Alan Hevesi served as NYC Comptroller from 1994-2001 and as State Comptroller from 2003-2006. He resigned when he was caught using state workers to chauffeur his wife and pick up his dry cleaning. However, that was the least of his offenses.
In 2007, Hevesi pleaded guilty to a complicated “pay to play” scheme. Among other things, a California venture capitalist gave Hevesi $500,000 in campaign funds while Hevesi authorized the pension fund to invest 250 million in his company. Hevesi accepted $75,000 in trips for himself and his family from the same benefactor and also benefited from $380,000 given to a friendly lobbyist. Raymond Harding, the former head of the Liberal Party, pleaded guilty to accepting $800,000 in exchange for doing favors for Hevesi.
Former NYS Comptroller Alan Hevesi, Convicted Felon
ACT NOW and a coalition of progressive activists staged high visibility events and spoke with voters in the districts of State Senators Jeff Klein and David Carlucci on Saturday, January 11, to make sure that these senators are held accountable if they once again fail to keep their promises to enact progressive legislation.
These senators – who were elected as Democrats but now caucus with the Republicans in the Senate – ran on promises to pass election reform, a women’s equality measure, a decent minimum wage, and a permanent ban on hydrofracking, among other progressive agenda items. None of these measures have been enacted.
Coming together from all over the region, we progressives gathered in Nyack, Ossining, Pelham and the Bronx to put the two senators on notice. We are calling for:
meaningful ethics reform in Albany
a higher minimum wage, indexed to inflation
a permanent ban on fracking
public financing of elections
immigration reform, including passage of the New York DREAM Act
passage of the Women’s Equality Act
passage of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA)
legalization of small amounts of marijuana for personal use
Let these senators be on notice: if they won’t “walk the talk” and deliver on their promises, we WILL replace them in 2014.
Important opportunity to work on innovative campaigns to empower workers in the 99 percent to take on the power of the 1 percent. We need creative electoral campaigners, social and environmental activists, community organizers, labor organizers, students interested in starting social justice careers to work alongside workers as they speak out together for good jobs. Must be willing to work in stressful, hectic campaign environment and bring strong field and relational skills. Candidate should have a track record of working or volunteering for underdogs and overlooked causes. Are you ready to fight for what you believe in? Do you want to do something to make a difference? Are you looking to work in the social and economic justice movement? If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of the questions above then union organizing is for you!
To apply: Cover letter and resume are required for consideration for this position. Cover letters should describe your qualifications, experience and career goals, as well as a brief description of why you want to work to realize SEIU’s vision for building a strong union.
The SEIU–WAVE (Organizer-In-Training) Program is a 12-month training program. As an Organizer-in-Training with the SEIU WAVE Program you will be learning from a dynamic union that is committed to giving a voice to thousands of workers and helping to provide lasting social change for the working class.
At SEIU (www.seiu.org) , we are looking for energetic and passionate individuals who are ready to organize people to fight for better lives for themselves and their families. This is your opportunity to put your commitment to social and economic justice to work by learning the skills needed to build power for working people. If selected you will be trained on any of our many organizing campaigns within the United States.
STARTING SALARY: $36,600 /annual
Comprehensive health benefits package for employee and eligible dependents.
$560/month car allowance
$60/ month cell phone allowance
SEIU staff enjoy top notch benefits including comprehensive health benefits, major medical, dental and vision for employee and eligible dependents, domestic partner benefits, competitive salaries, generous holiday and vacation policies, and both a pension plan and a 401(K) Plan.
A cover letter is required for all applications. Your cover letter should explain your reason for wanting to work for SEIU, an example of how you demonstrated success in a similar position and a description of how this position fits into your long-term career plan.
Union organizing is not easy and not for everyone. This program is designed to help train you on the many aspects of union organizing and learn skills that can be used in many aspects of the social justice movement. A successful applicant for the organizer-in-training position should have the following:
Demonstrated commitment to social justice and grassroots organizing
Possession of excellent oral and written communication skills
Possession of excellent listening skills and the ability to comprehend the concerns of others
Ability to manage your time independently and carry out work plans with minimal supervision
Willingness to travel for extended periods of time
Ability to work long and irregular hours, including some nights, weekends, and holidays
Ability to motivate and activate others
Possession of sharp problem-solving skills
Applicants with excellent writing skills and/or new media campaign experience preferred
Possession of basic map navigation skills a plus
Must possess a valid U.S. driver’s license, auto insurance, and an automobile for business use.
Must be willing to relocate to a city in Hudson Valley New York if offered a position.
State Senator Andy Lanza of Staten Island called me “hateful and malicious” and he doesn’t even know me. It wasn’t just me. He called all atheists those ugly words.
A group called American Atheists posted a sign in Times Square saying: Nobody Needs the “Christ” in Christmas. Celebrate the True Meaning of the Season! Family, Charity, Food, Friends.
