Archive for September, 2008

Winners and Losers
September 10th, 2008

The primary results are in with, as usual, most incumbents holding on to their seats. Three did not far so well: State Sen. Martin Connor, defeated by former Schumer aide Daniel Squadron; indicted State Sen. Efrain Gonzalez, who lost to Pedro Espada, Jr., who has ethical issues of his own; and Assemblymember Ellen Young, who fell to the daughter of her predecessor, Grace Meng.

But there were off the ballot winners and losers as well.

The Bronx Democratic Party organization of Assemblymember Jose Rivera suffered several losses. It had backed Gonzalez, for one.
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By on September 10, 2008, 9:16 am
In category: Albany,Electoral Politics,Eye on Albany,Governing | 7 Comments »

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Lost Primaries
September 9th, 2008

Some confusion unraveled on 33rd Street in Long Island City this morning when a couple of residents were turned away from the polls shortly after 10 a.m.

The reason: There was nothing to vote for.

Though these registered voters received a Board of Elections mailer probably sometime last week (You know the one urging you to head to the polls, which says: Vote or Liberty is History), which included their polling place, that flier does not necessarily guarantee an election in ones district. Registered voters have to call a hotline or check Gotham Gazette to determine whether there is a contested primary in their area.

According to Marcus Cederqvist, the executive director of the citys Board of Elections, the city is required by state law to mail every registered voter that pamphlet, which comes in four languages. He estimates the total cost of the mailing is $1.4 million.
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By on September 9, 2008, 2:50 pm
In category: Gotham City | 4 Comments »

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Beyond the Trade Center Site
September 9th, 2008

A day before the seventh anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks rebuilding officials gathered this morning on the 52nd floor of 7 World Trade Center partly to look at how far Lower Manhattan has come, or not come, since that day.

In what could be seen as a bow to Gov. David Paterson’s demand for realism at — “We’re not going to give any phony dates or timetables and follow it up with phony ribbon-cuttings and encouraging words,” he has said — both Deputy Mayor Robert Lieber and Avi Schick, chair of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., admitted problems at ground zero. But they urged people to look beyond that.
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By on September 9, 2008, 2:22 pm
In category: Gotham City,Land Use | 1 Comment »

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Will Hannah Flood the Subway?
September 5th, 2008

With upwards of up to six inches of rain expected this weekend from Tropical Storm Hannah, one thinks back to the subway flooding of just over a year ago. Unfortunately, not much has happened since then.

The MTA is scheduled to raise 16 subway vents in Lower Manhattan by March 2009, according to the Tribeca Trib. The first one is scheduled to be installed today. They are meant to keep water from draining into the tunnels. Although they are planned citywide, a spokesperson says there is no timetable yet.

At least when they are finished, the new structures will have bike racks. How uber-functional. (Take that David Byrne!) The new grates were designed by Grimshaw Architects, who also designed the new street furniture which has garnered a less than stellar reaction.

Deidre Parker, a spokesperson for the New York City Transit, says that this weekend the agency will be laying tarps over the subway vents in trouble spots. “We have cleaned out subway drains and checked our pump room equipment and all is ready,” she adds.

Text message alerts from the MTA are also not ready yet.

Granted, this is no 100 year storm, but the occasion also presents a reason to reflect on the post-disaster emergency housing competition held last year. Design blog Core 77 does just that and writes, “It seems like these units offer more square footage and green spaces than most current NYC living situations, so we’re sure there will be a waiting list of 10 years or more.”

By on September 5, 2008, 5:44 pm
In category: Transportation | Comments Off on Will Hannah Flood the Subway?

