Tuesday, July 15, 2008

How to avoid a messy election

The dean of the Queens Assembly delegation, Ivan Lafayette, is declining his party’s nomination for re-election and taking a job with the state, in effect creating an emergency vacancy on the ballot.

Suddenly, a Queens Assembly Dean Isn't Seeking Re-Election

Because nominating petitions have already been turned in, the candidate who will run on the Democratic ticket will be chosen by the committee to fill vacancies that Lafayette selected while preparing his own petition.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just like Crowley, fun and games.

And not a #$$%%^*# Queens newspaper will come out strongly against this.

Lawsuit territory if you have balls.

Taxpayer said...

Now, now. Lafayette didn't plan this. After 32 years in Albany, he simply failed to understand that his timing would permit the party to "pick" a successor, eliminating the need to listen to the noisy voters.

He really, really wanted a contested choice, but he was overruled by his own timing.

Anonymous said...

I like be treated like a dumb ass and have my betters make my choice for me.

The silence of 2 MILLION reinforces my beliefs.

Now on to Britney and Hannah and Angolina, the really really important things.

Anonymous said...

No wonder Queens is the home to so many third world types.

They should be prefectly at home here.

Its run just like their 'contry'.

Anonymous said...

It good to be King

why should the public pick who represents them. Let Parkside and their friends choose for us.

There was more democracy in the soviet union than 2008 Queens

Ridgewoodian said...

ANONYMOUS: There was more democracy in the soviet union than 2008 Queens

I'm calling BULLSHIT on that. Can you back it up?

Queens Crapper said...

In the Soviet Union you could at least vote yay or nay for the unopposed candidate.

In the Lafayette case, you don't have that option.

Anonymous said...

All this does is hollow out the machine. Every stunt like this turns off another few thousand.

georgetheatheist said...

What the hell is (was) an Ivan Lafayette? The Invisible Man? Sayonara and Good Riddance, Mr. Nobody.

Frank Lloyd Crap said...

Crappy, maybe a new series is in order called "How to undermine democracy, part 1...2...3" etc

Lets start with all the deals that Serf and Joe Crowley made.

Ridgewoodian said...

This is from The Government and Politics of the Soviet Union by Leonard Bertram
Schapiro (1979)pp 103-104:

“When the regulations for the first Supreme Soviet elections were published in 1937 it was observed that provision was made (as it still is) for contested elections: the voter was instructed to cross out all names on the ballot paper except the name of the one candidate for whom he desired to vote. Stalin himself added to the fun by telling a foreign newspaper correspondent that he anticipated lively, contested elections with several candidates competing.

“When the list of candidates appeared there was in fact only one candidate offering himself in each constituency – either a Communist or a non-party member of the ‘bloc of Communist and non-party’ candidates. Although instructions on the ballot paper have remained the same since then, in the thirty-one years that have elapsed since 1937, in no single instance has more than one candidate been put forward in any constituency in any Supreme Soviet election – nor, so far as is known, in the election to any lower Soviet.

“The organisation of Supreme Soviet elections, at any rate, has left nothing to be desired. Throughout this period the overwhelming majority of the electors went to the polls, to an extent which is completely unknown in any parliamentary or presidential system of government where election can be demonstrated to be reasonably free. Thus in 1937 96.8% of all electors went to the polls in the first Supreme Soviet election, in 1946 99.7%, and in 1958 and 1966 the percentages were respectively 99.97 and 99.94. On each and every occasion similar majorities were cast for the single list of candidates of the party and non-party bloc.”

So, the Soviets during the middle years of the last century had no choice of candidates, no choice among candidates, not even a choice of whether to vote or not. And that's not even to mention show trials and gulags.

The political culture here in Queens is disgraceful, yes, but to compare it to the old U.S.S.R. - unless Anonymous was trying to be ironically funny - is just plain dumb.

Anonymous said...

The machine has such contempt for us they don't even bother to make this look legit.

As the robber barons used to say to the press (when there was a press)

"What are you going to do about it?"

Anonymous said...

Exactly, Ridgewoodian. It sounds just like this case. Thanks for going out of your way to do research top make the exact same point.

Lafayette leaves, the Machine simply replaces him.

No choice of candidates
No choice among candidates
Not even a choice of whether to vote or not.

Anonymous said...

The political culture here in Queens is disgraceful, yes, but to compare it to the old U.S.S.R. - unless Anonymous was trying to be ironically funny - is just plain dumb

----------------

USSR - free health care (check)

USSR - very very little apathy (check)

USSR - no multimillion dollar package for running a company into the ground, throwing out thousands of people from work (check)

USSR - no importing dark skinned people to treat as animals or to be exploited as tenants (check)

USSR - no taxbreaks to the top 1% who are amassing 40% of the nations wealth (check)

Ridgewoodian said...

