Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Christina Gonzalez Arrested For Being Poor

Christina Gonzalez, the community activist who is running for New York City Council, seems to have been targeted for arrest once again by police yesterday. Here is a recent video of a campaign speech.

Ms. Gonzalez was arrested on Monday, September 24, 2013, for asking for a swipe into the subway system. The persons, who she asked, were police officers and subway employees. Here is a video showing NYPD officers putting Ms. Gonzalez into a police vehicle.

Ms. Gonzalez is a prolific activist with a long record of protesting brutality and other controversial police procedures, such as the unconstitutional policy known as stop-and-frisk. Because of her visibility and criticism, many in the community believe that she has been targeted by police and the justice system for retribution and hostility.

Correction : This post was updated to correct information about the dress and identity of the people whom Ms. Gonzalez approached for a fee subway swipe. The people were police officers and subway employees, not undercover police officers as initially reported.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

How committed is Bill de Blasio to adopting progressive reforms ?

Bill de Blasio and Land Use : Liberal Mayoral Candidate Would Continue Many of Bloomberg's -- and Quinn's -- Policies

In the weeks leading up to Christine Quinn's defeat in the Democratic primary election, it came to be known that one of the slimy Rudin lobbyists responsible for influencing the City Council to approve the controversial St. Vincent's luxury condo conversion plan had already found a way to get access to Bill de Blasio, the presumptive leading mayoral candidate. Hosted on Scribd is an e-mail about the controversial lobbyist, James Capalino, that was exchanged between Donny Moss and I.

After a couple of weeks of careful consideration, I have produced a new YouTube video about this e-mail exchange.

One major reason that activists organised to vote Quinn out of office was because of how she sold out the community in favor of her campaign contributors and powerful big business interests. Real estate developers have enjoyed great influence over city government, so much so that voters have had almost no way of participating in important community decisions. For example, voters desired saving the zoning on the St. Vincent's campus for a replacement hospital, but big business interests were able to ride roughshod over voters because of their use of lobbyists and the outsized influence of campaign donations.

After the primary election, Bill de Blasio announced that he would not appear at fundraisers unless contributors could package together donations of at least $75,000. In addition to embracing lobbyists that helped Rudin privatise the former real estate of St. Vincent's, de Blasio was now embracing the out-sized influence of money in politics.

How could it be that activists, who carried the reform banner to organize and defeat Quinn in the mayoral primary, now turn the other way after de Blasio has now begun to adopt some the same tools of the broken political system as did Quinn ?

The concerns over who gets access to political candidates are serious. As some of you may know, when Andrew Cuomo was running for governor, some St. Vincent's activists approached his campaign people over the need for a hospital to replace St. Vincent's. Cuomo's campaign people told the St. Vincent's activists, "We'll see you after the election." After the election, what did Gov. Cuomo do ? Within days, he formed the Medicaid Redesign Team to continue the work of closing hospitals, and he appointed Stephen Berger to head the Brooklyn Working Group in an attempt to specifically close hospitals in Brooklyn. Similarly, some AIDS activists tried to reach out to the de Blasio campaign this year to determine if his campaign platform would include more ambitious goals to confront HIV/AIDS, but the AIDS activists were told by de Blasio's campaign people, "We'll see you after the election."

After all the community organizing, town halls, and protests in which activists have engaged to fight for a hospital to save St. Vincent's, just hearing the phrase, "We'll see you after the election," should activate a powerful recognition : that de Blasio means to make no public commitment to champion for the reforms that that many communities say they want to see brought about in the next mayoral administration.

Some activists, who participated in the movement to vote Quinn out of office, have been doing this work for over 22 years -- from the time when Quinn first arrived in the political scene in New York. It becomes too late to try to hold a politician accountable once the politician gets elected into office. Using Quinn as an example, she will have spent about 15 years in City Council spread out over 5 terms in office. During this time, in what direction has this city headed ? There was no way to hold her accountable during these 15 years, except to finally vote her out of office. That's the only way.

As challenging as it was to vote Quinn out of office, what lesson should we be drawing from this experience ? What wisdom is there to be had ? The reality is that Quinn was just a symptom of a broken political system. The root causes of the political system being broken still exist. In the last two years, our activism was influenced by important principles from the Occupy movement, and that is that inequality, corruption, and the undue influence of big business interests is what keeps our government broken and non-responsive to voters' needs. Knowing all that we know, do we wait for politicians to max out on term limits before they should be held accountable to voters, or should politicians be held accountable even before they win an election and are sworn into office ?

It all comes down to what you think, because it was you, who was made voiceless under the Bloomberg-Quinn administration. Our immediate contribution to push back against the broken political system was to vote Quinn out of office, but based on the messages that de Blasio is telegraphing to the community, voting Quinn out is not enough to bring about reforms. Now that she will soon be gone, what else do you need to do to reclaim your government ?

