Saturday, September 20, 2014

Corrupt Judicial Conventions

Room Eight Protests Judicial Corruption in Brooklyn New York, and How No One is Doing Anything About It 

Federal Judge John Gleeson of the Eastern District of New York ruled in 2006 that the judicial conventions through which party bosses have chosen State Supreme Court Justices for a century are unconstitutional. In a thoroughly documented decision, Judge Gleeson ruled that the convention system, in which judges are hand-picked by delegates chosen for that purpose, usually officers of local political clubs, deprives the public of its legal right to participate in the selection of judges. Under current rules, all judges in New York State EXCEPT Supreme Court Justices are either appointed by elected officials or chosen in open primary elections. The US Supreme Court said "not so fast", and ruled that the courts did not have the constitutional right to change the way New York chooses Supreme Court Judges . 


Judge Gleeson
Judicial Sausage Factory Continues, Almost Nobody Noticed
posted by Oneshirt
Fri, 09/19/2008 - 11:10am
LINK

After the former county leader goes to jail for corruption connected with judicial elections, a U.S. Federal Judge Gleeson calling them unconstitutional - fixed - and extensive condemnation by the city’s newspaper editorial pages, the charade called the Brooklyn Judicial Convention continued like nothing ever happened. In fact like a wounded animal or king the situation has grown grave and depraved.

Nothing has been learned by the experiences of the past 5 years a delegate whispered into my ear when boss Vito was not looking. Something very bad is happening to our way of life and culture. Our system of democracy, separation of powers, built in political party conflict has failed and nobody cares. The business as usually continuation of the convention is proof that our culture has changed so much that exposure and shame which used to be enough to cause reform has been replaced by a get over society, where morality or doing what is right does not matter. What is even more frightening, if it was up to the press there would be no record. Only the Manhattan gadfly a modern day Thomas Paine made sure there was a public record.

Today's Daily News Editorial

“For a glimpse into the odious nature of how the political bosses make judges in New York, we direct your attention to a letter in Friday's Voice of the People by veteran court watcher Alan Flacks. On Tuesday, Flacks dropped in on the Brooklyn Democratic Party's ceremony for elevating faithful lawyers to the bench. The party calls it a convention. It's not. It's a charade, currently directed by boss Vito Lopez.” – September 19, 2008.

U.S. Judge John Gleeson Rules Judicial Conventions Unconstitutional 
"The highly unusual processes (judicial convention - the lone state in the nation to elect judges this way) by which that extremely important office (Supreme Court Judge) is filled perpetuate local political party leaders control and deprive the voters of any meaningful role," the judge wrote in the decision. "The result is an opaque, and undemocratic selection procedure that violates the rights of the voters and the rights of candidates who lack the backing of local party leaders."

The Flacks letter to the Daily News Which Resulted in Today’s Editorial:

Sausage Factory Floor

Manhattan: I attended the Kings County Democratic judicial nominating convention Tuesday. It was orchestrated "Soviet-style." Short, sweet, lady- and gentleman-like, the script called for the eight candidates to be designated or redesignated without opposition, even for supposed "open" seats. Before adjournment, each judge candidate got up and gave a short thank-you speech. Every one of them expressed gratitude to the party district leaders for their support, and they also expressed effusive thanks to and praise of County Leader Vito Lopez (photo). One "re-up," John Leventhal of the Appellate Division, Second Department (after inquiring if the press was present) thanked now-imprisoned county leader Clarence Norman as well, and another called Lopez "the greatest county leader ever." After adjournment, I spoke with a number of delegates who voted "automatically" and didn't seem to know for whom they were voting. They didn't know, and were just told for whom to vote.

Alan Flacks

Brooklyn District Attorney says the Supreme Court election system corrupts
Charles Hynes: Amicus Curiae Brief in Judge Lopez Torres vs. NYS Board of Elections:

“New York’s uniquely constructed and statutorily- mandated nominating process for the state Supreme Court, which in effect places ultimate control over who becomes a state Supreme Court justice in the hands of powerful county political party leaders, creates and sustains a breeding ground for corruption and malfeasance and undermines the public’s confidence in the judiciary."

Feldman and his Friends Play the System
“Similarly unseemly was the role played at the convention by Jeff Feldman, a one-time party honcho who was indicted with Norman but won dismissal of charges. No longer exiled from the convention, Feldman helped run Tuesday's show.” -– NY Daily News Editorial, September 19, 2008.

Judge Gleeson, U.S. District Court Cited Jeff Feldman’s action in the decision 
“Beginning in March of 2003, then candidate for Supreme Court Lopez Torres wrote repeatedly to the Kings County Democratic Committee to learn three basic things; (1) the date, time and place of the convention; (2) the names of the delegates, so she could lobby them; and (3) whether she could address the delegates at the convention. She did not hear from its Executive Director, Jeffrey C. Feldman until September 4, 2003, after she once again requested the information. Feldman response is difficult to reconcile with the defendants' gauzy characterizations of a democratic process open to all party members who seek the office of Supreme Court Justice. He began by mocking the request for a list delegates to lobby: "AI erroneously believed that a learned jurist, such as yourself, would be well aware that Delegates and Alternate Delegates to the Democratic Judicial Convention stand for independent elections in the Primary Election, yet to be held. Thus no such list existed "anywhere in the world," Feldman helpfully added. As for Lopez Torres's inquiry about addressing the convention, Feldman wrote as follows: "I suffer from the innocent belief that the floor of the Convention is open, only, to elected Delegates and their successors.” - Judge Gleeson, U.S. District Court

Besides the press also missing, from this year Judicial Convention, were most of the reformers who in the past protested actions at the convention. Only Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats president Chris Owens and past president Josh Skaller stood alone in opposing this year’s convention, handing out a newspaper to every delegate outlining needed changes to the way New York “elects” Supreme Court Judges.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens said Judicial Conventions are bad, declaring that :

“The Constitution Does Not Prohibit Legislatures From Enacting Stupid Laws.”

Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the courts did not have the constitutional right to change the way New York chooses it Supreme Court Judges not one elected official has spoken out about changing the STUPID LAW. In fact the good groups which conspired with the elected officials before the U.S. Supreme Court ruling to allow Judicial Conventions to continue at the same time allowing candidates to petition there way onto the ballot are like the press missing action on this issue. In fact like the elected officials the good government groups have not commented on the STUPID LAWS.

Editorial - The New York Times - January 17, 2008

"A Defeat for Judicial Reform"

By upholding New York's machine-dominated system for selecting judges, the Supreme Court has dealt another setback to voters. The court has once again allowed political bosses to rig elections in ways that deny voters a meaningful role. New York's political power brokers are no doubt cheering, but they should not be allowed to triumph. Even if New York's method of selecting judges is constitutional, it remains unfair and undemocratic. It needs to be replaced.

New York State Supreme Court justices -- who despite their titles are trial-level judges -- are selected through a byzantine process. Primary voters select judicial delegates, who then meet in party conventions to choose their nominees. The conventions are generally controlled by political bosses, who often steer the nominations to candidates who deliver patronage back to the party machine. It's a disgraceful way to choose judges. They are supposed to be above politics.

It's also a system that makes the voters almost irrelevant. At the polls, they have to choose among judicial delegate slates -- when there are competing slates at all -- filled with unfamiliar names. It is a far cry from an actual party primary in which voters are allowed to choose among competing judicial candidates. The New York-based United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in ruling against the system, declared that it unacceptably burdened the constitutional rights of both candidates and voters.

The Supreme Court, unfortunately, disagreed. Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, dismissed the idea that the right of association requires a process by which voters have a meaningful opportunity to affect an election's outcome. The ruling is consistent with the court's recent decisions upholding the right of political bosses to gerrymander political districts. These days, the only election complaints that seem to move the court are ones by corporations and wealthy individuals who object to limits on their ability to spend on elections.

Four justices, in concurring opinions, cast doubt on the wisdom of New York's method of choosing judges. Justices Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer noted that if the rules do not produce both the perception and the reality of a system committed to the highest ideals of the law, they ought to be changed and to be changed now. Justices John Paul Stevens and David Souter quoted Thurgood Marshall: "The Constitution does not prohibit legislatures from enacting stupid laws."

