Sunday, May 29, 2011

Goo Goos: Reforms Have Their Press Conferences . . . And Nothing Happens, Redistricting 578

Partisan Campaign Reform
Unions and Progressives Go After LLC Which Fund Their Opponents Campaigns
A liberal activist group is debuting a new website meant to let the public track campaign contributions made by limited liability companies. The group, call Hedge Clippers, has identified nearly $134 million in contributions made by L.L.C.s to state-level political committees since 1999. The group’s website now contains a fully searchable database that allows users to browse or download the donations candidates have received from these companies. Union-backed group launches L.L.C.-tracking site (Capital) The Hedge Clippers group is backed by the Strong Economy for All Coalition, which is supported by unions such as the New York State United Teachers, 1199 SEIU, and the Communications Workers of America. Several of these unions are also major political donors.
Goo Goos Say the Reforms Are Half Assed

Promising promises (NYP ED) * Eighty-four percent of New Yorkers say elected officials should disclose the source and amount of income from outside jobs and investments, and 64 percent say spouses and live-in partners should too, aQuinnipiac University poll finds: * The Times Union writes that state Senate Republicans should put forth a fuller ethics reform package that includes ending the LLC loophole and not risk being seen as obstructing smart reforms:  The Times Union compiles a summary of the various ethics reform packages proposed in Albany by the governor and Heastie, Senate Republicans, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and good government groups * The Post writes that it likes the ethics reform package presented by Cuomo and Heastie, which doesn’t include “bad ideas” such as limiting or banning legislators’ ability to earn outside income: * Newsday writes that the state Senate Republican majority “disturbingly” balked at the ethics package’s disclosure requirements for legislators earning outside income and that it prefers business as usual: * “Come clean, Dean,” The Daily News urges after writing the state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos “huffed and puffed and complained” that the proposal would not require disclosure of Cuomo’s live-in girlfriend * Editorial: Skelos can't hide from Cuomo's ethics cleanup (NYDN Ed) strong enforcement of the ethics reforms isn't there, but needs to be.* Capital Playbook: Cuomo book recaps DiNapoli spat Capital) * Albanyethics deal covers use of campaign funds -- but not for legal fees 
There is A Reason the Goo Goo Does Not Demand That Berlin Rosen Register As A Lobbyists
Berlin Rosen Works for the Good Government Brennan Center
Berlin Rosen Works for the.Good Government Brennan Center 

The Loop-Hole Reforms That the Brennan Center is Calling For Would Help Berlin Rosen Clients
Does Berlin Rosen Lobby for the Brennan Center?
Brennan Center Urges BOE To Close LLC Loophole(YNN) The Brennan Center this week in a letter to the state Board of Elections urged commissioners to take action themselves on the so-called “LLC loophole.” The provision in the state’s campaign finance regulations allows individual donors to contribute unlimited amounts of money as long as they are funneled through limited liability corporations. Ending the practice — which Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s campaign used to its advantage in last year’s campaign — has been a perennial call from the state’s good government groups with title success. The loophole has been traced back to a 1996 ruling from the Board of Elections that the Brennan Center says can be reversed.

Call For Community Board Term Limits 

New Term LimitsLegislation Headed to City Council, for Community Boards(Gotham Gazette) On Wednesday Council Members Danny Dromm and Ben Kallos will introduce legislation to impose a six-term limit for members of Community Boards, capping tenure at 12 years. Currently, community board members can serve as many two-year terms as they wish, so long as they continue to be approved by their respective borough president.

Ballot Propositions Pass
Redistricting Yes 57%
Legislative Bill Yes 77%
School Bond Yes 61%
* All three statewide ballot propositions passed Tuesday—voters approving a measure to create a new panel to draw district lines for legislative seats every 10 years, $2 billion borrowed for school tech upgrades and a measure that would no longer require legislative bills to be printed on paper, Gannett Albany reports: 
* Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday he voted against Prop 1—a controversial redistricting ballot proposal—joining a chorus of Democrats who opposed the measure and bucking the governor, who quietly supported it, the Observer reports: 
Last 4 public polls in Cuomo/Astorino showed 23-pt margin. Final margin was 13pts. Not only a big polling miss but hurtful with $$ and GOTV.

Corrupt Goo Goo Citizens Union 
Interesting Citizens Union endorses @SenMartyGolden after news breaks of feds investigating his campaign expenditures

NYT Says Vote Down Redistricting Amendment 
NEW YORK Proposal One is a constitutional amendment to revise the state’s redistricting procedure. This is a phony reform that purports to establish a new system of drawing legislative districts. Legislative leaders would appoint a committee charged with drawing new districts. If the legislators don’t like the first two tries, they can draw the districts themselves. The net result would be to reinforce, not reform, a system that virtually guarantees job security for incumbents and discourages competition. State Senator Liz Krueger, a Democrat from Manhattan, is correct when she calls it “a sneaky attempt to maintain power.” Vote no on Proposal One.The TimesUnion editorial board proposes its recommendations for the ballot proposals up for a vote on Election Day: * A Citizens Union report found 38 percent of the incumbents in the state Legislature, or 74 of the 191 running for re-election, are unopposed—up from 28 percent two years ago, Gannett Albany reports: 

Judge Dumps BOE Redistricting Language

The proposed redistricting commission is not “independent.”

