Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Saturday, August 31, 2013

NY Times Follows Thompson Story Up With De Blasio Story

Yesterday the Times put a front page story out that essentially said Bill Thompson is a crook.

They've done "expose" stories on Quinn, Weiner, and now Thompson, so I figured the de Blasio "expose" was coming soon.

Tonight they're out with it, and if this is all they've got on him, it's not much.

They say de Blasio used the public advocate's office to advance his own career.

They say de Blasio's close to George Soros.

They say he surprised people when he backed the taxi industry over the Bloomberg administration on their outer borough taxi plan.

They say he has an ego and likes to be on MSNBC.

If that's the best they've got on him, no worries going into Primary Day.

Frankly, I thought the Dana Rubenstein post at Politicker on the "pragmatism" he has shown when cutting deals with the real estate industry does more damage to him then this Times story.

But neither story puts him the league of Quinn or Thompson in terms of crookedness.

If you're like me and you were wondering if the Times was holding something on de Blasio, and if so, when they were going to dump it - well, if they are holding anything on him, it's not in tonight's story.

Andrew Cuomo Declares War Against Public School Teachers

Why did Andrew Cuomo say he believes "failing" public schools deserve "the death penalty"?

At first, when I read on the Internet that Cuomo had this, I thought the writer meant he said something close to it in a hyperbolic way.

But no, Governor Cuomo actually said it:

“There is going to be have to be a death penalty for failing schools . . . where we say the children come first, before the bureaucracy,” Cuomo told reporters during a stop in suburban Buffalo late Thursday. “If the school fails, the school has to end.”

Cuomo said options for failing schools include a takeover by the state or a takeover by a charter school.

“I don’t want Albany to sit there and tell communities how to run their schools but I do feel comfortable sitting in Albany and saying failing schools is not an option,” Cuomo said.

Such an interesting phrase to use - "death penalty" - when talking about schools.

Why not ""failing schools deserve to be closed"?

Or "failing schools cannot be allowed to continue to fail"?

I would take issue with the simplicity of those statements, since there are many reasons why schools "fail" that often have nothing to do with the schools or the teachers teaching there.

But at least the language would be less inflammatory.

To say that "failing" schools deserve "the death penalty" amounts to a declaration of war by this governor against public schools and public school teachers.

Folks, he wants to exterminate some of us.

Seriously - just look at the language he used.

Language always gives you away and the language Little Andy chose here gives him away as a  pro-charter, pro-education deform, anti-teacher, anti-union corporatist who wants to destroy the public school system and the teachers in it.

That he's purposely using language that once defined something his father was famously opposed to - the real "death penalty" for convicted criminals - is even more concerning.

It's his way of saying "I am not father, I am not Hamlet on the Hudson, I am no liberal commie pinko - I am a tough guy with tough policies who plans to get tough on 'failing' schools and put them to death."

In the short term, this language and this statement is aimed at Buffalo.

As I conjectured a month and a half ago, it seems obvious that Governor Cuomo and NYSED Commissioner King plan a state takeover of the Buffalo school district.

Cuomo and King have been pissed at Buffalo ever since that side deal the district made with the union over APPR and now they plan to get even by taking over the district, killing off the public schools and opening up charter schools either run by or patronized by their hedge fund cronies.

In the long term, though, it is a declaration of war by Governor Cuomo against teachers.

APPR was of course a strike against teachers and schools in NY State.

Forcing an APPR system on NYC teachers was a strike against NYC teachers.

But Cuomo has ratcheted up the level of animosity and hostility here by using such inflammatory language.

It is high time we return the favor.

If Governor Cuomo thinks it is time some schools be given the "death penalty" for struggles that are often beyond their means to fix, then it is time for teachers of all political ideologies to get together and help pull the plug on the 2014 Cuomo re-election plan and the Cuomo 2016 presidential plan.

Andrew Cuomo is a thug and a bully and a crook, that we've known for a while.

Now, after the "death penalty for schools" statement, he is also a war criminal against public schools.

It is time to put an end to his Reign of Terror.

How in heaven's sake he ever thought that "death penalty" was a proper phrase to use when talking about schools, students and teachers is beyond me.

But it does give you insight into the violent man he is in his heart.

Scary Labor Day Thought

From Dean Baker:

Ezra Klein gives us some terrifying news in a Bloomberg column today. President Obama’s economic team think they are doing a great job, hence the desire to bring back former teammate Larry Summers as Fed chair. This is terrifying because the economy this Labor Day is described by a set of statistics that can only be described as horrible.

We are almost 9 million jobs below the trend level of employment. The number of people involuntarily working part-time is still up by almost 4 million from its pre-recession level. Wages have been stagnant for a decade and show no signs of increasing any time soon. And, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the economy is still operating more than $1 trillion (6 percent) below its potential. Oh, and by the way, the financial sector is more concentrated than ever, with top honchos drawing the same sort of paychecks they did before the crisis.

I could go on but what’s the point? This is an economy that under other circumstances we would all say is awful. The Obama team can pat themselves on the back for saying its better than a second Great Depression, but that’s a bit like saying that the 1962 Mets didn’t lose all their games. Horrible is horrible.

Your progressive president in action.

The Walmarting of America - "Hey, we're doing a swell job!"

How about some more of those part time, minimum wage service jobs you guys are so good at creating?

Well, I guess bombing Syria for no good reason will create, let's see, uh, a couple of p.r. jobs...

De Blasio's Cozy Relationship With The Real Estate Industry

Dunno why the NY Post and NY Daily News editorial boards are upset at the prospect of a de Blasio mayorality.

As Dana Rubenstein shows in an extensive post at Politicker, de Blasio was very happy to cut deals on the Atlantic Yards mess, the Gowanus Canal sell-out to Toll Brothers, and a Fourth Avenue rezoning for taller buildings that the Bloomberg administration wanted.

It's not exactly selling out the only downtown hospital to condo development, but his record on real estate development is to talk a good game but give the real estate developers what they want in the end - and have them raise funds for him.

Not all that different than Thompson or Quinn.

Be aware, those of you excited by the de Blasio surge, that de Blasio is running as a progressive this year because that was the best strategic place for him to run this cycle.

But he is no more a progressive than John Edwards or Hillary Clinton or Bill Thompson or Chris Quinn.

And you can be sure when the real estate developers come calling for tax deals or development projects, when the hedge fundies and charter operators come calling on education issues, when the Kathryn Wilde's come calling to complain about public union contracts and the like, de Blasio's office and ears will be open to them.

This doesn't mean I don't think you should vote for him or support him.

Just don't mistake him for a true progressive.

He is another corporatist politician who has managed to successfully navigate a corporatist political system to be on the cusp of being elected mayor.

