Out of the Rotation


(This article has now been corrected twice to reflect the ever changing reality)

Those who’ve noticed my recent hiatus probably need to get a life. But, if you care, it’s at least partially attributable to recent efforts, on at least three different sites in the last month, to attribute an identity to my posts. These are probably all the effort of one particular blogger (the person most likely responsible for jefffeldmanmustgo and perhaps other sites as well) whose anonymity I will respect by referring to him only as “fat ugly smelly toothless bastard”.

Settling for the Steak Knives


“We must demand that the Speaker of the New York State Assembly and the Majority Leader of the New York State Senate be replaced, because they have failed to fight for the reforms that we seek. The current leadership in Albany has had ample opportunity to heed the message of reform and address the problems New Yorkers face, but they have spent far more energy making backroom deals to protect their own majorities. ..New York belongs to the nearly twenty million people who call our State home, not to three men in a room in Albany. With Governor Pataki on his way out, it is time to show Majority Leader Bruno and Speaker Silver the door, as well.” —- Tom Suozzi, speaking at a conference on government reform.

Shades of Grey


Here’s a headline designed to cause cognitive dissonance among the entire membership of "Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn" and most of their allies. I can’t wait to watch Chuck Barron’s Head explode when he tries to process this:

"California Town Uses Eminent Domain to Block Wal-Mart"- New York Sun, May 9, 2006.

Bertha Lewis was probably pleased. Marty Markowitz probably had mixed feelings.

Bertha, what will you do when Bruce Ratner tries to open a Wal-Mart?

Safe Legal and Rare


The dichotomy in politics between what people say they favor and the contents of their actual agenda is often striking. Take the so-called “Right to Life” movement. As an article by Russell Shorto in today’s NY Times Magazine makes clear; the real agenda of many “Right to Lifers” isn’t preventing abortions, but preventing sex. That is not to say this is the agenda of all “Right to Lifers”. I have a gay Catholic friend, who when confronted with the dichotomy between his opposition to abortion and his sexual libertarianism, always smiles and says “blow jobs don’t kill babies”.  And certainly there are outspoken "Right to Lifers" like Nat Hentoff who strongly advocate access to contraception and comprehensive sex education as part of an effort to prevent abortions.

Avoiding Even the Appearance of Due Process


If someone introduced a resolution at Park Slope’s Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats (CBID) to honor Lynne Stewart, an attorney convicted of aiding and abetting an Islamo-fascist terrorist group, it would undoubtedly pass with flying colors.

And while Stewart’s conviction does raise some troubling questions about what appears to be an effort by the Federal government to impede the rights of criminal defendants and their counsel, Ms. Stewart is clearly no hero.

“Vote for the Schtacker to Stop the Schvartzer”


Part of the frustrating nature of the continuing debate about Andrew Cuomo’s purported involvement in the 1977 Mayoral campaign’s infamous “Vote for Cuomo, Not the Homo” posters is that the ambiguities in the story prevent serious discussion of the underlying question about how long the statute of limitations runs for candidate “bad acts”, and whether the statute should ever run. Instead we focus on questions like: Did the posters exist? If so, did Andrew have anything to do with them?  If he did, should we hold this against a 19 year old 29 years later?  If Andrew knew, how could Mario not? And, if Mario knew, how could people outraged in 1977, forgive and back Mario in 1982 (Allen Roskoff, this means you), and then hold it against Andrew in 2006?

Albany Primer: Why Does NYC Get Screwed at Budget Time?


Why does New York City do so poorly compared to the rest of the State on school aid and legislative pork? Let’s look at the budget process; what follows may seem a simplistic rendering of a complicated series of events, but actually gives more thought to the process than that exercised by the majority of legislators in any given year (which is sad, because I wrote the whole thing while waiting for my toast to pop).

The New York State Constitution’s budget process is a Robert Moses created contrivance whose purpose is to rob the legislature of its legislative powers. The legislature has responded in many years by exercising the one constitutional power it has, which is to do nothing. The current governor has far greater constitutional powers, but regards lethargy and sloth as a matter of personal religious practice, rather than as constitutional law. But, this merely has slowed the process in some (actually many) years. In good years and bad, the basic process remains the same.

Hakeem Jeffries and the Limits of Gutter Politics


Sometimes the one way to make everyone angry is to take the most sensible position. Take Atlantic Yards. The arena would provide Brooklyn a real public benefit, and whatever one thinks about the adequacy of the percentage of “affordable” housing in the project, I defy anyone to find any developer who’s ever done any better. Yards opponents say they aren’t against an arena, they just think the Yards (easily accessible to half the City’s subway lines, as well as many bus transfer points), is an inferior location compared to putting an arena in the Brooklyn Navy Yard (a mass transit desert located in a flood zone). And they are all for development of the Yards (a deep hole in the ground, whose conversion costs have scared away nearly everyone), but just oppose any plan likely to be viable there. But the Yards plan’s opponents are fundamentally right that the Ratner plan proposed for development is just too damned big, and that the only response Yards plan supporters have given to questions concerning how we will evolve solutions to the seemingly insoluble problems the project presents is “if you build it, they will come”. Pardon my skepticism.

“No Justice, No Peace….No Capital Gains Taxes?” or “Eric Adams Goes Party Hopping”


I’ve long believed that one of the best ways to predict a politician’s future behavior is to get a handle on what their fundamental values are. In some cases, this is difficult, as the candidates have no values other than “what’s in it for me?” or “any weapon to hand”. Thanks to the fertile memory of Errol Lewis, voters in Brooklyn’s 20th Senatorial District will have a chance to ponder deeply into the meaning of what State Senate candidate Eric Adams meant by comments which appeared in the March 26, 1995 edition of the New York Daily News, and once digested they may want to ask what those statements indicate about the values Mr. Adams embraces.

Pack Up Your Clubbles


In the spring, it is said that a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love. In New York City politics, however, the change of seasons is more likely to bring upon thoughts of endorsements by political clubs. In reality, the young man’s fancy is less likely to be focused upon hearts and flowers, and more likely to be concentrated upon the ways and means of getting laid. In reality, the political club’s focus is less likely to be implemented by means of elevated debates about the great issues of public policy and political philosophy, and more likely to be focused upon the necessity of packing club memberships to ensure the desired results. In both scenarios, the likelihood is that someone is going to get screwed.