Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tell The State Senate What You Want To See In The Budget

With the state budget battle looming, the new Democratic majority in the Senate is looking to be different and innovative after decades of Republican rule. After a failed attempt at getting into television, Malcolm Smith has decided to open up a web page for people to submit comments, tips and suggestions about the budget.

Here's what I had to say in their comment box:

"Open government presents you with an opportunity, as well as a challenge—help us find solutions."

Start by actually making government open. Allowing people to present their ideas is a good thing, but making the process in the Legislature transparent for all New Yorkers to watch is invaluable. At the moment, it is gimmicks like this that are touted as attempts at reform but the real deals are hammered out in a backroom. For example, on Wednesday Senate Dems debated amongst themselves what will happen with a more progressive income tax structure...the public should have been there, whether physically or through the lens of a camera. Who said what and offered which amendments to what bills is important information and at the moment, it is kept in secret.

That must end. One way or another, it will.
As you can tell, I don't think that this is as great as they try and make it out to be. Suggesting items for the budget sounds nice in theory, but without being able to tell what is going on, then what good are our suggestions?

President Obama Gears Up To Pass Progressive Budget, Vows To Take His Opponents Head On

Now this is the President that I voted for:

We tried bipartisanship with the stimulus bill and all but three Republicans in Congress figuratively spit in the Democratic majority's face for it. Now it is time to pass a budget and it will reflect American values, not the wishes of greedy corporations that have run the show for the previous eight years. The choice for Republicans to make now is whether to get behind the President or to completely fall by the wayside as we begin to fix our economy and our nation.

Misspelling Conservatives Hold Well-Orchestrated "Protest" Against Obama

George Bush attracted thousands, tens of thousands and countless millions of protesters at various points during his Presidency. Barack Obama is only a little over a month into his term and already he has groups taking to the streets to protest his quest to stimulate the economy. Conservatives fear that by spending money on vital infrastructure programs and putting people to work, that Americans will see that government can work for them. That possibility has the potential to put the Grover Norquists and Pat Toomeys of the world out of power for decades. So what does a corporate-loving, poor-people loathing, bunch of elitist white guys do about this threat to their very existence?

Start a faux protest of course:

The extensive media coverage of the event was perhaps disproportionate to the actual size of the protests, which drew around 200 to 300 participants in most locations. The greatest turnout may have been in St. Louis, Missouri, where some 1000 people showed up. The protest was inspired by a rant against Obama's housing bailout plan delivered last week from the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade by CNBC's Rick Santelli, who denounced struggling homeowners as "losers." Planning moved ahead quickly, thanks to the use of YouTube, Facebook, Flickr, and especially Twitter.
Sounds exciting and "revolutionary," especially as the group tried to compare themselves to the founding fathers that dumped tea in Boston Harbor to protest a tax that they had no influence on (unlike now when the American people overwhelming elected Barack Obama to do exactly what he is on track to accomplish). The only problem with their grassroots endeavor was that it wasn't exactly "grassroots."

Conservative columnist Michelle Malkin calls the protesters "a fledgling grassroots movement." However, sociologist Eugenia Deerman, a student of conservative social movements, told the Christian Science Monitor, "I’m suspicious only because ... the conservative movement has repeatedly used this tactic of creating an appearance of grassroots activism when they’re actually very well orchestrated." Many progressives are also skeptical of the grassroots claim. For example, blogger Jeffrey Feldman points out that the Washington, DC sponsors of the events include such old-line anti-tax groups as Americans for Prosperity, Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform, the National Taxpayers Union, and FreedomWorks.
To people like Norquist and Toomey, smoke and mirrors is SOP without having any real, substantive movement behind them. Perhaps that is because Obama is planning on cutting taxes for 95% of Americans and raising them for the wealthy income earners and the special interest groups that represent them. Fighting progress must be hard, especially when you can only muster a few thousand people to protest the agenda that seventy million voters whole-heartedly endorsed this past November.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Millionaires And Other Rich People Protest Shared Sacrifice

Not surprisingly, as soon as the State Senate started to seriously consider raising taxes on the wealth the opposition sprang up to fight it. Now that Senator Schneiderman and other advocates of the Fair Share Plan are within ten votes of raising taxes on the well-to-do, the nervousness of their opposition shows through in the mailer they are sending out.

From Taxpayers For An Affordable New York:

The Working Families Party believes that you are not paying your fair share and they are pressuring your State Senator to increase your income taxes. Amazingly, despite what we have learned these past months, they want New York to continue to spend more then it has and they want you to pay for it. They call it a "millionaire tax" even though the taxes of every family with an income of more than a couple of hundred thousand dollars could be raised by 20 to 50 percent.

Governor David Paterson has said "My belief is (that raising income taxes) is an almost automatic formula for losing population in the state and losing job creation."

Mayor Michael Bloomberg called this plan a "crazy idea". He said "You can't tax people who can move... the city would end up losing its tax base."

Families that earn more than $200,000 comprise only 4% of taxpayers but they pay 54% of the taxes. It seems to us that you already pay your "Fair Share".

Nonetheless, the State Senate may yield to the propaganda and half-truths and pass this tax hike. Together we can stop them. Please click the "Take Action" link and email your State Senator today. Tell your State Senator "I already pay too much in taxes! Manage the budget, cut wasteful spending and don't raise our taxes."

Ah, propaganda and half-truths...where shall we begin. Well technically this isn't just a millionaire's tax, that was the initial idea floated by some groups, but the fair share plan is clearly laid out by it's advocates as starting with incomes at $250,000. That would $50,000 more than the numbers that TFAANY goes by.

That twenty to fifty percent increase they talk about is pulled from thin air. The model has an increase of 1.4% for those that make from a quarter to a half-million, a 2.12% raise for those that make up to a million and a 3.45% raise for those that make more than that. Right now all New Yorkers pay 6.85% of their income to the state, regardless of how much that paycheck provides. So those that make a million dollars will go from paying $68,500 to $103,000. In all, that raises an additional $6 billion for the state and it only comes from the top 3.2% of taxpayers. TFAANY might want to amend their name so that excludes the other 96.8% of us who want a budget that asks everyone to give and not just those that struggle to get by.

Get informed and learn more at to see what the plan really entails.

