Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Jo Hamilton, ex-official involved in St. Vincent's Hospital condo conversion, fined for ethics violations

Jo Hamilton was on the take

Jo Hamilton, former member of Manhattan Community Board 2, which rubber-stamped and fast-tracked the demolition and luxury condo conversion of St. Vincent's Hospital, was on the take.

From the Demand a Hospital listserv :

---------- Forwarded Message ----------
From: Demand A Hospital
To: Demand A Hospital
Subject: Jo Hamilton was on the take
Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2014 04:41:25 -0500

Dear All :

For a decade, Jo Hamilton was receiving free gifts from an entity that had business before Community Board 2. Please read the following reports :






How many other members of Community Board 2 were on the take ?

What did the former chairs of CB2 and the former subcommittee chairs know about Jo Hamilton being on the take -- and when did they know it ?

How many lobbyists paid for entertainment, meals, and other gifts for members of CB2 that were never reported or may have crossed the line to be inappropriate or illegal ?

Never give up.

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

Tell Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to stop closing our hospitals. Call 311 for the mayor and 1 (518) 474-8390 for the governor.

You can also tweet your concerns to : @BilldeBlasio -and- @NYGovCuomo

Sunday, November 16, 2014

"Vote for Cuomo, Not the Homo" Flyer resurfaces

This mailer is reportedly from the 1982 gubernatorial campaign, but the discriminatory slogan actually dates back to the 1977 Democratic Party primary race for New York City mayor

For all of former Mayor Koch's internalised self-loathing as a closeted gay man, how much of former Mayor Koch's slow HIV/AIDS response should be attributable to the Cuomo campaign's fear-baiting tactics against former Mayor Koch ?

From Progress Queens :

A photograph was posted to Twitter of a flyer from the 1982 New York gubernatorial race bearing the slogan, "Vote for Cuomo, Not the Homo," triggering remembrances and questions about the controversial campaign efforts by Andrew Cuomo to smear Ed Koch.

The offensive slogan originally dates back to the Democratic Party primary in the 1977 New York City mayoral race when the two were political rivals running for the same office, but the Cuomo camp used the slogan again during the lingering whisper campaign five years later, in the 1982 New York gubernatorial race, as evidenced by the photo of the handbill.


Three decades later, "Vote For Cuomo, Not The Homo" mailer resurfaces (Progress Queens)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Communities United for Police Reform replaces BerlinRosen as public relations firm as CPR ramps up NYPD criticism of de Blasio

BerlinRosen is closely linked to the de Blasio administration. It's lobbyists regularly counsel Mayor de Blasio. BerlinRosen even represents Mayor de Blasio's own lobbying outfit, the Campaign for One New York.

BerlinRosen's close ties to de Blasio meant that CPR couldn't make aggressive demands for NYPD reform, because BerlinRosen wouldn't allow Mayor de Blasio to be outflanked or embarrassed by police reform activists.

In a move that may spell political trouble for Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-New York City), the police reform group, Communities United for Police Reform (CPR), has hired a new public relations firm, Progressive Cities, to replace BerlinRosen. Dan Morris at Progressive Cities will replace Daniel Levitan at BerlinRosen as CPR's spokesperson.

When BerlinRosen was supervising CPR's external communications, City Hall was in a better position to keep CPR in check. For example, CPR effectively sided with Mayor de Blasio's regressive appointment of William Bratton as commissioner of the New York Police Department (NYPD). Mr. Bratton is known for his support of policing tactics that unfairly target Blacks and Latinos ; nevertheless, many Latino elected officials issued statements of support to the press in a campaign some government reform activists said echoed the hallmarks of lobbyist-generated synchronicity for the convenient packaging of Latino elected officials' approvals. Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Harlem) and Senator José Peralta (D-Queens) were joined by U.S. Representative Nydia Velázquez (D-Brooklyn), Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. (D-The Bronx), Assemblymember Luis Sepulveda (D-The Bronx), and Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan) in supporting the Bratton appointment, even though grassroots police reform activists were protesting the appointment out of concern for Commissioner Bratton's reliance on a racial policing theory known as "Broken Windows."

Yesterday, the online news publication Progress Queens sent an e-mail request to Mr. Levitan, asking if BerlinRosen worked on pre-swearing in public relations work for Mayor de Blasio, and, if so, asking how BerlinRosen was being paid. However, Mr. Levitan did not answer the request. A few hours later, news broke that BerlinRosen was being replaced by Progressive Cities as CPR's public relations firm.