Judge Tosses ‘Independet’ Redistricting Language(YNN) A state Supreme Court judge on Wednesday struck down proposed language for the upcoming redistricting amendment before voters in November, saying in a ruling that the measure is inaccurately described as “independent.” In the ruling, Judge Patrick McGrath found the language was misleading since the proposed commission “cannot be described as ‘independent’ when eight out of the ten members are the handpicked appointees of the legislative leaders and the two additional members are essentially political appointees by proxy.”New York State Judge Rejects Wordin Redistricting Ballot Question (NYT)      A new commission’s plan to redraw legislative district lines would be “little more than a recommendation to the legislature,” a State Supreme Court justice wrote.* After last week’s Democratic primary Zephyr Teachout, who appears determined to keep her finger in New York politics, issued a statement urging voters to reject the constitutional amendment that will change the redistricting process, State of Politics reports: 

Dadey's Citizens Union Sells Out Agains

Reformers to clash over redistricting amendment(CrainsNY)In an unusual split, New York's four major good-government groups are set to do battle with one another at the ballot box this November. Last week, Common Cause New York and NYPIRG announced they were launching a campaign against a constitutional amendment that would alter the state's once-a-decade redistricting process. New York's two other major good-government groups, Citizens Union and the League of Women Voters, are joining the fray—on the other side. The League of Women Voters also recently formed a campaign committee allowing it to spend in favor of the amendment. Citizens Union, which formed its own campaign committee earlier this year, is planning a fundraising effort to promote the amendment, according to Dick Dadey, the group's executive director.

Quinn and Dadey Announced Lobbying Reforms in 2008 to Cover Up the Council Slush Fund Scandal, That Were Never Passed
In 2008 Dick Dadey, executive director of the Citizens Union, joined Quinn to overhaul the lobbying rules and is now calling for all future Council appropriations to be monitored by an outside agency. “Given the speaker’s drive to create more transparency about the Council’s own budget and member items, it would have been appropriate to go public with this bad practice even if it did shine a bad light on the Council.”

Flashback: Council Redistricting Corruption Silence

Many of his fellow reformer felt that Citizens Union puppet general Dick Dadey sold out last year when he supported Albany's compromise to put off independent redistrict for 10 years.  But nothing can compare to Dadey and the rest of the goo goos, editorial boards and reformers silence on the corruption going on with the city council redistricting operation.  For starters the appointed council redistricting commission is controlled by two people supporting Quinn for mayor in 2013.  The council speaker herself and her puppet master the mayor.  Although the redistricting commission work has just begun there are already reports that county bosses Crowley and Lopez, ethic and minority leaders are already dealing with Quinn operatives to cut districts favorable to them or those they support in exchange for their endorsement for Quinn's 2013 mayoral bid.

* NYPIRG released a report criticizing the state Board of Elections’ “hasty decision” to suspend aggregate campaign contribution limits in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision nixing such limits, State of Politics reports:

* NYPIRG found that in the first six months of 2014, 176 political fundraising events were held “in Albany or for leadership,” over twice the number of days in the Senate and Assembly legislative sessions, the Daily News reports:
Favors Between Political Consultants Are Not Required to Reported on the State BOE or CFB Reporting Forms
8. Daily News - "The firm admitted its work for City Action Coalition PAC was problematic. “We did a favor for a political operative that we have a longstanding relationship with by sending his mailer to a printer,” an Advance Group spokeswoman said.

Weak NY's Good Government Groups Enable  Albany Mob Corruption, Inc

Goo Goos are Great About Getting in the Media But  Have Not Forced Any Strong Reform for or Stopped Corruption in Decades.  Does Anyone Believe the Senate and Assembly Will Agree to A State BOE Watchdog?  That Office Will Remain Vacant an So Will the Promise Reform to the State Board of Elections. Most of the Goo Goos are nice people who are just ineffective and clueless others are shills for the corrupt pols.  How could any anyone call themselves a good government leader and listen to these ass holes in Albany promise campaign reform by 2020.  And redistricting reform by 2022 an not be shamed?*Soros Son Taking Credit for What? Soros’ son pushed Cuomo, legislature into campaign funding(NYP)

 Much About Public Financing Reforms in Albany, Results in Nothing
“Let me be that I am, seek not to alter me.”

Wednesday Update

Planned Failure
Classic Albany *Reform* Exercise: Create a public financing system for the comptroller that the comptroller won't use  Comptroller to Opt Out of Public Financing System(NYT)
Thomas P. DiNapoli, New York State’s comptroller, says the system just enacted is a badly written, sloppy piece of legislation that was obviously rushed into effect. Thomas P. DiNapoli, the state comptroller, is the first to admit that what he plans to do is hypocritical. But it is true.  By adhering to the system, Mr. DiNapoli would have to forgo more than 70 percent of the roughly $2.1 million in contributions he’s raised.

DiNapoli Who Push For Public Financing Will Not Participate in the Test Program
After decades spent calling for the public financing of political campaigns, Mr. DiNapoli, a Democrat, says he will opt out of a public financing system that New York lawmakers have just enacted, in time for this fall’s elections. Then again, Mr. DiNapoli says the new system is a badly written, sloppy piece of legislation that was obviously rushed into effect — “a Frankenstein monster,” he calls it — and he fears that it may actually have been designed to fail, by lawmakers who either do not really believe in, or do not understand, public campaign financing at all.*Election reformers push Cuomo on public campaign financing(NYP) Activists say Cuomo’s failure to deliver what advocates deem to be a stronger statewide public campaign financing system means the Working Families Party will likely endorse someone else in the November election, the Post’s Fred Dicker*Updates  DiNapoli: I Won’t Be A ‘Sacrificial Lamb’ For Public Financing(YNN) * What’s the point of that DiNapoli-specific reform plan?(Capital) * Cuomo Admin ‘Suprised’ DiNapoli Opting Out Of Public Financing(YNN) * Cox Suggests Public Financing Program Is Political Payback(YNN) * Silver Hopes For ‘A More Realistic’ Public Financing Program(NYP)

NYPIRG's Horner Great At Chasing Headlines, Not Reform

Goo Goos Its A Job 
With the feds apparently taking a closer look at the travel expenses claimed by state lawmakers, one government reformer says it’s time to rein in the system. “The system cries out for an overhaul,” said Blair Horner of the New York Public Interest Research Group. Lawmakers receive a flat $172 for hotel and food for each day they are in Albany. But they do not have to provide backup material to prove they were there in order to get reimbursed. “There’s enough examples that exist that shows the honor system is not good enough,” Horner said.