"Joe The Plumber" Implies We Should Shoot Anti-War Congressmembers And Senators

CPAC officially started yesterday and is running through Sunday. For four days, uber-conservatives will be spouting off 'words of wisdom' for their followers to take home and parrot to their family and friends. One such guru of right-wing knowledge, tax dead beat and war correspondent Samuel Wurlitzer Joe the Plumber, had a few things to say about bashing and shooting elected officials that disagree with the war in Iraq.

Obama Reverses Bush Rule That Allowed Doctors To Violate Hippocratic Oath

Back in the waning days of the Bush Administration, #43 was busy doing all that he could to make our country as regressive as possible before Obama took over. One of those maneuvers was to make the anti-choice religious zealots happy by allowing doctors and nurses to refuse certain medical treatments to patients if they felt some sort of moral conflict. The rule was vague, but gave broad authority to health care professionals to put people's lives (both mortally and not) at stake, such as not giving rape kits to victims because they didn't want to terminate a fertilized egg that a victim had insider her. As of today though, violating their hippocratic oaths is no longer acceptable.

From The Chicago Tribune:

WASHINGTON — Taking another step into the abortion debate, the Obama administration Friday will move to rescind a controversial rule that allows health-care workers to deny abortion counseling or other family-planning services if doing so would violate their moral beliefs, according to administration officials. The rollback of the "conscience rule" comes just two months after the Bush administration announced it last year in one of its final policy initiatives. The new administration's action seems certain to stoke ideological battles between supporters and opponents of abortion rights over the responsibilities of doctors, nurses and other medical workers to their patients. Seven states, including California, Illinois and Connecticut, as well as two family planning groups, have filed suits challenging the Bush rule, arguing it sacrifices the health of patients to religious beliefs of medical providers.
It is so nice to have a President that doesn't kow tow to the religious beliefs of a few that violate the liberties of so many others. Evangelicals will probably be up in arms over the matter, but most rationally-thinking Americans are extremely grateful for restoring the rights of patients as soon as Obama makes the rule officially rescinded.

Making Broadway Pedestrian-Friendly Is A Good Thing

I've seen that plenty of cabbies and tourists started complaining once Bloomberg's plan to alter Broadway came out. They feel that without cars on the famed street that it'll be harder to pick up fares and that the feel of Times Square just won't be the same, respectively. Now I frequently, and passionately disagree with the Mayor on many, many issues, but here I must say he is in the right (and so does the Naked Cowboy).

When Broadway was first altered last year (at 23rd St. and in the 30s north of Macy's) it was awkward to see people sitting in the newly created zones as traffic zoomed by. Those planters that separated the cars from the pedestrians didn't seem to be quite enough in terms of comfort if you know what I mean. In comparison, back in August when Park Av., 4th Av and Lafayette were shut down on Saturday mornings in August, it was much more serene than the newfound everyday lunch crowd on the sides of Broadway.

Now that Bloomberg wants to radically alter the Avenue so that it is truly amenable to people and not cars, the idea looks a lot better. Times Square has more than enough congestion and eliminating one route of street traffic through the area will improve flow for cars and room for all those tourists. Heck, real-live New Yorkers might just find themselves walking in the area as well.

So good job on this Mr. Mayor. Credit given where credit is due and for the price, it is well worth $1.5 million. Improving traffic and reducing time stuck in traffic will more than pay the cost of clearing Broadway of cars in Times Square. Perhaps if it does go as well as planned, the next Mayor (yep, still don't want Bloomberg past December) will do away with traffic altogether on Broadway, ideally from Columbus Circle to Union Square.

Obama Prepares To Submit His First Budget

President Obama is on a roll. After signing the stimulus bill into law last week along with an initial health care plan, this week he hit a grand slam with his joint address to Congress and to cap things off, he's preparing to submit his first budget to them. While it comes close to $4 trillion dollars, it is a progressive blueprint to lead our country out of the mess the last eight years has left us in.

More And Better Democrats, Now All Rolled Into One!

It sounds like a sales pitch and well, in a way it is. If you are in the Democratic Party, chances are you want to see more Democrats in office. Yet, some of them have a tendency to stray from the party's values and vote against the best interests of the people they are sent to Washington in order to represent. It can be frustrating and in some cases, propels voters to switch to the other side, even in very Democratic districts. Of course you can always go volunteer for a Democratic challenger in a primary race, and that is a good start. But wouldn't it better if you could easily connect with a group of like-minded partisans...with a serious amount of funds behind them so challengers would actually stand a chance against the incumbent who has lost his or her way?

From The Huffington Post:

Accountability Now PAC will officially be based in Washington D.C., though its influence is designed to be felt in congressional districts across the country. The group will adopt an aggressive approach to pushing the Democratic Party in a progressive direction; it will actively target, raise funds, poll and campaign for primary challengers to members who are either ethically or politically out-of-touch with their voters. The goal, officials with the organization say, is to start with 25 potential races and dwindle it down to eight or 10; ultimately spending hundreds of thousands on elections that usually wouldn't be touched.[...]

It is a concept bound -- indeed, designed -- to ruffle the feathers of powerful figures in Washington, in part because the names behind it are now institutions themselves. With $500,000 currently in the bank, Accountability Now will be aided, in varying forms, by groups such as MoveOn, SEIU, Color of Change, Democracy for America, 21st Century Democrats and BlogPAC. FireDogLake's Jane Hamsher and's Glenn Greenwald will serve in advisory roles, while Markos Moulitsas of DailyKos will conduct polling, with analytical help from's Nate Silver.
This is a serious pool of resources coming together to do exactly what Barack Obama has talked about on the campaign trail and now from the White House. We as citizens must effect change and push Washington in the right direction. 'Pushing' isn't just about writing letters and making phone calls to our elected officials, it is about replacing the ones not doing what we want with those that will work for the change we seek. In Washington, the name of the game is protecting incumbency, but that is not what it should be. Instead of just complaining about the problem, we should actively work to change things in our favor, so sign up now and be a part of that change.

The Bell Tolls For Free East Side Bridges?

Yesterday brought sad news for many a Queens and Brooklyn resident. Lower Manhattanite and Speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Silver endorsed a form of the Ravitch Plan so that all bridges leading into New York City will be tolled. The idea has been repulsed for decades by many local politicians, but Silver's statement yesterday could quite possibly be the final battle in this debate.

From PolitickerNY:

ALBANY—Praise is flowing in for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who has softened his opposition to implementing East River bridge tolls to raise money to plug the M.T.A.'s massive deficit.

Silver just told me as he left the building for the day, "Either you're for a fare increase and a substantial reduction in services, or you provide the revenue to the M.T.A."

