Friday, April 18, 2014

NYC Minor Party Racket

New York's Third Party Racket
3rd Parties Benefit Insiders who control them, elected officials
Party favors(NYP)   New York’s near-unique system, which allows cross-endorsements.  The history of third-party candidates in America, of course, suggests they triumph rarely and in highly exceptional circumstances. Then again, they are not primarily about winning. Primarily they are about pushing Democrats or Republicans in a certain direction — or punishing them when they have strayed too far from principles important to a significant number of their supporters.  In New York, a third party that runs its own candidate takes a risk. That’s because a party must draw 50,000 votes in the gubernatorial race to keep its automatic line. The less well-known a third-party candidate, the less likely he or she will meet that threshold — and enable the party to keep its coveted line on the ballot. Which is why New York’s minor parties have largely devolved from movements of principle into often-corrupt ­patronage mills. Reviving the Liberal line, which has been off the ballot since 2002, would be convenient for Cuomo. But it serves no pressing need and offers no alternative. It’s a reminder that when politicians can get more than one line on a ballot, they are the ones who benefit, not the voter.* Former New York Liberal Party head Ray Harding charged with taking kickbacks in pension fund scheme (NYDN)

The left-leaning, union-backed Working Families Party, which let itself be shanghaied four years ago into backing Andrew Cuomo for governor, is now signaling it may run a candidate against him. Meanwhile, John Catsimatidis, the supermarket mogul who lost last year’s GOP mayoral primary to Joe Lhota, is offering to bankroll a revival of the long-dead Liberal Party — and give Gov. Cuomo the Liberal line on the state ballot. As our readers know, The Post has little common ground with the WFP, which acts as another political arm for the unions. But in seeking to to run its own candidate against an incumbent Democratic governor, the WFP is doing exactly what a third party should be doing: offering an alternative. That’s in sharp contrast to the Catsimatis effort over at the Liberal Party, which far from giving voters more choice only gives the Democratic incumbent an extra line on the ballot.
More on GOP Bottom Feeders And Corruption
More on WFP, Acorn 2.0 and the New Progressive Machine 
More on Independence Party Is Really A Cult 
Conservative Party Permanent Leader Long 

Thursday, April 17, 2014


New York ranks 33rd in the nation for the percentage of women holding state Legislature seats at 21 percent. The national average is 24 percent.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Brain-Washing TV Ads

Cuomo's Brain-Washing Economic TV Ads

Cuomo is spending $140 million on TV ads whitewashing Albany, but he better buy more paint. After Monday’s arrest of former state Senate Majority Leader Sen. John Sampson, it’s clear that the sepulcher needs a second coat. Sampson, who allegedly made off with more than a half-million dollars while — ominously — promising to “take out” witnesses in his case, is the fourth former majority leader to fall afoul of the law since 2006: Joe Bruno of Rensselaer County and Malcolm Smith of Queens face corruption charges, while Pedro Espada of The Bronx was convicted last year. All in all, the past seven years have seen 32 New York officeholders indicted, convicted, censured or otherwise obliged to slink shamefully from office. Astonishingly, they include the two men who topped the Democratic state-wide ballot in 2006: ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer and former state Comptroller, current ex-con Alan Hevesi.* Economic-development agencies run by local governments doled out $1.5 billion in tax breaks to 4,486 projects in 2011, an increase of 16 percent in net exemptions since 2010, according to the state comptroller’s office.

Unions and Labor

 UFT Fights Back Hires New Progressive Machine for $2.5 Million
The United Federation of Teachers and New York State United Teachers unions gave a collective $2.5 million to education groups that have attacked Cuomo’s support for charter schools and opposition to tax hikes, the Post writes: The rebranded ACORN — New York Communities for Change — received a total of $1.3 million from the United Federation of Teachers and New York State United Teachers from 2010 to 2013. The unions also pumped $1.2 million into a group called Alliance for Quality Education. Both issued statements accusing the governor of “pay-to-play politics” for backing charter schools because of campaign contributions he received from charter-supporting “Wall Street billionaires.” They also supported tax hikes on the rich opposed by Cuomo. Cuomo blamed the attacks on “a big bureaucracy with a system that is entrenched.”* DN Education Tax Credits * The Daily News writes that the education tax credit being proposed by Cardinal Timothy Dolan—among others—is a promising way to boost charitable giving to public and private schools: * Leaders rush on Common Core adjustments, not teacher evaluations(Capital)