ANONYMOUS: It sounds just like this case. Lafayette leaves, the Machine simply replaces him.

Well, no, not exactly. As the post said: “Because nominating petitions have already been turned in, the candidate who will run on the Democratic ticket will be chosen by the committee to fill vacancies that Lafayette selected while preparing his own petition.”

I’m not defending the procedure. It seems that there should be plenty of time to allow anyone who might want to get onto the ballot to go out and collect signatures. But this is ONE case. (In the 30th City Council district we just had a hotly contested special election and we’re gearing up for more primaries and another election later this year.) Also, the “machine” isn’t replacing him in the Legislature, they’re replacing him as the nominee of their party. That’s not quite the same thing. Any other party is free to nominate their own candidate and work for his election. You would be free to vote for any nominee you’d like. And, of course, while I would not advocate not voting at all, you’d be free to not go to the polls on election day; I’m sure there won’t be a 99.7% turnout in Lafayette’s district so some people will surely exercise that right.

So, while we could surely use some major electoral reform in this county, city, state, and nation, to compare us to the Soviet Union is to not know what one is talking about.


ANONYMOUS: USSR - free health care (check)

Point taken. Of course, you could include the rest of the industrialized world under that heading.



ANONYMOUS: USSR - very very little apathy (check)

I wonder – what's your proof of that? That they had almost 100% turnout at elections? Right…. My understanding is that the most engaged citizens were the dissidents who wanted to completely overhaul the system and, as for the rest, well, “we pretend to work, they pretend to pay us” and there was vodka and whatever other material comforts they could find. I don’t know that the average Soviet was more apathetic than the average American, but I doubt that they were less so.



ANONYMOUS: USSR - no multimillion dollar package for running a company into the ground, throwing out thousands of people from work (check)

No, perhaps not. But Stalin and his (surviving) cronies sure reaped the rewards of executing hundreds of thousands, and starving and enslaving millions more.

ANONYMOUS: USSR - no importing dark skinned people to treat as animals or to be exploited as tenants (check)

Leaving aside your “dark skinned” provocation, no maybe they didn’t do that. But they did surely take over other peoples’ countries – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, parts of Poland, etc. and exploited the (white) people there. And they did have the lovely tradition of forced labor – which was not only exploitative but also murderous.

ANONYMOUS: USSR - no taxbreaks to the top 1% who are amassing 40% of the nations wealth (check)

That’s true enough. That had to wait for the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Truman Harris said...

You would be free to vote for any nominee you’d like.

Except that there won't be another nominee because Crowley and Maltese made a no-challenge pact. Whoever the Dem nominee is, the winner of the election is be default.

Ridgewoodian said...

TRUMAN HARRIS: Then suppport a third party. Or run yourself if you live in the district. Christ, this democracy thing isn't THAT complicated.

Truman Harris said...

I suppose I could, but I would need thousands of dollars in cash laying around, would have to spend more than half my time fundraising, would have to quit my job since I don't have a no-show one like Como or Crowley do, and then would have to have raised enough to pay for lawyers, consultants, campaign material, etc. The inevitable legal challenges to my signatures may very well leave my campaign broke before it even gets started. Yes, democracy is a wonderful thing!

Ridgewoodian said...

TRUMAN HARRIS: Yes, democracy is a wonderful thing!

I sense sarcasm. What would you replace it with?

I guess this is why Charles Ober is more admirable than either of us.

Truman Harris said...

This isn't democracy, is my point. Need to reform it, not replace it.

Ridgewoodian said...

TRUMAN HARRIS: This isn't democracy, is my point. Need to reform it, not replace it.

Well then we're almost agreed. Yes, we need reform. (I don't know from this Lafayette person but if the best the two parties can come up with in my district are Anthony Como and Elizabeth Crowley, then some rather profound change is needed.) BUT to say that the Soviet Union was more democratic than Queens is, with all its faults, well, that's just absurd.

Anonymous said...

It is absurd that you can make a case compairing the Soviet Union to Queens. We can all agree there a bunch of thugs of running politics in queens like the thugs that ran the Soviet Union in its day. How can this have happen in America?

Ridgewoodian said...

ANONYMOUS: It is absurd that you can make a case compairing the Soviet Union to Queens.

It's absurd to think that you CAN compare Queens to the Soviet Union. For all their faults Serf Maltese and Joe Crowley are NOT Lenin and Stalin. Or even Brezhnev. Queens might be corrupt but it's no totalitarian police state. There are no show trials here, no gulags, no deportations - although some of the readers of this blog might like to see deportations. To fail to see the difference between Queens and the U.S.S.R. is to lack completely any intellectual rigor or moral vision.