"I'm not happy about it, but given the choice of the two, I think the conference would support the revenue enhancers over the fare increase," he said, noting that would include a bridge toll about the cost of a single subway ride. "We believe everybody should pay."

It has always been a losing proposition for a politician to come out in favor of tolling the Manhattan, Williamsburg and Brooklyn Bridges but in these times there really is no other choice. Opponents say that once the bridges are tolled, it is only a matter of time that a small $2 toll will be at the same price as the GWB or the Lincoln tunnel. I agree with that sentiment, but in these times we all need to pull together. Cutting service and spiking the cost of a Metrocard would be ridiculously unfair to straphangers. We have subways for a reason, so please, use them.

With that hurdle out of the way, the Ravitch Plan goes to the State Senate before the Governor's desk. Whether they will approve of bridge tolls is still up for debate, but they must know we have to do something to stop a rapid rise in the price to ride the subway.

Coen Brothers Take On Clean Coal

As we look for and implement alternative energy programs, it can't be stressed enough that "clean coal" is anything but clean. Compared to wind, solar and geothermal sources, coal needs to be phased out of our energy economy, not enhanced.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Obama Makes Good On Lifting Photo Ban On Military Coffins

With one stipulation, President Obama is responding to the demand that our country be able to see the human cost of war. His predecessor, who thrived on being secretive and blinding us to the realities of his decisions is gone and Obama is not only talking about change, but taking action. So what's that stipulation?


WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Robert Gates has decided to lift the ban on news organizations photographing the flag-draped caskets of U.S. war dead returning home, and will instead leave the decision entirely up to the families, Pentagon sources said Thursday.[...]

The emerging policy mirrors one at Arlington National Cemetery, in which families largely decide whether they want media coverage.
That's a compromise I can certainly live with. The subject is certainly a sensitive matter and the wishes of families of the fallen should be respected. Yet when it comes to war, it is important for the nation to see the consequences of it's leaders' decisions. Gates claimed he wanted to change it a year ago, but I suspect Bush had a hand in delaying that change.

Murphy Catching Up With Tedisco

Most of the morning papers reported the latest Siena poll as is, showing Jimmy Tedisco's 12-point lead over Democratic newcomer Scott Murphy. On the face of it the news isn't so good for Dems to hold onto Gillibrand's seat, but it must be pointed out that the only other poll had Tedisco up by more than double a couple weeks ago. Sure, it was a NRCC internal and naturally should skew to Tedisco, but I doubt by so much.

Devtob at The Albany Project points out some important numbers within the poll:

Tedisco leads on all the issues, but his lead is smallest (34-30) on the economy and health care (32-28). Other issues, and Tedisco's lead in parentheses, are: "successfully ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan" (29-22); education (33-28); homeland security (40-18); and "bringing more federal money into our district" (35-27).

The poll found that Tedisco is strongest, with a 20-point lead, in Saratoga and Rensselaer counties, where Tedisco's antics as a blowhard spokesman for the powerless wingnuts in the Assembly have been a staple of Albany media legislative coverage for more than 20 decades.

In the northern part of the district, where Murphy lives (Tedisco does not live in the district), Murphy actually leads by 2 points. In the southern part of the district, Tedisco leads by 11.

In general, I think this poll is good news for Murphy, for the following reasons.

He's substantially closed the gap; most voters view the economy as the top issue, and Tedisco has embarrassingly refused to state his position on the stimulus package to help the economy; he already has Gillibrand's endorsement, the TV ad is sure to follow; Tedisco's lead in Saratoga and Rensselaer counties is mostly based on name recognition (Gillibrand won both of those counties handily in November); and, most notably, there is lots of room to move up Tedisco's 20 percent unfavorability rating, especially if future TV ads and other media accurately portray him as a hot-headed loudmouth, too conservative for the district, a career politician who has never lived in the district, and, if elected, a minority member of the House who would deliver a lot less for the district than Scott Murphy.

This is what Murphy has to focus on and so far, he's doing a good job hammering Tedisco for his inability to state a position on the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act (H.R.1). Health care is going to be coming up more and more in the news as Obama begins to press for a bill in March. If Scott can show he'll be in the President's corner, expect those health care numbers to turn in his favor as the district is very much in support of Obama. Also, take advantage of local fact checkers, especially when you speak truth and Tedisco tries to claim credit for things that he was passively associated with.

Rachel Maddow Shows Us What Real Journalism Looks Like

No, it isn't just letting politicians say whatever they want while you nod your head diligently. Allow Rachel to take it from here:

Another Nail In The Coffin For Burris

The future for Senator Roland Burris is already grim and the odds of him running for election next year are negligible. Still, he isn't ready to resign yet and until he does every speck of dirt on him needs to be cast out into the bright sunshine. The latest news isn't just a speck either, it's more like a bucket of mud in the form of a political patronage job from ex-Gov. Blagojevich to Burris' son. And it should go without saying that there's a heaping load of irony to go on top of that mud.

From The Chicago Sun-Times:

The son of embattled Sen. Roland Burris is a federal tax deadbeat who landed a $75,000-a-year state job under former Gov. Rod Blagojevich five months ago, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

Blagojevich's administration hired Roland W. Burris II as a senior counsel for the state's housing authority Sept. 10 -- about six weeks after the Internal Revenue Service slapped a $34,163 tax lien on Burris II and three weeks after a mortgage company filed a foreclosure suit on his South Side house.

A spokeswoman for the Illinois Housing Development Authority indicated Wednesday there was nothing improper about Burris II's employment by the agency, whose mission includes overseeing mortgage programs for low-income home buyers and anti-foreclosure initiatives.
The spokeswoman may be cool with his employment there, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say the voters might disagree with that statement. I would hope that if I had problems with the housing authority, that the lawyers working there could at least manage to keep their own house in order.

Of course, even that does compare to the fact that he got the job thanks to his father's connection to the governor. This weaves the two politicians even closer together, painting Burris as a corrupt liar, not that he wasn't one before though.

Bloomberg Praises Giuliani As His Pandering To NY GOP Flips Into High Gear

Mayor Bloomberg is on the march, doing his best to advance into the good graces of the New York Grand Old Party. So far they haven't fallen for his overtures, such as the McCain communications hire. Bloomberg must really want his name on their line, because he's now gone as far as backing Rudy Giuliani for governor next year.