The Sad State of Good Government
Cuomo Unveils Wilson-Pakula Repeal, Electoral Reform (YNN) Cuomo released his second program Gov. Andrew bill in as many days with a measure designed to repeal the Wilson-Pakula Law of 1947, a new oversight counsel at the Board of Elections and an expedited process for registering in a political party. Cuomo’s Wilson-Pakula repeal is in direct response to the arrest of Democratic Sen. Malcolm Smith on charges that he sought to bribe his way onto the New York City mayoral ballot on the Republican line through the waiver process. Though he’s seeking an end to Wilson-Pakula, Cuomo is not abolishing fusion voting.
Goo Goos: Reforms Have Their Press Conferences . . .  And Nothing Happens

The Goo Goos have not done analysis on the effects of citizens united on 2013 NYC elections - Cover-Up

Elected Officials, Reformer, Goo Goos Groups Silent On Party Reform
It has been 50 years since anyone has tried to reform New York's Democratic Party. In the mid 60's Robert Kennedy who defeated the democratic machine to become senator set his sights on cleaning up the state's Democratic Party. Kennedy tried to clean up Manhattan’s Surrogate Court, which to this day remains a Piggy bank for party patronage.  Kennedy called the Court "a political toll booth exacting tribute from widows and orphans." He took aim at cronyism in Albany and fought to strengthen home rule of New York City. He also proposed nonpartisan redistricting, a move aimed at eliminating one of the main tools party leaders use to keep their incumbents in office for decades. Fiercely battled by a faction of the Democratic machine, Kennedy’s attempts reform the city's political  parties died with his 1968 assassination.  So called reformer and good government groups have never taken up his cause.

NYP Has It Right to Reform One Program Without Changing the Thugs Who Run Politics In NY is Worthless

Att ''goo-goos'': How campaign ‘reform’ invites corruption
How campaign ‘reform’ invites corruption(NYP) Rapfogel, it appears, quickly figured out he could get even more bang for his illicit bucks if he took advantage of the city’s matching-funds program. So, as the criminal complaint notes, Rapfogel arranged for checks to be donated in multiple smaller amounts rather than one large individual donation. By giving, say, four $150 checks instead of a single $600 check, the receiving candidate would collect $3,600 in public matching funds instead of $1,050. Now, Rapfogel isn’t the first pol to figure out the math and try to game the system accordingly. City Comptroller John Liu’s campaign used pretty much the same “straw donor” ruse in smaller donations to trigger expanded matching funds. Malcolm Smith who had no chance of winning on the GOP line he was paying for, was according to insiders after the $2 million in  matching funds he would have gotten to run  on that party line.* Sheldon Silver's chief of staff, Judy Rapfogel, attended meetings where money was given to husband’s nonprofit(NYDN)Judy Rapfogel represented Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver at meetings where legislators gave out millions of dollars to nonprofits, including the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty. Her husband William Rapfogel was the longtime head of the council before he was fired and subsequently charged with pocketing $1 million in a kickback scheme.

The Sad State of Good Government in 2013
Only the Mayor and CFB Try to Stop An Attempt by the Council and Quinn to Water Down NYC Public Funded Campaign Financed System and Transparency
Council Eases Finance Rules(WSJ)City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, facing accusations that legislation she championed opened a "gaping loophole" in New York City's campaign-finance system, backed off her proposal and oversaw the passage of a watered-down bill Wednesday that reduced the reporting requirements for unions, corporations and advocacy groups. Mayor Michael Bloomberg had denounced the original version of the bill as a "terrible idea," and his office confirmed that the mayor opposed the modified version and planned to veto it. The council is expected to override the mayor's veto.* Critics of State's Campaign Finance Laws Seek Philanthropists' Help(NYT)  * Advocates of overhauling New York’s campaign fund-raising laws met with 40 philanthropists in Manhattan today in an effort to enlist additional supporters as they ramp up their lobbying efforts.

Crapy Pol Controlled Redistricting Passes
State Senators voted to reconfigure the state redistricting panel, replacing the six-member commission with a ten-member one, and having the Republican and Democratic conferences in both chambers each appoint two members, the Times-Union writes * In what may be the last partisan floor debate over redistricting for the next decade, state senators voted to reconfigure the panel charged with the once-a-decade process.  Twenty Democrats voted “no” – including new Sen. George Latimer, who voted “yes” last year as an assemblyman.*
Jerry Goldfeder’s proposal to pay for publicly financed campaigns: Albany could set up a Democracy Trust Fund, to which individuals, corporations, nonprofits and unions would contribute.
Temporary President and Republican Coalition Leader Dean Skelos threw some more cold water on public campaign financing on Capital Tonight last night. “Again, I think that public financing is not the way to go,” he argued. “I think when you explain to people, ‘Do you really … want to be paying for campaigns in New York City, primaries and general elections?’ I think many of them would say no….I think it’s an abuse. I think it is abused. We’ve seen in New York City where people have raised thousands and thousands of dollars when they have no race whatsoever.”