In the time since Mayor de Blasio was sworn into office, BerlinRosen has regularly courted controversy.

BerlinRosen has advised City Hall's non-profit, lobbying arm, the Campaign for One New York, which relies on funding from the mayor's political supporters. Through the Campaign for One New York, Mayor de Blasio is actively engaged in a non-stop campaign of lobbying other government officials using private monies, subverting government work into the hands of public relations officials, lobbyists, and private donors. BerlinRosen was also the mastermind behind a controversial "dark money" mailer that sought to quell voter anger in the time leading up to the closure of Long Island College Hospital (LICH) in Brooklyn. (The thin-skinned mayor and his political operatives were trying to deflect voter anger at Mayor de Blasio's betrayal on the LICH closure.) In an exposé published by The New York Post, it was revealed that Mayor de Blasio seeks counsel from lobbyists, including those at BerlinRosen, comprising the integrity of government work at City Hall. BerlinRosen also positioned itself itself in the middle of a $1.5 billion, zone-busting real estate development deal for the old Domino Sugar refinery in Brooklyn, that may have duplicitous implications for impropriety, since BerlinRosen led discussions between the real estate developer and the same de Blasio administration its firm regularly counsels. Eventually, City Hall approved the waterfront development deal.

Mr. Morris, the Progressive Cities chief, formerly worked at the campaign consulting firm Red Horse, before founding Progressive Cities, according to a report in The New York Observer. Red Horse is closely associated with Mayor de Blasio and Council Speaker Mark-Viverito. Police reform activists were hoping that the change in the public relations firm advising CPR would lead to aggressive demands for police reforms. However, the close political ties to City Hall and City Council may make Mr. Morris another administration flack, perhaps less than Mr. Levitan. Whilst it is known that CPR plans to publicly challenge Commissioner Bratton's "Broken Windows" theory of policing, which the mayor and the First Lady have supported, it is not known if CPR will call for Commissioner Bratton's resignation, as have grassroots police reform activists.


Liberals growing frustrated with Bill de Blasio (The New York Times)

Leading police reform group pushing NYPD for major changes (The New York Daily News)

Mayor de Blasio has failed to end racial policing in New York City (Progress Queens)

Mayor Criticized for Not Moving Faster on Marijuana Policy (The Wall Street Journal)

Amid reports of friction, de Blasio and Bratton assail the media (Capital New York)

Friday, November 7, 2014

El Diario : Activists call for a commission to investigate NYPD corruption, including at Internal Affairs

Five governmental offices with jurisdiction over NYPD are asked to create a new commission, modeled after Knapp and Mollen

"Activists say the CCRB is negligent and that the City needs another panel to address complaints made against police"

On Columbus Day, a small group of protesters walked to five government offices, demanding that as a result of "negligence" by the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB), the government should appoint a commission to be responsible for investigating corruption at the New York Police Department. The five stops on the walking protest tours were : the Mayor's Office, the main headquarters of the NYPD, the District Attorney of Manhattan, the U.S. Attorney for Manhattan, and the FBI headquarters in New York.


Exigen crear nueva comisión que investigue quejas contra NYPD (El Diario)

Written demand to Mayor de Blasio to appoint a new commission to investigate NYPD corruption, including at IAB (Scribd)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Progress Queens issues endorsements in New York governor race, ballot proposals

Hawkins is endorsed over Cuomo

On ballot proposals, voting no on fake redistricting reform

Progress Queens has endorsed Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate, for governor of New York. The endorsement praises Hawkins's plans "to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, to roll out a single-payer health care program for all New Yorkers, and to support a clean energy plan that would create new jobs in a clean energy system, amongst other proposals." Progress Queens also applauds Hawkins' unconditional opposition to hydrofracking.

On Proposal One, regarding redistricting, Progress Queens recommends a vote of NO. On Proposal Two, regarding electronic distribution of legislative bills, Progress Queens recommends a vote of YES. On Progress Three, the debt financing of computer equipment for schools, Progress Queens recommends a vote of NO.


For Governor of New York, Progress Queens endorses Howie Hawkins (Progress Queens)

On New York Ballot Proposals One, Two, and Three, the Progress Queens endorsements (Progress Queens)