Saying Giuliani would make a “great governor,” Bloomberg added the former mayor would “have to run” if Paterson became the Democratic nominee in 2010, a source told the Post. The two talked about the possibility some time ago, but Rudy hadn't made up his mind either way at the time, the source said.

The mayor also indicated Giuliani would have an easy time taking down Paterson, should both run for governor in 2010, according to the Post. Paterson’s poll numbers have been plummeting ever since Caroline Kennedy’s disastrous bid (not a bid) for a New York senate seat. Controversial budget proposals amid tough economic times haven’t helped.

Polls administered by Sienna College and Quinnipiac University support the idea that Giuliani would take Paterson to town in a gubernatorial race, the Post reported.
Of course singing such songs to the Post will always get printed, so the ties that bind Rudy and Mike aren't fully known, but there are definitely no good feelings between the Mayor and Governor Paterson. If this true though, I would love to see the Governor respond to that warm fuzziness by making sure the term limits legislation moves even quicker in the Legislature and gets a nice, firm signature of his so that we can put the term limits extension to a vote.

Congressman Hensarling (R-TX) Equates Recessions With Freedom

Um, wtf?

I think Congressman Hensarling is confusing freedom with unregulated markets. When markets are allowed to run amok, volitality will increase and lives are easier to destroy (at the behest of making a few at the top very wealthy). As for the alternative Jeb, there are more than just one. It isn't just your view of corporate welfare free markets vs. communism. There are actually many ways the government can influence the economy while allowing for the buyers and sellers in the marketplace to make decisions for themselves. Though I guess it might be hard to admit that when you have to keep up the image of the "Party of No."

ESPA Busts The Myths Surrounding Same-Sex Marriage

Although the words "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" are written into the Declaration of Independence, achieving those realities have always required hard-fought battles within our society. It is still the case today, as GLBT advocates push for marriage equality so that every couple can have the same rights under the law, no matter if they are gay or straight. There are many obstacles (judicial, legislative) in the path to this goal, and they stem from ignorance that shape people's attitudes about what gay marriage is and isn't. So the Empire State Pride Agenda (ESPA) decided to help, and bust through a few common myths that some straight people hold about their gay neighbors.

From ESPA:

There is so much important information in there, so if you still have your doubts about supporting this equal rights agenda please browse through. Gay couples have more than a thousand less rights than straight married couples. Civil unions are also not the same as marriage, just as the separate-but-equal rulings of the past were found to be unequal. So go ahead and click the links above if you agree with any of those statements, or if you know someone else that still thinks that way.

1199 Challenges Paterson To Follow Obama's Instructions

For the state budget battle, no one is as big an "outside" player as GYNHA/1199 in pushing for a healthy amount of health are funding. Medicaid has taken a hit in Governor Paterson's budget proposal and the unions aren't having any of it. In fact, it seems as if one of their own that took a job in Obama's Administration tailored some of the President's words expressly to ensure that Medicaid is not cut in any way, shape or form.

From The Times-Union:

Addressing a group of governors at the White House two days ago, Obama said of the stimulus FMAP funding, “This plan will also help ensure that you don’t need to make cuts to essential services Americans rely on now more than ever.”

New York health care advocates were sending the quote around as soon as the White House press release came out. (Even then, we said that it would make a great tv ad).

But it was only words - not the same as getting the new (and popular) president on camera.

Lo and behold, yesterday a tv clip emerges. (Liz over at the Daily Politics posted the clip yesterday with the headline, 1199’s Next Ad?)

A source with knowledge of 1199’s strategy confirms that Obama’s sound bite will appear as the next round of ads.

(Imagine, a flattering picture of Obama - “President Obama wants to protect healthcare for New Yorkers” - cut to sound clip of Obama - cut to picture of the governor with the voiceover “but Gov. David Paterson just won’t listen….”)

And you know that 1199 will go there, especially after the ad they ran just a couple of weeks ago. Health care is big business in New York and a lot of people depend on Medicaid. With $2 billion in funds dedicated to our state alone, Governor Paterson better take heed or else he'll be losing even more friends as the primary season inches closer and closer to his doorstep.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Tedisco Stimulus Shuffle

Which way he goes, no one really has any clue. He still can't take stand on one of the most important pieces of legislation so far this year. What kind of Congressman could he possibly be? More importantly, if he can't make up his mind, how is he supposed to represent the interests of his district?

On Race, Mayor Grose Sounds A Lot Like Mayor Bloomberg

The mayor of a small Orange County, California town might not seem to have much in common with the Mayor of the largest city in the United States, but their attitudes about racism are quite similar. Bloomberg might not be dumb enough to do send out racist emails, but Mayor Grose of Los Alamitos needs to either open his mind or learn to be a better politician.

From The Huffington Post:

The mayor of Los Alamitos is coming under fire for an e-mail he sent out that depicts the White House lawn planted with watermelons, under the title "No Easter egg hunt this year."

Local businesswoman and city volunteer Keyanus Price, who is black, said Tuesday she received the e-mail from Mayor Dean Grose's personal account on Sunday and wants a public apology.

"I have had plenty of my share of chicken and watermelon and all those kinds of jokes," Price told The Associated Press. "I honestly don't even understand where he was coming from, sending this to me. As a black person receiving something like this from the city-freakin'-mayor - come on."

There's no need to post the picture, but by all means go to Huffington Post to see the racist image. The response by Mayor Grose gives for this is equally frustrating and outrageous:
Grose confirmed to the AP that he sent the e-mail to Price and said he didn't mean to offend her. He said he was unaware of the racial stereotype that black people like watermelons.

He said he and Price are friends and serve together on a community youth board.

"Bottom line is, we laugh at things and I didn't see this in the same light that she did," Grose told the AP. "I'm sorry. It wasn't sent to offend her personally - or anyone - from the standpoint of the African-American race."

Grose was either raised in a cave, or he's lying. I'll go with the latter choice. It really is sad to see how these stereotypes can not only still exist in our society, but that people think they can get away with sending these emails and get away with it by playing dumb.

Mayor Bloomberg was also playing dumb when he said that it the NY Post cartoon didn't bother him. Like I said, it isn't because I think he's a racist, but a more nuanced idea about the situation should be considered. He is powerful (white) figure and plays his role in the elite strategy of keeping the working class down by dividing them along racial lines and any other schism that the wealthy can find and manipulate. Not only is he the Mayor of New York, he's a wealthy media-mogul billionaire and those billions help keep him separated from the harsh realities of racism that too many Americans experience.

