Of course your first reaction to this will be Nassau County?? Wtf is this guy smoking?
But it’s true. Look at the other races:
Normally the markee of races of the nation during the off-year election cycle, as a taking place in a large, competitive, purple state, Virginia is luckily going to be a walk for our side (McAlluife, Northam, and Herring) in all the statewide offices because they all face insane, unelectable opponents. As Kos just pointed out, McAlluife is turning out our base to win. The top-of-ticket dominance will help Dems gain seats in the Legislature.
The race for NYC Mayor is gonna be a DeBlasio tidal wave. This race has been over for months now.
Unfortunately, Chris Christie is gonna romp to re-lection. It’s sad, but there’s nothing to do to stop that at this point. 43% of New Jersey voters don’t even know who Barbra Buono is.
But there is one race this year that’s tight, in a large battleground, and one could create a lot of media spin about being a true bell-weather of a large Democratic wave in 2014: the race for Nassau County Executive.
A little background…
Nassau County is big. It’s purple. And it’s has a competitive election this year.
Nassau used to be one of those counties that epitomized the base of the GOP in the postwar era: suburban, middle class, mostly populated by ethnic white people. The GOP’s dominance was so complete that between 1938, when the Nassau County Executive was created, and 2001, the office was only held for 2 terms by one Democrat, Eugene Nickerson, from 1962-1970.
By the turn of the century, 30 years of Republican “governance” had taken its toll on the county: it’s economy was depressed, it’s finances were so bad it had to be taken over by a state control board, and the growth it experienced after WW2 was clearly unsustainable. Even during the late-90′s boom, Nassau was suffering tremendously.
In 2001, for the first time in 30 years, Nassau County residents elected a Democrat to the Executive’s office, Tom Suozzi. Like President Obama, he was handed a a slow-motion train wreck upon assuming office. And Like President Obama, he turned it around.
Suozzi brought Nassau back from the brink during his 2 terms as executive, only to see Nassau again get clobbered by the great recession. In a very low-turnout election in the anti-incumbent year of 2009, Suozzi was defeated by a tea-party Republican, Ed Mangano by 386 votes.
This year’s rematch has been termed “The Thrilla in Mineola.”
Mangano’s reign has once again demonstrated the inevitable failure that ensues whenever Republicans’g govern. Mangano’s first major initiative was of course, a budget-busing tax cut, coupled with austerity. Naturally, the economy has since performed underwhelmihgly and the county’s finances have to be held together with string and chewing gum.
Suozzi is smartly turning this race into a referendum against the Tea Party and coming out strongly against them:
Meanwhile, this race has turned into a national battle, with both sides sending in the cavalry. On Wednesday, Bill Clinton swung through Nassau to fundraise and campaign for Suozzi.
And of course, Andrew Cuomo has tacitly endorsed Ed Mangano, because he fears with Suozzi in the Executive’s office, the days of his GOP buddies in the State Senate will be numbered.
Suozzi knows the only way for Nassau to get out of its current predicament is to have smarter, denser growth around its transit hubs to broaden the tax base and make more efficient use of land to generate sufficient revenues to properly fund government.
So if Suozzi wins on Nov. 5, it will accomplish all of these amazing outcomes: 1) Nassau County will have a shot at a decent future, 2) the first tea party candidate ever elected will be tossed out of office, 3) Andrew Cuomo will have to eat some humble pie, and 4) this will create a great media narrative heading into the 2014 elections, adding to the possibility of a Democratic wave election.
This is a race that needs our resources and support more than any in the country right now. Let’s help turn out the base for Tom.
Cross posted from the original.
According to Standard & Poor’s estimates, the government shutdown may have cost the economy $24 billion and shaved 0.6 points off the fourth-quarter GDP. But the full damage will be assessed in months to come and is probably going to be even greater. Government employees have been furloughed for 16 days, scraping by, eating ramen noodles, putting off their purchases, and dipping into their meager savings. Thankfully, they will be reimbursed for their time. Businesses lost revenue, which would be ironic if it weren’t so tragic. The very party that claims to be the most business-friendly brought damage to its very constituents (and their very donors).
And all of this for what? The only clear winner in this whole debacle is Ted Cruz’s career. The freshman senator whom no one had heard of 12 months ago, has now raised nearly $800,000 and has become a household name. While we might sympathize with a politician’s zeal for fundraising, for Pete’s sake, could Cruz perhaps have found a cheaper way to do it? Is $800,000 in the bank for Ted Cruz worth the $24 billion lost to the economy? Republicans used to worry about taxpayers’ money, but in their feverish efforts to demonstrate to us how frugal they are and how much they hate spending they decided to wreck the entire household. Just in case we weren’t paying attention.