The UFT Advance Connection * UFT under fire for apparently trying to hide identity of consulting firm(NYDN)The city’s powerful teachers union is under fire from good-government groups for apparently trying to hide the identity of a consulting firm it was using to boost union-backed candidates.  "The listing of the phony firm, 'Strategic Consultants, Inc.,' in campaign filings, obscured that Advance Group was being paid both to promote candidates for the United Federation of Teachers' independent political action committee, and working as the main campaign consultant for several of those same candidates."Teachers union paid $370K to fake consultant
More on the WFP, Acorn 2.0 and the New Progressive Machine 
More on the Advance Group 

How Do You Give the UFT A 9 Year Contract?

When the Mayor Says Parents Want to Shake Unacceptable Status Quo of Our Public Schools?   

: "People in traditional schools, charter schools want to shake foundation of unacceptable status quo"
"The notion that children are "lucky enough to escape" district schools "speaks volumes," BdB says"
De Blasio Pushing for Unusual, 9-Year Contract With Teachers’ Union(NYT) The de Blasio administration, seeking to be generous to its allies in labor without jeopardizing New York City’s finances, is pushing for what would be the longest-ever contract with the teachers’ union: a nine-year deal that would let the city stretch out potentially huge retroactive pay increases.* De Blasio's Labor Team(City and State) * De Blasio eyes record 9-year deal with (NYP) teachers union * De Blasio Pushes a 9-Year Contract for Teachers(NYT) * De Blasio Proposes Nine-Year Contract for City Teachers(NY1) * Teacher back-pay math is tough, even on a nine-year timeline(Capital) Goodwin NYP On Proposed Contract "News flash: With City Hall and the teachers union negotiating a new contract, union boss Michael Mulgrew asked for the sun and the moon, then promised, “We’re not trying to bankrupt the city.” Whew — glad he cleared that up." More On Education and the new Chancellor, Charter Schools

Hotel Union Test How Much Power They Have Under de Blasio and New Council

Hotel Development Union Check Proposed
The Hotel Trades Council is pushing for stricter public review of new hotel development—which could help it gain members—setting up a test pitting de Blasio’s promises to developers against his relationship with labor, the Journal writes: * Bill would force hotel developers to submit plans to community(NYP)

Is the Council Giving Departing UPK Manager and Union ManagerA Gift?

UPKNYC Campaign Manager Returning to Union Gig(NYO) Josh Gold, who’d taken a leave of absence from the powerful Hotel Trades Council to manage the campaign, is in the process of transitioning back to his former job. Josh Gold, a de Blasio campaign aide who ran the mayor’s efforts to get universal prekindergarten, is returning to his old role at the Hotel Trades Council, a sign the lobbying push is over

* The Coalition for a Real Minimum Wage Increase accused Cuomo of stalling on setting up a board to mandate a wage increase for food servers, the Daily News reports:
* De Blasio on Thursday reiterated his promise to hire local workers for the city’s troubled Build it Back program, at the release a report detailing his new plan to rebuild homes destroyed by Sandy, Gotham Gazette reports:
* Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino in a video blasted Cuomo over a state Department of Labor report showing a 0.1 percent increase in unemployment, State of Politics reports:

Albany and the DREAM Act

Dream Act Supporters Blast Grisanti Ad

Tuition Aid to Illegal Immigrants Defeat Blame Game Connected to Control of State Senate
The state Dream Act, which would have granted state tuition aid to undocumented immigrants, failed in the Senate after a 30-29 vote, leaving the legislation two votes shy of passage

