Monday, October 27, 2008

The Flacks Report [27 Oct. 08]

69th A.D. State Committee Race

The certified N.Y.C. Board of Elections tally for the 69th Assembly District's Democratic State Committee race is: With 5,665 total votes cast, Laurence Hirsch 2,871 to Robert Ginsberg 2,794.

Farrell's Last Term

At the New York County Democratic Executive Committee meeting 25 September 2008, Assemblyman Herman Denny Farrell announced that he was not going to seek re-election as County Leader when his term expires.

Mayor Appoints Interim Judges

Mayor Bloomberg appointed the following to fill interim vacancies in the N.Y.C. Civil Court. To fill Shirley Werner Kornreich's Manhattan County-wide seat, Kevin B. McGrath, Jr. (assigned to Criminal Court). [The seat Nancy M. Bannon is running for in the General.]
Lenora Gerald (assigned to Criminal Court) to fill Ellen Spodak's seat, who had an interim gubernatorial appointment to Kings Supreme and is now nominated for that seat in the General. Alan M. Beckoff (assigned to Family Court) to fill Jeanette Ruiz's seat (she took Stephen Paynter's place when he was elected to Bronx Supreme). No-one was appointed to fill Paul Feinman's place, the seat Frank Nervo is running for in the General.
Also, Barry Kamins, top Court Street criminal defense attorney, was appointed to the Criminal Court.

Challenges to Judicial Convention Designations at City Board of Elections

Two years ago the State legislature divided the 2nd Judicial District (Kings & Richmond Counties) into two separate districts. Kings County continues to be the 2nd Judicial District and a new Staten Island (Richmond County) judicial district was created, the 13th. This is to take effect in 2009.
The Republicans, hoping to improve their chances of winning a judgeship, mounted a challenge to this year's Supreme Court designations by the Conservative, Democratic, and Working Families parties. The attempt to invalidate their choices for Justice of the State Supreme Court in Richmond was based upon legal technicalities such as the judicial convention delegates selected for the 13th district were on the petition saying the 2nd district. But of course there is no 13th district in existence yet. And in September, a court ruled that all was done in accordance with the new law.
Many of the other arguments are technical and legal. In October the N.Y.C. Commissioners of Elections declined to invalidate the petitions or convention choices. The matter was then left to the courts again.
But the objection to the Working Families Party's judicial convention was that they had two conventions: one held too early (under the Election law)--and also did they have a quorum--, and the second one, held during the proper time period, was invalid.
The most recent controlling case law is from 1940 where a court held that a judicial convention meeting within the legal time frame could not re-convene to change the candidate designation. But here, the WFP's first convention was a legal nullity. After all this, no court proceeding was perfected.


How Council Members Voted on Term Limits Extension

To see how your City Council Member voted on the Term Limits Extension bill, go to:

New Yorkers to Penna.?

It is amusing to contemplate that we Manhattan-ites are sending troops to Pennsylvania to get-out-the-vote for the Democrats because Manhattan (along with Kings county and The Bronx) is still subject to the Federal Voting Rights Act [fewer than 50% of the voting age population voted, however unfairly based, in a long-ago Presidential election] and any change made by the N.Y.C. Board of Elections (such as poll site locations) must be submitted in advance to D.O.J. for "pre-clearance" approval!

Voter Registrations Top Four Years Ago

New voter registrations in New York City during October, 2008, exceded by 70,000 those recorded four years ago during the same period according to Marcus Cederqvist, N.Y.C. Board of Elections Executive Director. October, 2008, saw a total of 211,866 new registrations compared to 141,147 in October, 2004. Additionally, there were 195,136 new registrations filed prior to October during this year.
"Ne dites pas 'Après moi, le déluge!';
mais 'pendant mon regne, le déluge financier est déjà arrivé.'" ---Geo. W. Bush

Thursday, October 23, 2008

29-22, How Your Councilmember Voted On Term Limits Extension

October 23, 2008
Mayor Bloomberg's bill to extend term limits from two to three four-year terms, which would enable him to seek re-election next fall, passed with three votes to spare.

Unless there's a successful legal challenge to the bill after the mayor signs it into law, he will be a candidate in 2009, and if re-elected he would be only the fourth 20th century mayor to serve a third term (the other three were LaGuardia, Wagner and Koch).

Councilman James Sanders, who abstained on the amendment that would have required a public referendum, voted "yes" on the mayor's bill. Councilman David Yassky and Councilman Alan Gerson, who introduced the amendment and then voted "yes" on it also voted "yes" on Bloomberg's bill. The third amendment sponsor, Councilwoman Gale Brewer, voted "no." Most of the undecideds turned into "yes" votes.