Because he is running as the lefty in this cycle against two pols running as "moderates", he is the best we are going to do.

But if he is elected, we will have to watch him very closely.

His record suggests he is anything but the "man of the people" he is portraying himself this cycle.

Joe Lhota Shows Once Again Why He Will Not Be Mayor Of NYC

The Daily News has a story about two kittens on the B/Q train line who wandered onto the tracks and had to be saved.

The subway lines were shut down in order to save the two male kittens.

GOP mayoral candidate and former MTA chairman Joe Lhota said the subways should not have been shut down in order to save the kittens:

Mayoral hopeful Joe Lhota would have let curiosity — or a racing subway — kill the kittens.

As frisky felines Arthur and August recuperated Friday from peril on an open-air stretch of the B and Q lines near Church Ave. in Brooklyn, the former MTA chairman on Friday said he would’ve saved straphangers from agitation before he saved the kittens from danger.

“It’s not up to the mayor, it’s a decision of the MTA, but Joe does not think it’s appropriate to shut down an entire train line for an extended period for this purpose,” said his spokeswoman, Jessica Proud.

Train service was suspended Thursday — twice — to rescue the kitties from their catastrophic choice of city housing near the electrified third rail.

A first effort to catch the cats, after transit workers discovered them around 11 a.m., failed despite a service shutdown of about two hours. Later, after the 8-week-old kittens became an Internet sensation, another rescue was mounted around rush hour, and a pair of cops and an MTA worker collared the cuddly duo in about 15 minutes.

The DN went with a horrific front cover for Lhota, with the headline DIE, KITTIES, DIE! scrawled across the front page with three accompanying photos - two of the cute cats, one of the not-cute-at-all Lhota.

This is an unforced error by Lhota, although it's not one I expect will hurt him in the GOP primary race - his competition is simply too second rate for that to happen.

But this DIE, KITTIES, DIE! headline will follow him into the general election where a competent Democratic opponent will take that story and combine it with the story of Lhota challenging a 77 year old man to a fistfight last year at an MTA board meeting and the video tape of Lhota cursing at a reporter and pushing him when he was back in the Giuliani administration in the 90's in an ad called "LHOTA: JUST LIKE GIULIANI, ONLY CREEPIER or something along those lines.

Lhota's temperament will be an issue in the general election and, barring something awful happening (like in 2001), I do not think Lhota will be able to overcome that fatal flaw of his.

The fact is, Lhota's an ass and unlike Bloomberg, who can at least hide that part of his personality at times, Lhota seems unable or unwilling to hide it at all.

If Lhota faces de Blasio in a general, you can bet the strategically savvy de Blasio campaign will exploit Lhota's temperament.

Even Quinn would actually seem warm, cuddly and sympathetic against a jerk like Lhota.

Only Thompson would have a hard time exploiting Lhota's temperament in a general election matchup, although that's mostly because Thompson is an inept candidate running a campaign that can't shoot straight.

Thompson did luck out in one respect with this Lhota story.

It came on the same day as the Times A1 expose on Thompson's crookedness as comptroller and will take some of the steam out of that story.

As for Lhota, you can bet this will come back to haunt him.

Friday, August 30, 2013

NY Times: Bill Thompson Is A Crook

Devastating NY Times article out tonight on Bill Thompson.

Here's the beginning:

As a first-time candidate for New York City comptroller, William C. Thompson Jr. was feted at a downtown fund-raiser in 2001 by two luminaries of the black business world: the hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons and Mr. Simmons’s money manager, a veteran Wall Street financier who made his fortune promoting hybrid securities known as convertible bonds. 

Speaking in between rap and poetry-slam performances, the financier, Tracy V. Maitland, made clear why he had taken an interest in the little-watched race for comptroller. “When you control $85 billion,” he told 200 guests crowded into a popular art gallery, “you get a lot of attention.”
Over the last 12 years, Mr. Thompson has repeatedly gotten Mr. Maitland’s attention. 

After that fund-raiser, Mr. Maitland became a regular contributor to the campaigns of Mr. Thompson, who is now running for mayor. Later, he pushed unsuccessfully for Mr. Thompson’s wife to be hired as president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, where he is a trustee.
Mr. Maitland’s attention was not unrequited. In 2006, Mr. Thompson honored him at a Black History Month observance. And in 2008, his office for the first time began investing city pension assets in convertible bonds, pouring $324 million into Advent Capital Management, the firm Mr. Maitland founded. By the time Mr. Thompson left office, in 2009, Advent was earning $2 million a year in fees on those investments. 

Mr. Thompson’s ties to Mr. Maitland reflect a pattern that emerges from an examination of Mr. Thompson’s stewardship of the pension funds and, more broadly, the comptroller’s office: Again and again, Mr. Thompson reaped political gains from those he awarded city business. 

As he oversaw the city’s $85 billion pension system, Mr. Thompson steered the funds into a diverse range of new investment categories, expanding from heavy concentrations in stocks and bonds into private equity, real estate and niche funds. Yet performance was lackluster: nationwide, more than half of large public pension funds outperformed the five city funds’ combined 4.84 percent return from 2002 through 2009, according to a widely used yardstick compiled by Wilshire Associates, an investment advisory firm. Meanwhile, the city’s roster of fund managers, and their fees, tripled — and Mr. Thompson collected more than $500,000 in campaign donations from them. 

Mr. Thompson’s credentials as comptroller and a seasoned manager are central to his mayoral campaign, in which he has portrayed himself as the grown-up in the Democratic field — less liberal, strident and showy, but best prepared for the sober task of managing an unruly city. 

But interviews and a review of thousands of pages of records — schedules, e-mails, pension statements and campaign finance reports — suggest frequent overlap of Mr. Thompson’s political ambitions and the comptroller’s operation, and, that like many pension overseers at the time, he raised campaign money aggressively from those seeking business from his office. 

Read the rest of the NY Times story and then recall how the Thompson's campaign has been going after Bill de Blasio for allegedly failing to disclose meetings with lobbyists, going so far as to start a website called to suggest de Blasio is lying about those meetings.

Given how Thompson hit up so many of those seeking city business from his office for campaign donations, if anybody has some truth telling to do to the citizens of New York, it's Bill Thompson.

One more quote from the story to give you a taste of just how Thompson does business:

Nowhere was Mr. Thompson’s embrace of those investment firms more evident than on the guest list to his second swearing-in, in January 2006. The 250 names included a small number of relatives, union leaders and elected officials; more than 50 lobbyists; and another 50 fund managers, placement agents and others who stood to gain from the city’s pension funds.

