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Mole's Progressive Democrat

The Progressive Democrat Newsletter grew out of the frustration of the 2004 election. Originally intended for New York City progressives, its readership is now national. For anyone who wants to be alerted by email whenever this newsletter is updated (usually weekly), please send your email address and let me know what state you live in (so I can keep track of my readership).

Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

I am a research biologist in NYC. Married with two kids living in Brooklyn.

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  • Thursday, September 24, 2009

    NYC Election Results: Corruption wins the day

    Election Results from last night's primary. Most of my commentary will come when I have a chance to relax.

    Mayor: Nothing to see here. Thompson trounces Avella. We all knew that would be the result.

    Public Advocate: News Flash: CRIME DOES PAY! One of the few mild surprises was how well crime pays in NYC. Bill de Blasio, caught red handed violating campaign finance laws and one of the top slush fund culprits, not only makes it to the runoff but actually pushes Mark Green into second place. NYC does love its corrupt politicians! All it takes is a thousand mailings and some pretty ads and the voters (the ones who bother to vote, of course) forget the corruption. Mark Green will have a hard time here. Most of the developer and corporate money will be behind de Blasio because they want a Developer Advocate as Public Advocate, so they will push hard for de Blasio. Meanwhile, Mark Green, development friendly enough, will have to run on the strength of his personality and dedication to the public. Uh oh...Notice that the two who made it to the runoff are the two Atlantic Yards supporters. No coincidence that, I suspect. I endorse Mark Green of course, as the one who is basically pro-public and willing to go up against corruption on Wall Street while de Blasio will make Gotbaum seem good (at least she did nothing...I fear what Bill will do for his corporate cronies!).

    Comptroller: Katz falls flatz. I had thought Katz would beat Yassky to the runoff with Liu. Her ads were good and she had even more developer money than Yassky or Liu. But being too obviously a shill for developers didn't do it for Katz. Yassky's weaseling, where he eagerly takes developer money, votes developers 90% of what they want, then presents the remaining 10% of concessions as some big victory to the voters, won over Katz's blatant shilling. Liu should be able to trounce Yassky. Liu is smarter, actually has financial experience (Yassky and Katz don't), is a much better campaigner an organizer, and isn't as blatantly corrupt as Yassky, whose slush fund participation rivals even Bill de Blasio's and included the infamous Steve DiBrienza pay-to-play scandal and an alliance with a Bruce Ratner front group. Now Liu has done his share of slush funding, but nothing as blatantly corrupt as Yassky's pay-to-play schemes. So Liu SHOULD be able to trounce Yassky. But Yassky will have Wall Street behind him (they want a Comptroller who recognizes the investment value of pay-to-play) and possibly most of the developer money. Both Yassky and Liu are developer funded, but Yassky more so. Since crime pays in NYC (see above) Yassky may have the edge. Liu needs better TV spots. The one I saw was boring and Liu is ANYTHING but boring. John Liu needs to connect directly to the public. Yassky needs to hide his basic sleaziness from the public.

    Council District 1: Hey, I won one! Margaret Chin wins. I liked Chin on first glance, but never really got a second glance at the race. One thing I liked about Chin was some people were calling her "too liberal" and even, gasp, "socialist." These days I kind of like the idea of "too liberal" and "socialist" winning after so many years of America worshipping corporate corruption. But I have to say, I don't know enough about Margaret to really say if this was the best result.

    Council District 3: Tsarina Quinn wins. See! Voters LOVE it when you screw them. Quinn has shown she cares nothing for voters, overturning term limits and making excuses for slush find corruption. And voters re-elect her. No surprise there. Yetta Kurland did well for an insurgent running against an incumbent. Yetta should be proud and should stay in politics. And voters? Well, maybe Quinn is just being hard to get. Keep re-electing her and maybe, just MAYBE, she will care about you.

    Council District 4: I hadn't heard anything about this race before. Yesterday was the first time I saw a sign for Ashok Chandra (outside Curry in a Hurry). Guess something was going on here because Ashok won handily. This is one of the few Republican party primaries.

    Council District 12: Another case of sleaze who cares nothing about voters wins big. Larry Seabrook won.

    Council District 19: Well, although the most progressive candidate lost (Steve Behar...sorry, but not a surprise), the very worst candidates lost this one! Vallone running with Republican and conservative support and family name lost. Nasty Iannece lost. Kevin Kim won. I don't think either Gatemouth or I (both of whom do not want another DINO Vallone and thought Behar best position to block Vallone) saw that coming.

    Council District 20: This also surprised me. I didn't follow this race closely, but I had thought Choe would do better. Chou won.

    Council District 23: Mark Weprin won. The Vallone name failed, but the Weprin name still carries weight in Weprin's district...even if it meant nothing citywide. I suspect this is a reasonably good result.

    Council District 25: Crime Pays Again...but that may be the best in this case. Daniel Dromm wins! I have mixed feelings about this one. I endorsed Daniel Dromm pretty much before anyone else...and I pushed him as one of my top choices. Until it turned out he was one of the six people involved in the WFP campaign finance law violations. I felt I had to back off from Dromm at that point. But I still felt he was a good guy. So crime paid off, but the crime was done by someone who otherwise is good.