A stupid -- and undemocratic -- law is precisely what New York has. Now that the cudgel of a court order has been removed, we hope the Legislature will summon the wisdom and integrity to fix the system voluntarily. The odds of that happening are long, since the powers that be in the Legislature are the same ones that profit from the current corrupt system. It is, however, a cause that everyone who cares about a qualified and independent judiciary needs to keep fighting.

Federal Court Determines Party Bosses Control N.Y. Judicial Nominations
Tom Perrotta, Law.com, 01-30-2005

The system of electing Supreme Court justices in New York violates the rights of voters and judicial candidates and must be scrapped, a federal judge said Friday in a scathing ruling that could change forever the way judicial offices in the state are filled.

Eastern District of New York Judge John Gleeson enjoined the New York State Board of Elections from using the unique -- and likely unconstitutional -- system of conventions and delegates that now determines which candidates for Supreme Court judgeships appear on election ballots.

Gleeson said Supreme Court justices should be nominated by primary elections until the state Legislature enacts a new statutory scheme to replace New York Election Law §6-106.

"The plaintiffs have demonstrated convincingly that local major party leaders -- not the voters or the delegates to the judicial nominating conventions -- control who becomes a Supreme Court Justice and when," he wrote in Lopez Torres v. New York State Board of Elections, 04 CV 1129. "The highly unusual processes by which that extremely important office is filled perpetuate that control, and deprive the voters of any meaningful role. The result is an opaque, undemocratic selection procedure that violates the rights of the voters and the rights of candidates who lack the backing of the local party leaders."

For the citizens' group and eight potential judicial candidates who challenged the election process as unfair and virtually impossible without the backing of key party leaders, Gleeson's ruling was equivalent to a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning.

"The ruling is a victory for the voters of New York state and the judiciary," said attorney Jeremy Creelan of the Brennan Center for Justice, which represented Common Cause and the potential judicial candidates, including Margarita Lopez Torres, who is now one of two surrogate judges in Brooklyn. "After more than 100 years of domination by party leaders, voters will finally have a meaningful say in the nomination process for Supreme Court candidates."

Arthur W. Greig, who represents the state Democratic Party, said the defendants would appeal and seek a stay of the injunction from the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

New York's century-old convention system is unique in the United States and only applies to Supreme Court justices. At conventions, candidates for the court are chosen by delegates.

The problem, according to the plaintiffs, is that those delegates, who represent various Assembly districts, are chosen by leaders of the state's Democratic and Republican political parties and simply do what those leaders ask. The plaintiffs argued that it is impossible to either unseat these delegates or lobby them for support.

Gleeson agreed. Without the backing of political leaders, he said, it is "virtually impossible" for a challenger candidate to field a slate of supportive delegates from various districts sufficient to win a place on an election ballot.

The judge found that an insurgent candidate for Supreme Court in Brooklyn or Staten Island would need to gather 24,000 to 36,000 signatures drawn equally from 24 Assembly districts to have a chance at the nomination.

The judge also dismissed the idea that a candidate could lobby delegates and win their support. He cited the example of Judge Lopez Torres, a potential Supreme Court candidate in 2003 who repeatedly wrote to the Kings County Democratic Committee to learn the date of the convention, the name of delegates so she could lobby them and whether she could speak at the convention.

Seven months later, the county executive, Jeffrey C. Feldman, wrote back to her, "mocking the request for a list of delegates to lobby," Gleeson wrote. Feldman said that no such list existed "anywhere in the world" and added that Lopez Torres could not speak at the convention.

"Margarita Lopez Torres demonstrated in 2003 that indisputable qualifications for the job and immense popularity among the candidate's fellow party members are neither necessary nor sufficient to get the party's nomination," Judge Gleeson wrote. "Something different is required: the imprimatur of the party leadership."

The ruling comes nearly two years after the lawsuit was filed, partially in response to judicial scandals in Brooklyn that have resulted in one judge, Victor I. Barron, admitting to bribery, and another, Gerald Garson, being indicted (he has yet to go to trial). The Brooklyn district attorney's office has since won two convictions against Clarence Norman, the former Democratic Party leader and Brooklyn assemblyman, for election law violations, and continues to say that Norman could aid the office in further investigations of judicial corruption (Norman has denied this).

PARTY LEADERS CONTROL

While defendants in the suit have denied that party leaders, specifically Norman, controlled the selection of Supreme Court candidates, Gleeson dismissed those contentions in no uncertain terms.

"The record of financial contributions by candidates for Supreme Court Justice to political groups controlled by Norman has fostered not only the (accurate) perception that he, rather than the voters or delegates, controlled the selection of the justices, but the further perception that he used the wrong criteria in making his decisions."

He added: "Based on the substantial body of evidence before me, I conclude that the plaintiffs have made a compelling showing that the New York system is designed to freeze the political status quo, in which party leaders, rather than the voters, select the Justices of the Supreme Court. By preventing competition among candidates and deterring voter participation, the system is successful in fact at achieving that goal."

Lawyers Discuss How State Should Select Judges
By JOSEPH GOLDSTEIN, Staff Reporter of the Sun, May 3, 2006
LINK

Three months after a federal judge struck down the way New York State selects its trial court judges, the city's legal community is far from a consensus about what system should be put in its place.

Several of the city's top attorneys, including the city's corporation counsel, Michael Cardozo, gathered last evening in Midtown at the city bar association building to discuss how New York should select its trial judges.

The ideas floated ranged from changing little of the existing party-controlled system, to opening the nominating process up to the general public through primary elections. Concerns expressed ranged from ensuring a diverse judiciary and protecting judges from running costly campaigns.

The topic of the quality of the judiciary received far less comment.

For many lawyers, the question of judicial selection will define the 2006 political season. The century-old debate of how to select state judges has never been settled, and has intensified in recent years following a slew of indictments against several judges in Brooklyn. A ruling in January by a federal judge that declared New York's system unconstitutional has given a new urgency to solving the issue.

In that ruling, U.S. District Judge John Gleeson found that party leaders controlled the nominating conventions that put candidates for the state's basic trial court, the state supreme court, on the November ballot, denying party outsiders a chance at the judiciary. He also found that the party-controlled system denied voters a meaningful say in the selection process.

Judge Gleeson initially ruled that the 25 vacancies on the supreme court this year should be filled by party primaries, followed by a general election. He has since stayed that order.

"In our view, this is the first real opportunity we've had in decades to revisit the issue of how judges get selected," a lawyer at the Brennan Center for Justice, Deborah Goldberg, said. "If this decision is not upheld on appeal it will probably the last opportunity for decades." She said a system of party primaries would not necessarily lead to expensive races, forcing judges to raise large sums of money.

Mr. Cardozo, the top lawyer for the city, called "practical" a system of independent qualification commissions that would endorse the three most qualified candidates to party nominating conventions. Mayor Bloomberg has endorsed such a proposal, which would require legislation from Albany. Other ideas, such as the creation of socalled "merit selection committees" that would actually pick judges, would need a constitutional amendment.

Although critics of the mayor's plan have said it would not lessen the control party leaders currently wield in selecting judges, Mr. Cardozo said that adjusting the rules governing the convention would allow more qualified candidates to stand a chance of being nominated.

"One issue is what I would call the Clarence Norman problem," Mr. Cardozo said, referring to the former Kings County Democratic leader, whom Judge Gleeson characterized as controlling judicial selection in Brooklyn. Under the current system, Mr. Cardozo said, "the fact of the matter is that the county leader has virtual dictatorial power over the quality of people coming out of the conventions."

But even in the wake of Judge Gleeson's decision, some lawyers have advocated that the present judicial nominating conventions be maintained with few changes. The current nominating conventions are responsible for much of the racial diversity currently on the bench, one supporter, Paul Wooten of the firm Paul Wooten & Associates, said.

"A convention by nature is what is called a consensus," he said. "By giving and taking, they end up getting African Americans and Latinos on the bench."

The Color of Judge Money
By Jason Boog, jasonboog@judicialstudies.com
Posted 02-13-08
LINK

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has sent New York Supreme Court incumbents and aspirants back to our local carnival of judicial selection, the time has come to start following the money again. And there's a lot of following to do.