A small group of friends, family and politicians at his swearing in - the rest were lobbyists, fund managers and placement agents looking to do business with the city, people Thompson would eventually hit up for campaign donations.

And Bill Thompson is hitting de Blasio for meetings with lobbyists?

Bill Thompson Gets Desperate

This really smacks of desperation:

It’s better to tell the truth than to blie.

Thus argued Bill Thompson’s mayoral campaign this afternoon as they pushed forward with what they clearly feel is a winning issue against front-runner Bill de Blasio: undisclosed meeting with lobbyists.

Mr. Thompson’s camp hit Mr. de Blasio on the issue yesterday, but came back today armed with a new website––to make their case.

Users who visit the site are offered the hypothetical opportunity to request a lobbyist meeting with Mr. de Blasio, whereupon they are told: “SHHH. NOBODY EVER HAS TO KNOW!”

The relatively awkward “Bill de Bliar” moniker caught much attention on Twitter, with jokesters inserting the letter “b” in front of random words. So Politicker asked the Thompson team why they’d chosen that particular refrain. Thompson spokesman John Collins explained that they’ve been calling Mr. de Blasio a “liar” a lot recently–including in campaign commercials–so it fit.

“This is just part of a troubling pattern of Bill de Blasio doing one thing and doing another. That’s called a lie. Bill de Bliar,” he summed up his response during a conference call organize by their campaign.

“It sounds to me like it names itself,” chimed in Councilman Lew Fidler, an aggressive Thompson surrogate.


Reached for a response, de Blasio spokesman Dan Levitan shot back that the website “is a desperate and silly attack from a campaign with no ideas and no vision for how to break from the Bloomberg years.”

“They do get points for chutzpah though,” Mr. Levitan added, “since Bill Thompson worked as a Wall Street lobbyist as recently as this year.”

Bill de Bliar - that's the best the campaign can do to stop de Blasio's momentum.

Of course the Thompson campaign is being mocked for this lame attempt at hitting out at de Blasio.

And they SHOULD be mocked.

If this is where they're at with 11 days to go in the campaign and de Blasio starting to look like he's running away with the whole thing, they're in trouble.

This is not the actions of a campaign that knows what the hell it is doing.

Something To Keep In Mind About Bill De Blasio

Just in case you think Bill de Blasio is a true "liberal", the Daily Beast runs with the following:

In 2004 de Blasio was a paid adviser to John Edwards’s presidential campaign. And in this year’s mayoral race, his rhetoric about “a tale of two cities”—a line he has used to critique growing income inequality—has echoed Edwards’s rhetoric from 2004 about the “two Americas.” Yet while serving on the City Council, he frequently found himself on the wrong side of progressives in his district (admittedly not hard in ultraliberal Park Slope) and was sometimes blasted for favoring developers and real-estate interests over community concerns about congestion and quality of life.

For example, he sided with a developer in opposing the designation of the Gowanus Canal as a Superfund site—even as nearby residents said that the city was ill equipped to carry out the cleanup on its own. He pushed to allow luxury housing in Brooklyn Bridge Park. And he was one of the primary backers of the controversial redevelopment of Atlantic Yards into a basketball arena for the Brooklyn Nets—a nearly decade-long fight that pitted local residents against powerful real-estate interests.

“He said that it was necessary to stop the tide of gentrification, but everyone knows this was the most gentrifying thing to ever happen to Brooklyn,” says Lucy Koteen, a local political activist who backs current City Comptroller John Liu. “He is not wrong about the ‘tale of two cities.’ But look at his record. Did he help level the playing field, or is he on the side of developers who have gotten rich displacing people?”

After being elected public advocate—essentially, a citywide ombudsman—in 2009, de Blasio spent time criticizing Bloomberg for failing to fulfill a pledge to reduce New York’s homeless population. He also asked corporations to pledge not to spend freely on elections in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

But he wasn’t a fire-breathing liberal on all matters. Back when Liu looked like a legitimate candidate for mayor and someone who could also compete for liberal votes—he has since seen his poll numbers bottom out in the wake of a fundraising scandal—de Blasio sometimes tacked the other way. In 2010 he told the Association for a Better New York, a group of city elites that has worked to influence local policy since the 1970s, that “punishing Wall Street, taxing Wall Street into oblivion, couldn’t be worse for New York City, and I oppose that,” and said he was against any new taxes. He courted real-estate money and even moved to Bloomberg’s right rhetorically by pledging to end what he said were onerous regulations on business and development.

“It is the Ronald Reagan debate question: ‘Are you better off than you were four years ago?’” he told the New York Observer in 2012. “The Bloomberg equivalent is an easier environment for business than it was 10 years ago. Is it easier for business to navigate the city government than it was 10 years ago? A lot of people in the business world will say no, it is actually harder.”

 “Bill de Blasio is much closer to Machiavelli than to Marx. He is not a left-wing crusader or ideologue,” says one Democratic operative who has worked closely with de Blasio and is unaffiliated in this race. “He lives for the game.”

I don't believe de Blasio is a "progressive" any more than I believed John Edwards was.

Edwards had been quite a conservative southern senator before he tracked left in his presidential races.

And de Blasio has been quite helpful to the real estate industry, has been open to helping the charter school operators (Norm Scott thinks they've gor some kind of wink, wink deal on charters paying rent and other issues, which is why the charter people aren't up in arms over his rise in the polls.)

I have no doubt he can be bought by those very same interests once he is elected.

While I am supporting Bill de Blasio for mayor, it's not because I like him or trust him.

It's because, for me as a teacher, he is the best candidate with a shot to win the race.

But I am under no illusions that de Blasio is actually progressive or will go very far to overturn Bloomberg's ed deform policies.

I suspect Eva Moskowitz will get almost as much help in a de Blasio administration that she does in the Bloomberg administration after her hedge fund backers get around to explaining things to de Blasio (with cash envelopes or promises of such, of course.)

The truth is, she would get even more help in a Quinn administration.

And Thompson - well, there are few bigger political whores than Thompson.

Have cash, you have Thompson.

Just ask Wayne Barrett.

So de Blasio, for me, is the best of a bad bunch.

I was a Liu guy, but I knew he had been destroyed early on by the campaign finance fraud investigation, so I can live with de Blasio.

But make no mistake, we'll have to keep a close watch on him.

Daily News Bases Anti-De Blasio Story On One Anonymous Facebook Commenter

Those fine journalists at the Daily News are at it again.

Dante de Blasio’s Afro — which has been the subject of fascination and admiration — became an issue after his dad’s campaign made it the focus of a new social media blitz, urging supporters to tweet the hashtag #GoWithTheFro, to build momentum for the Democrat.