    Council District 26: Crime Pays Again...getting tedious, isn't it? James Van Bramer won. Seriously folks. This election makes a mockery of our campaign finance laws. The clearest message is you can break the law and still win. Well, Marrion Barry won after being convicted of drug charges, so what's a little election law crime among friends? In this race I am not sure who was the best, criminal conspiracy with WFP aside.

    Council District 29: Karen Koslowitz won. The candidate I picked came in last. By the end I expected that. Gargarin didn't pick up many endorsements or support at all, so though he was a good candidate, he had little chance. Koslowitz picked up some good endorsements and seemed to have momentum, so I am not surprised. But I AM surprised that crime did NOT pay in this race. Lynn Schulman, another key figure in the WFP campaign finance scandal lost.

    Council District 31: James Sanders wins...of course. Again, screwing voters is not a liability in NYC elections. I expected more of Marq Claxton. He was picking up some good endorsements. But he came in fourth in the race.

    Council District 33: WAKE UP PARK SLOPE! VITO LOPEZ HAS CONQUERED YOU. You know, for all that this district loves to say they hate Vito Lopez, they sure seemed willing to vote for Vito Lopez's aide, Steve Levin. Had Levin lost, it would have been a considerable blow to Vito Lopez, particularly after his loss of both Surrogate judge races. Instead, Park Slope gives Vito's reign of corruption new life. This is about the best thing that has happened to Vito in years. Stupid bickering and vote splitting among the reformers combined with voter apathy and this year's Vito Lopez/WFP axis of corruption wound up making this an easy win for Levin. I had expected Jo Anne Simon to pull it off. With the endorsement of all reform clubs AND the NYT (the only race I know of where the NYT didn't endorse the most scandal ridden candidate) should have done it. But the fact that rival reformers spent most of their time attacking Jo Anne rather than Levin helped hand it to Levin. THANK YOU Ken Baer, Ken Diamondstone and Doug Whoever. Vito Lopez now loves you. Oh, and so does Bruce Ratner because now Ratner has a solidly pro-Atlantic Yards City Councilman in Park Slope (despite some slight lip service otherwise from Levin (lying???), the Lopez machine is so pro-Ratner that even Mayor Bloomberg balked at their giveaways to Ratner). That will make things easier for Ratner. And none of Jo Anne's reform rivals even came in third. That was left to conservative Isaac Abraham. Pathetic. I'll have more to say about this race in another post when I get around to it. Until then, this race is actually the biggest news of the day because it really does give the Vito Lopez machine a huge lift. Park Slope Saves the Vito Lopez Machine. THAT is news.

    Council District 34: This one is one more example of the ONLY way reformers seem able to beat the Vito Lopez machine these days: when Vito and one of his minions have a falling out, we can back the minion. Vito Lopez has a history of betraying followers who don't toe the line enough. He then runs someone against them. Reformers then are stuck siding with a former machine politician over a current machine politician. And that is when we usually win. Diana Reyna, formerly a Vito Lopez favorite, became too independent. So Vito ran someone against her...and lost. Some reformers, myself included, sided with Reyna. Other reformers went for Gerald Esposito...who came in third. Thankfully, splitting the reform vote didn't hand the race to Vito Lopez the way it did in the 33rd, but the fact remains reformers can ONLY beat Lopez when they side with a former machine politician who has gone independent.

    Council District 35: Easy win for Tish James. No surprise. So Bruce Ratner wasn't able to flip this district in his favor the way he helped flip the 33rd district. So now Park Slope, whether they want it or not, is pro-Ratner in the City Council and Prospect Heights is anti-Ratner.

    Council District 36: I am shocked at how well Iglesias did. I only met him once and he seemed very earnest, but not very effective. He did still lose, but honestly did pretty well.

    Council District 39: So South Slope now has a largely pro-Ratner, anti-Israel politician who like to make deals with homophobic reactionaries. And again, crime pays. Brad Lander, another participant in the WFP campaign finance scandal, won. Again, reform progressives split the vote and lost. But in this case I have to say that the reform progressives, though they split the vote, did not lose it by in-fighting the way they did in the 33rd. The reform progressives were the gentlemen in the race. The conservative (Heyer) and sleazy developer (Lander) candidates were the nasty ones in the end, their campaigns (supposedly without knowledge from the candidates) running virulently anti-gay ads in Boro Park. Heyer handily won the Boro Park competition, but Lander, in the end, didn't need it. So many liberal Park Slope voters seem to have forgiven him his anti-Israel beliefs (strongly held) and his anti-gay flirtations (contrary to his real beliefs but still something he will bargain with when it comes to votes). Had all the reformers united behind one candidate they may still have lost this one it seems. Corruption and sleaze beat out honest progressives in Park Slope even if the progressives aren't forming a circular firing squad as they did in the 33rd.

    Council District 40: Another example of how honesty is NOT the best policy in NYC politics. The incumbent is a do nothing liar, but wins easily. Not surprisingly Rock Hackshaw, running on a campaign of pure, raw honesty, lost big. Voters want politicians to tell them sweet, sweet lies. Pity honesty is worth nothing in Brooklyn (and probably NYC as a whole).

    Council District 49: One of the few good results. Debi Rose kicked butt. And well she should have. I kept out of this simply because I was overwhelmed with other races. But Debi Rose is one of the good people in NYC politics and North Shore recognizes that! To all those who put down Staten Island, I have to say SI did better in this race than most of the other boroughs did in their key races. Kudos to Staten Island!


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