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous rejection of the challenge to New York’s system for selecting judges, judicial candidates are poised to hop back on the fundraising merry-go-round.

But different jurisdictions offer different rides, at different speeds.

Last year Supreme Court candidates in the five boroughs collectively raised nearly $144,000. Yet their counterparts in the major suburban districts stockpiled almost $754,000.

These fundraising numbers might give the mistaken impression that more judges are running in the suburban races. In reality, during the 2007 election season, 12 Supreme Court spots were open in the five boroughs, while only six seats were available in the suburban districts.

Despite having double the amount of available seats, most judicial candidates in New York City barely worry about fundraising. Conversely, the suburban contests are driven by an often manic pursuit of dollars.
DEMOGRAPHY IS DESTINY

The wildly disparate sums reveal a pronounced demographic shift affecting some judicial campaigns.

Last year’s biggest judicial fundraiser in the greater metropolitan region was not found in Manhattan or Brooklyn. The top money magnet was Justice Francis A. Nicolai, a former Westchester County Court Judge who is now Administrative Judge for the Ninth District.

Nicolai raised a whopping $161,000 for a seemingly doomed candidacy. During the course of his tumultuous campaign, the judge ran with only the Democratic endorsement — unsuccessfully taking his fight for minor party endorsements to court. Click here for the Judicial Reports coverage.

Historically, candidates have depended on small party endorsements to bring crucial extra votes in close races.

And unlike many jurisdictions dominated by one of the major parties, greater competition in both the Ninth and Tenth Judicial Districts means that every last vote counts.

In the Ninth, candidates seek votes across a vast swath that includes Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, and Westchester Counties. Judges in the Tenth must cover both Suffolk and Nassau counties.

While the Democratic Party has maintained a powerful hold over New York City, suburban voter registrations have begun tilting more Democratic in recent years.

In the Ninth, the Democrats went from some 445,000 registered voters in 2002 to more than 490,000 in 2007, while the Republicans went from slightly under 366,000 to slightly more than 367,000. The Independence Party gained 12,900 voters in that same period.

The Tenth shifted more dramatically since 2002. The Democratic Party went from just over 559,000 voters to just over 600,000 voters in 2007, and the Republicans lost roughly 31,000 voters from its total of approximately 705,000. The Independence Party gained 16,000 voters.

Click here to see a LexMetrics analysis of the shift.

Nicolai’s massive fundraising effort paid off in the Ninth. In the general election, he and two other Democrats beat the nearest Republican-endorsed contender, County Court Judge and Acting Supreme Court Justice Rory J. Bellantoni, by more than 5,000 votes. (In the contest, eight candidates vied for three seats.)

Bellantoni’s fundraising efforts weren’t quite as successful — he raised about $51,000 for his losing bid, ranking him seventh in the 2007 top fundraiser list. Justice Bellantoni has continued serving as an acting justice, and his County Court seat expires in 2013.


DEMOGRAPHICS IS ECONOMICS


Arnold Linhardt, a consultant from White Plains-based Strategic Services, has helped a few Democratic judges in recent years. He said that demographic shifts have changed the fundraising numbers.

“Has it got more expensive? I would say yes, at least on the Democratic side,” said Linhardt. “It was needed to get the message out, let people know who these candidates are. . . . On the flip side, I think Republicans are finding it harder to raise money.”

The consultant attributed the shift to a flight to the suburbs by New York City Democrats escaping high rents.

He also speculated that the shift signals the waning influence of the smaller parties. “Based on Frank Nicolai’s win, you might see candidates saying, ‘I don’t want to be held up by minor parties’, ” he concluded.


If so, it was an unintended consequence. Nicolai fought hard to overturn the small party endorsement processes after he failed to gain their support, but his ultimate victory might indicate that he needn’t have bothered.

The Board of Elections general election figures didn't illustrate that conclusion just yet.

In 2003 (a comparable ‘off-year’ without major Presidential or Legislative races to bring voters to the polls), the Independence Party delivered more than 11,000 votes countywide to cross-endorsed candidates who won the judicial race. In the 2007 race, by contrast, that party delivered 13,000 votes to Judge Bellantoni — their cross-endorsed candidate.

Frank MacKay, the national chairman of the Independence Party of America, strongly disagreed that the minor party vote was fading. “[The 2007 election] was the exception, not the rule by any means,” he explained in an interview, drawing on his previous experience as chairman of the Suffolk County Independence Party.

“Certainly in every close race in Suffolk and Nassau a so-called minor party can claim the margin of victory,” he added. “There’s nothing minor about the effect they have on judicial elections. For the most part, no one is winning these elections without the help from the Independence, Conservative, or Working Family Parties.”

TOUGH TIMES IN THE TENTH


The second biggest fundraiser of the year came from the Tenth, but his efforts didn’t pay the same dividend as Judge Nicolai’s.

Robert W. Schmidt, a Republican Associate Justice in the Appellate Division, Second Department, raised more than $110,000 for his hotly contested Supreme Court race. But he ended up losing in a Democratic sweep — with his closest opponent beating him by more than 26,000 votes.

Anthony Manetta has been a political consultant in Suffolk and Nassau Counties since 2001. He founded Roosevelt Strategy group, and has worked on a number of judicial races on Long Island.

He said candidates face an entirely new financial reality.

“If you’re going to run for Supreme Court countywide [in the Tenth], you need to come in with at the minimum $75,000,” he said. “I would recommend $125,000. The price tag has evolved. Over time things get more expensive — the costs of television ads have increased dramatically.”

He also noted that judges like Schmidt might have to dip into their own pockets next time.

“More and more what you’re seeing, especially with judicial candidates, is that many have to turn to investing in their own campaigns. You didn’t used to see that at all,” he concluded.

NEW YORK CITY IS DIFFERENT


Eight of the top 10 fundraisers of 2007 came from the Ninth and Tenth, a dynamic that has been reflected since the State Board of Elections began archiving campaign finance reports in 1999. Democratic Party dominance typically makes such dollar-dialing unnecessary in the five boroughs, and the U.S. Supreme Court’s rejection of electoral reformers’ case in Lopez Torres vs. NYS Board of Elections means that won’t change anytime soon.

The top fundraiser from the five boroughs was Robert J. Miller. The judge raised $35,000 in his bid to secure the Democratic nomination and general election for Supreme Court.

Miller secured the coveted Democratic nomination, and a cross-endorsement from the Republican and Conservative Parties. This made him the only candidate cross-endorsed by all three parties in that race where five candidates vied for three spots.

Along with the two other candidates with the Democratic endorsement, Miller’s win was virtually assured. He beat his nearest Conservative Party opponent (who lacked the Democratic and Republican endorsements) by more than 60,000 votes.

Most dramatically, only nine Supreme Court candidates from New York City even made the list of the state’s top fundraisers. The remaining spots were all secured by suburban judges forced to raise bigger pots for their elections.

Indeed, the first candidate from the five boroughs to crack the post-1999 list comes in at number 35 — Acting Supreme Court Justice Judith Gische, who raised $70,000 in multiple bids for the Supreme Court. (Most recently, she lost a judicial convention bid in 2007.)

HIGHEST JUDICIAL FUNDRAISER EVER


The prize of biggest judicial candidate fundraiser since 1999 goes to Republican Janet DiFiore, who raised more than $300,000 for her 2002 Supreme Court bid in the Ninth. She came in first place out of four winners in that race with a cross-endorsement from the Independence and Conservative Parties.

That 2002 election victory was the pinnacle of Republican power in the Ninth. Among all five counties, she collected 216,600 Republican votes that year. In contrast, no Republican won last year in that same district.

DiFiore resigned her judicial post in 2005, choosing to run for Westchester District Attorney on the Republican ticket. She narrowly won that race against the Democratic candidate, earning a nail-biting 51 percent of the vote.

Perhaps in a nod to the tectonic shift of voter demographics, DiFiore announced last year that she was changing parties to become a Democrat.

Consultant Linhardt thought that these fundraising aftershocks would lessen in a few years, particularly in the wake of Lopez Torres.

“If the U.S. Supreme Court had upheld the lower court, then you would have seen a spike in expenditures,” he said. “Since the system remains the way it is, I think we will see a leveling out in two or three years.”

