Piece of Crap Developers Lose in Court

So, when slumlord developers maintain their properties at a substandard level, apparently it is okay for tenants to complain to elected officials. Sadly, that right was called into question by some piece of crap developers who thought the rights of their tenants to speak out and petition their government should be restricted because it might defame their crappy name. Fortunately, their lawsuit to silence the complaints of their tenants got thrown out.

Here’s what happened: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/judge-dismisses-frivolous-defamation-lawsuit-283252261.html

When the tenants wrote a letter to their elected officials to ask for help with chronic problems with disrepair, instead of addressing the problems, the developers demanded that the tenants retract their letter or face legal consequences.  When the tenants refused to sign a letter prepared by the developer’s attorneys that said that tenants had in essence falsified the facts surrounding almost twelve years of shoddy workmanship in the building located at 1831 Madison Avenue, Mr. Capoccia sued the tenants for $4.25 million. The tenants made a pre-answer motion in front of Judge Coin to dismiss the matter and the Court in a 14 page decision dismissed the suit and awarded costs and disbursements.

Madison Park Development Associates, headed by Donald Capoccia was awarded the HPD contract to develop 1831 Madison Avenue, a cooperative for middle-income New Yorkers.  Completed in 2002, structural deficiencies were pervasive from the start, and despite promises and attempts to repair the problems, the structural deficiencies worsened, and still exist to this day.

So…Madison Park Development Association, headed by piece of crap Donald Capoccia, did a crappy job fulfilling a contract they were awarded and then tried to suppress the freedom of their tenants when the tenants tried to petition the government to redress the problems. What monumental assholes the Madison Park Development Association, headed by Donald Capoccia, are. It would be hard to defame the name of Madison Park Development Association, headed by Donald Capoccia, because they already are bringing their own name down into the dirt.

This is an example of the hubris and thuggishness of developers in NYC. The coddling developers get and the corruption at all levels of government, right up to mayor, that developers are involved in lead to this situation where developers routinely violate their promises and then actually sue those who complain. Remember all those affordable housing units and union jobs de Blasio, Forest City Ratner, and WFP promised us with the shiny happy agreements surrounding Atlantic Yards? Unfulfilled promises, broken contracts, and no consequences. I am surprised Forest City Ratner hasn’t sued the citizens who complain about it like piece of crap Donald Capoccia did to his tenants. This city is so rife with corrupt bargains with developers we are even selling off public lands like our LIBRARIES to developers. And it isn’t because those libraries aren’t being used. Library usage is going up yet the city wants to sell off libraries so developers can make more money.

Madison Park Development Association, headed by Donald Capoccia, is not some outlier. They are a prime example of what is wrong with NYC. The article emphasizes the political connections of Donald Capoccia. Well, who are those political connections? That below the fold.

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Looking at our Bottom Line

When all is said and done, leaving aside the details of NY politics which often aren’t pretty (and historically never have been), there really is a bottom line we can look at. Third Parties do little to help move us forward. Republicans move us back. And when we elect Democrats, USUALLY good things happen. THAT is our bottom line.

https://fbcdn-sphotos-c-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-frc3/v/t1.0-9/1004940_615441528496323_54201167_n.jpg?oh=db29c4d64c9df078f0f0f9233474ae97&oe=54D947C9&__gda__=1424338838_38255b70166b88cff4db1f169d9b18e5

A Brief Rundown on the NY State Political Parties

A quick rundown of the political parties of NY State. None are pretty, but some our outright butt-ugly and even borderline sociopathic.

Democratic Party:  Usually the best we have, though that is damning with faint praise at best. Ranges from radical left to radical right. Ranges from reformer idealism to corrupt cronyism and everything in between. Democrats in NY State would be among the best candidates in most parts of the country, but we tend to forget that here. In that sense we are spoiled. On the other hand, we also have such tarnished and awful gems as Vito Lopez, Andrew Cuomo, Pedro Espada, Jeff Klein, etc. Still, the best Party in town almost across the board. At least on issues almost always good when they can actually organize their IDCs, Amigos, Cuomos, Hasids, and the like enough to push for a real issue.

