Thursday, August 28, 2008

Silver Tarnishes Dem Convention

What a great historic night it was last night. Officially nominating the first African-American Presidential nominee, a nominee who will change this country, which so desperately needs change, a Democratic nominee who will win...what a great night.

It was only tarnished by one thing: The corrupt Assembly Speaker Silver introducing Senator Hillary Clinton so she could put an end the roll call vote.

His presence alone smudges the affair, but giving him such a momentary national platform (albeit not exactly in prime time) made us puke a bit.

Governor Paterson, by all rights, should have done that introducing.

Silver stands for pay to play cronyism and consolidation of top down power so anathema to soon to be President-elect Obama's message, one can only hope that the whiff of corruption dissipates in the thin Denver air before the party leaves the city.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Marty Wants a Third Term, Voters Be Damned

Beep Markowitz, according to the Times, is in favor of ending term limits.

His position on term limits gives a glimpse into the way Markowitz disdainfully views voters and constituents. On the Times City Room blog Markowitz says:
“If the laws were changed and they allowed another term, I’d certainly be honored to serve another term,” Mr. Markowitz added. “But the choice would be up to the voters.”

Marty should be informed that the choice has been made by the voters—they ratified term limits twice. Also someone should tell Marty that if we get rid of term limits, it doesn't automatically give him a third term.

There is no reason to expect something different from the guy who has been the cheerleader in chief for Bruce Ratner and has no other office to turn to. But wouldn't Markowitz be able to easily get a job with Forest City Ratner once public office is no longer available to him?

Anyways, we endorse Markowitz wholeheartedly...for retirement.

Newell, Attempting to Unseat Silver, Gets Times Endorsement

Challenging an incumbent as corrupt and deeply entrenched as Sheldon Silver is no easy task. Our admiration goes out to Paul Newell and Luke Henry for making this courageous effort. Newell opposes Atlantic Yards, while Henry's position on the project is unclear.

Of course Sheldon Silver supports Atlantic Yards, voted to approve it and receives financial support from Forest City Ratner.

The New York Times endorsed Newell on August 22. Here's the endorsement:

Endorsements for a Better Albany

Most New Yorkers want a better, fairer, more open State Legislature instead of the embarrassment they now endure. For the primary on Sept. 9, there are two Democratic races in New York City that offer a chance to make a change in Albany or, at least make a strong statement about how badly change is needed.

The most important of these races is in Lower Manhattan, where Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, one of the most powerful people in the state, is facing his first real challenge in decades. It is still an uphill fight for any opponent, but the race has already made one difference. It has brought the ever-secretive Mr. Silver out to meet voters and campaign for his job.

Of the two challengers, Paul Newell, a community activist with deep roots in the Lower East Side, has the stronger credentials. Luke Henry, an attorney who moved into the district more recently, is working hard. Mr. Newell has done a better job of identifying Mr. Silver’s weaknesses: mainly, his devotion to closed-door politics, including his refusal to disclose details about his outside income. Mr. Newell is also pledging to support congestion pricing and to press for a nonpartisan redistricting commission, which is essential for real change. In the 64th Assembly District, we endorse Paul Newell.

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Choose Powell for the 10th CD

So, it's that time of year again. Congressional primaries. Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (who represents the 11th district where Atlantic Yards is proposed) is unchallenged.

The big race in the neighborhood is for the 10th Congressional District, pitting 25-year incumbent Ed Towns against 42-year old challenger Kevin Powell.

Powell opposes Atlantic Yards while Towns has supported the project and has, through the years, received contributions from Ratner and his relations and surrogates.

On Powell's campaign site he has posted this pdf outlining his position on the Atlantic Yards project. 

Towns does not have a campaign web site.

The Brooklyn Paper had separate sit down interviews with Powell and Towns just last week and has posted the podcasts on their website [Powell interview, Towns interview]. 

Powell, around 30:30 of the podcast said:

"Where is he [Towns] on Atlantic Yards? Woefully missing in action, because he's in the pocket of a number of developers."

Towns did not say anything about Atlantic Yards.

We are well aware that there is not a lot that federal officials can do about Atlantic Yards, but currently Congressman Dennis Kucinich is in the midst of probing IRS regulations and the Yankees' use of tax-exempt bonds for their stadium, and seems to be eyeing Ratner's arena as well. Presumably electing Powell to the seat would give Kucinich a new ally in his probe.

We're pretty unabashedly simple minded here. But this one makes it even simpler. It's time for the entrenched incumbent, who, amongst other things supports Atlantic Yards, to go. While we enthusiastically endorse Powell for this seat because of his stance on Atlantic Yards, there are many, many reasons to inject new blood into a Congressional seat which has grown stagnant under the 25-year incumbent. Towns's position on Atlantic Yards is just one more reason. 

The 10th Congressional District includes Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Downtown Brooklyn and Bed Stuy, all which border or nearly border the Atlantic Yards project. Also in the district are East New York, Canarsie and Flatlands.

The primary is on Tuesday, September 9th.

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