Goo Goos Fold On Redistricting Again Without A Punch
Yesterday evening, the State Senate passed a bill to change the redistricting process in the State Constitution, a change likely to go before New York voters in the near future. If in effect, redistricting would be more bipartisan rather than more nonpartisan, disappointing many good government advocates. GOP State Senator John DeFrancisco, making an argument he’s made before, contended that it’s impossible to take politics out of the redistricting process, or, as he phrased it, “politics out of politics.”“The public is quite clear that it expects redistricting to be a fair and objective process in which electoral lines are adjusted to reflect demographic changes in the census,” Common Cause’s Susan Lerner countered. “Today, we are no closer to that ideal; if anything we have taken a step away from it. The proposed constitutional amendment sets up a hyper-partisan, expensive and ineffective structure for redistricting. This is a system designed to fail, the safeguard for which, is control of the maps defaulting to the Legislature. Ultimately, this is not an independent process and the voters lose.”

Goo Goo Groups Have Failed It Time for A Peoples Good Government Movement
Lets Form A Anti-Corruption Posse and Offer Rewards For Any Information Leading to the Conviction of An Elected Official or Any Government Worker Ripping Off the Government
City Comptroller John Liu launched a new website aimed at shining a light on city spending.
School Secretary Fined for No-Bid Purchases From Husband(WSJ) Elaine Baptiste, who has worked for the school system for 29 years, ordered $40,000 in supplies, the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board said in announcing settlement of the case.* Comptroller Launches Website That Sheds Light On City Spending(NY1)

NYT's Powell Picks Up On A Mayor LaGuardia Truthism
Times columnist Michael Powell pitched Mr. Lhota for first deputy mayor in rival Bill de Blasio‘s administration: “A New York mayor can be as progressive as he wants, but he better make sure the garbage is picked up, the streets are plowed, and that the subways run. And that the unions don’t strike.”* Evoking the spirits of Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia and Gallagher the Comedian, a small group of antigambling activists demolished a defunct slot machine outside the Capitol in the latest attempt to draw attention to the “No” campaign.


Goo Goos Help the Council Incumbents Run their Reelection Campaigns

City political campaigns could become members-only affairs(NY World) Good-government groups side with City Council in quest to curb Campaign Finance Board's reach 
The city’s Campaign Finance Board found itself outnumbered Wednesday when its executive director testified at a City Council hearing about legislation that would revise the board’s rules on campaign spending expenditures. The board opposes a bill that would allow organizations like companies and unions to advocate for or against a political candidate without disclosing their spending, as long as their communications were targeted at their members. Currently they must share details on spending as well as copies of the campaign materials, such as mailers.

Goo Goos Protect Council to Limit Campaign Contribution Disclousers As They Did When She Dumped Member Items Slush Fund Reform in 2008
Only in NY can good government groups give cover to the city council to elimate disclosure for mass mailings and other member communications of candidates who recieve public funding.  The Campaign Finance Board who is the good guy in this case says the current rules do not prohibit groups from comunicating with members which the council says it the reason for the bill. “It’s disclosure. It’s not a limitation. It’s simply disclosure,” a CFB spokesman said.  In an good piece by Columbia journalism student Beth Morrissey other then the fact she did not ask the goo goos how they can support less disclose explained the conflict.  Campaign Finance Board Fires Back at the City Council (NY World).

No Slush Fund Reform By Quinn and Goo Goos Silence in 2008 Led to Seabrook Corruption 2012
If Morrissey did some research she would have discovered that both Russianoff and the Citizen Union have a history of protecting Quinn against Corruption.  When Quinn was in the middle of the slush fund scandle she came up with forms to the slush fund member items system that she later dump when faced with opposition from her members.  Both Russianoff and Citizen Union who were at the speaker side for the announcement of the reforms never criticized Quinn for dumping the reforms. The slush fund watchdog that Quinn replaced these reforms with never discoverd that fact that Larry Seabrook was stealing millions in slush funds.

Gene Russianoff, Senior Attorney New York Public Interest Research Group, says he will also be supporting the amended legislation. “It doesn’t seem to serve a strong purpose to have them disclose what they’re communicating to their members,” he said. The Campaign Finance Board, however, still opposes the legislation. “We do not support this bill,” said Campaign Finance Board spokesman Matthew Sollars. “It eliminates disclosure for mass mailing and other member communications.” Sollars notes that the board’s current rules do not prohibit groups from communicating with members. “It’s disclosure. It’s not a limitation. It’s simply disclosure,” he said.Debate Over Campaign Finance Reform Continues(NY1) * Quinn Never Filled Slush Watch Dog Position Green Lighting Slush Abuse! (Troy)
What Ever Happen to the City Council Slush Fund Investigation?(True News)

 Election 2013
Debate Over Campaign Finance Reform Continues(NY1) As the race for City Hall heats up, the Campaign Finance Board and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn are squabbling over how groups can spend money to influence the race. "The voters wanted the disclosure of money spent in New York City elections," Amy Loprest of the city's Campaign Finance Board said. "Candidates already disclose that information since 1988." But the speaker is behind a measure to make expenditures such as flyers unions send out to their members backing certain candidates, not have to be disclosed to the general public.*  NYC Campaign Finance Board won't relent in its standoff with City Council.  * Campaign Finance Board firesback at City Council(NY World) Campaign Finance Board Fires Back At City Council

The state Board of Elections has zero investigators – down from six – to conduct any campaign finance or election law violation probes.*
The state Board of Elections has been without a single investigator for nearly a year due to budget cutbacks, hampering the agency’s ability to conduct proper oversight, while the Board has turned to the State Police for some investigatory tasks, the Times-Union writes:
* New York City mayoral candidate George McDonald filed a lawsuit in state Supreme Court on Monday to prevent the city’s Campaign Finance Board from taking action against his campaign for accepting contributions in excess of city limits, The Wall Street Journal writes:


The state Board of Elections has zero investigators – down from six – to conduct any campaign finance or election law violation probes.