The second-highest fundraiser was not so lucky. Justice Thomas A. Adams, an incumbent Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department, raised more than $278,600 for his 2006 reelection bid.

The Republican judge had received coveted cross-endorsements from the Independence and Conservative Parties, but he still lost the four-way race — losing to his closest Democratic opponent by more than 20,000 votes.

As a consultant, Manetta is frank with his clients about this hostile environment for incumbents. “The universe is so large, it’s a very expensive campaign to run. They are more competitive than ever before,” he said. “Ten years ago, all a candidate needed was the Republican line. Now the Democratic line is very competitive.”

Henry Stern wrote:
FEDERAL JUDGE GLEESON UPSETS SYSTEM OF JUDICIAL CONVENTIONS THROUGH WHICH PARTY BOSSES MADE SUPREME COURT NOMINATIONS WITHOUT PRIMARY ELECTIONS.

CAREFULLY CONTROLLED CONVENTIONS ARE ALLEGED TO HAVE RESULTED IN THE SALE OF JUDGESHIPS TO SOME WHO MAY HAVE TAKEN BRIBES TO RECOUP THE COST OF BUYING ROBES.


The most important political event in New York in 2006 was a decision handed down last Friday by Federal Judge John Gleeson of the Eastern District of New York, which ruled unconstitutional the judicial conventions through which party bosses have chosen State Supreme Court Justices for a century.

In a thoroughly documented decision, which you can link to here, Judge Gleeson ruled that the convention system, in which judges are hand-picked by delegates chosen for that purpose, usually officers of local political clubs, deprives the public of its legal right to participate in the selection of judges. Under current rules, all judges in New York State EXCEPT Supreme Court Justices are either appointed by elected officials or chosen in open primary elections.

The convention system for Supremes has resulted in the evils of judges buying their judicial offices from county bosses. The grateful beneficiaries of these nominations are sometimes expected to assume obligations to the men who put them there, which may influence their decisions in cases directly involving the leader or his clients, or in cases where litigants have appealed to the county leader to intervene, in the style of The Godfather, who assisted his people in the settlement of disputes. Judges have also tried to recover the money they paid for their robes by extorting sums from litigants that appear before them, in the manner of 19th-century police captains in the Tenderloin and similar districts. This was the case of Judge Victor Barron.

The reality of the current judicial nominating process is that the delegates 'elected' by the voters, sometimes a dozen or so for each assembly district (plus another dozen alternates), are in fact persons unknown to the great majority of voters, who ritually approve the nominees of the county political organization. If the election is not publicly contested, the names of the nominees do not even appear on the ballot. The judicial candidates of the Democratic Party, in boroughs where that nomination is tantamount to election, are in fact chosen by party bosses, sometimes in exchange for substantial sums of money, theoretically intended for campaign expenses, but often finding their way into the political leader's pockets, or to favored business firms for minimal and totally unnecessary goods and services. The businesses (pollsters, printers and publicists) launder the boodle before paying off those in power who had sent the judicial candidates to them to be fleeced.
FOR STUDENTS OF GOVERNMENT, THE HISTORY OF INDIRECT ELECTIONS IN THE UNITED STATES

Historically, the practice of indirect election was not confined to Supreme Court Justices. BTW, in New York State the "Supreme Court" is in fact a trial court. There are two levels of the judiciary above it, the Appellate Division, where the judges are selected by the governor from among supreme court judges, and the Court of Appeals, which is the pinnacle of the state judiciary. The Court of Appeals was for many years, directly elected by the people, but abuses in campaign funding and a high degree of partisanship caused the method to be changed about twenty years ago. Now the judges are appointed by the governor from a list presented to him by judicial screening panels, which solicit nominations and then screen candidates. This process has to some extent minimized the role of politics and money in judicial selection.

The President of the United States himself is elected indirectly, with the Electoral College making the final decision. Over time, the electors have lost their discretion, and now simply mirror the votes of their states (except for the rare 'faithless elector'). Nonetheless, a President can be elected who has received fewer popular votes than his rival: Hayes v. Tilden in 1876, said to be the stolen election, Benjamin Harrison over Cleveland in 1888, and Bush over Gore in 2000.

United States Senators were elected by State Legislators until April 8, 1913, when the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified by the 36th state, Connecticut, Louisiana took until June 11, 1914 to become the superfluous 37th state (out of 48). Left-leaning Massachusetts was the first to ratify (on May 22, 1912, just nine days after it was proposed by Congress). New York State was fourth, acting on January 15, 1913. Senators have now been popularly elected for 92 years, still less than half the time since the founding of the Republic.
THE BACKGROUND: HOW THIS CASE CAME TO BE BROUGHT

Ironically, it was the actions of ex-Assemblyman and Brooklyn Democratic leader Clarence Norman, until his felony conviction in fall 2005, and Assemblyman Vito Lopez, his successor, that began the chain of circumstances that led to this decision. When Margarita Lopez-Torres was elected to a county-wide Civil Court in Brooklyn in 1993 on the recommendation of Vito Lopez, she rejected every job applicant sent to her by the county organization, including Mr. Lopez' daughter who sought employment as a law secretary. The payback for this defiance was the county's refusal to designate her for re-election when her term expired in 2003. She ran anyway, winning re-nomination in a sharply contested Democratic primary. The next year, she sought the county designation for Supreme Court Justice, which was decided by a judicial convention, not a primary. Predictably, the county organization turned her down although she was among the longest serving judges on the civil court.

In the spring of 2005 the position of Surrogate suddenly became vacant when Justice Michael Feinberg was removed for corruption by the Court of Appeals, upholding the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Conduct. You can find details of l'affaire Feinberg on our website; just google his name. The vacancy thus created came in time to be filled by a primary. Three candidates competed, and Judge Torres won by an extremely narrow margin, some 200 votes.

At this time, the powers that be in Brooklyn, fearing the loss of the lucrative judgeship, which has the power to appoint receivers and grant other judicial patronage, communed with Governor Pataki and they agreed to create a second position of Surrogate Judge in Kings County, plus a Supreme Court seat in Queens for its strong leader, Tom Manton. In exchange for this courtesy, a number of upstate judgeships were created for Republicans and some Court of Claims positions for Governor Pataki to appoint. The timing of the legislation was exquisite, the new judgeship came into existence too late to file for the primary, but in time for the general election, so the new Kings County surrogate would be chosen by Democratic party bosses, without the need for a primary election.

Assemblyman Frank Seddio was chosen as the new surrogate, after Assemblyman Joseph Lentol declined the county leader's offer of the nomination. Note that both candidates were members of the State Assembly, where the support of Speaker Sheldon Silver had been essential to creating the new positions. There was something for everyone, except the voters.

This matter is by no means settled. An appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is inevitable, and beyond that the losing party may seek review in the Supreme Court of the United States, a far cry from the Supreme Court of the State of New York, the trial court which is the subject of the controversy.
THE DECISION GIVES HOPE FOR FURTHER JUDICIAL REFORM, MONEY-DOMINATED PRIMARIES AREN'T THAT GOOD EITHER, PARTICULARLY WHEN SITTING JUSTICES SEEK RE-ELECTION.

Judge Gleeson's decision is in the finest tradition of responsible judicial activism. He found an undemocratic situation in which the people were left powerless to elect judges. The concentration of power in one man or a tiny group spawned other evils. Just as it is dictatorships that start wars rather than democracies, it is political dictators who plunder and twist the mechanisms of justice to serve their own ends. And for every crime in the courts that is exposed and punished, think of how many wrongs are done of which we are unaware. Bribery is a crime of consent and collusion, and it is rare for a victim of extortion to make a complaint.

The underlying principle here is that if a system is too unfair and unbalanced, giving power to one at the expense of everyone else, the courts will intervene. There is wide latitude allowed in methods of election and districting. Even the DeLay design for Texas, adding seven Republican seats and breaking up Democratic districts, passed judicial muster. But Judge Anthony Kennedy did warn, on that occasion, that it was possible for some district lines to be so odious and unfair that they would not meet the test of constitutionality. Where the line will be drawn depends on who draws it.