So what do we do about this? Well that's simple, keep talking about it and make as much noise about each of these incidents as possible until we start a real discussion in this country about the issue of race. Until we truly air out our past, we'll never get past it, even in this post-racial era.

Term Limit Bill Clears It's First State Assembly Hurdle

Albany is a dysfunctional place, but when there is widespread public support for something, the process has an ability to work from time to time. This week the Elections Committee considered and affirmed Hakeem Jeffries' bill to usurp the Mayor and Council's decision to extend term limits and make them put the issue to a vote. The legislation has a long way to go, but nevertheless it is going.

From PolitickerNY:

"While some of us, including myself, are against term limits, the City of New York spoke twice," said Assemblyman Ruben Diaz Jr., the committee chair.

The bill will now advance to the Ways and Means Committee. It would require a citywide referendum in New York by May 1.

Assemblyman Rob Walker, of Long Island raised concerns about whether the city Board of Elections would be prepared in time. A Diaz staffer assured him the BOE could be ready, especially if the bill is passed soon.

There is no indication it will come to the floor expediently, and still has not been approved by the relevant committees in the State Senate. A spokesman for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Ah yes, the State Senate. Hopefully they'll be as diligent as the Assembly is thus far. A May 1st election date is not that far away and everything must be in order quickly. I still feel that the chances of actually blocking the Mayor's re-election bid are slim, but for now, at least they aren't non-existent.

Obama Names Gov. Locke Commerce Secretary

After a tremendous speech last night to a joint session of Congress, Barack Obama made more news today by announcing ex- Gov. Gay Locke (D-WA) as the third (and hopefully final) nominee for Commerce Secretary. Let's hope that he doesn't have any intra-state issues like Richardson has, since the partisan turmoil that Gregg (R-NH) brought up is irrelevant here.

Oh and of course, this is one less position that Governor Sebelius can occupy. Now to find someone to fill in at HHS so that her coyness about the position results in her run for Senate next year.

Smith Seeks To Reconcile Senate Dems Over Increased Taxes

Majority Leader Malcolm Smith may not like the idea so much about raising taxes on the rich, but there are simply too many members of his caucus that want to see it done. Due to that pressure from within, Smith will at the very least let Senate Democrats talk amongst themselves.

From WXXI Rochester:

Lamentably, the meeting will be held in private without the public being able to see their government in action. Though it is better than nothing. Ideally they will come to a conclusion that mirror the Fair Share Plan. At this time, New York needs a budget that truly makes 'shared sacrifice' a reality. Empty rhetoric from Governor Paterson and Majority Leader Smith is simply not enough. If Sheldon Silver can get behind this, then Paterson and Smith need to stand up and do the same.

NY Post Vs The Public, Another Reason Bloomberg Is Out Of Touch

Opponents of Mayor Bloomberg (myself included) are looking at all ways to attack him as he attempts to run for his third term. There are so many avenues for that endeavor, fiscally, term limits debacle, etc. Now we can add racism to the mix. Not that the Mayor himself is, I'm not accusing him of that, but as the leader of our city, he must stand up for the citizenry and speak out against racist elements of our society, specifically the NY Post (more specifically the people there that drew and ran the cartoon) even if the Post runs good stories about himself.

So far the reactions to Bloomberg's reaction have been harsh:

At this morning’s City Hall rally, Councilwoman Letitia James called on black clergy members to block Michael Bloomberg from speaking to their congregations because of his lack of outrage over the controversial cartoon in the New York Post.

Bloomberg told reporters at a press conference ealier today that he accepted Murdoch’s apology at face value. Earlier, Bloomberg acknowledged that some people could be offended by the cartoon, but he didn’t seem perturbed by it.

Bloomberg may have been trying to avoid a clash with Murdoch, with whom he has had a good relationship.

Murdoch is among the contributors to Bloomberg’s effort to improve city schools, and the New York Post offered friendly encouragement for Bloomberg's presidential campaign. The September 15, 2006, editorial was headlined "Run Mike Run."

They also backed him in the term limits saga and that is just one more negative about the Murdoch rag. What we need is a new Mayor, one that will have the courage to go up against those that condone racist symbols in our society. Also, it is important that he or she be able to be able to see why people would be outraged by Delonas' cartoon.

Madame Speaker, Here's Our President

I look forward to a repeat of this introduction for the next eight years:

Much, much better than having had to look at this (careful, it may scare you).

Obama's Big Night On Capitol Hill

A few years ago if I had wanted to catch the President's State of the Union (or speech to Congress, whatever you'd like to call the first Joint Address in the term) afterhours, I'd have to wait and wait and wait. Now I don't even have to find a good quality video on YouTube, all it took was a short trip to I also got to fast forward to the actual speech when I couldn't take anymore applauding.

As for the actual speech, it was knocked out of the park with the bases loaded. It even topped his move earlier in the day to lay out a clear path of withdrawing our troops in Iraq. The address in its entirety spoke to all Americans, and all but the hardest of hard-core Republicans overwhelmingly approved. We already knew he was good at campaign speeches, but as President they just keep getting better and better.

Unfortunately, what is not better is the economy and that was the 800 pound elephant in the room (yes, you can equate that animal inference to the party with a similar emblem). Obama didn't ignore it though, he went straight for the pachyderm and spoke with truth and honesty that even got the applause of some Republicans. Of course, their party is in disarray and whatever bright hopes of new leadership they think they have is woefully incompetent and delusional, as we saw right after Obama's speech. As a Republican from Louisiana to talk about Katrina and complain about the government is...mindblowing.

Last night, we saw the heads of both parties give their best and really, there is no comparison, whatsoever. Obama owned the night.

Paterson Gets Bailout Funds, Loses Best Strategic Friend All In One Day

I am wiped out by a day of apartment hunting and trying to catch up, such as listening to Obama's speech at the moment. Though as bad as my day has been, at least I'm not in Governor Paterson's shoes. While he did get to announce where the stimulus money will be going, the news of that was dwarfed by his political consulting firm choosing to drop him like a bad habit.

From The Daily Politics:

A source familiar with the situation said Global Strategy Group officially severed its relationship with the governor in writing as of today.

"It was time for everyone to move on," the source said. "The governor said very clearly he's looking for his own team. The time was now. There's nothing but good feelings all around."