Scoffers accused the lanky liberal of exploiting Dante’s ’do.

Critics chided the elder de Blasio on Facebook. One wrote that the whole social media push “makes me uncomfortable. Please stop running on your son’s hair.”

De Blasio, who is white, and his wife, Chirlane McCray, who is black, have two children.

The elder de Blasio already has featured Dante in two television ads, a spotlight that appears to have helped the candidate politically.

 Indeed, the new Quinnipiac poll found de Blasio drawing more support from black Democrats than any other candidate, even Thompson, the only African-American in the race.

Several black leaders brushed aside the criticism of de Blasio.

“I thought it was extremely touching,” the Rev. Calvin Butts, pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, said of one of the de Blasio ads featuring Dante.

“Is he using them as props?” asked Queens Councilman Leroy Comrie, who supports Quinn. “Hell, yeah. But they’re effective props. And they’re willing props.”

Classic Daily News journalism - they base the "critics are angry that de Blasio is exploiting his son's fro" story on one anonymous Facebook commenter.
How do they know that anonymous Facebook commenter doesn't work for Quinn or Thompson?
But the DN runs with the story anyway because if it's anti-de Blasio, it's fit to run.
We're getting a good indication of what the tabloid coverage will like be if de Blasio is elected mayor.

Three Polls Show De Blasio In The Lead

First Quinnipiac had de Blasio at 36%, Quinn 21%, Thompson 20%.

Now the Times/Siena poll has de Blasio at 32%, Thompson at 18%, Quinn at 17%

And an AM New York/News 12 poll finds de Blaiso leading with 29%, Thompson in second at 24%, Quinn in third with 17%.

With 11 days to go, here is how the AM New York/News 12 pollster sees the race:

"It's a momentum game," pollster Mike Berland said. "Clearly, de Blasio has momentum up, Quinn has momentum down and Thompson just hangs in there."

The Times/Siena poll is significant because that had been very much "Quinn's poll."

The last time that poll was released in early August, she was leading the race with 25%, Thompson had 16%, de Blasio was in third with 14%.

Quinn has lost eight points in that poll, Thompson has picked up just two points since the first week of August.

De Blasio is up 18 points since the last time that poll was taken (August 2-7).

With just 11 days to go, it becomes very difficult for Quinn to turn this slide around.

Her only hope is to beat out Thompson for second place, hope de Blasio is held under 40% and work it as hard as she can in a runoff.

As for Thompson, only the AM New York/News 12 poll shows him in any striking distance to de Blasio.

In the rest, he's as big an also-ran as Quinn.

The problem seems to be that many black voters are not all that enamored of him:

Mr. de Blasio, who has brought his African-American wife to campaign stops and featured their biracial son in his television commercials, has managed to pull off an unusual feat: winning slightly more support from black voters than the sole black candidate in the race, Mr. Thompson, although the gap is within the poll’s margin of sampling error. 

Quinnipiac also showed de Blasio leading with black voters.

Thompson has been arrogant throughout the campaign when it came to black voter supporter.

He has assumed that because he is the only black candidate in the race, black voters will naturally vote for him on Primary Day.

Polls since July have disabused him of that arrogance.

His stance on stop-and-frisk - he was for the policy before he was against it - has been toxic to him, which is why he has tried to aggressively turn the page on his waffling on the issue and say he is forcefully against it.

That change in heart has not worked with many black voters, however - they're not buying him on it.

Meanwhile de Blaiso has been aggressive in his criticism of the policy and has been helped with his ads showing his biracial family.

If Thompson cannot win a bigger proportion of black voters, he is in trouble.

Like Quinn, he has to hope he can come in second in the race in 11 days, hope de Blasio is under 40% and then work it hard in the runoff.

We'll see how this goes - 11 days is an eternity and the plutocrats in this city seem to be very, very upset that de Blasio is in the lead.

We'll have to see what they do over that.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Quinn, Weiner Booed At Rally For Fast Food Workers

Quinn and Weiner are fooling no one with their "We're for the little guy"shtick:

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and former Congressman Anthony Weiner received a round of boos this afternoon when they appeared at a fast food workers rally–one they were there to support–in Union Square.

Ms. Quinn and Mr. Weiner joined the three other leading Democratic mayoral candidates and a slew of other pols showed up en mass to declare their support for fast food workers participating in a nation-wide strike today. Hundreds of workers from chains including McDonald’s and Burger King were present to demand higher wages and union benefits–and listen to the candidates flex their progressive credentials less than two weeks before primary day. But not everyone was warmly welcomed.

“You know what, you can’t live on $7.25,” said Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who was booed by the crowd as she took the stage, despite having appeared at another rally for the workers at 6 a.m.
Still, she powered on. “We can’t have a city where hard-working men and women like you aren’t getting paid a decent wage when the companies you work for are making money hand over fist,” she said. “So I pledge you my support like I was there this morning with you at 6 a.m. We’re going to keep fighting until we get what? $15 and a union!”

Like Ms. Quinn, former Congressman Anthony Weiner, who is also seen by some as one of the more moderate candidates in the race, was jeered by some. Still, he tried to emphasize the importance of a single-payer healthcare system to help address inequities, pointing dramatically at nearby buildings to underscore his message.

“I want to say something to the owner of that penthouse up there, the owner of that penthouse up there, and the people staying in the W Hotel over there, And I ask all New Yorkers: How much does that $1 hamburger cost you? If you think $1, think again,” he said.

The darling of the rally was the race’s new front-runner, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who has consistently sold himself as the most progressive candidate in the race. Appearing with his wife by his side, Mr. de Blasio strode on and off the stage with cheers of “Bill de bla-sio!” and “Our next mayor!” from members of New York Communities for Change, a de Blasio-supporting group which had packed into the crowd.

I wonder what Quinn and Weiner think about at night when they're home, away from the crowds and the staff and the noise and blather of the campaign.

They can't really be enjoying this anymore, can they?

Isn't it obvious to Weiner he's finished?

And for Quinn, doesn't she see lots of people despise her?

Not the right ones you want despising you, either, but little people and regular folks who used to be supporters of her but now have turned into mortal enemies.

Weiner has to hire people to make it look like he's got supporters and Quinn has to embargo her schedule to keep her dedicated cadre of protesters from finding her and making trouble at her events.

This can't be fun for either of them anymore.

They both have to know, on some deep level, it's over.

Maybe The Elites Should Get Out Of The House More

Harry Enten links to the Politicker article covering the Anybody But Quinn rally yesterday and says:

Farrell McManus responded with this:

That's exactly right.

Bloomberg and his corporatist backers thought they could overturn the will of the people by putting the fix in for Bloomberg's third term.