Ted Cruz’s self-promotion plan cost us all $24 billion. As an extortion strategy, the tactic of the government shutdown has been completely discredited: Obamacare is still the law of the land and is still being funded, and having learned their lesson, it’s unlikely that the Republicans will try this again in February. Furthermore, a provision was put into Wednesday’s bill that creates a mechanism neutering a possible future debt ceiling standoff. The president now has veto power over the refusal of Congress to raise the debt ceiling, and if the Congress still wants the debt ceiling breached it would need a two-thirds vote to to override the president’s veto.
Meanwhile, the entire original raison d’etre for Tea Party’s existence seems to be disappearing. The budget deficit has been dropping like a stone, mostly thanks to slightly higher revenues and automatic budget cuts known as sequestration. More spending cuts will only slow job growth and overall recovery. But we shouldn’t underestimate the far right’s ability to come up with new contrived grievances and we shouldn’t expect the Tea Party to accept defeat and exit the stage. Senseless grandstanding, or as Felix Salmon calls it “revolutionary nihilism,” has been shown to be a resilient force in U.S. politics and a great platform for self-promoters. How can we be sure that yet another Ted Cruz won’t be encouraged to self-aggrandize and fundraise off of a manufactured crisis?
How can we also be sure that the loss won’t make the Tea Party caucus even more entrenched in its ideology and intransigence? In his recent column conservative Ross Douthat compares the GOP to Colonel Kurtz, the demented fugitive in the film Apocalypse Now. Perhaps an even better analogy would be to compare the Tea Party to the villagers in the film. Col. Kurtz revealed something profound to Captain Willard about the adversaries the Americans were fighting deep in the jungle: It’s hard to undermine someone who has no judgment. One can’t just go into the jungle with the intention of vaccinating little children from polio if the villagers are prepared to cut off their own children’s little arms.
Why hasn’t New York passed GENDA, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, which would give transgender people equal rights in employment, housing and public places such as stores and restaurants? Over 60% of New York already has such laws. Police Chiefs including Ray Kelly say there have been no problems. They support GENDA. Does it make sense to have rights in Albany that you lose if you visit a friend in Nassau?
A friend of mine asked that question of a state senator. But you know what the state senator wanted to talk about? Bathrooms. He said it made him uncomfortable that a biological male might share a bathroom with his daughter.
Of course, if the woman looked female no-one would think twice as she disappeared into the bathroom stall and closed the door. But if she looked “funny,” she might raise questions. That those questions could as easily be raised by someone passed in the street didn’t seem to occur to him. And what each of us does in the bathroom stall is private.But think about what it means to a transgender woman who has to relieve herself. She has to go like everyone else, but where? Should she go in the men’s room? Would she even be safe if she did? Should she go in the women’s room where her appearance would place her? This senator would deny her that “privilege.” What should she do?
In fact, many transgender people fear violence or humiliation in public bathrooms. They wait extreme amounts of time until they find a place that feels safe. This leads to frequent urinary tract infections and, in serious cases, burst bladders. A 2004 Harvard University study found that lack of gender non-specific bathrooms caused transgender students to avoid eating and drinking, with cases of severe dehydration reported.
It’s understandable to feel uncomfortable with people with whom we are unfamiliar. But is that a reason to stand in the way of their health and dignity? It’s something to think about next time you need to use the bathroom.
(X-posted at Daily Kos)
For a long time I’ve given Andrew Cuomo the benefit of the doubt. After the Spitzer/Paterson disaster I felt greedy criticizing an ostensibly Democratic Governor who has the ability to keep his pants on and his approval ratings in positive territory. I liked how he pushed marriage equality through the Senate, and I understood if the cost of that was to enter into nonagression pacts with the GOP Senators who supported marriage equality.
But now he is going too far. He is actively supporting GOP control of Nassau County, New York’s second most-populpus county outside of New York City and a key suburban battleground.
As much as I loathe to link to the New York Post and especially Fred Dicker, this article sums up Cuomo’s betrayal the best:
Gov. Cuomo has secretly joined with former US Sen. Alfonse D’Amato and other top Republicans to stop Democrat Tom Suozzi from recapturing his old job as Nassau County executive, key Nassau Democrats angrily charge.
Cuomo, who has yet to endorse Suozzi two weeks after Suozzi’s victory in the Democratic primary, has taken several important steps to strengthen Republican incumbent Edward Mangano, including firing his leading critic, the Democrats say.
D’Amato, a lobbyist with multiple clients who, as senator, was credited with leading the effort that defeated then-Gov. Mario Cuomo in 1994, has emerged as “an important player in Cuomo’s re-election strategy on Long Island, especially in Nassau County and especially in trying to help Mangano,” a source with strong Cuomo-administration connections told The Post.