State Senate Rejects Bill Granting Tuition Aid to Illegal Immigrants(NYT) The legislation would have allowed students without proper immigration status to receive financial aid through state programs, if they met certain conditions.* DREAM Act killed in New York state Senate(NYDN) * Senate Republicans, united, defeat DREAM Act(Capital) * Senate narrowly votes Dream Act down(NYP) * Undocumented Students Denied Tuition Aid in Vote(WSJ) * A day after the state Senate failed to pass the Dream Act, Sen. Jeff Klein of the IDC and Democratic Sen. Liz Kreuger lobbed blame at each other’s conferences for the failed vote, the Daily News reports: * Klein: A Dream Act Vote Is What Advocates Wanted(YNN) *Wednesday Update Some sponsors of the DREAM Act are looking for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to include the measure in the state budget after it failed to gain enough votes to pass in the state Senate After DREAM defeat, state senators look to Cuomo(NYDN) * Gonzalez: Gov. Cuomo still has a lot to prove on immigration(NYDN) * Blame Begins After Dream Act Fails(WSJ) * Gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino plans to attend the Somos spring conference in Albany despite calls from DREAM Act sponsors for him to be dis-invited after he came out against the legislation, the Daily News reports:  * It’s only a matter of time before the DREAM Act, which failed in the state Senate 30-29 Monday, is passed in New York, state Sen. Jose Peralta writes in the Daily News: * Senate Dems To Cuomo: Dream Act Will Pass If It’s In The Budget (YNN)  * State Senate Majority Coalition Leaders Dean Skelos and Jeff Klein say the DREAM Act is not being discussed as part of the budget days after it failed in the Senate by a close margin, the Daily News reports: *Dream Act Revived In Assembly Budget Negotiations(WSJ) * Cuomo And Dream Act Supporters Meet(YNN) * Mayor Touts Support for Municipal IDs, DREAM Act at Albany Conference(NY1) * De Blasio, Mark-Viverito Back N.Y. State Dream Act(WCBS) * DREAM Act Dominates Discussion at Somos el Futuro Conference * State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is calling for the DREAM Act to be included in the state budget following its failure to pass through the Senate last week,the Daily News reportsMark-Viverito hires immigration and labor specialist(Capital)  

What About CUNY SUNY Tuition Increases?
For SUNY and CUNY, Top Lawmakers Support Plan to Raise Tuition $300 a Year(2011, NYT) Set a fixed rate for tuition increases: $300 annually for the next five years.* * A Cuomo-proposed initiative to offer college courses to state prison inmates would expand on programs that have offered inmates better opportunities upon their release, the Journal News writes:

Corrupt Surrogate Court

2009 Report By Comptroller William Thompson
of the Kings County Public Administrator Office
We determined that during Fiscal Year 2008, KCPA had inadequate controls over its
estate management practices. Management had no written procedures or supervisory review
system and CompuTrust, its centralized computer record - keeping system, was neither secure nor
its data reliable.  Management does not maintain a reliable record log of all estates and

Corrupt Surrogate Court

Another Conviction from the Corrupt Surrogate Court

Stealing From the Dead Court
‘Sorry’ estate robber off to jail(NYP) A crooked Brooklyn bookkeeper convicted of stealing $2.6 million from the estates of people who died without wills expressed remorse Thursday for his crime before a judge sentenced him to 6 to 18 years in prison. A crooked Brooklyn bookkeeper convicted of stealing $2.6 million from the estates of people who died without wills expressed remorse Thursday for his crime before a judge sentenced him to six to 18 years in prison. Crooked bookkeeper Richard Paul * Manhattan DA Statement

More About Corruption in the Surrogate Court

supporting documentation under its administration, and therefore, does not know the total
number of estates it is responsible for. Consequently we cannot be assured that the estate
distributions that KCPA has made were appropriate. We also found that KCPA failed to: (1) report its activities to oversight organizations, as required; (2) adequately review its financial transactions; and (3) track inventory it held for estates. In addition, there were procurement deficiencies, including undocumented vendor selections, missing contracts and 1099s, and inadequate documentation of the December 5, 2007 KCPA real estate auction
2013 Report By Comptroller John Liu
of the Kings County Public Administrator Office 
KCPA failed to properly carry out its fiduciary responsibilities because it did not act in the best
interests of estates, carry out its duties prudently, and comply with statutory rules and
regulations. Specifically, KCPA did not implement internal controls for critical estate administration functions including asset identification, collection, safeguarding, and distribution;
estate accounting including the recording, documenting, and reporting of income and expenses
transactions; bank account administration; and estate management, monitoring, and tracking.
Additionally, KCPA failed to submit to the Surrogate‘s Court, State Attorney General, State and
City Comptroller‘s Office, and the Mayor the required financial and operational reports that
would allow them to effectively assess, monitor, and hold KCPA accountable for its
performance.  On other matters, KCPA‘s failure to establish proper internal controls to monitor and safeguard estate assets may have provided the opportunity for certain mishandling of estate activities and the recently reported misappropriation of funds. During the course of the audit, auditors became
aware of an issue involving the indictment of a KCPA bookkeeper for stealing more than $2.6
million from decedents‘ estates between August 2008 and November 2011. 