Anonymous said...

Why are you going so far back in history to compare Queens to USSR? It existed into the early 1990s. And the 1980s and 1990s in USSR were a lot like Queens in 2008.

Anonymous said...

And hopefully Queens will follow in USSR's footsteps and have a freedom revolution.

Ridgewoodian said...

ANONYMOUS: Why are you going so far back in history to compare Queens to USSR? It existed into the early 1990s. And the 1980s and 1990s in USSR were a lot like Queens in 2008.

I didn't realize there was a time limit. No one mentioned that we're only talking about the U.S.S.R. of the 80s.

Let's remember that it was in 1983 that Ronald Reagan - hero to so many on this blog - apparently first used the phrase "Evil Empire" in public in reference to the Soviet Union. And while it might not have then been the totalitarian dictatorship it had been under Stalin it was still an authoritarian, repressive regime. Without free elections, without a free press, without most of the civil liberties we take for granted. When Gorbachev tried to open the system up and reform it, it promptly collapsed. (Alas, democracy has yet to really establish itself in most of the former Soviet territory.)

Comparing this to Queens – well, there’s just no comparison. It’s like calling Bush a Nazi. No, Bush isn’t any good, but he’s not Hitler. Both comparisons are intellectually lazy.

Ridgewoodian said...

ANONYMOUS: And hopefully Queens will follow in USSR's footsteps and have a freedom revolution.

Choice voting for Queens!

Anonymous said...

Pre-Glasnost Russia = Queens weekly newspaper reporting.

Ridgewoodian said...

ANONYMOUS: Pre-Glasnost Russia = Queens weekly newspaper reporting.

Are the Queens newspapers run by the government? Are they censored by the government? Are the only sources of information in Queens controlled by the government?

Truman Harris said...

Yes, yes and yes.

Gary Ackerman founded the Tribune and anything having to do with him or a Stavisky or any of the old Dem guard is 100% positive. Even after McLaughlin pled guilty, the publisher was writing about how sorry he felt for him. The Queens Times is almost 100% politician press releases. The Queens Ledge has been the machine's best friend for years. When they ran a piece making fun of Melinda Katz, she called Sanchez up and read him the riot act and then a puff piece about how great she is ran the following week. The Gazette kisses Vallone ass (any of the 3) to the point where it's nauseating. I could go on and on. Every newspaper always comes out in favor of every initiative the Bloomberg administration ever came up with, and write friendly profiles of the CAU reps as if they're god's gift.

Ridgewoodian said...

TRUMAN HARRIS -- You know, there's a long tradition of partisan newspapers in this country. In fact, until the last century, most were and were very open about it. Walt Whitman was the editor of one. Would that have made him the moral equivilent of the editor of Pravda? Of course not. Because there's a big difference betweeen partisanship and government control.

Also, if the only sources of information in Queens are controlled by the government then doesn't it follow that this very blog is controlled by the government? Are you saying that Crappy is some kind of secret agent?

I imagine you must live in constant fear of a knock on the door in the middle of the night, poor man.

Anonymous said...

Because there's a big difference betweeen partisanship and government control.

-------

oh, really?

then how do you explain the gazette reporting on lafayette? everything on what a great guy he is and nothing about this stunt.

ridgewoodian, we just don't want to waste time anymore responding to you, an obvious political hack.

Anonymous said...

Ridgwoodian outed! Ridgewoodian outed!

Queens Crapper said...

I imagine you must live in constant fear of a knock on the door in the middle of the night, poor man.

Sort of.

Anonymous said...

"Without free elections, without a free press"

Ridgwood, do you consider the Layafette thing a 'free election?'

Did you think that the Queens press does not exercise censorship?

Anonymous said...

Have any of you noticed that you cannot find any of the stories re Lafayette, Katz, etc. in any of the local papers. ONLY THE FORUM AND QUEENS CRAP.

That plainly tells me everything.

Ridgewoodian said...

ANONYMOUS: Because there's a big difference betweeen partisanship and government control.



-------

oh, really?


Yes, really.

Is Fox News partisan? Clearly. Is it run by the government? No. How about the Post? Same thing. (Same owner.) The Sun. The Village Voice. The Editorial Page of the Wall Street Journal. Even the venerable Times. All of these, and many others, have their politics, their biases. You could even call some or all of them partisan. But none of them are controlled by the government.

As for the Gazette, I haven’t followed their coverage of this particular issue. This Lafayette person is not my Assemblyman. And even if he were, we all know how useful Assemblymen are. The story in question reads to me more like a piece of puffery on the retirement of an old man than anything else. How shocking, a local newspaper doesn’t uphold the highest, most hard hitting standards in journalism. You should see the rag from my hometown. My suggestion: if you feel strongly about it, write a letter to the editor. Point out exactly how his actions are denying a real choice to the people of his district. It might get some folks talking and thereby democracy would be served.

