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 (powertotheparents.org) 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 http://pumabydesign001.wordpress.com/2009/06/11/michael-bloomberg-in-bed-with-acorn-deal-sealed-with-a-kiss/ . 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.