State Legislature is full of members who broke their word on redistricting (NYDN)  Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos leads the big parade of two-timers

Benedict Arnold Dadey
Watch This NY1 Video That Shows Dick Dadey, the Executive Director of Citizen's Union Double Dealing on Reforming Redistricting 

NY1 Online: Sounding Off On Congressional Redistricting

Has Albany Already Scripted How Redistricting Will Pass?

Our Albany pols do not lose sleep over the long term unemployed or hospitals closing but they will make any deal they can to get a favorable district that will reelected them passed.  So the door is open for our gov who knows how to work in behind the public and press to make a deal.  Cuomo, who promised to end unfair drawings of New York's political map, prepares reformers for defeat(Capital). The Goo Goos are avoiding court but doing their press hits to keep up their image which is important for their fundraising.  Common Cause Keeps LATFOR Lawsuit Powder Dry (YNN) Common Cause/NY Exec. Dir. Susan Lerner: "After further analysis, LATFOR's maps are even more atrocious than we previously realized."

NY Reformer John McCain

Newspaper editorials and good government groups despite repeated efforts have failed to bring about any reforms in the election systems.  The only reform to New York's election system was a result of a lawsuit by John McCain in 2000 because he was keep off the ballot for lack of signatures.  It is sad that will all the editorial and good government press conferences it was the McCain reforms that eliminated minor petition filing mistakes as a reason to knock a candidate off the ballot and made it most simpler to bind the petition and cover sheet that are submitted to the Board of Election.  

The Harmful Do Gooders 
So desperate are the papers and good government groups for any election reform that that are eager to accept any election system reform from Albany.  Block by the pols to get independent redistricting they year they have begun pushing for a deal on campaign finance reform.  Oblivious to the fact that public funding has not been enough to beat council members running for reelection under the city's public funding system.  What the paper and goo goos do not under state without reform of the entire election system nothing will change. It they will small reforms in a deal with Albany no incumbent will be in danger.  It a little like fixing a broken leg on someone with stage 4 colon cancer.

Senate Democrats also very concerned about comments made by CU's Dick Dadey

Enemy of Reform- Double Agent Who Works for Pols

CU’s Dadey: A veto doesn’t get us reform(TU) Dadey’s blessing could give Cuomo a lot of cover if he were to accept a deal along those lines.  Willing to accept a constitutional amendment to take LATFOR out of the process next decade — as well as some extra input to change this year’s proposed lines — as “lasting” reform. * Legislature Releases New District Lines, Senate Dems Cry Foul(WXXI) *  NIPIRG Mahoney: “Most Gerrymandered Lines In Recent New York History” [UPDATED] *  Common Cause’s initial reaction to the LATFOR maps is, unsurprisingly, not positive


Albany's Democracy Killers

Trained Monkey Committee

There was such a sad disconnect at the redistricting hearing in Brooklyn the other day.  Speaker after speaker mostly community activists nervously pleaded with the committee to stop dividing their community.  It was very telling that not one pol was at the hearing.  There was no need for them to be, the fix was in and the incumbents knew at the end of the hearings they would get the district they need to get easily reelected.  The lines are written by Silver, Skelos and the elected officials themselves.  The stooges on the redistricting committee are actors picked for their ability to follow directions and sit  unmoved and uncaring when citizens plea to them to give them democracy. Opponents Clash At Meeting On New Legislative Districts(NY1)


The Russian Get Screw Again Cut in 4

The Russians who are not as well organized or united as the Asians were there pleading not to be divided into 4 state senate districts.  Russian leaders Ben Akselrod and Ari Kagan after explaining with great passion how there community would be hurt by the new districts, not a single question was asked by the committee members how the situation could be fixed.  No questions were ask either when the Greenpoint community explained they community was divided.  In fact not a single question was asked by the committee members on how to fix a problem that the speakers were pointing out.

A Russian Tragedy  After 10 Years of Winning Elections the Russians Still Don't Get A District or Respect.  It is A New Russian Cold War Against GOP (True News)


Democracy Lost And the Media Never Noticed

Common cause was there in a cover you ass type of move pushing their silly redistricting lines.  Their group left right after they leader gave her testimony at the beginning of the Brooklyn hearing.  Only one elderly lady, a patrician type from Brooklyn Heights got it.  She started her testimony with the statement that the committee members should be ashamed of themselves for killing democracy in New York.  Except for Asian media not a single member of the main stream press attended the Brooklyn hearing. * Dem election officials ask for fewer signatures(TU) * Nightmare Scenarios Spawned By Prospect Of 3 Primaries(YNN) * Three primary election dates could create some crazy electoral scenarios.


Good Government Fakes: Another Dive in the First Round Like Sonny Liston

Anyone who believes that the Good Government Groups Are Controlled By the Elected Officials Just Got More Proof

Good Government Groups Seem Resigned to Cuomo Cutting Redistricting Deal (C&S)

A Plea Asking Goo Goos Not to Sell Out On Redistricting

New congressional district lines expected in NY(WSJ) Don't make bad deal for bad maps(Newday) Todd Breitbart argues in Newsday that reformers should not accept the promise of a future constitutional amendment on redistricting in exchange for approving unfair maps now * Analysis: The Quest for Honest Election Districts(NBC) 



Kruger Groundhog Day

Another Fixed Special Election

More rigged elections(NYP) Another special election were party bosses handpick nominees, in lieu of primaries. And contenders for the Senate running as independents get just 12 weekdays to round up 3,000 petition signatures — a high hurdle meant to ensure that the bosses’ picks prevail. How ironic: 

 Corrupt Kruger Was Boss Picked in Special Election Also

Corrupt Kruger’s successor will be chosen in precisely the same manner he was — by party leaders, who tapped him in a special election in 1994.(The turnout back then was just over 2 percent; he won with a whopping 85 percent of the vote — all 3,044 of them.) Nothing, it seems, ever changes.