Audit Shows Brooklyn Public Administrators Doing Poor Job

The audit showed that assets in over half of the fifty estates that were examined had been mishandled.  And that’s only 50 of 3,300 estates the administrator’s office has been responsible for since June 2011.
Among the missteps, Liu claims the administrator’s office left $50,000 sitting in a safe deposit box for five years, failed to credit an estate after selling a home for $140,000, and misplaced a $1,000 fur coat.
Public Administrator Bruce Stein responded to Liu’s audit with an itemized refutation of its findings.


The audit showed that assets in over half of the fifty estates that were examined had been mishandled.  And that’s only 50 of 3,300 estates the administrator’s office has been responsible for since June 2011.

KCPA Bruce Stein adamantly defended his office. Liu found that assertion unsatisfactory, noting that the KCPA and not the OCA is “responsible for substantively reviewing and approving estate expenses — including legal counsel fees. Accordingly, KCPA should have ensured that such expenses were authorized and appropriate. “
Liu countered that the Stein “may have prevented rather than detected the reported misappropriation of funds” had he instituted internal controls.
The public administrator oversees the estates of people who die without wills, and if no relatives claim the funds, the assets are transferred to the city Department of Finance.
Paul, who oversaw the process as a clerk for the public administrator, manipulated the checks to enrich himself and his pals between 2008 and November 2011.

A crooked Brooklyn bookkeeper convicted of stealing $2.6 million from the estates of people who died without wills expressed remorse Thursday for his crime before a judge sentenced him to six to 18 years in prison.
 Corrupt Brooklyn courthouse bookkeeper stole $2.6 million ... New York Daily News, May 4, 2012

A former employee of a Brooklyn governmental office has been arrested and charged with illegally pocketing $13,268, some of it from a deceased person's safe-deposit box.
Arthur Orikher, who was employed at the Kings County Public Administrator's Office, could face up to seven years in prison, according to a statement issued by the city's Department of Investigation. The Public Administrator's Office administers the estates of individuals who die without wills or without families who can administer their estates.
Just three months after being hired to perform accounting duties at the office, Mr. Orikher began depositing counterfeit checks worth $9,969 into his personal account, the commissioner of the DOI, Rose Gill Hearn, said.
Then, on April 30, Mr. Orikher stole $3,300 that had been collected from a deceased client's safe-deposit box.
"The charged conduct obviously violates the fundamental obligations and standards of personal integrity required of any public servant, to say nothing of one paid by the City to conserve the money and valuables of the deceased," Ms. Hearn said in the statement.

Two convicted in Brooklyn public administrator embezzlement case

Between 1997 and 2001, according to Newfield, the law firm of Queens Democratic Party leader Tom Manton received more than $400,000 in court patronage.
In the 1930s, Mayor Fiorello La Guardia called Surrogate's Court "the most expensive undertaking establishment in the world."

Surrogate's Court And Why It Should Go | Open Government

Last week, Brooklyn Surrogate's Court Judge Michael Feinberg was removed from the bench because he committed misconduct by improperly awarding nearly $9 million in fees to attorney Louis R. Rosenthal, his long-time friend. The fees in question were taken from the estates of Brooklyn's dead, their widows and orphans. 2005


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

ACORN, NY Communities for Change

de Blasio and Communities for Change Joined At the Hip
New York Communities for Change has withdrawn an anti-charter school lawsuit, helping keep the group aligned with de Blasio’s position on charters 
Monday Update* Former ACORN group quits lawsuit against charter schools(NYP) Forced to choose between politics and its purported principles, the rebranded organization formerly known as ACORN has come down on the side of politics, critics charged Sunday.  But now that he’s been forced, as mayor, to make a nearly 180-degree change in his position, the group showed it’s still in his corner by withdrawing from an anti-charter lawsuit. “It’s hypocritical. It shows they’re not about the kids,” fumed Mona Davids, head of the NYC Parents Union and a plaintiff in the suit along with Public Advocate Letitia James, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and some 70 parents and advocates. “NYCC is more interested in playing inside politics than fighting for the best interests of children. They’re for the unions and special interests. They’ve become de Blasio surrogates. That’s why they pulled out of the lawsuit,” Davids claimed.