They bought Quinn off and she got Mike Bloomberg his third term.

But people haven't forgotten or forgiven her for helping Bloomberg to his third (illegal) term.

Even in '09, with $120 million to drop on the campaign and an opponent who was either too inept or too corrupt to mount a decent challenge to Bloomberg,  the Mayor of Money still only won by five percentage points.

That's how little loved Mike Bloomberg was.

Come 2013, two thirds of city voters are saying the city must go in a different direction from Bloomberg's policies.

Quinn, the person who engineered four more years of Bloomberg's policies, is going to have hard time winning those people over.

In fact, she'll never win them over.

This morning I posted that the Quinn campaign, in its arrogance, didn't think having a dedicated cadre of protesters who follow Quinn around the city was such a big deal.

But in point of fact, that kind of thing is symbolic of how many people in this city feel about Christine Quinn.

Remember, among the mayoral candidates, only Weiner has higher negative numbers than Quinn.

Remember, Quinn is the only mayoral candidate who has to embargo her daily schedule to try and keep her dedicated cadre of protesters from finding her.

These are not the kinds of problems that successful mayoral candidates deal with in the course of campaign.

They are the kinds of problems that indicate fatal flaws in a candidate and a campaign.

Perhaps if the elite media got off the cocktail circuit a little more and talked to some ordinary folks, they'd now this kind of thing.

But the truth is, the elite media in this city despise ordinary people almost as much as Mike Bloomberg does.

They see us as sheep to be led, lemmings to be manipulated.

This time around, they were wrong.

That's why Christine Quinn is about to follow Gifford Miller into private life.

Bill Thompson Has No Plan To Get Rid Of School Trailers

Bill Thompson and the UFT leadership held a rally over school trailers today:

Mayoral hopeful Bill Thompson vowed Thursday to get rid of the trailers used as makeshift classrooms at overcrowded city schools.

Democrat Thompson, the chosen candidate of the teacher’s union, seized on one of their pet issues in denouncing the 357 trailers -- some infested with mold -- still being used to house kids.

“Right now the city is operating 350 classroom trailers that are leaky, unreliable, broken, and dangerous. Many of them are nearly 20 years old, and many of them are mold-ridden,” Thompson said. “Our children are slowly being poisoned."

Thompson said he'd decommission the trailers “on day one.”

And just where does he plan to put the students and teachers currently using those trailers on day two after he decommissions the trailers on day one?

He doesn't know:

 But he could not provide a cost for replacing the space or a plan to pay for it.

Thompson sent Randi Weingarten out earlier this week to attack Bill de Blasio for living in a fantasy land over his plan to provide pre-k by taxing rich people, a proposal that would require legislature approval in Albany.

And yet here is Thompson today, standing next to Randi's surrogate, Mike Mulgrew, claiming he's going to get rid of those moldy old school trailers on day one without any inkling how he's going to pay for the plan or find the space for the children and teachers currently housed in the trailers.

I await Randi Weingarten's wise, wise counsel as she gently explains to Thompson that it isn't much of a plan if you don't know how you're going to pay for something or figure out spacing issues.

Wayne Barrett: Christine Quinn Made Deal With Devil With Vito Lopez

While Bill Thompson and Christine Quinn try and make something big out of a Daily News attack on Bill de Blasio today over alleged meetings with "lobbyists" that de Blasio had, Wayne Barrett reports the following about Christine Quinn:

So much of what happens at the City Council occurs under the radar that few noticed when Speaker Christine Quinn started her second term in January 2010 with appointments that boosted the power of Vito Lopez, a synonym for scandal. Lopez ruled Brooklyn politics as its Democratic Party boss, chaired the state Assembly’s influential Housing Committee for years, and had long been collecting city and state funding for Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council, a huge social service empire that doubled as his very potent political base.

While Lopez had long been a Quinn ally, the speaker was taking the relationship to a new level. Having passed on a planned mayoral candidacy after backing the term limits extension that allowed Michael Bloomberg to run again, Quinn was already laser-focused on her next mayoral opportunity in 2013. As several Council members told WNYC, she was also quite willing to use the array of powers available to a speaker to solidify a Lopez alliance. Lopez not only could be expected to decide what candidate got the Brooklyn Democratic endorsement in 2013, he had the power to deliver blocs of actual votes, unlike county leaders elsewhere in the city.

The powers Quinn would exploit on Lopez’s behalf are little appreciated by the mayor-obsessed media and public. The speaker is the second most powerful official in city government, the only formidable check and balance in the charter. The $70 billion budget must be approved by the Council, allowing it alone to alter the fiscal priorities of the mayor’s side of City Hall. In a city where lucrative real estate projects are a political lifeline, the Council has final say on the development deals the mayor proposes, a power that Quinn has used as speaker to win friends and influence donations.
Quinn told WNYC that while she would have liked to get the support of the Democratic Party organizations in Brooklyn and other boroughs, she never cut deals with Lopez or other county leaders in exchange for their support of her mayoral candidacy. "Look, obviously in politics people want things, and sometimes they happen and sometimes they don’t," she said. "But this kind of belief that there were all of these commitments made, all these promises made, before I got the support of county organizations or individual members is just not accurate."

Moreover, she said, she cut off all dealings with Lopez when it became apparent that he had sexually harassed women who worked for him. "I think everyone who worked with Vito Lopez was shocked and stunned by his disgusting behavior," she said. "I had no idea he was that kind of a person, none."
Still, Quinn used her powers as speaker to benefit Lopez until he was disgraced. This story is a chronology of how she played the insider game with one of New York’s ultimate insiders, and perhaps a window into the kind of mayor she might be.

Read Barrett's whole piece and decide which is the bigger story to day - the slim de Blasio lobbyist story in the NY Daily News or the reported-in-detail story Barrett has at WNYC about Quinn and Lopez.

Quinn made sure Lopez's allies got the big jobs, the big posts, the funds they needed for the projects they wanted - all so that Lopez, who had undermined de Blasio in his battle to be Speaker, would back Quinn up when she needed him to.

That, to me, seems the bigger scandal here.

One of the loudest voices accusing de Blaiso of being a crook today is an old Lopez crony, Lew Fidler:

Former Comptroller Bill Thomson’s campaign scheduled a conference call this morning on the topic, where Brooklyn Councilman Lew Fidler played the role of attack dog. Mr. Fidler, who served with Mr. de Blasio on the City Council, said that Mr. de Blasio’s meetings with lobbyists reminded him of the career politician he knew very well.

“It is so typical of the Bill de Blasio that I know,” said Mr. Fidler. “They were caught red-handed meeting with people like Extell.”