Another Dive By the Goo Goos 
Democratic donor/reform advocate Bill Samuels says the good government community has come to the unhappy conculsion that Cuomo will cut a redistricting deal with the Legislature. 

Bloomberg Push for Non Partisan Elections Grandhog Day

No New Push for Nonpartisan Elections(WSJ) Bloomberg has given up his long-time policy goal of abolishing partisan elections in New York City, saying he believes there's insufficient public support.

As Legislators In Albany Design District to Reelect Easily Reelect Them . . .  Good Government Group Look the Other Way

Where are the Good Government Lawsuits?
Support for independent redistricting among New York state voters has risen to 52 percent, 64 percent of voters support casino gambling, and voters split 44 percent for and 45 percent against hydrofracking, a new Quinnipiac University poll Q-Poll: Support For Independent Redistricting Passes 50 Percent (YNN)


ReformersHave Their Annual Press Conference. . . Nothing Else

Good Government Run Off Failure after a run off where less than 1% of the city's registered voters voted for the winning candidate all Gene Russianoff of NYPIRG can say is do away with the runoff because nobody votes and it expensive to operate? His solution has more to do with covering up the problem for the political leaders than fixing the problem of the failure of local democracy when people stop voting. How about an overhaul of the New York election system to get people to vote. Or do you believe Mr. Russianoff that newspaper owners spin to promote their candidates, 30 second ads that have nothing to do with governing and the corrupt Board of Election and local courts who knock off candidates should continue to run things. Should corrupt machines remain in power because they use the low vote and Tammany Hall election laws to remain keep control of their parties and the courts. ? Hey Gene how can we run an entire municipal election with candidates all over town promising more services when everyone knows that dozens of firehouses and libraries will be closed after the election? Tammany Hall election laws gives complete control of the budget lines to party leaders they sell them. Is that something that should be changed Gene? Bloomberg's Line Dance The mayor contributed hundreds of thousand of dollars to buy both the GOP and Independence Party lines on the ballot. The Democrats have some primaries but they control the system that most times using the BOE, local courts and political insider power allows them to choice the candidate Lawmakers lobby against Governer Paterson's special election to replace disgraced ex-Assemblyman Is that a good government election Gene? Why stop at the runoff Gene lets get rid of all elections?

Why Are the Good Government Groups Refusing to Sue Over the Gerrymandering?

The Daily News knocks the state Senate Republicans for not following the lead of Common Cause and drawing fairer legislative Gerrymandering politicians will fight it to the bitter end(NYDN Ed) * Redistricting at the City Council? El Diario La Prensa The Mayor is expected this spring to appoint the members of the commission that will draw the new council districts. The commission is composed of 15 members. Mayor Bloomberg allocates seven, Council Speaker Chris Quinn, allocates five, and the republican minority leader, Councilman Jimmy Oddo, picks three members. * The Senate Democrats’ redistricting expert says the GOP’s move to add a 63rd seat “violates the state constitution” and accuses the majority of using a “mix-and-match” legal approach to suit its political agenda.

Gene read True News we had it right about the election law and ballot control months ago Tammany’s Ballot Control Again and Again , TAmmany Hall Board of Elections Control Goes On and On, Political PARTIES 4 SALE, Organized Crime Politics *** More on Tammany’s Control of the City’s Elections *** In Defense of Political Hardball in a Howard Beach Council Race - Knocking candidates off the ballot

Instead of Demanding Public Finance of Campaigns CU Blames the Victims
Citizen Union issued a "No Preference" in seven state legislative races, deciding not to support either the incumbent or the challenger, mostly because the challengers were not credible or strong enough in their effort to oust incumbents whose reelection we could not support. 

Is NYPIRG  Controlled by the Trial Lawyers?  Are they Funded by Them?

A Cuomo Aide Criticizes a Former Cuomo Aide (NYT) * The lowdown on a so-called consumer advocate (Crains NY)

Goo goos Reformers Have Their Annual Press Conference . . . Nothing Else (True News Investigation)


No Change NYNews Conferences . . . Again
Reform Not Here . . . Again

Editors Note: Every year the well meaning good government groups hold a press conference covered by the media, to plead that the leaders of Albany's corrupt and dysfunctional government change their ways. The public is used to this dance. After the press hits, the pols answer with promises of change, the reformers go home and we end each year with three men in a room cutting member items and a budget deal favorable to the lobbyists and their special interests. Each year we also see a new crop of former elected officials graduate to jail. This year NYU's Brennan Center recycled their old report calling New York's government the most dysfunctional in the nation. NYPIRG, Blair Horner recycled both old charges of voters being upset with numerous indictments and jailing of state lawmakers, and recycled and re-introduced the reformers legislation to improve ethics laws in NYC that they issued in past press conferences begging for reform. In the spirit of going around in circles and accomplishing nothing, True News has decided to reissue its report card on the reform movement. Same press conference in 2005 and more press conferences in the past.
Good Government Groups Report Card:
Strong in the Media . . .Weak in ResultsWhile change has come to the executive branch in Washington, New York’s City and State governments are in free fall. We not only have permanent dysfunction in Albany (run by special interest lobbyists), now we have the City’s elected officials ignoring the vote and the will of the public, when they recently voted themselves an extra term in office. While not responsible for the failure of government the Good Government groups have been ineffectual in fixing its abuses. Sometimes they have been too close with those in power. Before the U. S. Supreme Court overruled the lower courts to restore the Tammany style judicial convents, the Good Government groups were trying to work out a comprise by keeping the conventions and allowing candidates to go the petition route to run for Supreme Court. Since the highest court ruled to restore the party machine-controlled conventions, there has not been a peep out of the groups who say they fight for judicial reform.
The Accidental Ballot Access Reforms
The only reform in ballot access in the last 20 years occurred because the Bush campaign tried to keep John McCain off the New York Primary Ballot in 2000. A Federal Judge ruled after the McCain campaign took the Republican Party to court, to eliminate the need for ADs, EDs and totals on nominating petitions cover sheets. Judge Edward Korman who also ruled that candidates can correct their petitions cover sheets for defects after they are submitted to the Board of Elections, did more then any Good Government group to make a very restrictive ballot access system a little bit easier for challengers.

