chisel to make his statues,” Seddio said last week in Puerto Rico for the annual Somos political conference.
“If the legislators don’t give the board the tools it needs to make the election process function properly, the only blame that should be held is up on top and not on the workers who do their best with the resources they have.”
The agency has come under heavy attack following widespread voting issues at polling stations Tuesday, including the breakdown of hundreds of ballot scanners.
Seddio said a combination of finicky machines and a two-page ballot — all crammed into a single day of high-turnout voting — had put too much strain on the system.
The board has been criticized before for other mishaps, including the purging of tens of thousands of Brooklyn voters from the rolls ahead of the 2016 national election.
De Blasio last week reiterated his call for Albany lawmakers to pass bills that would restructure the agency and grant its executive director, Mike Ryan, power over hiring and firing decisions.
Those duties currently reside with the commissioners appointed by the Democratic and Republican leaders of each borough, which has led to perceptions of the BOE as a patronage mill.


Fix the vote: Tear down the terrible city Board of Elections

It's a depressing-as-hell comment on people whose job it is to collect and count ballots: Leaders of the New York City Board of Elections always hope for low turnout, because they simply can't handle large number of voters coming out to exercise the franchise.
Which is why when New Yorkers, bless them, turned out in droves for Tuesday's midterm election, the system broke down at polling place after polling place.
Scanning machines jammed and were taken offline for hours, apparently because some ballots had a little water on them. (Who'da thunk it might rain? On planet Earth?)
Paper poll books, as usual, dragged out the check-in process. (You want an electronic database of voter names? Sorcery!)

Real structural changes, however, won’t come until the New York City Board of Elections is demolished and rebuilt anew as a nonpartisan entity.
To fix New York City’s election mess, Albany needs to create a nonpartisan body.
Politicians responded, speaking up for their constituents. City Council Speaker Corey Johnson called for New York City Board of Elections Executive Director Michael Ryan to resign. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams held a hastily scheduled press conference to call for a series of reforms, including an immediate investigation from the state and city into voting problems, better-trained poll workers and different technology.
 New York City’s chronically mismanaged elections long predate Tuesday’s midterm. In the September primaries, longtime voters showed up to find their names were no longer on the voting rolls. In just the most egregious example from the previous election, 200,000 voters were illegally purged from the rolls in 2016.
Relatively few New Yorkers understand that the Board of Elections’ failure to administer elections properly is a function of its design; party loyalty has long been prized over competence. The mayor and City Council have relatively little say over how New York City’s board operates. It’s an arm of the state Board of Elections, and therefore governed by state law.
The administration of the city Board of Elections is the worst in the state, in part because it is entirely political. It is the last bastion of political patronage in city government, a remnant of the machine era.
Ten commissioners – one Republican, one Democrat per borough – govern the board. The 10 commissioners get together to appoint an executive director, who is now the aforementioned Michael Ryan. Ryan, a Staten Island Democrat who has run for office before, was appointed in 2013. The City Council makes appointments with recommendations from local political parties.

Staffers at the Board of Elections do not pass a civil service test or face the vetting of a typical city employee. They are chiefly tied to the local Democratic or Republican party, and poll workers are recommended for jobs by party officials or elected officials. There is virtually no way to land a job at the Board of Elections without a political connection of some kind. Office staffers are hired through commissioner recommendations and connection to county political machines.

An estimated 48.1 percent of eligible voters cast ballots

City officials can’t promise smoother voting experience in 2020(NYP)

Fix the Board of Elections before trying to change how New York votes (NYP)

 Elections chief concedes ballot scanners were not up to the task on big turnout Election Day (NYDN)

After a Chaotic Election, City Leaders and Watchdogs Call for a System Overhaul (NYT) 

