Thursday, July 28, 2011
Here is an article by former Bronx Assemblyman Michael Benjamin in the New York Post about the convoluted way that the head of the Board of Elections is selected. In this instance, a deal was made to allow the Bronx Boss, Assemblyman Carl Heastie, to select the person. However, that deal fell apart when the Staten Island Election Commissioner, who was going to provide the needed vote, resigned to run for DA. Now there could be a vacancy for a while in this important position. This quote from Mr. Benjamin says it all, "our modern elections are far too important to remain a vestige of a bygone political era. It's time to free our election process from patronage control by the two major political parties. "
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Here is an article from the Daily News pointing out that just one day after Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer called for the elimination of member items or pork, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. announced that he was handing out $13 million to Bronx organizations. Diaz's office said they are in the process of examining Stringer's report. My bet is that Stringer will be the only major politician in this City to take this position.
Here is Congressman Eliot Engel talking tough to Nancy Pelosi regarding the proposed budget deal that could cost NY a billion dollars in Medicare funds. Engel is quoted in the Daily News as saying, "We served notice on Pelosi that we are not going to support this," Engel said. "This would mean tremendous cuts in health care services in New York and massive losses of jobs . . . I'm determined to beat it back." Tough words from a guy primarily known for getting to the State of the Union address hours early to snag an aisle seat.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Despite a salary of over $112,000 for a part-time job, many members of the City Council seem to still rack up a good amount of credit card debt. The categories are so ridiculously broad that it can be hard to determine what they really owe, but one Councilman from Brooklyn (Jumane Williams) has debt of between $35,000 to $308,000. Bronx Councilman Oliver Koppell lists $160,000 on 3 credit cards. His comment was "I get offers for zero percent interest," he said. "It's sort of too good to pass up."
Here is a first among any major elected official -- Manhattan BP Scott Stringer has called for the elimination of member items (worth nearly $50 million) in the City Council. While certainly the timing of his proposal is suspect given his intention of running for Mayor, it still makes him the first elected official to go on record in saying that slush funds should be eliminated. The race for 2013 is already getting interesting.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Congressman Eliot Engel is answering questions about a building he owns in the Bronx that might contain an illegal apartment. The problem is that the City has been denied access to the building six times since 2009 to inspect the claims. Engel owns a portion of the building with a realty company in the Bronx.
A recent NY Post editorial calls on the City Council to eliminate member items or discretionary funding to individual members of the Council. The editorial discusses how these funds are used to ensure loyalty to the leadership, and it details some of the recent major abuses by members of the Council.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. is quoted in the NY Post saying that Congressman Joe Crowley of Queens is a hypocrite for moving his family to a suburb of DC. In addition to calling him a hypocrite, he also says "It's telling the people of the city . . . 'I'm leaving you.' "
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Dan Beekman at the Daily News reports that Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. is threatening to sue the Bloomberg administration over the fate of the Muller Army Reserve Center in the Wakefield section of the Bronx. The Bloomberg administration is proposing a homeless shelter for the site against strong community opposition. The Borough President is opposed to using the site for a homeless shelter and has proposed that the National Guard current located at the Kingsbridge Armory be moved to the site.
Bronx News Network reports that current City Council Majority Leader Joel Rivera of the Bronx is exploring a new career outside of politics. Councilman Rivera will now be selling real estate in the Bronx for RE/MAX Results. It's probably a good idea to have another career to fall back on if the political stuff does not work out.