The City Council slush fund gets no press attention despite spending tens of thousands of dollars in city funds to hire lawyers to protect their members against criminal charges. Coverage does not seem to be a problem with the leaders of the City’s Good Government groups who always seem to be quoted in the press. One group even gives out report cards every year, rating each subway line for its cleanliness. Maybe if we'd had a responsible government that would have stopped Wall Street Ponzi schemes, we would not be facing subway fare increases, cutbacks and other unpleasantness.

The Harmful Do Gooders 
So desperate are the papers and good government groups for any election reform that that are eager to accept any election system reform from Albany.  Block by the pols to get independent redistricting they year they have begun pushing for a deal on campaign finance reform.  Oblivious to the fact that public funding has not been enough to beat council members running for reelection under the city's public funding system.  What the paper and goo goos do not under state without reform of the entire election system nothing will change. It they will small reforms in a deal with Albany no incumbent will be in danger.  It a little like fixing a broken leg on someone with stage 4 colon cancer.

Why is Koch's NY Uprising So Quiet At This Critical Time Pols Are Drawing Their Reelection Line?  . . . Are They Taking A Dive? 
Where Are the Lawsuits from the Good Government Groups or Newspapers.  All Talk About Independent Redistricting No Action?
Times-Union calls Senate Republicans liars for rescinding their pledge to support independent redistricting, and urges Cuomo to call them on their bluff   *Cap Campaigns Before Trying Public Financing (NYDN ED) DN: Albany needs campaign reform, but not ready 4 public financing

Reformers Have Their Annual Press Conference . . . Nothing Else   


Pols Leave Office and Keep Spending

Politicos leave, but keep their accounts (poughkeepsiejournal)


 Goo Goos Are Double Crossed Those Fighting for Independent Redistricting by Giving Up

Students Devise New Voting Districts In Fordham Competition(NY1)

 A Good Government Corrupt Monopoly Working Together to Screw the Public

Good gov coalition drops 'nonpartisan' from redistricting lingo(WNYC)


We Not Only Don't Have An Independent Commission, Lobbyists Are Redrawing NY Congressional Districts
While the media and so called good government groups and reformers have black out this every ten year pork sausage making in Albany.  Lobbyist and elected officials are busy this weekend drawing district lines that will cut out their opponents strength and easily reelect them.  With the state poised to lose two seats, several members of New York's congressional delegation have started hiring lobbyists to try to protect their interests. Rep. Brian Higgins (D) has employed the firm of Patricia Lynch and Associates,[20], while Rep. Joseph Crowley (D) who lost the Weiner seat last year which complicated redistricting for the dems, hired Brian Meara.  Representative Higgins also hired Meara.  Lobbyist Lynch who used to work for speaker silver got caught sticking her hand into Hevesi pension cooky jar and had to pay the state a half a million in fines, as one of those stay out of jail deal.  Early reports have had Rep. Eliot Engel spending $30,096 on lobbying, while Rep. Joe Crowley spent $21,677 and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy spent $10,206.

What Will Elected Officials Owe the Lobbyist After They Get Them Reelected?
Rep. Kathy Hochul, who won a special election last year to represent the 26th Congressional District, signed a contract last month lobbyist Bolton-St. Johns to represent her campaign. Towns has the lobbyist Hank Sheinkopf who took the 5th in front of the NYS IG investigating the AEG contract scandal looking out for his interest.  Members of New York’s House delegation, for instance, pumped about $378,000 from their own campaign accounts into the coffers of state lawmakers in Albany during the last election cycle, according to an analysis of state campaign records by the New York Public Interest Research Group, a government watchdog organization, as normally obscure legislative races drew strong national attention with the redistricting battle looming. *

Koch Lets Lawmakers Who Promised Redistricting Reform Off the Hook 

Koch Should At Least Stick Around and Tell Us Who Broke Their Promise

Ed Koch Says Albany Reform Is "Dead"(NBC) Hope for redistricting reform may have died with a Supreme Court ruling, Koch says. “In the light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision,” he told me, “this crusade is dead.”* Senate Republicans appear to be carving out a 63rd seat for Assemblyman George Amedore


Whats Next the Carl Kruger, Brian Mclaughlin and Alan Hevesi Reform Election Law?

After failing on their push for an independent redistricting commission the Goo Goos now have hired a lobbyist. They want to form a Campaign Finance System like the cities but did not talk about non political redistricting. Must have been an oversight! The Good Government groups are also working with the WFP who have had their own campaign finance problems and a registered lobbyist.  This arrangement is a little like Romney hiring Gingrich to run his campaign?

Goo Goos Trying to Make it Look Like They Did Not Duck Independent Redistricting

Goo Goos Independent Redistricting

Campaign Finance Reformers Prepare New Campaign(C&S) Campaign finance reform advocates have banded together to push for changes in political funding in Albany this year, and have hired Jennifer Cunningham and SKD Knickerbocker to hone a media relations strategy. The coalition, which includes the Working Families Party, Citizens Union, Common Cause New York and others, is working with the governor’s special counsel on public integrity and ethics issues, Jeremy Creelan, to push for changes. Their agenda includes a New York City-style public financing system, an end to loopholes and large intra-party transfers, and better oversight and enforcement.