“D’Amato and Skelos are determined to stop Suozzi because Suozzi, as county executive, will help Democrats win Senate seats on Long Island,” said a close Suozzi ally.
This is just beyond disgusting. Cuomo is not only torpedoing the candidacy of Tom Suozzi, the former Country Executive who lost his seat in the tea-party wave of 2009 by about 300 votes and a great progressive, but he is also helping the GOP retain control of the State Senate because Cuomo doesn’t want to be forced to veto progressive legislation that would arrive at his desk if the Senate flipped to team Blue.
Again, this is an OUTRAGE. Gov. Cuomo was elected as a Democrat, but his main motivation in office has been to only cater to business interests and keep Republicans in power.
Full disclosure, I used to work for Tom Suozzi, and he is one of the few decent human beings in New York politics. When he captured the County Exec seat in 2001, he was the first Democrat to do so since the 70′s. Under his watch, Nassau received 11 upgrades of its bond rating and Democrats overtook Republicans in the County registration rolls. He also helped flip a few Senate seats to team blue during his tenure, but they flipped back after he lost his re-elect in 2009.
It’s horrible that Cuomo is now stabbing him in the back. Let’s stab Cuomo back by showing Tom some love. And if you’re in the NYC metro area, his campaign can use volunteers during the last 3 weeks of this tight County Exec race. And let’s also find a REAL DEMOCRAT to primary Cuomo next year.
Throughout the history of America, immigration has made us strong and vibrant. We’ve always been an inclusive nation where the best and brightest from around the world come to try and make it.
Luckily, President Obama and the Senate support reforming our immigration system to further encourage and allow the upwardly mobile dreamers from around the world to settle in the U.S. S. 744 really is a great plan, that includes comprehensive solutions such as:
* Giving legal status to the ~13 million undocumented immigrants who already live in our communities, and would allow them to legally work and pay taxes
* Opens a path for foreign students who get their college educations in America to remain here after they graduate so they can contribute to our economy
* Increases border security
* Increases visa quotas for highly-skilled immigrants who have skills that are currently in short supply in America
* Expedites the granting of refugee status for foreign nationals who have placed their lives at risk by assisting American armed forces in their native countries
Furthermore, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that this legislation will stimulate the economy and reduce the deficit by around $900 billion over the next 20 years.
All of these reasons are why ACT NOW has joined the October 5th Coalition to march over the Brooklyn Bridge to tell the House of Representatives to pass S. 744, this Saturday, October 5th:
Event: NYC March and Rally of for Immigrant Dignity and Respect
Date/Time: October 5th, 12:00 pm
Address: Cadman Plaza
Description: Rally at Cadman Plaza and march over the Brooklyn Bridge
We hope to see you there!
Yesterday evening, Rich Boatti, Betsy Malcolm, and Allison Tupper testified at the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption. Here is the video, and the text of our remarks as prepared for delivery is below:
Moreland Commission Testimony by Rich Boatti
My name is Rich Boatti and I’m an attorney and on the board of Act Now NY, a progressive and good government political action committee. We like to fight corruption at the ballot box, notably getting involved in the race to defeat the piece of human filth otherwise known as Pedro Espada in his last election.
Thank you for allowing me to speak today. This commission is providing a valuable public service and first I want to thank all of you for your hard work on this.
The very nature of and need for this commission is a testament to how flawed the state laws are regarding the enforcement of public corruption. This commission is doing vitally important work, yet it only exists on an ad-hoc basis, and its members were needed to be both appointed by the Governor and deputised by the Attorney General in order to have a legal mandate with the correct scope to properly investigate public corruption. That this elaborate legal manoeuvre was even necessary is a testament to how effectively legislative leaders- specifically Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos- have blocked the creation of a permanent, independent single entity to police public corruption that can investigate all branches of government. Indeed, this Moreland Commision is necessary because of the utter impotence of the permanent enforcement body, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, or JCPE, that has been imposed by Sheldon Silver. The JCPE can only be described as a joke. When it was tasked with looking into the Vito Lopez affair, Sheldon Silver’s appointees on the JCPE blocked it from looking into any wrongdoing by Speaker Silver and his staff, and how the Speaker himself likely violated state ethics laws by having the assembly agree to a confidential settlement with Lopez’s accusers, and paying them for their silence with taxpayer money.