NY1 has a helpful chart: voice-their-opinions-on-term-limit-bill/

Addabbo - No
Arroyo - Yes
Avella - No
Baez - Yes
Barron - No
Brewer - No
Como - No
Comrie - Yes
De Blasio - No
Dickens - Yes
Dilan - Yes
Eugene - No
Felder - Yes
Fidler - Yes
Foster - Yes
Garodnick - No
Gennaro - No
Gentile - No
Gerson - Yes
Gioia - No
Gonzalez - Yes
Ignizio - No
Jackson - Yes
James - No
Katz - Yes
Koppell - Yes
Lappin - No
Liu - No
Mark-Viverito - No
Martinez - Yes
McMahon - No
Mealy - Yes
Mendez - No
Monserrate - No
Nelson - Yes
Palma - No
Recchia - Yes
Reyna - Yes
Sanders - Yes
Seabrook - Yes
Sears - Yes
Stewart - Yes
Vacca - Yes
Vallone - Yes
Vann - Yes
Weprin - No
White - Yes
Yassky - Yes
Oddo (Rep.) - No
Rivera (Dem.) - Yes
Quinn (Speaker) - Yes

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Long Lines at the Polls in November?

Douglas A. Kellner writes:
[Douglas A. Kellner, Esq., is a Commissioner of the New York State Board of Elections.]

Adam Cohen’s column in the New York Times reminded me just how bad the lines were at several poll sites in Manhattan in November 2000 and 2004, particularly during the morning rush from 7-10 am. I hope that every Democratic club will make an effort to consider ways it can work with the poll workers to maximize efficiency at each poll site so we don’t lose votes to long lines. It has been my experience that almost all of the intolerably long lines were the result of poor organization by the poll workers; conversely, even very crowded sites that were well-organized avoided unduly long lines.

EDITORIAL OBSERVER--No One Should Have to Stand in Line for 10 Hours to Vote

By ADAM COHEN Published: August 25, 2008

Everyone complains that young people don’t vote, but consider the experience of students at Kenyon College in Ohio in the 2004 election. Officials in Knox County, Ohio, provided just two voting machines for the school’s 1,300 voters. Some students waited in line for 10 hours, and the last bleary-eyed voter did not cast a ballot until nearly 4 a.m.

That same day in Columbus, voters in black neighborhoods waited as long as four hours, often in the rain. Many voters there and in other urban areas — including Toledo and Youngstown — left their overcrowded polling places in disgust, or because they could not wait any longer, without casting a ballot. In many of Ohio’s white-majority suburbs, the lines were far shorter.

Troubles in Ohio drew the greatest attention in 2004, but that state was hardly alone. There were complaints of long lines in other states, including Colorado, Michigan and Florida, where elderly voters endured waits in blistering heat.

I was in Ohio on Election Day 2004. The night before the voting, rumors spread that there would be a major effort by Republican operatives to challenge the registrations of voters in majority-black precincts. Those large-scale challenges did not materialize. But tens of thousands of votes were suppressed by something so mundane that no one thought to focus on it: long lines.

In Columbus, as many as 15,000 people left the polls without voting, many because of long lines. At a postelection hearing, a Youngstown pastor estimated that 8,000 black voters there did not cast ballots because of a machine shortage. (President Bush carried Ohio by fewer than 120,000 votes.)

Most of the logistical questions about voting are generally left up to local officials. Too often they don’t want to spend the money to provide enough machines, and fail to hire or properly train enough poll workers for a smooth process.

There is also a lot of poor planning. In 2004, Ohio officials used old registration numbers to estimate their need for voting machines — failing to anticipate the large number of new voters added by registration drives that blanketed the state. It is hard, however, to rule out various forms of bias.

There have long been reports of elections administrators in college towns trying to suppress the “out of town” student vote. There is a long, painful history of obstacles to black voting. In Ohio in 2004, it seems clear that the majority of people trapped on long lines were trying to vote Democratic.

The Washington Post reported that six of the seven wards with the fewest voting machines per registered voter backed John Kerry, while 27 of the 30 wards with the most machines per registered voter went for President Bush.

Long lines are likely to be an even bigger problem this year, with the Obama campaign and various nonpartisan groups working all over the country to register millions of new voters. Without proper planning, these new voters may overwhelm polling sites.

For the sake of the legitimacy of our elections, more voting disasters — long lines, confusing ballots or unreliable electronic voting machines — must be avoided. Congress should take the lead, but it has failed even to set standards for numbers of voting machines. This year, it failed to pass a good bill that would have made funds available to states to buy backup paper ballots.

That puts more of a burden on state election officials, usually the secretaries of state, to promote fair elections.