Even Dead Pols Have Campaign Committees in NY

‘Ghost’ Committees Continue To Haunt NY Politics(YNN) NYPIRG spreadsheet whiz Bill Mahoney put together a list of 43 so-called “ghost committees” – still-active campaign committees belonging to former lawmakers, some of whom are no longer even alive. 

After Special Elections Today, Ranks Of Those Elected In Specials To Swell

The special election to replace Carl Kruger has seemingly dissolved into accusations of the David Storobin campaign running down Lew Fidler supporters on the streets of Brooklyn, but Citizen Union would like to remind you that no matter who wins today, it won’t change  the fact that a growing number of lawmakers are elected with just these kinds of special elections.
There are four other special elections around New York State today, which means that fully 30 percent of the members of the Senate and the Assembly will have been selected not through a primary process, but through getting the nod of the   county party. Since so many districts are heavily Republican or heavily Democratic, this means that a substantial number of lawmakers get into office without ever having been properly vetted by the voters. And since it is so difficult to beat an incumbent, many never are. 
“This finding that nearly a third of all sitting legislators were first elected to their positions by closed party insider dealing is not a judgment on the individual legislators themselves, but rather a sad indictment on our local democracy that forbids voters from choosing their party nominees,” said Dick Dadey, executive director of Citizens Union.
In the report, Mr. Dadey urged reform legislation sponsored by Assemblymembers Hakeem Jeffries of Brooklyn and Linda Rosenthal of the west side of Manhattan which would  mandate nonpartisan special elections , as the New York City Council does or by holding primary elections prior to the special elections.
A Citizens Union report last year found that 26 percent of lawmakers first won their seat in special elections. The updated report also notes that two-thirds of the seats that become available during special elections become the holder of the seat ran for another office. The remaining seats become available when the predecessor retired, died or left office under a cloud of scandal.
It is worth noting that the number of special elections has grown as the clout of county leaders has waned. There was a time when they decided virtually everyone who won elective office, and are now left with only controlling the process for those who get in under odd circumstances.


Where In The World is the New Albany Ethics Watchdog JCOPE On Sen Libous Pay to Play?
At a press conference yesterday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declined to comment on whether JCOPE or another investigative body should look into the possibility Senate Deputy Majority Leader Tom Libous improperly used his position to secure a position at a law firm for his son, as a witness in a federal corruption trial in White Plains testified this week. “It is an appropriate area for an attorney general, for JCOPE to comment on.  But for me, I don’t think it’s an appropriate area to comment on,” Cuomo said. Cuomo has called for investigations in the past, he admitted, but said that was “mostly when I was the attorney general.” But twice last year, Cuomo made headlines when he called for investigations from then-Inspector General Ellen Biben, first into the Nassau County Crime Lab, and then when he directed Biben to audit the Long Island Power Authority. Cuomo’s spokesman Josh Vlasto said Cuomo could call for those investigations because the Inspector General is under the executive branch’s control, whereas JCOPE is overseen, but not controlled, by his administration. Cuomo, who reportedly has a very good working relationship with Libous, said he didn’t have enough information about the case. “I only know what I’ve seen in the newspaper,” he said.

The Daily Q: What do lobbyists have to disclose?

Companies and organizations seeking to be heard in Albany spent a record-breaking $220 million on state lobbying in 2011, according to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) annual report released this week. That’s a $7 million increase on 2010, a $213 million year for Albany lobbying. Nearly 6,100 lobbyists filed reports and registered with JCOPE by the end of 2011, representing 3,535 clients.
But how is this information collected? Today’s Daily Q asks: What exactly do lobbyists and clients have to disclose about their activities and spending?

A Culture of Corruption That Not One Reform Will Fix
Housekeeping accounts are a back door for big dollar special interests to give unlimited sums of cash for campaign purposes: a direct violation of the campaign finance law. In the last decade plus, special interests have given $133.8 million to housekeeping accounts in return for influence and access to lawmakers. Although such accounts are designed for party building, they are routinely used by political parties to obtain contributions from corporations, unions, and wealthy individuals that circumvent the contribution limits on political giving. In so doing, these entities are able to give unlimited sums of cash, which are then used by the parties to directly influence the outcome of elections, according to a report by Common Cause   More than two thirds of all soft money is raised from checks of $10,000 or more, and more than half of all soft money is raised from just 59 top donors who have given in excess of $200,000 since 2006. The list of top donors to soft money accounts is dominated by special interests that are highly regulated and/or subsidized by state government – real estate firms, healthcare and pharmaceutical interests, labor unions, telecom companies, the beverage industry, big tobacco, and gambling interests.

Return of the steamroller. Spitzer called CU's Dadey to complain org "sold out" on reform

Spitzer ‘steamrolls’ Citizens Union head(NYP) Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer chided Citizens Union’s Dick Dadey for supporting Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s redistricting compromise, with Spitzer employing his trademark “steamroller” approach

Lame Duck Bloomberg Give Up on Nonpartisan Elections Party Leader safe, Check and Pay to Play Elections Safe
Bloomberg Abandons Push for Nonpartisan Elections (WSJ) Bloomberg has one last shot at his long-time dream of abolishing partisan primaries for New York City's municipal election -- and he's apparently giving up without another fight.


How Much Does It Costs to Put Corrupt Cops On Trial, In Jail and to Hold Special Elections?

The cost of pushing a public campaign finance system in New York is now pegged at $1.5 million. 


As NY Pols Cut Their Redistricting Deals Good Government Groups Hide

State Senate Republicans cut a prisoner-counting deal, and LATFOR’s redistricting maps could be out early next year. * 46,003 prisoners currently in prison in New York State will, for redistricting purposes, be counted as residents living at other addresses within the state. [Jimmy Vielkind]



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