Indeed Speaker Silver, Leader Skelos, and before him, Leader Bruno, have blocked an effective enforcement body for the legislature for years, even decades now. The JCPE is clearly not up to its task. What Albany needs is a permanent body with the same powers as this Moreland Commission, that has the legal mandate to investigate the legislature, the executive branch, lobbyists, campaign finance, political parties, municipal officials, and party county chairs, and is also completely independent of entities it is to police. Instead, we have the JCPE, which is supposed to investigate the legislature and executive, but has 8 of its 14 members appointed by members of the legislature and the rest by the executive branch. On its face, the JCPE is clearly a self-interested body whose structure alone makes it incapable of policing the legislature and executive branch in a manner that is needed. The JCPE needs to be reformed by having its mandate expanded to be essentially the same as this commission, and it needs to be comprised of members who are independent from the political branches of government. Perhaps its chair could be directly elected, or it could be rolled into the judicial branch.
It is also vitally important to investigate and ultimately change the law regarding county party chairs, because under current state law, county chars have too much unilateral power. For example, election law section 6-114 gives unilateral power to political parties on how they decide their nominees for special elections. This gives party machines the power to nominate their own machine people for special elections. This has historically been an open invitation for corruption, and this section of the law should be repealed and replaced with a provision that forces primary elections for all nominees, including those in special elections. Other legislative changes that should be proposed by this commission should include a public financing system based on the system currently in operation in New York City, instituting term limits for members of the legislature, the elimination of “member items” that allow legislators to buy votes with public cash, prohibiting the naming of any park or other public asset after any current member of the legislature, creating a “jungle primary” election system like that recently created in California, creating a nonpartisan entity to draw legislative district lines like exists in Iowa, prohibiting legislators from outside having outside employment, and lastly aligning state office elections to coincide with Presidential elections in order to increase turnout and dilute the power of county organizations who thrive at electing machine candidates in low-turnout elections. Alternatively, higher turnout could be achieved by instituting a civil fine for anyone who doesn’t vote, similar to the system currently used in Australia.
Moreland Commission Testimony by Betsy Malcolm
The recent Mayoral primary in New York City has been instructive in several ways. First, it has highlighted the inefficiency of the Board of Elections. We returned to the old lever machines because our new ones are incapable of managing a three week turnaround to a runoff election at any kind of reasonable cost, as if the Board of Elections couldn’t possibly anticipate a runoff election when choosing machines. Despite a low turnout there were lines and confusion at my polling place because the workers there didn’t remember how to use the old lever machines. Now, as I write this nearly a week after the election, we still don’t have an official first tally, much less a recount. Do we have a runoff election for Mayor on October 1st? We don’t know. Shouldn’t Board of Elections jobs be filled based on competency rather than being parceled out as patronage? This is embarrassing!
Second, I think the Mayoral primary showed the advantages of New York City’s campaign finance laws. Spending caps and matching funds allowed a candidate without big money support or even editorial board support from our largest newspapers to break through and win the most votes in the Democratic primary. He had a message that resonated with the voters and, given an equal chance to get his message out, was able to win. The system worked.
New York has one of the lowest voter participation rates in the nation. In 2010 we came in dead last. We have watched in disgust as our legislators get accused and convicted of ethical and financial irregularities. Why aren’t our legislators representing us honestly? Why do we think it’s hardly worthwhile to vote? Maybe it’s because we suspect our legislators’ votes are influenced by big money interests. We know we can’t count on them to vote for affordable housing when they keep their jobs through donations from developers. We can’t count on them to vote for a living wage for workers when big business donations keep them employed. Good jobs, fair wages, affordable housing, quality education, a clean energy future for New York … all of these depend upon who represents us, and whether they represent our needs or those of their big money donors.
Finally, our turnout may be so low in part because New York makes it so hard to vote. Other states have early in-person voting, vote by mail, and same day registration. Why can’t New York? There is no need for long lines at too few polling places. This isn’t rocket science. Let’s fix it.
ACT NOW, together with Democracy for NYC and Drinking Liberally co-sponsored a comptroller forum this past Tuesday at the Tank.
Here’s a brief summary of the event, as covered by New York Magazine.
In his 2013 State of the State address, Governor Cuomo threw down this gauntlet to the legislature:
“We passed marriage equality. Let’s make history again and let’s pass a Women’s Equality Act in the State of New York…
“Protect a woman’s freedom of choice. Enact a Reproductive Health Act because it is her body, it is her choice. Because it’s her body, it’s her choice. Because it’s her body, it’s her choice…
“Maybe it’s a man’s world, but it is not a man’s world in New York. Not anymore. We are going to pass this Women’s Equality Act. We are going to change the lives for my daughters and your daughters and your sisters and your nieces and your wife and your significant other and every person in this room. Every person in this room. And we’re going to do it this year.”
The Assembly passed the 10-point Women’s Equality Act but the State Senate punted. Read More