Green Party: The ever lurking party of lost dreams. The party that can afford to be purist because it doesn’t have to worry about corrupting influences like winning or governing. Occasionally acts as spoilers to help Republicans win, despite their delusional denials to the contrary, but usually play no significant role in the American political system. That said, at times they are the party I retreat to when I just cannot vote Democratic. At least they no longer seem to be nothing but a lobe of Ralph Nader’s tumorous ego.

Republican Party: Here is the best I can say about them: here in New York they are at least not quite as bat-shit crazy as the National Party. At least not usually. And bad as the Democratic Party and Working Families Party are when it comes to corruption, the Republican Party is even worse. They have at least as high a percentage of indicted and disgraced politicians they routinely support as the Democrats and WFP do. But I still think the likes of Dwight D. Eisenhower would have nothing to do with them and they, like their even more extremist National counterparts, have Elephantine Obstructionism as their main political plank in their platform. I have almost always voted against the Party of No. Once respectable, now borderline sociopathic. But at least everyone can tell they are sociopaths.

Working Families Party: Quite simply a sleazy parasite on the ass of the Democratic Party of NY State, nothing more and nothing less except when they occasionally act as a sleazy parasite on the ass of the Republican Party. They talk like saints while they behave as sleazy as the sleaziest Democrat or Republican in the state. They have shown contempt for campaign finance laws, run some of the nastiest campaigns while whining about negative campaigning from their opponents, were among Vito Lopez’s very last allies even when most others were jumping ship, and they have never met an ideal they weren’t willing to violate in order to make a buck. Anyone who has seen the character Tetsuo transform in the movie Akira has basically watched the process of WFP extend their power. I’d rather vote Green that WFP. This one is like the serial killer about which everyone says, “but he always seemed so nice!”

The entertaining little guys below.

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My Voting Recommendations for Tuesday’s General Election

I will be spending most of today and tomorrow focused on either GOTV efforts nationally or on my more regular teaching job. And Tuesday I will be silent since I will be working the polls. So this is my chance to make my recommendations for Tuesday’s vote.

First I want to remind every Democrat to vote Tuesday. And remember…Republicans vote Wednesday ; -)

My Voting Recommendations:

1. Vote No on Prop 1. This is the most important vote most New Yorkers will make. When Common Cause NY, NYPIRG, CBID, LID, Howard Graubard, Zephyr Teachout, Tim Wu, Tish James, and Velmanette Montgomery all agree on something, it is usually well worth paying attention to. Vote No on Prop 1 NY

2. Prop 2 and 3…2 seems pretty simple and I will probably vote yes. 3 seems a way of funneling school funds into the wrong places, so I lean no, but I am not sure. My default is to vote yes on education bonds, but this particular one has raised a lot of red flags for a lot of people. I am thinking it is safest to vote no on this particular one.

3. Governor: I may vote Green. I may write someone in like Zephyr Teachout, Michael Bouldin, or Howard Graubard. He, wouldn’t a Graubard/Bouldin ticket for Gov/Lt Gov be great. The only question is who to stick with Lt. Gov….heh, heh, heh.

If you can’t stand Cuomo, vote Green.

If you want to make damned sure the Republican doesn’t win, vote for Cuomo on the Democratic Line. There is no way to vote Cuomo while also registering a protest. If you want to protest vote Green. If you want to vote so as to ensure the Republican loses, vote Democratic. If you like Cuomo, vote Democratic or Women’s Equality Party.

Do not vote WFP. They have consistently violated campaign finance laws and used to be allied with the extremely corrupt and sleazy Vito Lopez. They are corrupt and cynical and as reform-minded as Vito Lopez ever was. A vote for Working Families Party is a vote for Albany corruption.

Vote Women’s Equality Party if you want to make a point about women’s rights but do so with the full understanding that WEP basically was made by Cuomo for Cuomo to counter the fact that Zephyr Teachout was female.

3. Comptroller and AG: I will vote Democratic. I have issues with both DeNapoli and Schneiderman (the latter more with him as a less than savory individual, not on policy) but both are pretty straightforward decent Democrats worth our vote over the much worse Republicans.