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This Week on the Web
September 5th, 2008

  • A status report on the city government’s tech programs.
  • New York City eighth best in nation for singles.
  • Residents of Park Slope ticketed for drinking on their stoops.
    (Gowanus Lounge)
  • Demolition not necessary to redevelop Admirals Row.
    (Municipal Arts Society)
  • Federal Reserve releases ho-hum economic data on city.
    (The Real Estate)
  • A timeline of development in Lower Manhattan over the last year.
  • Queens still the worst borough for foreclosures.
  • Cablevision closer to bringing WiFi to all of its customers in the city.
    (Broadcasting and Cable)
  • Will gentrification rid Williamsburg of Radiac?
    (NY Press)
  • Crowdsourcing Sheldon Silver’s “achievements”.
  • Hottest new ideas in urban sustainability.
    (Sallan Foundation)
  • A negative signal on state carbon pact.
  • Conflux Festival begins Thursday.
  • A profile of the NY Sun’s investors.
    (cityfile via NYConvergance)
  • By on September 5, 2008, 3:49 pm
    In category: Gotham City,Governing | 3 Comments »

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    A 10 for Palin
    September 4th, 2008

    So, what were Mayor Mike’s thoughts on Republican Vice Presidential Nominee Sarah Palin’s speech last night?

    “I give her a 10 out of 10,” he said at an unrelated press conference this afternoon.

    Despite an earlier commitment to see Xanadu which he thought would keep him from seeing the speech, Bloomberg was able to catch Palin’s convention address after he caught Whoopi Goldberg on roller skates (An aside: despite some people’s perception that retro 80s movies should never have an encore presentation on Broadway — they should be reserved for late night TNT specials — Bloomberg praised the performance enthusiastically).

    He had similar praise for Palin, who he called an “amazing woman.”
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    By on September 4, 2008, 3:35 pm
    In category: Gotham City | 2 Comments »

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    The New York Sun Would be Missed
    September 4th, 2008

    Unable to turn a profit, the New York Sun may close down by the end of the month if additional financing isn’t found, spawning an avalanche of “setting sun” puns. The paper’s editor-in-chief, Seth Lipsky, published a letter outlining their situation on the front page of their paper today.

    At least one of the Sun’s former staffers that have moved on to other major outlets penned his sadness at the news today. Chris Rovzar, now at New York Magazine, writes: “Simply put, this makes me sad. There is so much great writing in that paper, from daily scoops to wonderful cultural writing. (I’m told the sports coverage is good, too, but let’s face it, I have no idea.)”

    And while Rovzar had his run ins with the paper’s strict dress code – he had to sit in a wet suit and tie his entire first day – some interns may not remember their experience with the alternative broadsheet so fondly.

    Gawker, which got a their snarky hands on the Sun’s intern guidelines, reports that interns must wear a suit and tie six days a week and are not allowed to ride the subway longer than 30 minutes, lest they be out of contact range for too long.

    One would think that a blog that calls a newspaper slimy, biased and racist would respond with glee to the prospect of its demise. But apparently not. Gawker writes that its arts coverage and Metro beat will be missed.

    Go-to history reference, Barry Popik, has also posted his lament over the situation. On Room 8, he wrote: “[The Sun] brings welcome coverage of local politics, arts, sports, and real estate/business. For me, the opinions and editorials are always worth reading–whether I agreed or even frequently disagreed.”

    And hey, since everybody loves a Bloomberg rumor, Jossip gives it whack, speculating that maybe the mayor will snatch the paper up. Not based on any kind of fact, anyway, but that’s not the point.

    By on September 4, 2008, 3:34 pm
    In category: Economy | Comments Off on The New York Sun Would be Missed

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    New Blood v. Old Guard
    September 4th, 2008

    In a packed auditorium in Brooklyn Heights last night, the quintessential political debate ensued.

    It was the typical old timer, who touted his experience within Lower Manhattan and brownstone Brooklyn, versus the new kid — a 28-year-old former aid to Chuck Schumer who wasn’t even a twinkle in his parents’ eyes when the incumbent was elected.

    State Senator Martin Conner has the know-how, the incumbent argues. But Daniel Squadron has the energy and enthusiasm, the newcomer replies.