Mr. Fidler went on to say that this lack of transparency from Mr. de Blasio is symptomatic of larger character flaws. “A candidate for elected office, for something as important as the mayor has to have what I like to call the ‘Three C’s,’” Mr. Fidler explained, alleging Mr. de Blasio lacked these qualities. “They have to have the ‘character’ to know the difference between right and wrong, the ‘common sense’ to know good ideas from the bad ideas, and ‘chutzpah’ to get the good ones done.”

Fidler shows up in the WNYC piece as one of three City Council members, all with close ties to Lopez, who got the most individual discretionary funds from the Speaker for the projects and proposals they wanted:

Citizens Union found that by June 2011, the three council members that got the most in individual discretionary allocations were Recchia, Dian and Lew Fidler, all Brooklyn council members with longstanding and deep ties to Lopez. They combined for $43 million in a single year, more than Quinn herself and many times more than the majority of council members.

 One council member close to Lopez who asked not to be identified told WNYC: “Vito is the only county leader who actually sends the Council a list of what he wants.” When Quinn complied, she told the council member: “He should be happy.”

With Lopez's power days done, Fidler has shifted his loyalties from Quinn to Thompson, but that doesn't erase any of the "chutzpah" Fidler himself shows by attacking de Blasio on "character."

You gotta love when crooks like Fiddler, once allied with Lopez and Quinn, now gone over to Thompson along with the rest of Lopez's old Brooklyn power base, come out of the woodwork to accuse other politicians of being crooks.

Quinn's deals with Lopez won't help her become mayor now.

But the rats and roaches from the old Lopez organization are still scurrying around.

Now We Know Why Spitzer Was Reaching Out To The UFT (UPDATED BELOW)

Yesterday I wondered why Eliot Spitzer was reaching out the UFT with a "make nice" gesture over the teachers contract.

Today, Quinnipiac shows us why:

When Quinnipiac University surveyed the field two weeks ago, they found ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer with a dominating 19-point lead over Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. Well, things have changed a little bit in their latest poll.

Mr. Stringer and Mr. Sptizer are now tied with 46 percent of the vote each among likely Democratic voters.

If the Quinnipiac poll is anywhere near accurate, Spitzer's got problems.

Stringer has all the unions locked up, the party establishment.

Those are guaranteed Stringer votes - the party establishment and the unions are going to use their GOTV operations to get their voters to the polls.

Spitzer, meanwhile, was polling very well in the past, but he's got to get those supporters to the polls himself.

If the race is near tied going in to Primary Day, I would give Stringer the edge in winning the race.

Spitzer, by reaching out to the UFT yesterday, is hoping to persuade them from dropping a couple hundred grand in negative ads on him next week.

Doubt the strategy is going to work.

Mulgrew seems to despise Spitzer almost as much as he despises the UFT rank and file.

But we'll see.

This election cycle gets more and more interesting, doesn't it?

First Quinn is the presumptive nominee, then Weiner enters and shakes things up,Weiner actually goes ahead in the race before imploding in scandal, De Blasio grabs the lead but he's got to bring it on home in the next 12 days.

In the comptroller's race, Stringer looked like a shoe-in before Spitzer saw Weiner polling so well and decided to enter the race half a week before the deadline to file.  Spitzer goes ahead big in the polls, horrifying the establishment and the corporate press, but now, suddenly the race is tied again.

What a year.

I suspect we will have more surprises in both the mayor's race and the comptroller's race before this is all over.

UPDATE: An AM New York/News 12 poll finds the race in a statistical tie too:

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and former Gov. Eliot Spitzer are locked in a virtual dead heat in the Democratic primary race for New York City comptroller, with Stringer beating Spitzer 2-to-1 among white voters, according to an amNewYork-News 12 poll results released Thursday.

Spitzer has 46 percent support among Democrats likely to vote in the Sept. 10 primary while Stringer with 43 percent support, the poll conducted by Penn Schoen Berland shows. Ten percent of voters were undecided.

Stringer has a distinct edge among white voters, 65 percent support compared to Spitzer’s 29 percent, the poll shows.

“I don’t think this is pro-Stringer. This is all anti-Spitzer,” said pollster Mike Berland. “I think we're seeing the whites rejecting Spitzer.”

Spitzer still has an advantage among black voters, 59 percent to Stringer’s 25 percent.

Spitzer's in trouble.

Stringer's got the unions walking voters to the polls for him.

Spitzer's got to get them there himself.

Maybe he can use the strategy these two BOE candidates in Alabama used to get out the vote?

The Corporatists Go On The Attack Against De Blasio

The Quinnipiac poll showing de Blasio not only in the lead in the Democratic Primary but closing in on the 40% needed to avoid a runoff has the corporatists in this city terrified.

As Politicker noted, they went on the attack this morning.

The NY Post in particular was in hysterics:

Surprise! Bill de Blasio is far ahead in the Democratic race for mayor. The latest Quinnipiac poll’s numbers put him at 36 percent. That’s almost double his chief rivals and inching up on the 40 percent that would give him an outright primary victory without a runoff.

Then again, maybe it’s not so surprising. Alone of the candidates of either major party, de Blasio has offered voters a vision. How tragic that it’s of two New Yorks — one prospering, one struggling — and that his answer is to pit them against one another.

Contrast this approach with that of his two leading rivals, City Council Speaker Chris Quinn and former Comptroller Bill Thompson. Each is running on a standard New York Democratic mix of select union endorsements and a grab-bag of feel-good proposals, with a dash of identity politics thrown in for good liberal measure.

On almost all these things, de Blasio trumps everyone else. Husband to an African-American woman and father of a son whose Afro has become a social-media phenomenon, he’s got his own identity cards. And when it comes to the agenda, he doesn’t stint: His policy proposals sound as if they were ripped from 1974 Detroit, with “solutions” that will only make life worse for all — especially those they purport to help.

Our vision is the opposite of de Blasio’s: We dream of a New York whose defining trait is opportunity for all, where those on the public payroll know they’re beholden to taxpayers, and where vital institutions (notably schools) are accountable to the citizens who fund them, not the special interests that run them.

Quinn and Thompson no doubt will spend much of the next 12 days before the primary pointing out that a cash-strapped Albany won’t go for de Blasio’s pie-in-the-sky proposals. If we read the poll numbers correctly, however, many Democrats prefer a leader with vision — no matter how ruinous — to a manager without one.

The class warriors at the Murdoch-owned Post, the ones who backed class warrior Mike Bloomberg on every one of his classist proposals and policies to ensure the 1% of this city gobbled up more and more of the wealth, are worried de Blasio is a class warrior on the side of the rest of us rather than just the plutocrats.