Please think about this, because the movement to bring about reforms is not over, yet. The movement needs you to step forward, because not everybody is fighting for reforms, and compromises are being made that may not serve your best interests. The only way for you to make sure that your best interests are being served is for you to step up and speak out. Your voice and opinion counts. Make it be heard.

2013-09-23 Rudin Management Company - James Capalino NYC Lobbyist & Client Search Result

Friday, September 20, 2013

VIDEO : Activists Arrested During Protest Against David Patraeus at City University of New York

6 CUNY students were arrested Tuesday during a protest against a controversial decision by CUNY to hire ex-C.I.A. director David Petraeus for a teaching post this semester. "A video shows police officers trying to barricade the protesters, who spill out onto the street," The New York Daily News reported. The video shows police shoving and pushing the protesters, including an episode where cops used physical force against young ladies, who took part in the protest.

“They did not touch or threaten those officers,” said lawyer Lamis Deek, who was defending the arrested students. “The only obstruction that happened was from the police.”

Thursday, September 19, 2013

VIDEO : Robin Hood Tax Rally and March (NYC) - OWS S17 2013

Pass the Robin Hood Tax ! Robin Hood Tax March (NYC) - Occupy Wall Street S17 2013 : Rally at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza (financial transaction tax) and march to JPMorgan (London Whale), MTA (interest rate swap), and Bryant Park (union rally).

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

U.S. Attorney Bharara is Being Pressed to Help Uncover Corruption

What Happen to the BOE Machine Count Due Out Sunday Night ? Where Is the City Council Hearing On the Missing Vote Count ?

Preet Bharara Begs the New Media Companies to Do What the Old Media Has Not Done, Investigate Corruption

From True News From Change NYC :

Bharara: New Media End NYC's Journalism of Sheep

  • Public corruption, based on all evidence, appears rampant,” Bharara told the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption at its first public hearing. “And the ranks of those convicted in office have swelled to absolutely unacceptable levels.” \Earlier in the day, Bharara’s office moved to take away the pensions of state officials convicted of corruption. The office filing seeks to include pensions as part of the property It comes in the case against state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Queens), who stands accused of scheming with officials in New York City and Rockland County to raise funds for his one-time attempt to switch parties and run for mayor as a Republican. Letting felons collect state pensions is a “a galling injustice that sticks in the craw of every thinking New Yorker,” Bharara planned to say Tuesday night in a speech before Gov. Cuomo’s new anti-corruption Moreland Commission.
  • Bharara planned to say Tuesday night in a speech before Gov. Cuomo’s new anti-corruption Moreland Commission. * Preet Bharara hopes for more muckraking in Albany (Capital New York) Albany has been fertile ground for investigative journalists in recent years, with two governors embroiled in ethical woes, and a number of legislators either indicted or forced to resign. With each press outlet that closes or downsizes, opportunities to ferret out fraud and waste and abuse are lost.
  • Preet Bharara: “fresh news outlets like BuzzFeed … bent on doubling down on political investigations will provide grist” 4 corruption probe Bharara, SDNY US Atty, bullish on @buzzfeed, @politico/@ capitalnewyork, & new @WashingtonPoint, in testimony tonight to Moreland Commission * In testimony, Bharara laments loss of investigative journalists, and puts high hope in new outlets and revived old. * Bharara says pensions of corrupt officials should be tapped (Capitol Confidential) * U.S. Attorney To Commission : Political Corruption Is Out Of Hand In N.Y. State (WCBS)
  • While Bharara Was Speaking Last Night At the Moreland Commission Hearing This Is What the Political Director of the Times Was Tweeting :

Carolyn Ryan Update

SIDE BAR : Is it me, or do other folks agree that Carolyn Ryan doesn't get it ? Do you think she never will ? She reminds me of some of the people, who I saw promoted at my last job, who were given supervisory roles, because they were dumb or were known to fold, and they could be counted on to let the power players have their way.

It's in a lot of powerful people's best interests to install a weak link in a powerful post, so that the powerful people can run roughshod over the system. Having somebody disconnected from the serious problem of corruption be installed as the politics editor of The New York Times sure seems to help propagate corruption. Imagine their delight at the prospect of installing Ms. Ryan as executive editor of The New York Times ?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Will Christine Quinn Hold Public Hearings Investigating "Worthless" $95 Million BOE Electronic Scanners ?

Christine Quinn votes September 10, 2013 Democratic Mayoral Primary Election photo 2013-09-10christine-quinn-votes-NYDN_zps85fb8eb4.jpg

Will Christine Quinn Hold Public Hearings Investigating "Worthless" $95 Million BOE Electronic Scanners ?

The editorial board of The New York Times will call for in an editorial to be published in tomorrow's newspaper a call for a reform effort to revamp the inept and patronage-laden New York City Board of Elections.

