Friday, January 5, 2007

Letter from Great Neck

The following letter appeared in this week's Times Ledger. It nicely summarizes what is wrong with our political fundraising process and the always favorable coverage that the local papers give to elected officials. It was revealed by one of our readers that David Weprin accepted a sizable campaign contribution from the owners of the controversial yeshiva that recently opened in Glendale.

Weprin not interested in little guy from Queens

After reading "Boro politicians host week of holiday parties" ("Dishing with Dee" by Dee Richard, Dec. 14), I have to wonder if Ms. Richard consumed too much eggnog at all the parties.
Her comments concerning lame duck City Council Finance Committee Chairman David Weprin's candidacy for city comptroller in 2009 read as if she was on his campaign payroll as press spokeswoman.

Remember past campaign fund-raising events hosted by Weprin in Tribeca and South Street Seaport celebrating his 50th birthday? The price of admission was $500 for friends, $1,000 for hosts and $2,750 for sponsors. Weprin apparently has no interest in $25, $50 or $100 donations from ordinary constituent citizens. Both fund-raisers were conveniently located near his law office. (He will never declare how many hours he practices law in addition to his City Council duties or if any of his clients have business dealings with the City.)

It seems it has been years since he has held any fund-raising events near his working- and middle-class constituents from Queens. Like a bee attracted to honey, Weprin likes the bright lights of Broadway with all the high rollers and big spenders doing business with the city, along with their fat check books.

Who continues to contribute all those $500, $1,000 and $2,750 tickets to Weprin's re-election campaign committee? The same crowd attended his recent Dec. 13 holiday extravaganza at the Woolworth Building. With no Democratic primary or Republican general election opponent in 2005, why did he need to raise over $500,000?Perhaps the real reason was to begin building a political war chest to run for city comptroller in 2009. Despite numerous campaign donations to fellow Council members, local and county Democratic organizations, he was never considered a serious candidate for City Council speaker. It is interesting to note that his fellow Council members, who know him best, didn't support him. This could be an ominous sign for his 2009 race for city comptroller as well.

Intelligent voters would love to learn more about who is contributing money to Weprin in exchange for possible future favors at taxpayers' expense. Never shy around a camera or microphone, you have to wonder why Weprin doesn't look for media coverage at his fund-raisers? When will Weprin go public with a detailed list of his contributors?

Contact the city Campaign Finance Board or log on to the Web site, His contributors and campaign expenditures to date make interesting reading.

Independent observers of municipal government know there is a political quid pro quo expected by those who represent various special interest groups doing business with the city in exchange for campaign donations. This is known as "pay for play" around City Hall. Are these the very same "support by both financially and politically important people" Ms. Richard refers to?

Larry Penner
Great Neck


Anonymous said...

Yes, I noticed that the Frank Sinatra School and Museum of the Moving Image does all their fund raising in Manhattan. Was at a community board meeting and someone (very politely hat in hand) asked the museum about this. The response: the donors would not come to Queens. The community board's answer: Thank You. They got the approval from the community board to expand.

Anonymous said...

NY campaign law permits all money raised from campaign donations can stay with the politician, even after they leave office!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I could never understand why a man who lives in Great Neck, LI, is so concerned with the doings of a NYC Councilman. It's obvious he does not like Mr. Weprin from his constant rants against him, but shouldn't he be more concerned with the political happenings in his own county?

Anonymous said...

Maybe he left Queens because of how disgusting the elected officials are. I don't think it wrong of him to make comments even though he lives in a different county. It would be nice if the Manhattan elite cared as much about Queens as Penner seems to.

Anonymous said...

There are people in every neighborhood in Queens, as well as every borough, who "get sick of what's happening here," and leave town. That's what we call running away from the problem.

I'm not saying that's the case here, but if it is, running away, and THEN complaining, is wrong.

Anonymous said...

And you can complain and complain and have it fall on deaf ears until one day you decide to pick up and leave. Why continue to be ignored and abused when you can live somewhere else and be happy? Kind of like a civic divorce.

Anonymous said...

Yes indeed! The politician always gets to keep all the money raised. I'm told that "The Staviskys" have one of the largest campaign war chests around. Isn't that nice for Toby- Ann & her son Evan , who I believe, is a partner in the powerful "Parkside Group". Maybe some of the money to start it up came from that war chest! Whatta bunch of Trolls! If that be true, I'd like to start up a new business out of the left-overs from my campaign contributions! How about you?

Anonymous said...

"Why continue to be ignored and abused when you can live somewhere else and be happy?"

It certainly doesn't sound like the author of that letter from Great Neck, in Nassau County, not Queens, is too happy. If he's gone elsewhere to be happy, it apparently hasn't worked too well for him. He sounds more like a bitter man, who identifies with Nassau, but gets a little too involved in another area's politics. Penner should leave CM Weprin alone, and try to concentrate on Nassau County's own problems.

Or is he just a complainer who likes to write letters, but not really get involved?

Queens Crapper said...

This site is not intended for people to nitpick with each other for where they live. If you disagree with the substance of the letter, that's fine, but no further comments will be published that focus on the letter writer's personality or where he lives.