Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Working Families Party set to endorse Bloomberg

The following was sent as an email by John Keefe regarding the upcoming endorsement of Bloomberg by the Working Families Party. I am reprinting it with his permission:


Unfortunately, this is a well orchestrated scam. The Working Families’ Party’s New York City Coordinating Committee is set to endorse Mike Bloomberg for Mayor. The internet vote following the on-line mayoral forum will be packed by Bloomberg voters just as the City Council chamber was packed by paid Bloomberg supporters the day of the term limits vote. Internet votes are not vehicles of democracy -they are frauds.

CBID took a stand against optical scan voting machines that lacked a verifiable paper trail because of their potential to compromise elections. Internet voting is even more prone to manipulation.

Earlier this year, Bloomberg treated parents with an internet based “advisory straw poll” in connection with this year’s elections for the Community Education Councils. The Department of Education paid ($500,000) a consultant to set up a website ( and sent out a mailing to parents of NYC public school children hyping the “historic advisory straw poll” over the internet. Incredibly a credulous City Council candidate, Brad Lander, actually urged parents to participate. The election was extended, probably due to low participation, and the vote tallies never fully disclosed. The advisory straw poll did not empower parents. It only provided an illusion of participation.

WFP’s internet based mayoral forum and vote is designed to provide an illusion of participation. There is no verifiable way of knowing who votes or what the results are. The real endorsement decision will be made by the party’s New York City Coordinating Council. The registered members of the party are excluded since there is no primary.

So why will the Working Families’ Party endorse Mike Bloomberg? The leadership has been corrupted by contracts and the pursuit of political power.

Last year, the Working Families Party targeted Martin Connor in the 25th State Senate district because they cynically concluded Connor was weak and they felt that defeating him would enhance their perceived political power. Both WFP and Bloomberg backed Squadron and Bloomberg’s financial fingerprints can be seen in last year’s contributions.

This year, the Working Families’ Party assiduously avoided plugging the party housekeeping account loophole in their campaign finance reform proposals. What is important about party housekeeping accounts? Under NYS law there are individual contribution limits to candidates, but not to the housekeeping accounts of political parties, including the WFP’s. . Bloomberg bought the Bruno-era Republican State Senate with contributions of over $1.5 million to GOP housekeeping accounts. Having tasted the allure of Bloomberg’s money, the WFP has been corrupted on a policy level.

One of the WFP’s major institutional players is ACORN which played an important role in the party’s formation and in its internal workings. Unfortunately, ACORN has an unfortunate history of being bought by Bruce Ratner. And now by Mike Bloomberg. This year Bloomberg provided ACORN with a hefty contract for foreclosure prevention work. ACORN began singing a new tune. Heretofore, it had opposed Bloomberg on term limits and the schools. Now, it went silent on mayoral control; Bertha Lewis kissed Mike Bloomberg . It is painful to see advocacy groups that have spent decades railing in the political desert, fighting the good fight, being suborned by money and power, and the hope of access.

I participated in the initial meetings in 1997 and 1998 leading to the creation of the Working Families’ Party and initially served as an elected state committeeman of the party from the 48th Assembly District. Creating a progressive alternative to the Liberal Party was the rallying call for the new Working Families Party. New York State permits cross nominations of candidates by multiple parties. The Liberal Party took advantage of this and had traded its endorsements of Rudy Giuliani for patronage and access benefits for its leadership, ie., legal work and lobbying contracts. I returned to the Democratic Party when it became clear the WFP lacked an internal democratic life; the real battles in NYC take place in Democratic Party primaries.

Backing Bloomberg will be the WFP’s fatal betrayal. Already this year, the WFP has endorsed the less progressive, less reform oriented, and less independent candidates in the 33rd CD (Steve Levin over JoAnne Simon, Ken Diamondstone, and Ken Baer), in the 34th CD (Maritza Davilla over Diane Reyna and Gerald Esposito) and the 39th (Brad Lander over Josh Skaller) and Bob Zuckerman. It conspired with Vito Lopez and Bill DeBlasio to deliver WFP and some labor endorsements for Lopez’s council candidates in return for the Kings County Democratic organization to back DeBlasio for Public Advocate. Sitting at the table - cutting covert deals - brokering contracts – these things corrupt the participants. It is sad to see the Working Families Party go the way of the Liberal Party. The WFP has forfeited the allegiance of progressives.

With regret,

John Keefe


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Court makes surprise ruling against third term

This news just came in., the prodigious website covering all issues from Niger reports:

Niger’s Tandja mulls next move in bid to cling to power

NIAMEY (AFP) — Rebuked by the constitutional court and facing an opposition protest Sunday, President Mamadou Tandja’s search for a way to stay in power beyond a second mandate seems to have run out of legal options.

The leader’s hopes of running for a third consecutive term in office — prohibited by Niger’s constitution — were dealt a heavy blow by the court’s ruling on Friday.