"Perhaps a good, civic-minded project for Mr. Bloomberg, Speaker Christine Quinn and Mr. Thompson — all of whom know how to run big operations — is to take on reform of this abysmal system," the editors write.

Earlier today, Democratic mayoral candidate Bill Thompson conceded loss to his rival, Bill de Blasio, after political pressure had been escalated from Mr. de Blasio's camp. Before today, Mr. Thompson had said that he had wanted to stay in the race, after he had finished in second place, to see if the counting of 80,000 paper ballots would force a run-off between he and Mr. de Blasio.

“We don’t know how many votes I got, or even how many votes were cast,” said Mr. Thompson, adding that he was frustrated with the slowpoke mishandling of the vote count by the Board of Elections, “When are they going to finish?” Mr. Thompson further noted that the Board of Elections had denied him -- and voters -- a final count of the votes cast on primary election day : “it’s such a disadvantage — it just isn’t fair.”

Will Christine Quinn redeem her failed political career by holding public hearings into the "worthless" $95 million electronic scanners that the Board of Elections had to scuttle in order to run the primary election day ?

This Heartwarming Mobile Phone Commercial From Thailand Will Make You Cry

A new YouTube video, said to be for Thailand‘s mobile phone operator TrueMove H, of a TV commercial, is intensely moving, and it is being shared all over Facebook. It "will probably make you cry, so make sure you get your tissues ready," wrote the Web site Daily Picks and Flicks.

People are trying to identify the commercial's director, because many Facebook comments suggest that this TV commercial has greater sensibilities than many Hollywood movies made nowadays.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

VIDEO : Broken Lever Voting Machine - Queens 63rd Election District - No Paper Ballots - NYC Primary Election Day

VIDEO : Broken Lever Voting Machine - Queens 63rd Election District - No Paper Ballots - NYC Primary Election Day

Voting problems with the single lever voting machine for the 63rd Election District in Jackson Heights, Queens. I was detained by a police officer and nearly taken into custody for using my iPhone to take a photograph and video of the broken voting machine.

We were denied paper ballots, as you will hear on the video. They tried to let us use another voting machine, but then we were taken back to the using the broken 63rd ED lever voting machine after it was "reset."

I'm taking a risk by uploading this video, but I feel it is important to document what happened and to register my vote.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

George Arzt : The $90,500 Campaign Finance Board Political Donations Man

Updated ! SUN 2013-09-08 06:00:00 EDT

All summer, the lobbyist, campaign consultant, and political insider George Arzt was quoted by the mainstream media as an impartial observer on this year's mayoral race. However, come to find out that he has been part of a group of politicos having weekly meetings strategizing how to install New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn as Michael Bloomberg's successor. Not only that, but according to the information on the Campaign Finance Board's Web site, employees that disclosed their relationship with one of Mr. Arzt's lobbying clients, Extell, funneled $11,675 in political donations to Christine Quinn's campaign accounts. What gives reporters the basis to trust Mr. Arzt, when he said he had no horse in this race ? (Politicker : Christine Quinn Takes a Seat at Ed Koch’s Table with George Arzt Holding Court, too)

George Arzt is a political adviser, lobbyist, spokesman, public relations consultant, and a very generous campaign contributor.

One of George Arzt's clients is Extell, and Extell is the sponsor of the exclusive, luxury condo called One57 that is the target of an investigation by the Moreland Commission for possible corruption. Extell has funneled approximately $75,000 in campaign contributions.

According to this report, generated moments ago from the New York City Campaign Finance Board Web site, Mr. Arzt has contributed $90,500 in political donations to municipal candidates since 1993.

2013-08-23 George Arzt Campaign Donations - Master List - Quick Search - New York City Campaign Finance Boa...

According to the information on the Campaign Finance Board Web site, employees that disclosed their relationship with Extell funneled $11,675 in political donations to Christine Quinn's campaign accounts.

2013-08-23 Extell - Christine Quinn Advanced Search - New York City Campaign Finance Board

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Christine Quinn, Jennifer Cunningham, Stephen Berger, and Hospital Closings

How did Stephen Berger get away with closing so many hospitals? The story begins like this ....