The decision was not tied to the imminent departure of Paterson's communications director, Risa Heller, who worked at Global briefly in between leaving Sen. Chuck Schumer's office and joining the governor's staff when he replaced Spitzer in March.

Heller, who said in a prepared statement that she is leaving the govenror's office to pursue "other opportunities," will not be returning to the firm, the source said.

It's unclear if this was a defensive move by the polling/consulting firm to avoid being axed by Paterson. There were reports as early as December that the governor was considering shaking up his political shop and had halved Global's $15,000-a-month fee.

Perhaps they wanted to beat Paterson to ending the relationship, but really, our governor can hardly stick to a position for more than a few days at a time on an increasing number of issues. That doesn't just go for policy, it applies to staffing decisions as well. Of course it might just be a difference of opinion in how to go forward but nevertheless the news is yet another piece of copy showing that our state's executive doesn't have much of a handle on things concerning his office, Albany and the rest of New York.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Schumer Lays Down The Law For GOP Governors

A funny thing happened after the stimulus bill passed through Congress. That was that all the GOP governors that were against the stimulus suddenly wanted a piece of the pie but only the parts they liked. Too bad they didn't read the law though, because it was written to avoid the partisan games that Schumer and others easily predicted.

City Councils Fills In Empty Seats Today

While I was busy out apartment hunting all afternoon, voters in three districts were casting ballots to determine their representation in the Council for the several months before the main event this September/November (the primary is really what counts in most of these things). How many people actually turned out though is probably not much, so depending on who did the best field operation, that is a reliable indicator of who is going to City Hall.

From NY1:

In Queens, voters in the 21st Council District will select a replacement for Hiram Monserrate, who was elected to the State Senate last fall.

The district encompasses Elmhurst, Corona and part of Jackson Heights.

Those vying for the seat include Monserrate's former chief of staff, Julissa Ferraras, George Dixon, Jose Eduardo Giraldo and Francisco Moya.

In the 32nd District, four candidates are also vying for the seat vacated by Joseph Addabbo's election to the State Senate.

The candidates are Lew Simon, Geraldine Chapey, Eric Ulrich and Mike Ricatto.

The district covers Ozone Park, Howard Beach and the western half of the Rockaways.

On Staten Island, six candidates are running for the 49th District seat formerly held by Michael McMahon.

And to top it off, because of last-minute candidates, the DOE used paper ballots. It'll probably be the last time too, since the city is planning on going electronic this fall.

Another Post Apology, Same Old Racist Attitudes

By the end of last week, an editor at the Post finally made a non-apology apology for their racist cartoon after many in the community came out to protest the Post's actions. Since that did nothing to address the problem that the cartoon generated, the protests continued and the press surrounding the story became increasingly negative for the newspaper rag. So who else does the Post bring out but the head honcho himself to make yet another "apology."

From The Albany Project (because I refuse to link the Post anymore):

As the Chairman of the New York Post, I am ultimately responsible for what is printed in its pages. The buck stops with me.

Last week, we made a mistake. We ran a cartoon that offended many people. Today I want to personally apologize to any reader who felt offended, and even insulted.

Over the past couple of days, I have spoken to a number of people and I now better understand the hurt this cartoon has caused. At the same time, I have had conversations with Post editors about the situation and I can assure you - without a doubt - that the only intent of that cartoon was to mock a badly written piece of legislation. It was not meant to be racist, but unfortunately, it was interpreted by many as such.

We all hold the readers of the New York Post in high regard and I promise you that we will seek to be more attuned to the sensitivities of our community.

What Murdoch is make this look serious and even professional. It does not snipe and make childish remarks such as berating Al Sharpton and others that saw the cartoon and were compelled to give their time to protest the racist behavior of the cartoonist and editor who let it be published. Yet, it is still not a true apology. I put that sentence in bold up above because as the comments at The Albany Project show, there is no way to interpret this cartoon as anything but racist. You have to be racist in order to find humor in it. Mocking the stimulus bill is one thing, but to do it in this fashion is not only about the legislation Barack Obama had signed into law last week. I sincerely find it hard to believe that Murdoch's comments are nothing more than an attempt to kill the story that his paper has serious racist elements lurking inside.

Andy Stern Talks To Obama About Health Care

As Andy says, this isn't a Democratic or Republican problem, it's an American crisis and we must all work together to solve it.

Fight For DC Representation Gets Tougher As Senate Vote Nears

Since it's creation the District of Columbia has never had representation in Congress. Sure, they have a delegate...and a damn good one, but she can't vote as the other 435 members can. For years now there has been an effort to give D.C. a Congressmember and now that the Dems are in power, the ability to get it done has greatly improved. However, as the bill winds its way through the process, those that do not want a solidly Democratic seat added on are voicing their absurdities "concerns."

From ThinkProgress:

Today, the Senate began debate on S. 160, a bill to “provide the District of Columbia a voting seat and the State of Utah an additional seat in the House of Representatives.” DCist reports that the chamber will likely hold the cloture vote tomorrow.

In a new piece in the National Review, former Justice Department official Hans von Spakovsky tries to make the case that D.C. residents don’t deserve full federal voting rights. Spakovsky, of course, has a history of vote suppression allegations while serving in the Bush administration.

In his piece, Spakovsky goes beyond the traditional constitutionality claim made by opponents, such as Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). He claims that D.C. residents don’t need a full voting member in Congress because every federal lawmaker is supposedly looking out for their best interests. Toward the end, he also claims that this bill — supported by Republicans such as Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) — is nothing more than a “raw grab at political power” by Democrats.

Good thing though, there are smarter, and more truthful people around to correct Spakovsky's effort at keeping D.C. residents license plates reading "Taxation without Representation." Perhaps he likes to see them as he heads out of the District to wherever his home is, but it is long past the time that we straigten this matter out.

NY Blade Goes For Yetta!

For some reason or another, I missed a very important piece of news on Friday. The New York Blade has already made an endorsement in the city elections this fall. Perhaps it was the desire to be at the end of the week (as I already am for the end of this one) but I'm glad a friend had forwarded it along. Yetta Kurland added the prominent GLBT paper to her list of endorsements in the race to unseat Speaker Christine Quinn. Yetta wants to change things up in the Council, and the Blade can clearly see it...and wants to see it happen.

From The NY Blade:

Kurland has been a civil rights attorney the past decade, which has given her experience empowering people. She is an impassioned teacher who has worked as an adjunct professor at New York University; she also opened an alternative language center, and she’s been the vice president of the Stonewall Democrats.