It rejected the presidential decree Tandja had used to call a referendum on a new constitution on August 4, which if approved would done away with the two-term limit and let him stand in December’s presidential ballot.

It's nice to see a government ruled by laws, not by powerful individuals.

For more, click here.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

There's a good reason Bloomberg is planting a million trees...

It's not surprising Bloomberg wants to plant a million trees. After all, he's probably chopped down a million trees already to fill every New Yorker's mailbox full of his lovely literature touting his environmental record.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

NYT: Mayor Bloomberg’s Crib Sheet

Last month, the NY Times published an Op-Ed by Diane Ravitch titled "Mayor Bloomberg’s Crib Sheet." Ravitch challenges the mayor's "unimpressive" record on education. Here are some excerpts:

  • New York City showed almost no academic improvement between 2003, when the mayor’s reforms were introduced, and 2007.

  • [S]tate scores have soared in recent years, not only in the city but also across New York state.... Our state tests are, unfortunately, exemplars of grade inflation.

  • To further raise the graduation rate, the city does not include as dropouts any of the students who were “discharged” during their high-school years.
  • Not every school problem can be solved by changes in governance. But to establish accountability, transparency and the legitimacy that comes with public participation, the Legislature should act promptly to restore public oversight of public education. As we all learned in civics class, checks and balances are vital to democracy.

Diane Ravitch, a research professor of education at New York University, is the author of “The Great School Wars: New York City, 1805-1973.”

Read the complete article here.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Noticing New York posts ANOTHER comprehensive update up about the Bloomberg administration!

Noticing New York's Michael D. D. White notes that "We can't keep up with the Bloomberg updates. . . " but NNY gives "it one heck of try!"

We at No Power Grab can hardly keep up with Noticing New York's coverage of Bloomberg but this is a good time for us to try.  Noticing New York frequently covers Bloombergalia and has done a number of comprehensive overview pieces.  The newest one just went up.  The incredible thing is that the latest one tells quite a story even though it is comprised of just one week's worth of updates.

Here, as a good resource, is a comprehensive list of NNY's recent comprehensive Bloomberg overview pieces including the one just up.

The Basic Overview Package:

Monday, February 2, 2009

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What you will find: Do you know when Bloomberg made his money?  How much did he make before he started politics and how much did he make afterward?  And when exactly did he start "giving" is his "charitable" gifts away and what polical conditions does he attach to that money?  How much more does Bloomberg spend on charitable campaign spending than on his direct political campaign expenditures?   How much more does he spend than all his opposition?  And what about the extra money Bloomberg is forcing taxpayers to spend on the political camaign?  How does Bloomberg make his money by doing business with businesses that have dealing with the city?  Who are Bloomberg's top deputies and what do they not know about staying away from conflicts of interest?  What conflicts of interest rules did Bloomberg agree to follow and then ignore?  How does Bloomberg's "terminal" business pull in money for Bloomberg What famous Twilight Zone episode does the Bloomberg adminstartion bring to mind?      

A Recent Set of Updates:

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sunday, April 12, 2009

What you will find: When Bloomberg gets a bunch of nonprofits together in a room what message does he give them?  Does he even bother to be subtle?  Which burns more, Bloomberg's connection with the FIRE or the ICE sectors of the economy, and what the heck is ICE anyway?  What tools has Bloomberg used to eliminate his opponents and how ruthless is he?  What about the New York Times?  Who are the candidates for mayor who are not taking money from real estate developers and might there be other candidates who would like to do so but have been cut off?  Has the press been keeping track of Bloomberg's wealth?- Do they even know what it is?  Did Bloomberg actually lose $4 billion in a matter of months?  Why would, or wouldn't, it be fair to compare Bloomberg to Corzine, the rich governor across the river?  How is Bloomberg following in the footsteps of llinois ex-Governor Ron  Blagojevich?  What else is new withe the Bloomberg adminstration on the quid-pro-quo front?  What's peculiar and special but out of proportion about a new, recently breaking Bloomberg adminstration ethics scandal?  What makes the Bloomberg administration's governance of New York like Rome's sacking of Carthage?

And the Very Most Recent Update (based on just one week's worth of stories)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

What's to learn just from the events of the past week: If you are a Wall Street friend of Michael Bloomberg's how long is the list of things you can't be accused of doing and how many of the deadly sins are on it?  And what about Madoff and friends? How has a recently breaking Bloomberg administration ethics scandal just become immensely more interesting and complicated and who's lawyering up?  Want to know about lawyer Randy Mastro?  What's a major story the New York press is missing?  How do Bloomberg high commissioner's misdeeds mirror Bloomberg's own conduct?  What should you know about nepotism in the Bloomberg administration?  What Giuliani-delivered perk was a certain Bloomberg, LP employee taking advantage of and how is that relevant to the way the Bloomberg administration now runs the city?  What does the Cuomo SEC investigation of Alan Hevesi have to do with investment of Bloomberg's personal billions and the ways Bloomberg was supposed to be ethical?  What political rising star might just have made a bad mistake by endorsing Bloomberg?