Ohio’s dynamic new secretary of state, Jennifer Brunner — who says she is “hyperfocused on long lines” — is taking laudable steps to avoid a rerun of 2004. She has been pushing reluctant local election officials to have at least one voting machine for every 175 voters — nearly four times as many as there were at Kenyon College in 2004. She is also directing counties that use electronic voting machines to have backup paper ballots on hand equal to 25 percent of the 2004 turnout — which can also be used if lines get out of control.

In Missouri, Secretary of State Robin Carnahan has also been pushing local election officials to have backup paper ballots available, and she is providing funds for the hiring of more, and better trained, poll workers.

In the majority of states, however, too little is being done to make sure that polling places can accommodate all of the voters who show up. That is a mistake. An election in which people have to wait 10 hours to vote, or in which black voters wait in the rain for hours, while white voters zip through polling places, is unworthy of the world’s leading democracy.

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Republican Comments on Term Limits

"This whole idea of this 'one time' extension for term limits is bull. Suppose 20 years from now we have another crisis and that Mayor says he/she wants one more term. Will they extend the term limits law again for that person?

"Ronald Lauder is a FAILED Conservative Party politician who couldn't compete against Giuliani. On many issues, they probably don't even agree, yet Bloomberg has use for him because he can use his money to help Mike.

"Am I the ONLY one in this City to see what a devious politician basically Bloomberg is. He is NOT an independent in the slightest, either. If my Republican Party offers him their line in 2009, he will take it in a minute. If working AGAIN with Fulani and the phony INDEPENDENCE Party will help him, he will do it. If knocking a Tom Ognibene off the ballot as he did in 2005 helps him, he will use his money and power and connections to do it."

---Evan Edwards, Republican Party District leader, 69th A.D., 1987 to 2004.

Monday, October 13, 2008

City Council Hearings on Term Limits

The City Council Committee on Government Operations will hold a public hearing on this issue Thursday, October 16, starting at 1 PM, at City Hall. Those who wish to testify should arrive during the afternoon and register with the committee's sergeant at arms. A second hearing will be held Friday, October 17, starting at 10 AM, in the Council's Committee Room in City Hall.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Quinn News Conference Today

In a tightly controlled "press conference" today (Oct. 12th, 2008) in City Hall, which your correspondent attended, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced her support for Bloomberg's Banana Republic power-grab to extended his term in office based on "these hard economic times" as if he was the only one who could "save" us from the global financial, derivative "melt-down."

This move by the Speaker might effectively end her chance to ever be Mayor. [Maria Passonante-Durr stated her intention to run against Quinn in a Primary.] The press were wimps who failed to question the Speaker, and after taking a few perfunctory questions, Quinn left the room.

Afterwards, the press had ample time to interview Mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner on the City Hall steps. Before the Quinn announcement, there was a press conference against the term-limits extension with Norman Siegel (who is expected to lead the legal challenge if the Council changes the term limits), Mark Green, Henry Stern, State Senator Eric Adams, Councilmembers David Weprin and Letitia James, Betsy Gotbaum, Assemblyman Jefferies, Anthony Weiner, M.C., among others.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Where the Councilmembers Stand On Adding A Third Term

Below you'll find a list of all of the City's Councilmembers, their contact information, and where they stand on the Term Limits extension. This vote is being fast tracked for a vote. Public hearing will be this Thursday the 16th at City Hall starting at 1 PM. The Council vote is expected October 26th.



Gale Brewer (Manhattan)
District Phone: 212-873-0282
District Fax: 212-873-0279
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-6975
Legislative Office Fax: 212-513-7717
E-mail Address:

Inez Dickens (Manhattan)
District Phone: 212-678-4505
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-7397
Legislative Office Fax: 212-442-2732

Alan Gerson (Manhattan)
District Phone: 212-788-7722
District Fax: 212-788-7727
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-7259
Legislative Office Fax: 212-788-7727
E-mail Address:

Jessica Lappin (Manhattan)
District Phone: 212-980-1808
District OFax: 212-980-1828
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-6865
Legislative Office Fax: 212-442-5503
E-mail Address:

Matthieu Eugene (Brooklyn)
District Phone: 718-287-8762
District Fax: 718-287-8917
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-7352
Legislative Office Fax: 212-788-8087

Simcha Felder (Brooklyn)
District Phone: 718-853-2704
District Fax: 718-853-3858
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-7357
E-mail Address:

Sara Gonzalez (Brooklyn)
District Office Phone: 718-439-9012
District Office Fax: 718-439-9042
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-7372

Michael Nelson (Brooklyn)
District Office Phone: 718-368-9176
District Office Fax: 718-368-9160
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-7360
E-mail Address:

Kendall Stewart (Brooklyn)
District Office Phone: 718-951-8177
District Office Fax: 718-951-8191
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-6859