Currently, District 3 is represented by Christine Quinn, who is openly gay and is the City Council speaker. Quinn is likely to seek reelection, which is possible since the council, with the backing of Quinn and Mayor Bloomberg, extended term limits for this election (Kurland opposed the extension without a referendum).

“I have respect for Christine Quinn and honor her contributions to our community,” Kurland told us. “But it’s time for change in this city, and the term limits issue typified that. I think I offer a chance to restore the voice of our community to city government and to be able to stand up for those too often ignored by those in power.” We agree.

The Blade also notes her advocacy in education reform, GLBT issues, her career as a civil rights attorney and her passion to be a voice for the community. The paper is absolutely right in their assertion about Yetta. Currently District 3 is represented by the Speaker of the Council and while that may be considered a boon for her constituents, the damage she has done to the city by being at the Mayor's side in the last few years is too much to bear. That slush fund scandal didn't help matters either. Basically, when the powerful stop responding to the people that they are supposed to represent, it's time to make a change. Yetta Kurland is that change.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sen. Shelby Tries Backtracking From Questioning Pres. Obama's Citizenship

Senator Shelby is trying to have it both ways now that his words at a small forum have been made widely public. To rile up his conservative friends, he put on the tin foil hat that proudly exclaims that there's a chance Barack Obama is not a real American by birth, even though the story has been thoroughly debunked. When the story blew up in the mainstream, Shelby accused the paper that recorded it as not telling the full story, while the paper stands by it. Now whether or not who's right...why on Earth would Shelby even bring up the subject in the first place unless he wanted to dish out red meat to his GOP audience? Yeah, that's a rhetorical question.

CA Assemblyman Proposes Taxing Marijuana

Desperate times calls for desperate measures, and out of all the states in the Union, the Golden State has a budget that is worse off than many others, even though everyone is having a troubling time. So what could be a revolutionary plan that could help the fiscal solvency of the state and at the same time scare the bejeezus out of social conservatives?

Taxing and regulating marijuana
of course:

Speaking at a landmark press conference today, California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) introduced comprehensive legislation to tax and regulate the commercial production and sale of cannabis in a manner similar to alcohol.

“With the state in the midst of an historic economic crisis, the move towards regulating and taxing marijuana is simply common sense. This legislation would generate much needed revenue for the state, restrict access to only those over 21, end the environmental damage to our public lands from illicit crops, and improve public safety by redirecting law enforcement efforts to more serious crimes”, Assemblyman Ammiano said. “California has the opportunity to be the first state in the nation to enact a smart, responsible public policy for the control and regulation of marijuana.”[...]

As introduced, Ammiano’s measure would allow for the licensed production and sale of cannabis to consumers age 21 and over. Licensed cultivators would pay an excise tax of $50 per ounce of cannabis. In addition, the proposal would impose a sales tax on commercial sales. (Ammiano’s proposal would not affect the state’s medical marijuana law, allowing patients and caregivers to grow their own medicine.)

Imagine that, ratcheting down the war on drugs by a notch or two and helping to reduce the deficit of one of the world's top ten economies. NORML estimates that it would raise more than a billion a year in addition to the elimination of state law enforcement programs that are set up to catch growers, distributors and users. Treating marijuana like alcohol and cigarettes is a smart idea, and even though our puritanism runs deep, there are veins of common sense embedded in our foundation as a country.

While a many Americans on the west coast are in support (see the article) of this type of action, it remains to be seen if the bill could actually pass the Assembly and Senate, then be signed by Governor Schwarznegger. He may be a moderate Republican, but he is certainly no Ron Paul. Then again, times are really, really bad, so I won't count Mr. Ammiano's proposal out yet.

Bloomberg's Support Keeps Slip, Slip, Slipping Away

Ever so slowly, the pace of the city polls will be quickening, taking the pulse of a city about to elect (or re-elect) a Mayor and approximately two-thirds of the Council. Today we saw Marist College come out with their latest snapshot of the five boroughs, and it gives Mayor Bloomberg both good and bad news.

From Marist College:

Although a majority of registered voters in New York City -- 52% -- say Mayor Michael Bloomberg is doing either an excellent or good job in office, the mayor’s job approval rating has dipped 7 percentage points bringing it to its lowest point since June 2005. Bloomberg has been losing ground in voters’ eyes since early last fall. In Marist’s November survey, 59% of the city’s electorate thought the mayor was doing an above average job, a 9 percentage point drop from the previous month. In October, Mayor Bloomberg enjoyed a cushy 68% approval rating.

49% of New York City’s electorate believes the Big Apple is headed in the wrong direction. Only 37% think the city is on the right track. In November, voters divided over the city’s trajectory. At that time, 45% of voters said the city was headed in the right direction, and 47% thought it was moving down the wrong track.

55% of registered voters think it’s time for someone else to lead New York City while 40% say Mayor Bloomberg deserves to be re-elected. Voters reported similar sentiments four years ago when Bloomberg ran for and won re-election. When the Marist Poll asked the identical question in March 2005, a majority of voters -- 56% -- reported it was time for Bloomberg to go. Just 39% said Bloomberg deserved to be re-elected at that time.

Just what are the odds Mayor Michael Bloomberg will win a third term? The answer: Pretty good if New York City’s mayoral election were held today. When pitted against Congressman Anthony Weiner, City Comptroller Bill Thompson, or City Council Member Tony Avella, Bloomberg leads Weiner 53% to 37%, outpaces Thompson 53% to 36% and defeats Avella 57% to 30%. Bloomberg’s lead has changed little since Marist’s November survey. At that time, Bloomberg was in front of Weiner 51% to 37%, he led Thompson 52% to 32%, and the mayor fended off Avella 54% to 28%.
In a nutshell, Mayor Bloomberg would win if the election were held today, but since it's not, there is plenty of time for his opposition to dig into those negatives the Mayor has and capitalize on them. If I were on either Weiner's or Thompson's campaign, I'd be stressing how bad times are and connect them with what the Mayor has done to add to our problems. Now if the electorate only made above $300,000, I'd say there isn't much to be done. However, the median salary in the city is about a quarter million dollars shy of that number, so start connecting him to the problems of the increasing gap between the rich and the poor. Bloomberg is going to run on his great "fiscal stewardship" and people will believe him if they do not hear how that managment has only been for the benefit of the wealthiest of New Yorkers.

Oh and as the poll continues on, keep reminding voters about the term limits fiasco, over and over and over again.