And Don't Forget Our Favorite Two Quick Reference Pieces:

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Tuesday, February 17, 2009 Bloomberg wants to run both ways, left and right

This comes from

On Friday, Bloomberg aides leaked that the mayor, who was twice elected as a Republican, but recently dropped all party affiliation was courting the support of the city's five Republican county chairs to support him in an effort to seek a third term later this year as a Republican. The Democrat turned Republican turned independent would need the support of at least three of the five county chairs to even run in a GOP Primary. Sources said that he will meet with all five county chairs on February 25 in a final effort to court their support, after which a decision would be announced.

But a report in today's Daily News says that the mayor is also seeking to run on the Working Families Party line, a labor-oriented party that generally leans to the left of Democrats.

The mayor is "welcome to apply" for the labor-backed Working Families Party line, said Dan Cantor, its executive director.

Still, Cantor called it "the longest of long shots."

Read more here.


DePaolo: Hugo and Mike

The following was written by Phil De Paolo:

President Hugo Chavez won a voter referendum to eliminate term limits yesterday. 54 percent had voted for the constitutional amendment, 46 percent had voted against it. The vote was hastily arranged in the last two months. The campaigning was marked by antigovernment protests and attacks by supporters of Mr. Chávez on institutions viewed as critical of the president, including media organizations.

In NYC Mayor Bloomberg scrapped the city's term limit law in a little over two weeks. He's used the city council to pass a bill that would allow him to seek four more years in office. On October 23, 2
008 the City Council voted 29-22 in favor of extending the term limit to three consecutive four year terms, thus allowing both Bloomberg and council members in their second terms to run for office again. New Yorkers were upset by the Mayor's actions and the 29 City Council people who voted for the extension of term limits. Whether they were for term limits or not they strongly believe that the process was wrong. If there was to be a change, it had to be via a public referendum not by legislation. By an overwhelming margin, 89 percent to 7 percent, voter say the issue of term limits should be decided by voters in a referendum, not by an act of the Council.
“Voters to City Council: We voted for term limits twice and, if it’s going to change, it should be us not you who decide it,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez gestures as he leaves the polling station

Chavez opponents claim that the results were skewed by Chavez's broad use of resources to get out the vote, through news media and pressure on 2 million public employees. Mr. Chávez threw the weight of institutions controlled by his supporters, including the National Assembly and the entire federal bureaucracy, behind the proposal. The powerful national oil company, and the national telephone company mobilized employees to campaign for the measure.

Opponents say Chavez already has far too much power, with the courts, the legislature and the election council all under his influence. Removing the presidential term limit, they s
ay, makes him unstoppable.

In NYC Mayor Bloomberg held conversations with Rupert Murdoch, Who owns The New York Post; Mortimer B. Zuckerman, a close friend and the owner of The Daily News; and Arthur Sulzberger Jr., publisher 
of The Times, to help him overturn term limits. Days later the New York Post and the Daily News, both ran editorials under the headline "Run, Mike, Run" that called for changing the rules so that Mr. Bloomberg could stand for re election. And the New York Times complained that the term limits law "is particularly unappealing now because it would deny New Yorkers at a time when the city's economy is under great stress the right to decide for themselves whether an effective and popular mayor should stay in office."

The paper took the opposite view seven years ago, when there was talk of extending the second term of Mr. Bloomberg's predecessor, Rudy Giuliani, in the wake of 9/11. "To suggest that the city would be incapable of getting along without Mr. Giuliani undermines New York's sense of self sufficiency," said the Times. "While Mr. Giuliani has been a great leader during this crisis, the truth is that no one is indispensable.

Mayor Bloomberg then showered cash on key City Council members with the power to kill the term limits extension bill. Members of the council's Government Operations Committee received millions from Bloomberg’s slush fund, a secret pot of taxpayer money the mayor doled out to favored lawmakers for their pet causes. Five members of the committee secured $3.1 million from the $5.3 million stash in Bloomberg's 2008 budget.

The New York Times reported days after the Term Limits debate that the Mayor and his top deputies had pressed social service, arts and neighborhood groups that received donations from Mr. Bloomberg to express support for his third term bid by testifying during public hearings and by personally appealing to undecided members of the City Council. A few days later the mayor’s aides organized a press conference in which nearly a dozen union leaders endorsed the legislation to extend term limits. Fifteen minutes before the event began, the union leaders met inside City Hall with Edward Skyler, the deputy mayor for operations, to discuss what they would say, according to people briefed on the matter. When they emerged to speak to reporters, the labor officials sounded strikingly similar themes, at times using the same words. So it seems that Hugo and Mike used many of the same methods to get what they wanted although Hugo actually let the people vote on it. Mayor Bloomberg just used the City Council.