An excerpt from Chapter 9 of Roots of Betrayal : The Ethics of Christine Quinn, available now for a free preview on Scribd :

The hospital closings called for by the Berger Commission were formulated at a time when only some hospital patients were covered by job-based health insurance, and hospitals were forced to write down the economic costs from treating underinsured and uninsured patients. The Berger Commission, headed by a Wall Street banker, Stephen Berger, was only capable of seeing the provision of full-service hospital care from perspective of profits, losses, and debts, instead of from the perspective of providing people with the human right to healthcare. “We have a history in this state of pumping money into the system and not letting hospitals close even if they should,” Mr. Berger told The New York Times, adding, “You have to right-size the system, you have to shrink it, that is No. 1.” In typical Wall Street fashion of divorcing any moral dilemma from situational ethics, hospital closings were pushed as inevitable, and patients were expected to have to deal with it. This was about a decade before "Obamacare" would extend healthcare coverage to millions of uninsured Americans. Back then, Mr. Berger observed overcapacity among hospitals, which had to be cut. However, in the future, Mr. Berger’s draconian cuts would prove to gut healthcare infrastructure leading up to the time when Obamacare would lead to a large influx of newly covered healthcare patients. But even without knowing that healthcare coverage would be expanded within the next decade, back then healthcare advocates knew about the dangers of past outbreaks, pandemics, and unforeseen uses of bioterrorism agents, such as anthrax. There were reasons why it was penny wise and dollar foolish to make drastic cuts to full-service hospital capacity in New York City.

One healthcare union, 1199/S.E.I.U., had to scramble to deal with the fallout over job losses from the impending hospital closings. Jennifer Cunningham, who at that time worked as a spokesperson and political operative for 1199 and would later go on to work for Christine as a political campaign consultant, was more concerned at the time about employee retraining and not about the interruption of patient-centered care. The hit list of hospitals that would be targeted for closure by the Berger Commission came to be known as the Berger Commission Report, and Christine, as chair of the City Council Health Committee, was largely absent from the initial public conversation in 2004 and 2005 around Mr. Berger’s recommendation for hospital closings. Taking her cue from former Speaker Gifford Miller’s precedent of maintaining silence on the controversial West Side Stadium until the project’s outcome was clear, Christine was not visible in the resistance movement to fight the Berger Commission Report’s recommendations until very late in 2006, when the City Council issued its own report just weeks before the Berger Commission Report’s final recommendations would go into effect on January 1, 2007.

Read more : Roots of Betrayal : The Ethics of Christine Quinn, available now for a free preview on Scribd.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Christine Quinn and Michael Bloomberg File for Divorce

For 15 years, voters had to suffer through Christine Quinn's self-interested dealings as she hitched her political wagon to Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Speaker Quinn's close working relationship with Mayor Bloomberg is turning off voters from supporting her mayoral campaign. Now that Speaker Quinn is desperate to rescue her political future, she is about to throw Mayor Bloomberg and his legacy under the bus. Her efforts to divorce herself from Mayor Bloomberg may be too little, too late.

Roots of Betrayal : The Ethics of Christine Quinn - Copyright 2013 by Louis Flores - Uncorrected Proof Not... by Connaissable

Christine Quinn Six-Part Term, Limits Flip-Flop Chronology

Term Limits research from "Roots of Betrayal : The Ethics of Christine Quinn" reaches The Guardian newspaper

The Guardian reporter Harry Enten tweeted a link to the free Scribd preview of the book, Roots of Betrayal : The Ethics of Christine Quinn.

His tweet was in connection to a five-part series of tweets sent by the book's author, Louis Flores, that document Christine Quinn's series of flip-flops on term limits.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Christine Quinn - 8 Years of City Budget Slush Funds @NYCCouncil Schedule C

 photo slush-fund-tweets_zps805e5192.jpg

Some of the fake charity groups Christine Quinn used to divert discretionary funds for personal political gain.

  • American Association of Concerned Veterans received $422,763 in slush funds.
  • Association of Community Partners received $400,000 in slush funds.
  • Coalition for a Strong Special Education received $400,000 in slush funds.
  • Community Development for Stronger Neighborhoods received $300,000 in slush funds.
  • Firewood Senior Services Center received $300,000 in slush funds.
  • Immigration Improvement Project of NY received $300,000 in slush funds.
  • Rockwood Regional Development Foundation received $300,000 in slush funds.
  • Moving Up, Building Bridges received $250,000 in slush funds.

FY 2007 City Council Adopted Expense Budget Schedule C

As a follow-up to yesterday's post (that FY 2007 Schedule C was missing), we have turned up a copy, and now all eight years' worth of Schedules C's during Christine Quinn's speakership of the New York City Council are now uploaded onto Scribd. These are public documents, yet FY 2007 was not publicly available. Maybe it was because the FY 2007 Schedule C was used by The New York Post to expose the fact that Speaker Quinn had used fake charity groups to hide a political slush fund to dole out to her supporters. (This $$ Is Hers For The Faking * NYPost)

FY 2008 City Council Adopted Expense Budget Schedule C

FY 2009 City Council Adopted Expense Budget Schedule C

FY 2010 City Council Adopted Expense Budget Schedule C

FY 2011 City Council Adopted Expense Budget Schedule C

FY 2012 City Council Adopted Expense Budget Schedule C

FY 2013 City Council Adopted Expense Budget Schedule C

FY 2014 City Council Adopted Expense Budget Schedule C