And notice how worried they are about education policy - "where vital institutions (notably schools) are accountable to the citizens who fund them."

By saying they're concerned that schools stay "accountable to the citizens who fund them," the Posties mean they want to make sure only the plutocrats have their say on how things get run, because certainly the citizens of New York had NO say in how Bloomberg ran his education system, not with the Panel for Educational Policy board rigged in his favor.

Again and again, you can see the terror these plutocrats and their p.r. functionaries in journalism are feeling at the thought that somebody might become mayor who isn't as malleable to them as Quinn or Thompson.

They destroyed John Liu long ago because they couldn't control him and they didn't like him.

I remember the day after the election in 2009 - Bloomberg invited the new public advocate and the new comptroller to break bread with him publicly.

De Blasio met with Bloomberg in a diner (they sat in a window table for effect) while Liu told Bloomberg he was busy.

After that day, Bloomberg and his attack dogs in the corporate news went after Liu while leaving de Blasio alone.

The message seemed to be, de Blasio will work with us, Liu won't.

I still think de Blasio will be more malleable to the plutocrats than Liu would have been.

Yet they sure seemed scared at the possibility he could be elected mayor.

They're trotting out the Detroit/1970's card to scare people into voting for one of their corporate sell-outs - Quinn or Thompson.

If you've been sitting on the fence wondering who you're going to vote for on Primary Day, watching the people, groups and corporate entities that have come out to attack de Blasio and/or back Quinn or Thompson ought to settle you on the matter.

As I wrote earlier in the week, you can judge a man by the measure of the enemies he makes.

In this election cycle, De Blasio has made all the right enemies.

Anybody But Quinn People Give Christine Quinn A Nice Parting Gift

From Politicker:

Advocates hoping to swing the election by urging voters to elect “Anybody but Quinn” gathered across the street from the closed St. Vincent’s Hospital this evening for a get-out-the-vote rally they billed as an early “retirement party” for City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

The event–which included the presentation of a series of mock parting gifts in honor of Ms. Quinn’s desired departure, including a “term limit-less watch from Rolex, so that Quinn will be reminded that her time is up”–came just hours after the release of the latest mayoral poll, which cast Bill de Blasio as the clear front-runner in the mayor’s race, with 36 percent of the vote, versus just 21 percent for Ms. Quinn. Attendees greeted the news with glee.

“I got tears in my eyes,” said Brian Gari, 61, who was one of the more than 100 supporters who turned up for the event and cheered as the results were announced. “I’m thrilled beyond belief.”


The campaign, run by a political committee called “New York City is Not for Sale” and founded by members of the anti-horse carriage group NYCLASS and other advocates, has already spent more than $770,000 on its anti-Quinn efforts–the largest independent expenditure of the mayor’s race, according to the city’s Campaign Finance Board.

And the group believes its efforts, including a negative ad campaign on television, are the primary reason why Ms. Quinn is no longer the front-runner in the race. “We are the single most important factor in her rise in negatives and her drop in the polls. There’s not a doubt in my mind,” said Scott Levenson, president of the Advance Group, which is running the campaign.

The "New York City is Not for Sale" folks launched the first negative ad of the campaign against Quinn back in April with a $250,000 ad buy.

That ad was memorable:

It was in March/April that Quinn's poll numbers began to slide.

"New York City is Not for Sale" continued to hammer Quinn from April onward.

You can make a pretty good argument that Quinn was never able to counter the "New York City is Not for Sale" ad and hasn't been able to recover since.

She has made a lot of enemies over the years.

Many of those ABQ people are former Quinn supporters who feel betrayed by her over various issues.

Quinn's arrogance blinded her to the danger that the ABQ people posed to her.

I'm not ready to declare her dead just yet, but she hasn't been able to get above 27% in the last 13 of 14 polls released, she's getting hammered in runoff matchups against either de Blasio or Thompson and all these newspaper endorsements and political endorsements and union endorsements haven't seemed to move the needle for her yet.

If Christine Quinn misses the runoff or makes the runoff but loses to either de Blasio or Thompson, we can thank "New York City is Not for Sale" for doing so much damage to her candidacy.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Board Of Education Candidate Supporters Trade Alcohol For Votes

Here's a novel way to knock off incumbent candidates:

A University of Alabama Greek organization offered incentives to members in exchange for voting in the Tuscaloosa City Board of Education election, according to an email obtained by Monday.

The email, sent to sorority members residing in District 4 from a ranking member of the chapter's executive board, encourages members to vote for Cason Kirby and Lee Garrison in exchange for incentives including free drinks at two local bars and limousine transportation to the polls. 
Kirby challenged incumbent Kelly Horwitz for the District 4 seat and Garrison ran for board chair against Denise Hills.

Both were elected by slim margins in Tuesday's election, though neither Horwitz nor Hills conceded the race by the end of the day.

"In a list that was e-mailed to me this weekend, y'all are the only [members] registered in the specific district that are allowed to vote," the email states. "Cason Kirby, a past SGA president of the University of Alabama is running for the City Board of Education, and Lee Garrison a UA Alum is also running."

"They would really appreciate/need your vote to win this election. It's going to be really tight, and it is SO IMPORTANT that they get the Greek Vote. I told both of them that I would do my best to make sure that I got every Chi O that was registered to the polls. There is a big incentive for you going as well!!"

The email goes on to list five "incentives," including that both the sorority and individuals who vote would receive points to go toward UA's Panhellenic and the sorority's in-house point systems, which reward participation within the system.

In addition, the author states "they rented out Innisfree and Moe's" -- two downtown Tuscaloosa bars -- and wristbands good for one free drink at each venue and free cover would be made available to members who showed an "I Voted" sticker to the sorority representative.

On Tuesday night, many Innisfree patrons wore matching wristbands, though no wristbands were offered at the front gate. Cason Kirby was seen celebrating his election with friends and family.
A variety of vehicles, including stretch limousines and a large passenger bus, were seen along sorority row Tuesday, shuttling passengers to and from the District 4 polling station several blocks away. 

The Educators4Excellence trying to win support with pizza is so passe.

Alcohol and limos - that's the way to win elections...

Bill Thompson's Support Among Black Voters Plummets

I posted yesterday about the Times story that said Thompson was having trouble with some black voters because of his nearly incoherent stop-and-frisk policy stance.

Today's Quinnipiac poll captures that trouble in a colorful graph (via Azi Paybarah):

The Times story reported that the de Blasio ad with his son, Dante, was resonating with some black voters.

Dunno if the ad is the reason, but take a look at the trajectory for de Blasio with black voters.

Again, this is one poll (one that some people trust very little.)

And those Thompson numbers jump around a lot - there is quite a bit of volatility there.