Again, I will not vote for them on any line but the Democratic because that is the line that is currently the best to vote on.

4. Assembly: Vote Democratic across the board.

5. State Senate: Even more importantly vote Democratic across the board. I have a few I might be tempted to say some bad things about, but the bottom line is we need all the momentum in the State Senate as we can get.

6. Judicial: Vote Democratic Across the Board. In many cases the same candidates are being run by most parties. But in cases where there are differences, the Democratic candidates are the ones who are almost always the best.

I think that covers it.

Election 2014 Will Come Down to the Wire…GOTV will determine the outcome

People keep asking me how I think the election on Tuesday will turnout. Well, truth is, there are so many tight polls across the country, that we won’t know until Wednesday…if not in some cases later. It will come down to one and only one thing: Getting Out the Vote.

I have been making phone calls and will continue to do this. I have found the reaction very encouraging. From what I can tell there is a great deal of enthusiasm among progressives and that is translating to people who want to work GOTV and that will translate to votes.

We DO have a shot at keeping the Senate, picking up some Governor seats, and maybe even picking up some House seats. But we need to make sure we get our base out between now and Tuesday…particularly in states with early voting. We have to lock in our votes.

There are two organizations doing national GOTV efforts that are convenient and effective: Democracy for America and Progressive Change Campaign Committee. A friend of mine tells me the Movon.org efforts this year are not as organized or effective as years past, so I do NOT recommend them.

So, to help races NATIONALLY, please sign up for at least a couple of hours through these organizations (local efforts will be below the national):

 

Progressive Change Campaign Committee

 

I am working with the PCCC and finding them very organized and effective. They are covering some very close, important races in Iowa, Minnesota, Colorado, Alaska, New Hampshire, and Oregon. PCCC members have made over 2 million calls already and will hopefully keep this momentum going right up to the close of polls on Tuesday. Please join me in this amazing effort.

PLEASE SIGN UP HERE TO GOTV FOR THESE STATES THROUGH PCCC.

MORE EFFORTS BELOW…including local NYC efforts…

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A Walk in Greenwood–the man who founded CUNY and Opened Japan

I love walking in Greenwood Cemetery. I can thank Jacob’s 4th grade teacher for introducing me to it, even though I’d passed it hundreds of times. For those interested in history, it is a wonderful place. The monuments to the NYC heroes of the Revolution, the Civil War, the Mexican War, and WW I. Generations of famous names represented in clusters of graves.

And sometimes I learn something new. A grave caught my attention this morning. It was the grave of Townsend Harris (October 3, 1804 – February 25, 1878). It was unusual in that it had multiple plaques added, one by the 26th Head Priest of a Buddhist Temple in Japan, and one by the City University of New York.

Townsend Harris not only was the founder of CUNY, the system I now work for, but he also was the first United States Consul General to Japan after the opening by Admiral Perry, and negotiated the Harris Treated with Japan that opened official relations.

Here is Townsend’s grave at Greenwood, a picture from the Greenwood website showing students of a Japanese school visiting his grave:

https://images.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.green-wood.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2012%2F03%2Fharris.group_.jpg&f=1

Townsend Harris is the epitome of a dedicated American politician. He was head of the NY Board of Education before founding the Free Academy of the City of New York to educate working class New Yorkers. The Free Academy was the precursor of CUNY. It was the first tuition free college in the United States.

He then served in diplomatic roles in China and Siam before being sent to Japan to negotiate the formal treaty that initiated relations with Japan. Today he may be more remembered and honored in Japan than in the US.

Here’s a different view of the grave, showing the cherry tree planted by the Japanese in Townsend Harris’ honor: (not how I got to see it today)

You can learn more here: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=3356

A Republican Official Thinks it’s “Sick” to Help the Elderly Vote

Yesterday I posted on Linkedin that I had spent a day with the Board of Elections helping residents of a nursing home vote by absentee ballot. This program has people going in pairs, one Democrat and one Republican, to residents at nursing homes who want to vote and reads them the ballot (if they need this help) and to mark their ballot. It is strictly nonpartisan and is very much appreciated by the residents of the nursing home who without it would be disenfranchised.