AQE, NY Communities For Change Target Avella - NY State o

NYCC, Reincarnated Acorn, Rises in de Blasio's New York(NYO)


Acorn 2.0, Inc (NY Communities for Change)

New Tammany Hall GOTV Field 2013
NYCC, Reincarnated Acorn, Rises in de Blasio’s New York(NYO)One of the country’s best known community organizing groups, it crumbled rapidly four years ago, after right-wing activists, posing as a pimp and prostitute, secretly filmed Acorn workers providing them tax advice. But it turns out that Acorn’s exile was only temporary. The very same agitators are now whispering into the open ear of the new mayor, under the name New York Communities for Change. NYCC, which is battling to raise the wages of low-income workers and eventually unionize them, increase affordable housing and beat back the charter school movement, is also entwined with the influential Working Families Party. n the early stages of the mayor’s race.* Housing Activists Rally At City Hall(NYDN) The "Real Affordability For All" launch includes leading progressive groups like Make the Road New York and New York Communities for Change, and is billing itself as the "largest affordable housing campaign in the city." The Black Institute was also paid $23,000 for polling last October by then-state Sen. Eric Adams' campaign for Brooklyn borough president. Mr. Adams faced token opposition for the seat and won handily.
Were the PACS, NYCC and WFP Working Together in the Primary in Violation of the CFB Spending Caps?
NYCC launched a valuable vote-pulling operation in minority neighborhoods where a gawky white candidate like Mr. de Blasio, even with a black wife, might not have held supreme appeal. A 501(c)(4) nonprofit that can participate in political activities without revealing its donors, NYCC has proven most potent in predominantly black areas in central Brooklyn and southeast Queens, where voter turnout is heavily Democratic and deceptively high.  Where the WFP begins and NYCC ends can be difficult to discern. The two organizations are headquartered in the same Nevins Street building, one floor apart. Jonathan Westin, the successor to Mr. Kest at NYCC, who died in 2012, sits on the WFP’s executive board. And their political aims, from unionizing fast food and car wash workers to combating the power of the real estate and banking industries, are all but identical.
The New Machine, Progressives, WFP, NYCC, Lobbyist (Advance, Pitta Bishop Del Giorno, Berlin Rosen)
Machine Coup D'etat
“It seems to me these folks are like the worker ants of the Working Families Party,” said one right-leaning nonprofit executive. “They’re kind of a nonprofit community front for the party.” Lending its ballot line, organized labor troops and dogged get-out-the-vote operation, many credit the WFP will helping to spearheaded the victories of the public advocate, comptroller, council speaker and various council members last year. NYCC’s own greatest coup of 2013 may have been helping crown the speaker of the City Council, ensuring that the group would have its phone calls returned by the two most powerful elected officials in the city. NYCC played a crucial, behind-the-scenes role. Rallying around her speakership candidacy early on, NYCC dedicated a top staffer. After her victory, Ms. Mark-Viverito would hire Ms. Adams as a senior adviser. Meanwhile, Ms. Lewis hasn’t disappeared from the scene entirely. While she has no official role with NYCC, she still uses the pronoun “we” when discussing the organization and remains one of Mayor de Blasio’s closet confidantes. * The New York City Council Finance Committee “lavished praise” on de Blasio’s budget proposal at a hearing, which reflects the “progressive” values the mayor and many Council members share, Crain’s writes:  * Crain's analyzes Lewis's support for opponents of waste transfer station after period of neutrality(AYO) In  Mayor's ally being paid to fight him, Crain's New York Business reports on the curious situation in which Bertha Lewis, head of the Black Institute and longtime friend/supporter of Mayor Bill de Blasio, is opposing mayoral efforts--which began under Mike Bloomberg and which de Blasio supports--to build a waste transfer station on the Upper East Side.* Mayor's ally being paid to fight him (CrainsNY) Instead of opposing the heavily favored Mr. de Blasio in the general election, however, Pledge 2 Protect hired the Advance Group, a Manhattan-based Democratic consulting firm that had just run a $1 million campaign to sink de Blasio rival Christine Quinn. Pledge 2 Protect also hired Ms. Lewis, who shares an office with the Advance Group and whose nonprofit is a client of it.