The State Legislature now has the opportunity to reform the system to comply with Constitutional requirements of access and fairness. Our prediction is that they will be unable to do so, they can't even agree on buying voting machines. The matter will inevitably return to the courts. There is a particular problem here with judges seeking re-election. If we want them out of politics, we cannot require them to raise substantial sums for advertising in order to remain on the bench.

If there is an appeal to the Supreme Court, we hope that the two new Justices, John G. Roberts and Samuel A. Alito, will have genuinely open minds when they consider these matters. This is not an economic issue, nor an abortion or gay rights case. The issue here is what level of unfairness must be reached to raise a Constitutional issue. We believe that deprivation of the right to vote is eminently unfair. The public has a fundamental right to elect judges, or to delegate that right to an elected official whom they have elected.

Beset by murdered children and transit strikes, it is comforting to reflect that something has happened which, if followed up, will lead to a more honest judiciary, which is required if justice is to be done for all people, rich or poor, wired to the political machines, or independent of them.

One cannot write about this case without thanking the Brennan Center for Justice, which brought the lawsuit. While we do not necessarily agree with every case they bring (even fighters for justice may have issues of judgment), this case was in the best tradition of the quest for honesty, decency and fairness. We know Justice Brennan would be proud.

Henry Stern
Chairman,
Liberal Party of New York

The Undemocratic Vote-For-Our-Candidate-or-Else Machine in New York Just Keeps Rolling Along

For more information about the Judicial Convention, efforts to change it and a record of judicial corruption over the past 5 years, go to Jeff Feldman is Back Helping Pick Brooklyn Supreme Court Judges

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Brooklyn Dem Convention




Brooklyn Slight Favorite for Dem ConventionB

Even Pennsylvania politician former Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell think New York has the edge.
* Brooklyn—a long with backing of deep-pocketed New Yorkers—should be a “slight favorite” to land the 2016 Democratic National Convention, former party chief Ed Rendell said, the Post writes:

Big Push for Brooklyn Dem Convention 

Wednesday
SPOTTED at Gracie Mansion last night for the DNCNYC BBQ, hosted by Mayor Blasio: Alan Patricof, David Kovner, Robert Zimmerman, Cynthia Nixon, Stuart Appelbaum, Ruben Diaz Jr., Karen Keogh, Suri Kasirer, Fred Dixon and Kathy Hochul. Along with frankfurters, fried chicken and corn muffin were cupcakes that said “NYC.”
-- MAYOR’S DNC PITCH: RIDE OUR TRAINS -- Capital’s Gloria Pazmino: “De Blasio touted the city’s ‘vast’ public transportation offerings as yet another reason why the 2016 Democratic convention should be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. ‘We just had a lovely 25-minute subway ride from Rockefeller Center,’ … he said at a press conference in the Barclays Plaza on the second day of a tour with party officials. ‘[We] had great conversations along the way, about everything that New York City is … able to do to win this convention and make sure it’s a great convention for the Democratic Party.’” http://bit.ly/1oJ188T
--QUOTE OF DAY: “We learned a lot from the mistakes of 2004.” -- Bill de Blasio, on hosting political conventions. http://goo.gl/Zee2vd
--“De Blasio: Democratic National Convention in Brooklyn will mean 'a lot of money flowing',” by Newsday’s Emily Ngo: “The disruption to everyday commuters and residents during the summer of 2016 would be ‘limited and brief,’ … de Blasio said … The event would bring more than 30,000 attendees to the city, many of whom would stay in Manhattan hotels and travel to Brooklyn's Barclays Center … via traffic lanes, shuttles and ferries dedicated to the convention … de Blasio said the presidential nominating convention would likely take place in July or August, when more residents are on vacation, and the major events would likely occur over four nights.” http://nwsdy.li/1sU15bf


NYC giving swag bags, iPads, personalized Nets jerseys to DNC site-selection comm membrs
efore Mayor Bill de Blasio began his bid to win the 2016 convention he made sure he had the Clintons’ blessing, three people familiar with the discussions said. * PULLING OUT THE STOPS: Mayor de Blasio dishing out gifts, gala to convince DNC committee to choose Brooklyn for 2016 convention(NYDN) * Courting a National Political Convention(WSJ) Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to host a two-day fete for Democratic National Committee officials starting Monday, in a bid to convince the party that New York has the transportation infrastructure to pull off its 2016 national convention.*Bill de Blasio has a lot to gain should Brooklyn win the 2016 Democratic National Convention (NYDN) Hosting the political extravaganza would be a priceless opportunity for the freshman mayor to star on the nation's political stage. Monday Update IT'S LIKE SHOVING NEW YORK DOWN EVERYBODY'S THROATS': Big Apple emerges as one of the top contenders to host 2016 Democratic National Convention, but many think it should go to swing state(NYDN) * Can  break Philly's "early edge" for #2016 DNC convention? He's pitching home boro Brooklyn this week.  * One of five cities bidding for the Democratic National Convention, Philadelphia appears to hold  an early edge with a track record of hosting the major gathering — not to mention that both Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden have family ties to the state.*
$100 MILLION IN COMMITMENTS -- “NYC’s all-star convention roster,” by Maggie Haberman: The city “has put together a sweeping list of more than [70] people — ranging from Napster founder Sean Parker to Goldman Sachs Chairman Lloyd Blankfein to designer Diane von Furstenberg to union leaders — committed to raising the money to host the Democratic National Convention in Brooklyn in 2016. … [O]ne of the most surprising names is Parker — who has made moves to become a political force this cycle and who has ties to Deputy Mayor Peter Ragone.
“There are entertainment industry figures, like actress Cynthia Nixon, hiphop producer Russell Simmons and HBO chief Richard Plepler. There are donors with long ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton, like Alan Patricof and Ron Perelman, but also those now known primarily from the Barack Obama orbit, like financiers Robert Wolf, Mark Gallogly, Blair Effron and public-relations executive Michael Kempner. There are other Wall Street titans, like JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon and American Express’s Kenneth Chenault, real estate leaders like Douglas Durst and Marc Holliday, and business figures like Partnership for a Greater New York City president Kathy Wylde.
There are union leaders like Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union President Stuart Appelbaum and 32BJ SEIU President Hector Figueroa. There are communications executives like Verizon senior vice president Leecia Eve and AT&T executive Marissa Shorenstein. The goal of the list is to demonstrate a broad cross-section of people committed to the event, as well as an ability to fully fund a convention.” http://politi.co/XW4tHf-- De Blasio’s goal: The mayor’s effort to lure the 2016 Democratic convention helps him fulfill one of his top long-term objectives: showing the USA what progressive government looks like. From business (a jolt to the economy) to transportation (shuttling conventioneers) to security (managing protests and party crashers), the convention could instantly validate de Blasio’s administration as a progressive operation that can get things done, while keeping progressive values. The Republicans’ selection of Cleveland could be a helpful foil in at least one way. De Blasio aide Rebecca Katz tweeted: “I cannot believe the Cleveland Indians still have their logo. In 2014.” http://goo.gl/RtqGLO *


ew York City’s effort to bring the Democratic National Convention to the Barclays Center in 2016 — a bid that could help elevate Mayor Bill de Blasio’s national profile while infusing the party with a dash ofBrooklyn Cool — reached the pep rally stage on Monday, as convention officials were welcomed for a two-day tour. 

-- “City events to pitch Brooklyn to DNC,” by Gloria Pazmino: “The week will begin with a media availability at Barclays Center, where the convention’s main events would be held. The Democratic National Committee’s technical advisory group will be met by Senator Charles Schumer, city first lady Chirlane McCray and a stack of Brooklyn Nets jerseys with their names printed on them, according to an A.P. report. … The mayor will not attend the event at Barclays Center, but on Monday evening he will attend a Democratic National Convention dinner with the site selection committee at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The event is invitation-only and closed to the press.” http://bit.ly/1kVRYWG --ATTENDING the 11:45 a.m. media avail at Barclays Center, per a Mayor’s Office release: “Schumer … Alicia Glen, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development … Bill Bratton … Polly Trottenberg, DOT Commissioner … Fred Dixon, President & CEO, NYC&Co. … Melissa Mark-Viverito … Laurie A. Cumbo, City Council Member … Eric Adams, Brooklyn Borough President … Bruce Ratner, Executive Chairman, Forest City Ratner Companies and Developer and Majority Owner of Barclays Center … Amy Dacey, DNC CEO.”Tuesday Update Traffic nightmare feared if DNC comes to Brooklyn in 2016(NYP) * 'TOLERANT, FERTILE AND EXHILARATING': New York politicians shower Brooklyn with praise in push to bring 2016 Democratic National Convention to Barclays Center(NYDN) * New York City Courts Democratic National Committee(NYDN) *Councilwoman Inez Barron, who represents East New York, isn’t supporting de Blasio’s push for Brooklyn to host the convention because there’s no evidence it will help the low-income residents in her district. The convention could bring a “traffic nightmare” to the Big Apple.