    Amidst the quick jabs (mostly involving the personal finances of Squadron, who Conner claims is a “trust fund kid”) and jeers from the crowd, which seemed pretty evenly divided between the two candidates at last night’s Citizens Union-sponsored debate, little difference could be deciphered policy-wise between the two men.
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    By on September 4, 2008, 12:21 pm
    In category: Gotham City | Comments Off on New Blood v. Old Guard

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    Rudy Readies the Big Speech
    September 3rd, 2008

    Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, after much shuffling, is scheduled to speak between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. tonight in St. Paul at the Republican National Convention.

    If his 2004 speech is any indication, which was given in the Big Apple, we might see the former mayor heap praise on the Bush administration and give a play-by-play on how the world has changed since September 11th.

    That’s when he told a crowd of conventioneers how relieved he was to have George Bush as a leader:
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    By on September 3, 2008, 5:35 pm
    In category: Gotham City | Comments Off on Rudy Readies the Big Speech

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    Silver Mailer Round Two
    September 3rd, 2008

    The Paul Newell Campaign, which is taking on Albany Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in next week’s primary, released a statement this morning denying any connection to an independent Indianapolis-based campaign smearing Silver for comments related to a rape allegation between two staff members.

    The Newell Camp said it had “no hand in this mailing” –more on that in a related post — that is showing up in Lower Manhattan mailboxes this week.

    Much of the release, which appears in full after the jump, responds to a spokesperson’s claim that the mailer was “gutter politics.”

    So a mailer from the Midwest leads to a terse response from the Silver front, leading to this release from Newell.

    And we still have six days until the primary (For more on the races, from civil court to State Senate, in this primary season, check out our Guide for the Last Minute Voter).
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    By on September 3, 2008, 3:27 pm
    In category: Albany,Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Governing | Comments Off on Silver Mailer Round Two

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    Crowded Classrooms?
    September 3rd, 2008

    With New York City’s 1.1 million public school students back in school — and some in pretty crowded schools at that — Brownstoner readers debate this week’s Gotham Gazette article on how luxury housing development is squeezing nearby public schools. Disagreement raged over whether the situation is a problem and who is to blame.

    “Anyone with half a brain saw this coming,” said Cobblehook. And now, another reader said, the city needs need to fix it. “The fact that the local authorities cannot quickly utilize this money to upgrade the infrastructure is an indictment of the bureaucracy. Why should it take so long for the [Department of Education] to add on capacity?” the writer wondered.

    But, hey, what crowding? One comment called the problem overblown and “a good problem to have.” Another went so far as to frame the crunch as a way to improve schools: “A school becomes excellent because people with resources … send their kids to that school and then get involved in it. …There are schools that need help that you can make a difference in. Then, not only do YOUR kids get a great education that you were instrumental in creating, but other kids whose families have fewer resources also benefit.”

    So what about it Wonkster readers? What’s the situation at your child’s school? Is crowding a problem in New York’s classrooms? And if so, what should the city do about it?

    By on September 3, 2008, 12:32 pm
    In category: Community Development,Demographics,Education,Land Use | 1 Comment »

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    Divided Democrats in the Bronx
    September 3rd, 2008

    The outcome of a primary for Civil Court judge in the Bronx could lead to the toppling of a powerful political machine, Juan Gonzalez writes in today’s Daily News. Calling themselves the Rainbow Rebellion, a group of politicians have backed Elizabeth Taylor for the post, bucking party boss Jose Rivera’s choice, Maria Matos. If Taylor wins the rebellion could try to topple Rivera, a dominant figure in Bronx politics. (A third candidate, Verena Powell, also will appear on Tuesday’s ballot.)

    “A wily master at pork barrel politics and grass-roots organizing,” Rivera “has parlayed those skills to catapult his son, City Council Majority Leader Joel Rivera, and his daughter, Assemblywoman Noemi Rivera, into office,” Gonzalez writes.

    On the other hand, according to Gonzalez, “The Rainbow Rebels aren’t exactly motherhood and apple pie types.” He sees the group as the brainchild of election law attorney Stanley Schlein. Dubbing him ” the Machiavelli of the Bronx, Gonzalez says Schlein is “the guy who finds ways to knock an opponent off the ballot” as well as “a lobbyist and general troubleshooter for many heavyweight companies that do business in the Bronx, including the Yankees.”