Now, I don’t need the Christ in Christmas, a holiday that I love! I am looking at my tree and the presents under it right now and anticipating the joy of entertaining friends and family on Christmas day. However, I understand that some people do need Christ in Christmas, and I would have no problem with Senator Lanza saying so. But that’s not what he said. He not only called for a boycott of Times Square businesses, which had nothing to do with the sign, but stated: “It is not surprising to me that people who do not believe in God are hateful and malicious.” He also said: “Religious persecution of the kind that similarly led to the Holocaust, began with small evil baby steps of ridicule and hatred of the religious beliefs of others.”
Are you kidding me? Nobody was ridiculing Christians or Christmas, and comparing this sign to the Holocaust is deeply offensive. In fact, the sign was, clumsily, trying to be inclusive. To say that Christmas is a joyous occasion for those who don’t believe in a holy Christ as well as for those who do. It is certainly a joyous occasion for me! Unlike those who want to limit the holiday to Christians only, this sign exhorts all of us to celebrate the many gifts of the season together.
Not being either hateful or malicious, I will hope that Senator Lanza overcomes his small-mindedness and learns to embrace all New Yorkers in our glorious diversity. I remember that he voted against marriage equality and think about the gay people who he represents as well as us atheists. Senator Lanza, I hope you broaden your outlook so that you will represent all your many and diverse constituents better than you have done to date.
I watched Joe Lhota’s concession speech last night. As the New York Times noted, he struck “a defiant tone,” mocking Bill de Blasio’s campaign theme of “a tale of two cities.” Lhota stated that “despite what you might have heard, we are one city” and added “I do hope the mayor-elect understands this, before it’s too late.”
Now imagine that some of us had been in that Manhattan hotel where Joe Lhota offered these condescending words. What would we have seen? How many African Americans? How many Latinos or Asian Americans? How many Muslims, Jews, or Hindus? How many feminists? How many LGBT activists? How many union members? How many young adults working for terribly low wages at McDonald’s or comparable stores?
Joe Lhota stands in that room and pontificates about how we are “one city” to Bill de Blasio. Meanwhile, the huge crowd at de Blasio’s victory celebration in Brooklyn genuinely looked like the diverse New York City that many of us know, just as de Blasio’s family is a vivid reminder of our beautifully diverse town.One last note. In that same speech, Joe Lhota lauded his great hero, Rudy Giuliani. What would Rudy know about New York being “one city”? For years after being sworn in as mayor in 1994, Rudy refused to meet with ANY important African American political leader. Not even elected officials like C. Virginia Fields, the Borough President of Manhattan. He only ended his racist stance in 1999 when the city was in turmoil after four New York police officers fired 41 shots at the unarmed Amadou Diallo and killed him.
Joe Lhota was Rudy’s right-hand man for years. But he feels he can preach to Bill de Blasio and the rest of us about how New York is “one city”?
Jeff Klein, state senator from the Bronx, seems to have gotten lost. Elected as a Democrat, he wandered off and was most recently seen caucusing with the Republicans and giving them veto power over what can come to a vote in the state senate.
In 2012, Jeff Klein got 94% of the vote running on both the Democratic and Republican lines. However, 77% of those votes came on the Democratic line and an additional 3% came on the Working Families Party line. Only 19% of his votes came on the Republican line. But who is he caucusing with? You guessed it: the Republicans.
Why? It’s a good question. In November 2012, senators running on the Democratic line won a majority of seats in the New York State Senate, but Jeff Klein had a serious beef with the Democrats. Klein had been the Senate Democrats’ top political strategist and head of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee until the Democratic Leader slapped him in the face, as he saw it, and appointed Senator Mike Gianaris to fill that role.
When the Democrats won a one seat majority, Klein saw his chance. Instead of voting to caucus with the Democrats who elected him, he sold himself to the highest bidder. Klein and three other “Democrats,” including his girlfriend, Senator Diane Savino of Staten Island, shopped themselves to both parties and went with the Republicans.
Here’s the deal: Klein gets to be co-Majority Leader along with Republican Dean Skelos. The four members of the “Independent Democratic Conference” (IDC) get good committee chairmanships, lots of money for their districts, and big offices. The Republicans get veto power over what can come to the floor for a vote. The deal is that either Majority Leader (Klein or Skelos) can keep legislation from getting a vote.
Here’s what didn’t get a vote this year: The Women’s Equality Act and Campaign Finance Reform. It is believed that both bills had the votes … but they never got a vote. The IDC/Republican majority blocked both bills from coming to the floor and getting voted on.
Senator Jeff Klein: Please come home. We elected a Democrat and we want Democratic representation.
If Klein can’t be found he must be replaced. Democrats elected a state senator and we deserve to be represented.
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.
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.
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.