City Council BOE Takeover


A City Council BOE Takeover? 

Four people vying to become the newest Board of Elections commissioner—Lenore Kramer, Louise Dankberg, Leonard Kohen and Alan Schulkin—will line up to be grilled by the City Council in a series of private interviews tomorrow, the Daily News reports: http://goo.gl/geqDih
Campaign Consutants Lobbyists Who Run the Council Take Over the BOE - Ballot Knock Offs of Candidates Who Don't Hire Them? 

Back Continuing The Tammany Hall Future 

Board of Elections President Greg Soumas quits ahead of possible ouster in City Council power play(NYDN) Ahead of his possible ouster by the City Council, Board of Elections President Gregory Soumas quit in a terse Friday note."By this letter, I resign my position as commissioner of the Board of Elections of the city of New York effective immediately," the Manhattan Democrat wrote to Board Secretary Michael Michel.Soumas, an attorney and former district leader, was first appointed to the 10-member bipartisan Board in 2005. As first reported in the Daily News Monday, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito was poised to potentially ignore Manhattan Democratic Chairman Keith Wright's hopes of keeping Soumas on. But because Wright missed a legal deadline to tell the Council he wanted to reappoint Soumas, the Council seized control of the appointment process. By replacing Soumas with a candidate of her own, Mark-Viverito could intensify her influence over the Board and its host of patronage jobs.


But Soumas's resignation could potentially throw the speaker's plan off track. As news of his bow-out spread Friday, there were conflicting arguments about whether the appointment power still rested with Mark-Viverito and the Council, or whether it would reset the clock for Wright to make another pick.Frederic Umane, the Manhattan Republican commissioner, said the Council would pick a replacement for Soumas -- but said the timing of his departure, right during petition season, was tough and that it would be hard to find a new commissioner "as talented and knowlegeabe as Commissioner Soumas.* Councilwoman funds expansion of museum she founded  via @capitalnewyork

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Secret Government


Lobbyists the New Kings of NY Have Free Rein on Runny Government  


They move government without having to disclose their activities. Call them clever, call them stealthy.Like Ms. Cunningham, Mr. Rosen is not a registered lobbyist. Yet he regularly meets with government officials. The mayor's schedule from his first five months in office shows Mr. Rosen was in at least nine meetings and on two calls.BerlinRosen understands how issues play out in the public sphere, its clients say.


 Bob Master, a political director of the Communications Workers of America District 1, a BerlinRosen client, said the firm's value for his union is its public-relations prowess. "They know how things are going to play in the media, or how to find the leverage points in a particular situation," Mr. Master said. "It has nothing to do with lobbying."




The Privatization of the Tammany Hall Machine  
The Old Tammany Hall Machine was corrupt as corrupt as the lobbyists who have run today's New York's political system.  But the machine of the Boss Tweed era was far more responsive to voters and the communities that it served.  Terry Golway recent book explained how Tammany Hall depended on voter turnout for power.  To get votes the old machine offered services, provided jobs and protected the neighborhood where their votes came from. Tammany Hall governing style was responsible for creating New York's strong Neighborhoods of old. Tammany leader George Washington Plunkitt — the man who coined the phrase “honest graft” — met with constituents and lesser Tammany officials in his district several times a week to find out who was happy with Tammany’s services and who required some special attention. Today's lobbyist's controlled private machine gain power by getting electing candidates and feeding them with campaign contributions from their clients who are looking for city contracts or zoning changes, they never meet the voters.

The Privatization of the Tammany Hall Machine




Dark Money For A Dark Money Fund
The Creation of A Secret Govt to Rule NYC
School bus firms try to hide $40K in donations to mayoral nonprofit(NYP) School bus operators who need Mayor de Blasio’s help to retain lucrative city contracts contributed nearly $40,000 to a mayoral nonprofit — but took steps to hide the donations from public view, a Post review found. The school bus owners were among a number of special-interest groups that helped de Blasio’s Campaign for One New York raise $1.7 million in the first six months of 2014. But, unlike the yellow-cab firms and the teachers union, the bus owners tried to mask their involvement. Careful Bus Co. — which has $90 million in contracts set to expire in 2015 — gave nearly $10,000 through a number of LLC’s, including 88th Street Self Storage Inc. and First Investors Equipment Leasing Corp. Another donation is listed solely as coming from Richard Caparella, who is the brother-in-law of Careful Bus co-owner Marty Hoffman.

Doug Biviano


You Have to Give Errol Louis and NY1 Credit for Journalist Principals 
In Defense of Louis and NY1
The Thrilla in Manilla (Brooklyn) NY1 debate last night was not a love fest between the host and the anti-lobbyists candidate Doug Biviano, but at least the station and host saw it as their journalists obligation to put the controversial candidate on news program. And that was not hard for the station that gives lobbyists and consultants free air time on a news program to help their clients and get new ones.  While the buzz last night was all about how the host threaten to cut the mike and end the debate with the very first question to assembly candidate Doug Biviano.  * Liu’s campaign sent a complaint to the state Board of Elections claiming the IDC Initiative violated state spending limits by sending thousands of glossy mailings to voters in recent days urging them to support state Sen. Tony Avella in September, the Daily News reports: http://goo.gl/RmiW4N

NY1's Inside City Hall let the real information that came out that effect the  voters of the 52AD and the rest of the city was the unchecked role of illegal PAC and campaign loop holes that seem to drive every campaign run by the WFP. Data and Field in 2009 and NYCLASS PAC in the mayor's race. Until that debate community groups have not held one debate and the local media has not covered the race.  A news desert in the most educated district in Brooklyn about who will lead them in the Assembly.  A district that does not want its LICH Hospital to close or it Library or to allow building in the Brooklyn Bridge Park. Until the NY1 debate the 52AD had to rely on fake campaign mailing done by the same lobbyists who tried to fool them on their ER protection. The rest of the media and even the community leaders have block the voters of the Biviano district from leading the truth of the take over of their community by a new Tammany Hall made up of lobbyists and the special interests they work for.  This new machine unlike the old does not server the people but uses the voters to make money by pushing developments against their interests.*  NY1 and Their Corrupt Lobbyists Wise Guys

WFP Has Tuned Campaign Funding Into Anything Goes and Fake Campaign Mailings into An Art
NY1 allowed Biviano to changed WFP candidate Peter Sikora with Illegally coordinating the mayor's One NY PAC money with his campaign money. The PAC mailing told the community that the emergency room being built by the developer of luxury housing on the site of the closed LICH Hospital with meeting the communities health care needs. Doctors and community leaders have said the mailing are a total lie.  While NY1 allowed those charges to be aired over 100 other journalist in the city have opened Biviano's press releases with contained the illegal PAC charges and said nothing. Lobbyists Berlin Rosen Takes Over NYC Government


While NY1 Put Anti-Lobbyists Biviano On the Rest of Main Stream Media Has Remained Silent
The 100 Shameful NYC Journalists
We are left with candidate Sikora answer of the illegal coordination if the One NY PAC and his campaign are wild charges that are not true. Sikora his WFP backer know that nobody will stop or report about their illegal funding during the campaign.  The 100 Silent Journalist prove them true.  It was the CFB that fined the two council candidates months after the campaign. that used the Advance Group as their campaign manage and received funding from the PAC controlled by Advance NYCLASS. The CFB does not regulate state races. Besides the media not acting on Illegal PAC money in local races the DAs and AG have not said a word either.  