This is what an official with the GOP commented regarding my efforts (taken straight from Linkedin)

 

  • Jim Meyer

    Jim

    Jim Meyer

    Secretary at 11th District NCGOP

    How sick, that any one would descend on a helpless group of citizens, many who are not alert, drugged, Alsheimer nor aware of what they are being asked and then trick them into supporting some political opportunists agenda.

 

 

So the Secretary of the 11th district NCGOP thinks it is “sick” to help the elderly vote? He apparently thinks residents of nursing homes should be disenfranchised. I wonder if the elderly voters of the 11th District in North Carolina know this is the official NCGOP position!

For those who think the elderly are NOT a “helpless group of citizens, many who are not alert” and think that the elderly should be allowed to vote despite residing in a nursing home, you might want to keep this GOP position in mind.

To be clear, I was working with NYC GOP members who certainly would NOT agree with Jim of the NCGOP. So it is NOT a universally held GOP position. But apparently in North Carolina disenfranchising the elderly has some official GOP sanction.

 

Getting out the vote…spending the day in a nursing home and learning some lessons

I spent most of yesterday working for the Board of Elections helping residents of nursing homes vote by absentee ballot. I did this during the primary as well, but my observations then are very different than now.

In both cases my job was to scrupulously present every candidate as equally as possible to the voter who couldn’t read the ballot him or herself, and to scrupulously record their preference. It was a wonderful chance to see the process while being completely nonpartisan.

Then everyone was a Democrat who was deciding among democratic candidates. What I observed was that women voted for women specifically because of the lack of representation of women in government. I also observed that the LAST name on the list of candidates was far more likely to get people’s votes, and that the simpler the name and easier it was on the ear, the more likely people would vote for the candidate.

My observations for the general were completely different.

First of all, I was careful to read off each party and each candidate. Interestingly, my Republican partner was the one who would suggest to people the option of voting straight Demcoratic. She knew that almost everyone would choose this and she gave them the option while I was carefully trying to give every party, even the stupidly branded “Sapient Party” a chance.

Every singe person with almost no exceptions chose straight Demcratic…the exceptions voted for Democratic candidates on other lines.

Despite my effort to present every candidate equally, the Sapient Party candidate got no votes.

What struck me most though was the reaction of voters to Proposal 1. Now at that time I was undecided on this proposal, not that it mattered since my job was only to read it to them. The response of the voters to this proposal, even in its simplified form on the ballot, was universal.

“I have no idea what they are trying to do.”

This is supposedly a reform measure to redistrict state level districts in a less corrupt way. Yet it is about as opaque and incomprehensible as can be.

Here is what I gathered from reading it to voters: This proposal sets up a committee of 10 to redistrict. 8 of those 10 are directly appointed by the four leaders of the state legislature (majority and minority leaders of Assembly and Senate). The remaing 2 members are appointed by those 8 appointees of the four leaders of the state legislature.

Why? How is this reform? Four people choose 8, and those 8 choose the remaining 2, and those 10 make the decision for the rest of us.

That is the proposal as presented on the ballot.

No one wanted it among the voters I talked to. In private, none of the people I was working with liked it either. It sucked at least as it was worded to the voters.

The other proposals appealed to the voters. They were PHRASED and NAMED in a way that appealed. Proposal 1 was phrased and named in a way that no one liked…was this intentional? I am guessing the legislature only put it forward as a front to CLAIM they are reforming the system, but it really is just incomprehensible junk. If that ISN’T what they wanted, then they need to fix it so people actually understand it and like it.

Voting in November in My District Will Suck

Okay…when faced with a so-called “Democrat” like Cuomo, I wish there was an alternative. Cuomo not only is a fairly corrupt, thuggish asshole, but his policies lean far more towards the Greedy Oil Party than I would like. He is NOT a progressive, reform Democrat. He is a sleaze. So wouldn’t it be nice to at least have a place for a protest vote even if there was no real EFFECTIVE vote I could have?

