Excellent post over at Room Eight:
Completive elections throughout the city are the exception. There are 32 legislative seats open in this week’s Primary in Queens (6 Congressional, 7 Senate, 18 Assembly and 1 Council). But there are only three Primaries – the rest are uncontested — due largely to the Queens Democratic Organization’s legal firm and political power. If they can’t talk you out of running, they can challenge your petitions from the Board of Elections through the Court system, exhausting you and your campaign war chest. Their candidates need not spend a cent or a moment, while Democratic challengers are tied up in court going through tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees. Two incumbents and one challenger in Queens were talked out of running to avoid competitive elections in Queens, State Senator Sabini, Assemblyman Lafayette, and Albert Baldeo who got 49% of the vote against a republican incumbent without the help of his own democratic party.
This conspiracy by insiders to shut down New York’s election system is creating a new type of England’s Hanover dynasties, where only family members or extended family members (chief of staff, campaign workers) replace incumbent elected officials. This insider caste system now works more for the special interests than for the people who make up the neighborhoods of this city. How else can you explain why the City Council votes for tax breaks for developers who are doing more harm to New York’s neighborhoods that Robert Moses ever dreamed?
The Parkside Group as campaign consultants helped elected Gifford Miller to Council Speaker and several Queens City Council members in 2001. Between 2002 - 2005 they made over 7 million in fees, mostly in non profits who needed their help to lobby Miller and the Queens councilmember’s for member item funding from the city budget for their groups. With all the scandals coming out in the past year it surprising why the system that elected the speaker of the council has not been examined more closely by the media.
While the Tammany Hall system of government was corrupt and kept much of the money they took from the City’s budget, they were forced to give some of it to the poor, working class, who votes they needed at election time. The new lobbyists/ consultants are answerable to nobody; they keep all their money for themselves and for their summer homes in the Hamptons.