    The rift in the Bronx will play out in several races on Sept. 9. For a guide to those contests and other primaries, see Gotham Gazette’s Guide for the Last Minute Voter.

    By on September 3, 2008, 9:53 am
    In category: Albany,Electoral Politics,Eye on Albany,Gotham City,Governing | 1 Comment »

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    Mailbox Campaign
    September 2nd, 2008

    As a resident of Brooklyn’s 21 State Senate District, I arrive home every day to a new, glossy four-color flyer that, explicitly or implicitly, urges me to vote for City Councilmember Simcha Felder for State Senate in next week’s primary.

    The flyers — a different one every day, never a dull moment — began by touting Felder’s attributes. But, as the election draws closer, they have morphed into increasingly shrill attacks on the incumbent state senator, Kevin Parker.
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    By on September 2, 2008, 9:59 pm
    In category: Albany,Electoral Politics,Eye on Albany,Gotham City,Governing | 3 Comments »

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    Challenging the Speaker
    September 2nd, 2008

    Update:Whatever the mailing’s effect on the electorate, it has elicited sharp reactions from the candidates. A spokesperson for Sheldon Silver, Jonathan Rosen, called it a desperate move and an attempt “to inject gutter politics into this campaign,” adding he was “confident that Lower Manhattan voters will reject it.”

    Newell issued a release today, denying he had anything to do with the mailing (which was apparently paid for by an Indiana group called the Common Sense Coalition), but attacking Rosen’s response “That Silver would allow his spokesperson to slur Elizabeth Crothers when she is simply repeating well-established facts is disrespectful of Crothers’ and demeaning to women in general,” said Newell’s spokesperson, Evan Hutchison. “A simple retelling of the story and reprinting of reputable news sources is neither ‘desperate’ nor ‘gutter politics.'”

    With a week to go before the Sept. 9 primary, Paul Newell continues his campaign to topple Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. However Quixotic that quest might be, some people are willing to pay for it.

    The Politicker reports that Newell has raised $40,015, more than double’s Silver’s take of $19,575.44 in the most recent campaign finance filing period. A third candidate, Luke Henry brought in only $510.

    “Has that even ever happened before, that a challenger for an Assembly seat outraised the sitting incumbent in any time period?” asked the Daily Gotham.

    We don’t know but we do know that Silver’s campaign war chest still dwarfs Newell’s. The speaker has $2,941,159.64 on hand, Newell a mere $37,729.78. The money Newell has raised, though, has reportedly enabled him to buy ads on FaceBook and Google.

    Meanwhile, the Politicker also writes that residents of the Lower East Side district have received an explosive anti-Silver flyer writer by Elizabeth Crothers, the victim of alleged sexual assault by Michael Boxley, then a top Silver aide. Crothers blames Silver for standing by, enabling Boxley to, she charges, commit a sexual assault on another women two years later. That attack, she writes, “was a rape Sheldon Silver could have prevented, but — for the sake of his own political convenience — he did not.”

    In the flyer, which Crothers emailed us, she continues that Silver’s “decision to protect a close political advisor had devastating consequences on more than one life. Like many politicians today who believe they are above the law, Sheldon Silver put his own political ambitions above justice. New York deserves better.”

    For more on this race, see Running Against Albany on the Lower East Side and for information on all the competitive primaries, see Gotham Gazette’s Guide for the Last Minute Voter.

    By on September 2, 2008, 4:32 pm
    In category: Albany,Crime & Safety,Electoral Politics,Eye on Albany,Governing | 1 Comment »

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    Gotham Gazette is published by Citizens Union Foundation and is made possible by support from the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Altman Foundation,the Fund for the City of New York and donors to Citizens Union Foundation. Please consider supporting Citizens Union Foundation's public education programs. Critical early support to Gotham Gazette was provided by the Charles H. Revson Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

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