Got it?

President Obama Corrects GOP, Money For Education Is Not A Waste

For too long our public education has been beaten down by conservatives, whether it be on cable news programs, opinion pages or by cutting funding for our schools. Well, Barack Obama has a word or two for critics of the stimulus bill who think that investing in our kids is a bad idea.

How A NYC Authority Lost $476,400 Of Your Money On eBay

In these dire economic times, citizens are being asked to sacrifice in terms of taxes and city/state programs. The Mayor is asking for this, the Governor is asking for this and in the Legislature, at least Majority Leader Smith is on their side for this type of 'shared sacrifice.' With that, you would hope that the money the city and state does have, that they would spend and save it wisely. Unfortunately, the Authority in charge of Governor's Island development took a page out of Sarah Palin's book and lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

From PolitickerNY:

In 2007, the city-state agency charged with developing Governors Island, the 172-acre former Coast Guard base off of Lower Manhattan, bought a Martha’s Vineyard ferry for $500,000 to help open the island to visitors.

This morning, the vessel was sold by the agency on eBay. The winning bid: $23,600.

The auction closes a less-than-glorious chapter for the agency, the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, which is also facing major budget constraints (i.e. the state budget proposal doesn’t provide any money at all for GIPEC). When officials first bought the boat from the Woods Hole, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority, supporters of the island seemed rather pleased with the purchase, which would double its fleet size and allow for far more traffic (there's a smaller ferry that runs from Lower Manhattan to the island).

I understand that cars, boats, planes, trains, etc depreciate in value once used, but by that amount in less than two years is absolutely ridiculous. It just goes to show that while elected officials talk a good game about fiscal responsibility, their control over related agencies is practically non-existent. Now the winning bidder, r***7, has never purchased anything on eBay and no information is available. Well, lucky them and have fun with the boat sir or madam.

What really gets me though, is that the starting bid for this boat that cost the taxpayers $500,000 was a measly $10.00. Fiscal responsibility...the joke would be funny if it weren't such a sad state of affairs about how our government works.

Keep NY Moving Gears Up to Keep M.T.A. Fares Down

It's still cold and blustery outside, but the buds on the trees are getting ready to open, yearning for spring as the people that walk by them. What does that mean in this context you ask? Well, that's a clear sign it's time to battle over the budget and here in the city, that means the fight over where the fares will be in the coming year is on. The Authority has been threatening $103 dollar monthly cards unless they get state funding, so that additional money from the Governor and Legislature is crucial. Not only must the fight be taken to them, but to get the people who ride become aware, so that we can have even more strength when the decisions are made. That means there'll be ads and petition-gathering out in full force.

From Keep New York Moving:

Anyone who rides mass transit knows that we've got a crisis on our hands. Unless our leaders act now, we could soon face cuts to train and bus service and double-digit fare hikes. Even worse, there's no money for the vital transit rebuilding program, which makes it possible to buy new subway cars and buses, rehabilitate crumbling stations, and fix aging infrastructure, such as tracks and signals.

In these tough economic times, with millions of New Yorkers relying on affordable, reliable public transportation for their livelihoods, investing in transit is necessary for our economy, our environment and the future of New York.

TAKE ACTION! Sign the Keep New York Moving petition.

Click the link to do your part and spread the word to back up the ads you'll see on the subways soon.

Gov. Arnold To Gov. Jindal, Show Me Your Stimulus Money!

While on the show yesterday, Arnold was asked to Sanford's statement over taking stimulus money, but since he took his state's share, the request by California's Governor goes to his fellow Republican Executive in Louisiana, Gov. Jindal. Bobby Jindal denied his state approximately $90 billion in unemployment monies because he erroneously though that it would raise taxes. So, Gov. Jindal, hand that money over to California, they need the finances just as bad as you do. Oh and citizens of Lousiana, you know what to do with Jindal next time he's up for re-election (or if he goes after the party's ticket in 2012).

Praises For Quinn Start Showing Up As She Stands Up To Bloomberg

Adam Lisberg of the NY Daily News was singing praises for Speaker Quinn this weekend after watching her stand up to the Mayor over the last couple of months. Indeed, Quinn has been on the more progressive side of issues while the Mayor sits comfortably where he is on the Upper East Side (my apologies to Upper East Siders who disagree with the Mayor). It really is almost as if she has changed from the willing ally back when she passed the term limits extension through in October.

From The NY Daily News:

Now that she's not running for Mayor Bloomberg's job, Christine Quinn has turned into his best opponent.

The City Council speaker stood up last week to back a detailed plan for a half-millionaire's tax that she said would help the poorest New Yorkers - while conspicuously spurning Bloomberg's plan to raise the sales tax on everyone.

A week earlier, Quinn used her State of the City speech to push high-tech government initiatives that should have been thought of by the guy who set up 311 - like creating one online application for all new city businesses, merging back office operations and selling .nyc as an Internet address.

That came a day after she led the Council in overriding Bloomberg's veto of a bill easing residency requirements on DC37 members. They differed only on technical points, granted, but a veto is a veto.

And it was the Friday before Christmas that the Bloomberg administration caved in to Quinn's push to junk a $117 million plan to revamp the city's senior centers.

All great things I agree, as Lisberg dutifully notes them down in the article. He then lauds her style for not talking up these issues in her State of the City address because, "That's not her style." Meh. Mr. Lisberg you have got to be kidding me here. Look, it is great that she's acting like the progressive that she once was, or still is deep down inside.

The issue for her critics though, such as I and those in the Council that opposed her bid to screw the voters and extend term limits so that she and the Mayor could run again is simply unforgivable. This isn't a single-issue, anti-Quinn campaign though, it is a matter of credibility and seeing those that have it. Disrespecting the voters who instituted term limits twice goes to the very heart of having good leadership in the city. Bloomberg, by the way he went about that extension (such as waiting for enough time to pass so that he could claim there wasn't enough time to send the question to the voters again) shows that he simply wanted to hold onto his power. Quinn could have stood up to him then, but she didn't and neither did the 28 other CMs that she helped vote the way of the Mayor and their own self-interest (especially those who were in their second terms).

As to the question of having a powerful Mayor with a worthy opponent, why doesn't those in the media such as Mr. Lisberg wonder about respecting New Yorkers and letting them have a Mayor and Council that actually reflect their views and opinions, and not just the billionaires who lust for power and their "deputies" that wish to have the same some day.