David Yassky (Brooklyn)
District Office Phone: 718-875-5200
District Office Fax: 718-643-6620
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-7348
E-mail Address:

Michael McMahon (Brooklyn/Staten Island)
District Phone: 718-556-7370
District Fax: 718-556-7389
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-6972
Legislative Office Fax: 212-341-3045
E-mail Address:

Anthony Como (Queens)
District Phone: (718) 366-3900
District Fax: (718) 326-3549
Legislative Office Phone: (212) 788-7381
E-mail Address:

Melinda Katz (Queens)
District Phone: 718-544-8800
District Fax: 718-544-4452
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-6981
Legislative Office Fax: 212-788-7052
E-mail Address:

James Sanders (Queens)
District Phone: 718-527-4356
District Fax: 718-527-4402
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-7216
Legislative Office Fax: 212-227-1210
E-mail Address:

Helen Sears (Queens)
District Phone: 718-803-6373
District Fax: 718-803-9832
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-7066
E-mail Address:

Hiram Monserrate (Queens)
District Phone: 718-205-3881
District Fax: 718-205-4145
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-6862
Legislative Office Fax: 212-442-2725
E-mail Address:

Peter Vallone Jr. (Queens)
District Phone: 718-274-4500
District Fax: 718-726-0357
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-6963
Legislative Office Fax: 212-788-8957

Thomas White (Queens)
District Phone: 718-843-0792
District Fax: 718-845-0817
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-6850
Legislative Office Fax: 212-442-2729
E-mail Address:

James Oddo (Staten Island)
District Phone: 718-980-1017
District Fax: 718-980-1051
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-7159
Legislative Office Fax: 212-788-7232

Helen Foster (Bronx)
District Phone: 718-588-7500
District Fax: 718-588-7790
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-6856
E-mail Address:


Christine Quinn (Council Speaker - Manhattan)
District Phone: (212) 564-7757
District Fax: (212)564-7347
Legislative Office Phone: (212) 788-7210
Legislative Office Fax: (212) 788-7207
E-mail Address:

Erik Dilan (Brooklyn)
District Phone: 718-642-8664
District Fax: 718-642-8639
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-7284
Legislative Office Fax: 212-227-5636
E-mail Address:

Lewis A. Fidler (Brooklyn)
District Phone: 718-241-9330
District Fax: 718-241-9316
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-7286
Legislative Office Fax: 212-227-3176

Diana Reyna (Brooklyn)
District Phone: 718-963-3141
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-7095
Legislative Office Fax: 212-788-7296

Domenic M. Recchia, Jr. (Brooklyn)
District Phone: 718-373-9673
District Fax: 718-373-0195
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-7045
LegislativeOffice Fax: 212-788-7769
E-mail Address:

Albert Vann (Brooklyn)
District Phone: 718-919-0740
District Fax: 718-919-0744
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-7354
Legislative Office Fax: 212-788-8951
E-mail Address:

Leroy Comrie (Queens)
District Phone: 718-776-3700
District Fax: 718-776-3798
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-7084
Legislative Office Fax: 212-788-7093

Robert Jackson (Manhattan)
District Phone: 212-928-1322
District Fax: 212-928-4177
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-7007
Legislative Office Fax: 212-788-9190
E-mail Address:

Miguel Martinez (Manhattan)
District Office Phone: 917-521-2616/2640
District Office Fax: 917-521-1293
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-7053
Legislative Office Fax: 212-227-1215
E-mail Address:

Maria del Carmen Arroyo (Bronx)
District Office Phone: 718-402-6130
District Office Fax: 718-402-0539
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-7384
Legislative Office Fax: 212-788-8920
E-mail Address:

Maria Baez (Bronx)
District Phone: 718-294-3950
District Fax: 718-294-3955
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-7074
Legislative Office Fax: 212-788-8849
E-mail Address:

G. Oliver Koppell (Bronx)
District Phone: 718-549-7300
District Fax: 718-549-9945
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-7078
E-mail Address:

Joel Rivera (Bronx)
District Office Phone: 718-842-8100
District Office Fax: 718-842-6280
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-6966
Legislative Office Fax: 212-788-8977
E-mail Address:


Joseph Addabbo (Queens)
Tony Avella (Queens)
Charles Barron (Brooklyn)
Bill de Blasio (Brooklyn)
James Gennaro (Queens)
Vincent Gentile (Brooklyn)
Eric N. Gioia (Queens)
Daniel Garodnick (Manhattan)
Vincent Ignizio (Staten Island)
Leticia James (Brooklyn)
John C. Liu (Queens)
Melissa Mark-Viverito (Manhattan)
Darlene Mealy (Brooklyn)
Rosie Mendez (Manhattan)
Anabel Palma (Bronx)
James Vacca (Bronx)