 The Changing Economic Has Forced the News Media to Abandoned Its Constitutional Role on Informing the Voters to Addicted to Lobbyists and Special Interests to Keep Publishing
Berlin Rosen who represents the mayor's PAC with sent out the misleading ER mailing and is Sikora's campaign manager also is a consultant to the AG, the Brooklyn District Attorney, Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio. Berlin Rosen also represents many of the developers like Two Trees that place ads in newspapers. Today was the first time the Brooklyn Daily Eagle who broke the dark money LICH mailing  wrote about the Biviano campaign


The Only Ones Who Believe Dadey Is A Good Government Reformer Are the Journalists Who Cover His Bull Shit
A special award for silence has to go to Good Government fake Citizens Union Dick Dadey who lives in the 52AD for saying nothing about the illegal funding.*  The Privatization of the Tammany Hall Machine 



NYT, NYP and Daily News Silent On Local Impact of Citizens United on the City's Public Financing System

NYT's + Media's Blind Side The NYT has written several times on the national impact of Citizens United but never on the impact of that  special interests big money supreme court decision on the 2013 NYC election. The press is focused on  a preacher and 4-year-olds, while not reporting on how our city government was mugged by special interests Citizen United PACs and the lobbyists political consultants who do their bidding in the last election. Have these PACs made NYC government worse (if that is possible)? Have these PACs and lobbyist consultants committed crimes? stay tuned. The Line at the ‘Super PAC’ Trough(NYT) An unlimited source of cash is now a requirement for contested congressional races * Change the Rules on Secret Money(NYT Ed) * Liberal Donors Pollute Politics, Too(NYT Ed) *Campaign finance reformers take a hard line(TU) Campaign Reform and Media Cover Up of Citizens United On Local 2013 Election


NYP Takes Another Shot A Liu for the Parkside Group While It Sits On A Story of Illegal Funding By Berlin Rosen and the Mayor PAC 


Three Weeks Ago NYP Interviewed Candidate Biviano About the Illegal PAC Spending In His Race . . . NYP Joins the Cover-Up of Cover-Up of Members' Dark Money LICH Hospital Closing Mailing

State Senate candidate Liu in fund-raising high jinks(NYP) Scandal-scarred state Senate hopeful John Liu will take money from just about anyone. The former city comptroller and failed mayoral candidate, who faces a bruising Democratic primary battle Tuesday against Queens incumbent Tony Avella, has raked in $706,190 — but some of it is from shady sources. He accepted a donation from a group linked to Chinese organized crime, campaign filings show. And a nonprofit, the Fukien Benevolent Association, held a prohibited fund-raiser for Liu in June that raked in a reported $15,000. Liu’s campaign also received donations from two other tax-exempt groups, which are not allowed to make political contributions.


A Citizen Who Runs Against Developers, Lobbyists, and Political Bosses Finds Himself Removed By the New King of NYC 

Doug Biviano a candidate for assembly in Brooklyn's 52nd who is running on a platform against developers, lobbyists and political bosses finds himself according the the media as the man who never existed.  Both the Daily Newand the NY Times did not list name in their endorsement.  NY1 tried to keep him out of their debate After Being Dissed by Errol Louis, Biviano Wins First Fight;Forces Invite to NY 1 52nd AD Debate (Brooklyn Heights Blog) Both the NY Post and Daily News interview Biviano in which he described to them his charges against lobbyist Berlin Rosen used illegal PAC money controlled by the mayor in the race to turn around the negatives of their candidate in the race over the closing of LICH Hospital. Cover-Up of Members' Dark Money LICH Mailing  Biviano forced silence by the media is a lot like the way King George treated the New York Colonest who talk about against the king who were removed from their homes and placed on British ships in the New York harbor.

The Media Has Become the Guard Dogs of the Real Estate Establishment
Biviano's message is the following: I am sickened how voters have lost control over the governing decisions in their own community that are closing LICH hospital, tearing down our library for luxury housing and Building Condos in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Control of our neighborhoods has been taken over by a Private Tammany Hall made up of lobbyists-campaign consultants and special interests who are not interested in serving the public but instead make money by tearing down our vital  institutions that save our lives, educate us and give us enjoyment. Even the nurses who worked the hardest to keep LICH Hospital open were doubled crossed by its own union who endorsed de Blasio's candidate in the race. The union is represented by Berlin Rosen. More About Berlin Rosen * Lobbyists Berlin Rosen Takes Over NYC Government

STEALING AN ELECTION 1982, 2014

32 years after Sydney Schanberg wrote in the Times about the Brooklyn Democratic Party's failed attempt to steal a congressional election it has become much easier to do. The attempt in 1982 was against the late Congressman Major Owens a man who entire career was to fight racism, economically unfair system and education equality.  Owens was reformer who battled the political power brokers, always opposing the machine controlled Brooklyn Democratic Party as much as he fought against the GOP in congress.  In 1982 Major Owens' opponent team created fraud at the Board of Election after he lost the primary by over 3000 votes.  They were creating fraud by forging signatures on the old voter-registration cards they were supposedly checking. Today's election stealing has more to do with big money, illegal PAC mailers and the break down of an objective press.  

Where a Brooklyn hack judge accepted Owens' opponent Vander L. Beatty teams forging and ordered a new election the NY Times and the Village Voice wrote about the fraud the machine judge was trying to pull off.  Today there is no real Village Voice and the NY Times and Daily News did not even list the name of a candidate Doug Biviano who like Congressman Owens is running against the against the system. Over 100 reporters read Biviano's charges that the mayor's PAC illegally mailed into the 52AD to help his opponent Sikora.  Not one of the reporters wrote anything about the Biviano charges or about the role Sikora's campaign mangers Berlin Rosen and the PAC spokesman Berlin Rosen played in a mailing that according to doctors misled the same community that Silora is running in about the level of protection the developers of luxury would provide in the ER they were building to replace the hospital. 

The Press Does Not Challenge A Reformer

Accepting the Support of A Political Boss
Sikora answer to Biviano's ER inadequacy charges were that they were wild accusations.  Not one report took him on.  In fact Nick Powell from City and State cut Biviano off when he was trying to ask Sikora if he thought the doctors who said the developers ER was inadequate.  The NYP and Daily News interviewed Biviano and never wrote a word. When word of Beatty's challenge to Owens got around before the internet, dozens of people from all over the city joined the effort the fight back the hack challenge to Owens.  Today interest groups like Save LICH Hospital, Defending the Libraries and groups opposing the building in the park or Atlantic Yards did nothing to inform their members about the interconnections between Berlin Rosen and the closing of LICH hospital and Forest City Ratner and Berlin Rosen in the closing of library that the Biviano campaign were pointing out to the voters.  Owens work his whole life to educate the voter about the corrupt political system.  Today's reformer and interest groups care more more about being connected to elected officials then educating the voters to help reform the system and more importantly who stands behind them.  How else could you explain the Brooklyn machines is supporting the same candidate as those that call themselves reformers. Jo Anne Simon supporter Brooklyn Boss Frank Seddio Law Partner Carone  represented Carl McCall and SUNY in the closing of LICH Hospital.  Yet Simon says in her campaign mailers that she is fighting to save the hospital.  Seddio made money on a deal that convicted state senator Carl Kruger was sent to jail for after taking bribes from a developer. Now Simon got his  partner involved in the negotiaton to stop the building in Brooklyn Bridge Park - Like putting the fox in the hen house  The Democratic County Organization, Norman Rosen, and the Politics of the 1989 D.A. Race * Al Sharpton’s Past Ties to Vote Fraud Taint His Fulminating *This Brave Congressman Taught Me How to Break News * Jim Sleeper: Treat, or Trick? Elections Officials, Beware!