Of course, if you think the Gazette is too hopelessly partisan, it’s your absolute right to start your own newspaper. (Which just happens to be a major difference between Queens and the U.S.S.R.) Too expensive? You know, there is that internet thingy, that system of tubes that they invented to get bomb making instructions and pornography to underage children. I hear that people often post their opinions online and discuss them with their neighbors. That’s another freedom you have here that’s denied to the people of China today and almost certainly would have been denied to the Soviet people as well. You might want to take advantage of it if you haven’t already.

By the way, just for my own edification I asked a Russian acquaintance – a man who had grown up in the Soviet Union in the 70s and 80s – what he thought of the question before us, whether Queens is in any way comparable to the U.S.S.R. He rolled his eyes and said, in his Russian accented English, “no, that’s crazy.” I don’t say that’s the last word on the subject but I do feel a little vindicated at least.


ANONYMOUS: ridgewoodian, we just don't want to waste time anymore responding to you…

So don’t. If you’re the same ANONYMOUS (are you not sophisticated enough to create a consistent handle?) who’s been riding my ass for weeks you’ve BARELY “responded” to any point I’ve made, here or elsewhere except to accuse me – without a shred of evidence since none exists – of working for I don’t even know who and of posting long posts. Well, guilty on the second count. Live with it. But your couple of sentences just now about the Gazette and Lafayette are the closest you’ve come to any kind of germane response.

ANONYMOUS …an obvious political hack.

Well, if being a hack is knowing the difference between chicanery and totalitarianism (and also knowing how to capitalize properly), long live hackery!

ANONYMOUS: Ridgwoodian outed! Ridgewoodian outed!

NOW what are you frothing about, little man?

ANONYMOUS: Did you think that the Queens press does not exercise censorship?

Well, censorship is the examination of materials, usually other people’s materials, in order to suppress matters deemed objectionable. So no, I don’t think that the Queens press censors. They don’t have the power to censor. If they did, perhaps this site would have been shut down, or the Forum, which I understand has covered this particular issue in a bit more depth.

Now, maybe the Queens press doesn’t cover the issues in the way you’d like them covered because they’re excessively partisan. Or maybe it’s because they’re just bad newspapers. Or maybe you’re getting all worked up over a relatively minor issue. But in any case the solution is as I’ve already outlined a few paragraphs above.

ANONYMOUS: Ridgwood, do you consider the Layafette thing a 'free election?'

I consider it chicanery. Gaming the system. Unfortunately, that kind of thing isn’t at all uncommon in this country. I do consider that a threat to democracy, although I think it’s going too far to compare us to the Soviets just yet.

Here are some reforms I think would help:

* Instant Runoff Voting for all single seat elections (governor, senator, mayor, etc., president if the outmoded electoral collage can ever be abolished).
* Elimination of single-member legislative districts (Congressional, Assembly, City Council, etc.) and their replacement by multi-member districts, members to be elected by means of the Single Transferable Vote.
* Reasonable relaxation of ballot access rules to allow more candidates to run.
* Full, or at least substantial, public financing of political campaigns.

I think these would go a long way towards re-energizing our sometimes sclerotic democracy.


QUEENS CRAPPER: I imagine you must live in constant fear of a knock on the door in the middle of the night, poor man.

Sort of.


See, I think that this proves that our system actually DOES work. Not perfectly, no. But the outcome was positive. An ADA (or maybe a DA) overstepped their bounds and was eventually forced to back down. Hopefully whoever was responsible will eventually lose their job. It’s unfortunate that Room Eight had to go to the trouble of fighting the subpoena but I would be surprised if any local DA tries to engage in such foolishness again.

Compare this to the famous case of Solzhenitsyn. Supposedly he made a joke about Stalin and was immediately sent to a prison camp in Siberia. Or Sakharov, who was sent into internal exile for his peaceful human rights work. This just doesn’t happen in Queens.

Anonymous said...

"You should see the rag from my hometown."

What rag is that? The Times Newsweekly?

Taxpayingdad said...

Just another example of how the nuthouse is being run by the inmates! What political bullshit! Quit when the appointee cannot be challenged, sounds just like a con job on the taxpayers and voters. I dare him to explain to us all that it isn't what he pulled. Why can't we vote in his replacement? More bullshit!

Ridgewoodian said...

ANONYMOUS: What rag is that? The Times Newsweekly?

No, that's my local newspaper now. My hometown paper was the glorious Norwich Bulletin. Maybe it's gotten better in the almost twenty years since I left the "Rose of New England" but back in the day we just assumed it was a pack of lies.