Thursday, March 22, 2012
Queens Machine still stinks
From the Times Newsweekly:
Ranking members of the Juniper Park Civic Association (JPCA) publicly slammed "clubhouse" politicians who allegedly put their own self-interests before the people they represent during the civic group's meeting last Thursday night, Mar. 8, at Our Lady of Hope School in Middle Village.
Robert Holden, JPCA president, specifically railed against Rep. Joseph Crowley, who is also the head of the Queens County Democratic Party, for overseeing a "corrupt system" that has led to the gerrymandering of the borough in order to ensure the re-election of established incumbents with little or no opposition.
Toward the end of the session, things turned testy when a member of the civic group spoke out against the ranking members' opinions about local lawmakers, past and present, in an editorial published in the JPCA's magazine, The Juniper Berry, which criticized Crowley. Holden and others defended its position, saying that the organization maintains its right to criticize anyone it believes is misrepresenting or harming the neighborhood.
Holden criticized the proposed realignment of Assembly and State Senate districts as proposed earlier this year by the Legislative Task Force on Redistricting and Reapportionment (LATFOR), claiming that the lines give an unfair advantage to incumbents and political parties.
"We've had that in Queens County for far too long," he said, charging that Representative Crowley and his cousin, City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, "are an example of this clubhouse atmosphere in Queens."
Holden claimed that Representative Crowley was "handed the Congressional seat" from the late-Rep. Thomas Manton, who declined to seek re-election in 1998. The civic president claimed that after Manton — the former head of the Queens County Democratic Party — secured the petitions to get on the ballot, he announced his retirement, which allowed him to pick Crowley to take his place on the ballot.
Since winning the Congressional seat in 1998, Holden stated that Representative Crowley has run unopposed in many elections since. He went further to claim that the legislator keeps his primary residence in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. rather than in his own Congressional district.
"This is the kind of corrupt system that we have," Holden told residents.