The two-page ballot, necessitated by stupid ballot questions and stupid judicial elections, meant twice as much paper for the scanners to scan. (Newsflash: An eight-year-old device designed solely to scan paper can't do it consistently.) Expect an even bigger mess when the machines' warranty expires in 2020, just when the next presidential election comes around.
It's all par for the course from the boss-run patronage pit, where borough party chiefs pick the commissioners.
This terrible status quo persists even as New York's supposedly enlightened citizens tsk-tsk about electoral dysfunction and shenanigans in Georgia, Kansas, Wisconsin and other states. Shame on us.
The state Legislature must dismantle and rebuild the city's Board of Elections.
And it can wait no longer to offer in the Empire State what is already law of the land in 37 states: early voting.
It's egregiously undemocratic that single parents, people working hourly wages and any number of other would-be voters who have a hard time getting to the polls on a Tuesday have no other way to cast a ballot. Especially when Election Day snafus throw wrenches in the works.
The real role of each commisisoner is to help the party leader that appointed him or her.  It is very curious that the good government groups are not demanding changes from elected leaders, who have done all they can do to hid from responsibility of the corruption and incompetence of the BOE and are the only ones who can make real changes at the board. Pols only care about one thing getting reelected. The BOE is their flu shot against challengers. They will not change the BOE without a strong public protest.


Election Day Angst: Voting Machines Crash All Over NYC (NY1)

Ballot Scanner Breakdowns Plague NYC Polling Places

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10 Areas Where DOI Can Investigate the BOE


BOE History of Corruption and Incompetence Timeline

The BOE was designed by Boss Tweed and his success to keep party leaders in control of who gets elected. Over time the city's establishment has made peace with the bosses and joined there control star chamber.  The BOE is filled with a bunch of patronage appointments by the county leader.  Friends, relatives and political supporters who have demonstrated that they cannot count or run elections.


To fix the board of elex (NYP, 2012)
The city Board of Elections is taking it on the chin once again, this time for its alleged mishandling of the vote count in the race between Rep. Charlie Rangel, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat and three others.
Did you think that there was no way to botch an election in this age of electronic voting machines and paper audit trails? Unfortunately, with the Board of Elections and the state laws that govern it, snafus are built-in.
It looks like the Election Night problems in this race were a result of a bizarre city BOE rule — but this controversy is a good chance to see the mess the whole agency has become.
Yesterday, I watched the BOE properly conduct the count and certification process in The Bronx and Manhattan. While the Espaillat camp has every right to contest any number of issues, the scandal here is not about supposed Bronx bunglers.
The city Board of Elections is best understood as a pyramid built upon the Peter Principle (the rule that people tend to be promoted to their level of incompetence).
From its top managers all the way down to the Election Day poll workers — the public face of the agency — everyone at the Board is a political appointee.
Government agencies are usually headed by political appointees with little specialized knowledge of their agencies — but they typically have an experienced, professional deputy to run things.
Not so, the city Board of Elections or its borough offices. Many staffers are competent and dedicated workers — but not enough. The dominant role of political patronage is why BOE is lucky to get B-team talent; add in wounds inflicted by state law, and you’ve got real, systemic problems.
One start on fixing things would be to give the mayor control of the BOE, with City Council approval required for appointment of any chief clerk, executive director or deputy executive director.
That way, we’d be able to hold someone to account when things go wrong.
Another improvement — in a bill from Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh and Sen. Martin Golden — would modernize and streamline the Election Night canvass procedure and other poll-closing tasks. End the requirement to manually transcribe results onto tally sheets, and let voting-machine memory sticks be used to report unofficial tallies to news organizations.
That bill passed the Assembly but the Senate failed to act. If it had become law, we’d have avoided the time-consuming and error-prone process that produced the Election Night snafu in this race.
Other ideas might work.

But drastic reform is necessary, from the state Board of Elections down to the county level. The agency needs a good stock of nonpartisan professional staffers. The election law must be modernized, too.
Bureaucratic and partisan paralysis is the root of the BOE’s persistent problems, which erode public confidence in our elections.
If politicians won’t reform, modernize and upgrade the agency, the voting public should demand it. And Gov. Cuomo could do worse than to make restoring public confidence in the integrity of the election process his next crusade.

True News (The Bund): BOE History of Corruption and Incompetence ...