 (This story will be Updated and expanded This Weekend)




Louis Does Some Repair Work to His Image After Biviano No DebateGate



Gov, democracy is not a game (NYDN)
Cuomo's debate ducking does a disservice to the public
You Have to Give Errol Louis and NY1 Credit for Journalist Principals 
In Defense of Louis and NY1
The Thrilla in Manilla (Brooklyn) NY1 debate last night was not a love fest between the host and the anti-lobbyists candidate Doug Biviano, but at least the station and host saw it as their journalists obligation to put the controversial candidate on news program. And that was not hard for the station that gives lobbyists and consultants free air time on a news program to help their clients and get new ones.  While the buzz last night was all about how the host threaten to cut the mike and end the debate with the very first question to assembly candidate Doug Biviano.  * Liu’s campaign sent a complaint to the state Board of Elections claiming the IDC Initiative violated state spending limits by sending thousands of glossy mailings to voters in recent days urging them to support state Sen. Tony Avella in September, the Daily News reports: http://goo.gl/RmiW4N

NY1's Inside City Hall let the real information that came out that effect the  voters of the 52AD and the rest of the city was the unchecked role of illegal PAC and campaign loop holes that seem to drive every campaign run by the WFP. Data and Field in 2009 and NYCLASS PAC in the mayor's race. Until that debate community groups have not held one debate and the local media has not covered the race.  A news desert in the most educated district in Brooklyn about who will lead them in the Assembly.  A district that does not want its LICH Hospital to close or it Library or to allow building in the Brooklyn Bridge Park. Until the NY1 debate the 52AD had to rely on fake campaign mailing done by the same lobbyists who tried to fool them on their ER protection. The rest of the media and even the community leaders have block the voters of the Biviano district from leading the truth of the take over of their community by a new Tammany Hall made up of lobbyists and the special interests they work for.  This new machine unlike the old does not server the people but uses the voters to make money by pushing developments against their interests.*  NY1 and Their Corrupt Lobbyists Wise Guys

WFP Has Tuned Campaign Funding Into Anything Goes and Fake Campaign Mailings into An Art
NY1 allowed Biviano to changed WFP candidate Peter Sikora with Illegally coordinating the mayor's One NY PAC money with his campaign money. The PAC mailing told the community that the emergency room being built by the developer of luxury housing on the site of the closed LICH Hospital with meeting the communities health care needs. Doctors and community leaders have said the mailing are a total lie.  While NY1 allowed those charges to be aired over 100 other journalist in the city have opened Biviano's press releases with contained the illegal PAC charges and said nothing. Lobbyists Berlin Rosen Takes Over NYC Government


While NY1 Put Anti-Lobbyists Biviano On the Rest of Main Stream Media Has Remained Silent
The 100 Shameful NYC Journalists
We are left with candidate Sikora answer of the illegal coordination if the One NY PAC and his campaign are wild charges that are not true. Sikora his WFP backer know that nobody will stop or report about their illegal funding during the campaign.  The 100 Silent Journalist prove them true.  It was the CFB that fined the two council candidates months after the campaign. that used the Advance Group as their campaign manage and received funding from the PAC controlled by Advance NYCLASS. The CFB does not regulate state races. Besides the media not acting on Illegal PAC money in local races the DAs and AG have not said a word either.  





A Dark Money PAC Mail Berlin Rosen  Media Cover-Up

Daily News Leaves Out the Fact That Candidate Biviano Charged That the WFP Used the Mayor's One New York PAC Illegally to Help Sikora in the 52AD
A review of state campaign filings shows the Working Families Party has disclosed nothing about what it’s spending on Peter Sikora, an economist running against Jo Anne Simon, a lawyer, in the Democratic primary. The WFP’s Peter Sikora, an economist, and Jo Anne Simon, an attorney, are tangling in the September Democratic primary for the slot being vacated by Joan Millman. A review of state campaign filings shows the party has disclosed nothing about what it’s spent on Sikora.* Democratic candidates spar on NY1 in Brooklyn Assembly district debate. (NY1)

A Candidate for the 52AD Not Mentioned in the Daily News Article Doug Biviano, Charged That the WFP Candidate and His Consultant Berlin Rosen Was Using Illegal PAC Money 3 Weeks Ago
Berlin Rosen who works for Sikora and the PAC One NY which he use to send out to the voters of the district what the Brooklyn Eagle called a dark money mailing, claiming the closed LICH hospital developer would build an emergency room that would meet the community’s health care needs.  Doctors and community leader have called that claim an outright lie. 



Biviano chaged that Sikora and his campaign consultant Berlin Rosen are coverinMitzi Carroll walking with Doug Biviano at LICHg-up the promise that he, the mayor and other local elected officials made during the 2013 campaign to keep LICH a full service hospital. In 2013, Sikora worked with his and de Blasio’s campaign consultant Jonathan Rosen (of Berlin Rosen) to gain votes by having the mayor arrested as part of a protest demand to keep LICH a full service hospital. Many of the voters in the 52AD resent Sikora because of his connection to the de Blasio arrest. The dark money PAC mailing in July was intended to repair both the mayor's and Sikora's image in the assembly district.  Both the Daily News and the Brooklyn Heights Blog reported that Sikora was arrested with the mayor. As former mayoral candidate Sal Albanese put it, team de Blasio used the shut hospital as an election prop in the mayoral campaign.



How Campaign Are Controlled and Elect People Who Don't Represent the  People in the District

A Case Study In the Dysfunctional Campaign System That the Main Stream Media Never Covers. But A Blogger Has 
 "Everyone understands that our campaign system is dysfunctional and that big special interests drive it, but everyone expects the media to be the equalizer, exposing the truth when it comes to campaign flyers full of lies and fake promises intended to get candidates elected.  My campaign against the special interests and broken campaign system is not well funded.  When NY1 blocked me from appearing they were cutting off one of the few chances I have to communicate with the voters of my district.  And NY1 is not the only member of the media not covering me.  Both the Brooklyn Paper and Brooklyn Daily Eagle have not done a story about me or the campaign.  The media's role is to inform voters about the real intentions of candidates.  Apparently the media does not see themselves in the role John Peter Zenger, Thomas Pain and Thomas Jefferson saw, as educators of the public." decried Biviano.


Hero's Died Giving Us the Rights to Control Our Government . . . Those Rights Are Being Taken Away By Lobbyists and Special Interests That Have Taken Over Our Election System

Biviano at the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument in Fort Green Park Where 12,000 Courageous American Who Spoke Out Against the King are Buried 

When you have over 60% of the voters not know who the AG is, not know what the Moreland commission is, an the loss of Speaker Quinn after she was endorsed by all three paper shows that the people of New York are not enlightened.  Election and no long a contest of what is best for the community but who has the most money to send out mailers prepared by spin doctors who know how to fool the voters with mailers and TV Ads.  These spin doctors are mostly lobbyists making up a new  private Tammany Hall that functions very different from the old political boss led Tammany Hall.  The old Tammany gain voters and power by delivering services and protecting the poor.  The new private Tammany spends money to hire spin doctors to elect candidates to gain power to make money from government, often hurting the same voters who elected their puppet candidates, by closing their libraries and hospitals. The lobbyists new private Tammany Hall is really a system that legalized and replaced bribery.



de Blasio Slush Fund 1NY Update . . .  Where the $$ Comes From . . . BHA Debunks Letter About Saving the Hospital and NYT Spins More Crap to Protect Mayor





Does the NYT Think Than An Emergency Room That Does Not Even Treat Heart Attacks is A de Blasio Achievement?

Installation cost the city plenty, but there’s no monitoring




When residents of several public housing complexes learned three years ago that new closed circuit cameras would be installed in their lobbies and elevators, they were optimistic that safety in their buildings would greatly improve.
Three years later, however, residents of one complex say that the New York City Housing Authority has so badly mismanaged the project that they feel no safer now than they did before the cameras were installed.

Moore Houses on East 149th St. near St. Mary’s Park was one of five local complexes that received the cameras, electronic keys and mechanical door locks as part of an initiative to take a bite out of crime, thanks to a $3.2 million allocation from City Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo in 2011.
But residents contend that NYCHA has never assigned anyone to watch a bank of monitors that the cameras’  images are transmitted to, on the ground floor of one of Moore’s four residential buildings. When they have complained to housing officials that the expensive cameras are going to waste, they say the agency has told them it lacks the manpower to oversee the project.
Residents have urged NYCHA to allow tenants themselves to oversee the monitors, but housing officials have declined.
- See more at: http://www.motthavenherald.com/2014/07/08/safety-cameras-bust-say-nycha-tenants/#sthash.5zfURTPW.dpuf
Safety cameras are a bust, say NYCHA tenants

"To judge from its expenditures, One New York’s purpose seems to be less to push for Mr. de Blasio’s proposals than to make sure that he gets credit for his