The Greens remain overly infected with the metastasis of Nader’s massive, tumorous ego, ruining their ability to see straight. I suspect the Nader tumor presses too much on their optic nerve and their higher reasoning centers. They may be liberal, but they have not shown the slightest sense of strategy, tactics, or intelligence for decades. I grew up with Nader as a hero and used to consider myself leaning Green. But I have seen the Greens do more damage to their own cause than help any kind of progress or reform in America. The Greens are arrogant as can be and tell me often how great they are on issues, but I have not seen any sign of effectiveness coming from them these days. They are not for me.

On the other hand, WFP has become such a whirlpool of corruption, developer money, white privilege, and violations of election finance laws that they make me even more nauseous than Nader. Though they and I sometimes agree on candidates (Note: DEMOCRATIC candidates) their overall strategy is short-sighted, brutish, and nasty and NOT in the slightest bit reform or progressive. Not to mention elitist. Of course since they endorsed the Fracking Thug Cuomo anyway, they rule themselves out as any kind of progressive or reform alternative this year… but despite their sweet words, they have ruled themselves out for me for years now.

Who else is there? Republicans lost their credibility when the unelected Bush came to power if not long before. I remain a Democrat, and there are plenty of Democrats to vote for…Jo Anne Simon in my district being the main one. But so-called Democrats are becoming hard to find in NYC these days.

Cuomo is a wannabe Repub on all too many issues. He is furthermore one of the nastiest and most out of touch politicians I have seen for years.

The WFP machine is a wannabe Vito Lopez machine and are making the Frank Seddio machine look almost decent. When I first moved to Brooklyn I voted WFP because I couldn’t stand the Vito Lopez machine. But over time I realized WFP was no better. They have enabled the Repbublicans, sided with Vito Lopez’s machine over reformers, sided with the IDC over reformers, sided with Cuomo over progressives, and have violated every campaign finance laws they thought they could get away with. They are the epitome of a corrupt, cynical machine.

Greens remain stuck in their Nader illness, refusing the chemotherapy they would require to become well again.

And then we have fools like Jesse Hamilton, who I reluctantly supported in the Primary only to see him slide towards the Republican-linked and power-hungry IDC, who I sometimes agree with, but overall see as a metastatic tumor of Jeff Klein’s ego much as the Greens have become a metastatic tumor of Ralph Nader’s ego.

So come November I will proudly vote for the one real progressive, liberal, reform DEMOCRAT on my ballot: Jo Anne Simon. I look forward to THAT vote. But other than that, I am not so sure what I will do.

I may not be able to vote for Jesse “Which Way Should I Go?” Hamilton any more than I can vote for Andrew “Frack You All” Cuomo. So in the end I may have to pick some creative write ins…Howard Graubard? Michael Bouldin? They would be far better than the choices I would actually have.

Commentary on Ebola from a Hazmat Expert

This is an interesting perspective from someone trained in handling Hazmat conditions. The key quote is this one:

EBOLA BOTTLE
“The truth is, in terms of virology, Ebola should not be a threat to American citizens. We have clean water. We have information. We have the means to educate ourselves, practice proper hand-washing procedures, protect ourselves with hazmat suits. The CDC Disease Detectives were dispatched to Dallas almost immediately to work on the front lines to identify those who might be at risk, who could have been exposed. We have the technology, and we certainly have the money to keep Ebola at bay. What we don’t have is communication. What we don’t have is a health care system that values preventative care. What we don’t have is an equal playing field between nurses and physicians and allied health professionals and patients. What we don’t have is a culture of health where we work symbiotically with one another and with the technology that was created specifically to bridge communication gaps, but has in so many ways failed. What we don’t have is the social culture of transparency, what we don’t have is a stopgap against mounting hysteria and hypochondria, what we don’t have is nation of health literate individuals. We don’t even have health-literate professionals. Most doctors are specialists and are well versed only in their field. Ask your orthopedist a general question about your health — see if they can comfortably answer it..”

Now if we can just get the radical right wing Republicans to stop using the Ebola outbreak to stir up useless hysteria for political gain, we might actually start focusing on fixing the healthcare system so it is better able to deal with things like this. Cue the Democrats, who have been proposing Healthcare Reform since Clinton (and before, actually).