The Marist poll has shown momentum for de Blasio too - but nowhere near as much as Quinnipac.

And the last Siena/Times poll still had Quinn in the lead with Thompson and de Blasio trailing her by 9 and 11 points.

Also, Thompson's campaign is disputing the Q poll numbers, saying they have an internal poll showing Thompson and de Blasio tied at 24 and Quinn in third, 7 points behind them.

When challenged to release the poll, the Thompson campaign changed the subject to Obama and '07.

Not sure what that has to do with Thompson and 2013.

The CW has been that Thompson will garner substantial support from black voters on Primary Day, that his black voter support is being underpolled by the public pollsters (as happened in 2009 when he outperformed on Election Day with black voters.)

The Quinnipiac poll suggests that CW may no longer be operative in 2013.

Watching how the Thompson campaign has flailed around with stop-and-frisk, I suspect their internal polling is showing them what the public polling is showing us - Thompson does not have black community support sewn up.

First Weiner was cutting into his support, now de Blasio and his "Go with the Fro!" ad looks to be doing the same.

There's still a lot of time left until Primary Day.

But if the Quinnipiac poll is anywhere near accurate, Quinn is finished and Thompson has got some ground to make up with the demographic group that was supposed to be his core support.

Quinnipiac Poll: De Blasio 36%, Quinn 21%, Thompson 20%

Now we know why the attacks against de Blasio have been so hard and heavy from the establishment - it's because he's pulling away.

Not only is de Blasio in the lead, besting his next closest opponent Quinn by 15 percentage points, he's closing in on the magical 40% to avoid a runoff.

If the Q poll numbers are anywhere close to accurate, Quinn is finished:

In a runoff, de Blasio beats Quinn 59%-30%
In a runoff, de Blasio beats Thompson 52%-36%
In a runoff, Thompson bears Quinn 57%-33%.


It's just one poll - Marist and Siena should be out soon too.

But this poll suggests that the NY Times endorsement didn't help Quinn.

Or the Billie Jean King endorsement.

More later.

Will De Blasio Still Have Momentum In Today's Quinnipiac Poll Release?

Harry Enten says little leaks here and there about the Quinnipiac poll release today suggest de Blasio will still have momentum in those poll numbers.

Then there is this:

Couple of things to say here in the hour and a half or so before the poll is released.

First, the establishment has been going very hard and very heavy at de Blasio this last week.

Weingarten, Wolfson, now Bloomberg - all attacking de Blasio publicly.

All three newspaper editorial boards endorsed Quinn and swatted de Blasio down as unacceptable.

I was wondering why the attacks were getting so hard and heavy from Bloomberg and his minions either directly on his payroll (like Wolfson) or simply allied with him (Zuckerman, Murdoch.)

We may get that answer with the Q poll.

We'll see.

But even if de Blasio shows big momentum in this Quinnipac poll, remember there are still 13 days to go and anything can happen in that time frame.

Plus poll numbers are just that - poll numbers.

I remember when John Kerry was elected president at 4 PM on Election Day in 2004 based on exit polling.

Eliot Spitzer Calls For "Fair Contract Negotiations" With UFT

Looks like Spitzer wants to make nice with Mulgrew and the UFT:

NEW YORK -- Two weeks before the New York City primary, former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) plans to wade into the complicated world of education policy.

According to a policy memo obtained by The Huffington Post, Spitzer, who is running for city comptroller, plans to propose auditing how the city spends money on testing and test preparation, and he wants to encourage contract negotiations that include salary increases with the United Federation of Teachers, among other things.

Spitzer is running against Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, a fellow Democrat. In New York, the comptroller oversees pension funds, investigates financial and contract-related issues, and can advise the mayor on fiscal management.

Spitzer will present his education platform at an 11 a.m. Wednesday press conference in front of I.S. 296, a Brooklyn public school. "As Governor, I fought to get New York City students and schools their fair share for the first time, and as Comptroller I will keep fighting to make sure the dollars we get are spent wisely every time," Spitzer said in a statement.

Though Spitzer representatives declined to detail his views on Mayor Michael Bloomberg's education policies, some of his proposals suggest an implicit critique of the current administration. Spitzer will call for encouraging "competitive bidding for goods and services," according to the memo, while Bloomberg's Department of Education has been criticized for awarding too many no-bid contracts.

"These are veiled criticisms of the Bloomberg administration, which relied on non-competitive processes to make awards," said Aaron Pallas, a professor at Columbia University's Teachers College.

Other proposals, such as a promise to "facilitate fair contract negotiations with the United Federation of Teachers," seem calibrated to temper attacks from labor.

Earlier this summer, labor groups united to form two political action committees to help Stringer beat Spitzer, and reportedly UFT President Michael Mulgrew personally pressured a political consulting firm to drop Spitzer as a client.

With Stringer trailing Spitzer by 18 points, according to HuffPost Pollster, the education policy announcement -- one specifically related to union friendly issues, such as concerns about standardized testing -- may be an effort to prevent the UFT and its affiliates from pumping millions into anti-Spitzer advertisements. 

Mulgrew was leading the union attacks against Spitzer.

I'm not sure these education proposals will matter to Mulgrew and the UFT leadership.

Will they matter to individual teachers?

Have to admit, seeing a proposal for "fair contract negotiations" with the UFT catches my eye.

You don't see many politicians lead with that kind of thing.

BTW, Quinnipiac poll out at 4 PM today.

Julie Cavanagh Breaks Down The APPR Decisions

A great post from Julie Cavanagh at MORE Caucus on the choices to be made both individually and collectively by teachers in the new evaluation system.

After going through the new system in a bit of detail, she concludes:

1.       Make decisions based on outcomes:  what will result in the best “scores” for your staff?  (What tool? Who will the target population be?  How will they be measured?)
2.       Make decisions based on what will bring you together:  do not allow these decisions to divide you.  Stand in solidarity together, take care of each other, and do what benefits students and teachers collectively. (What tools/population/measurement model can you choose that will impact teaching and learning the least and can be applied evenly and fairly across subject and grade level positions?)
3.       Decide to get involved:  I am convinced the overwhelming majority of educators, after navigating this evaluation system, will be moved to action.  Do not get discouraged; do not believe we cannot affect change.  Whether you donate, sign a petition, attend a rally, come to a meeting, run for office, or join an organization– the time is now to stand up and fight the tidal wave of attacks on public education.

If only our current union leadership could communicate to teachers how best to protect themselves in what is going to be a very challenging and dangerous school year for everybody - students, teachers and administrators - as well as Julie Cavanagh does.

Rod Paige: If MLK Jr. Were Alive, He Would Be On Board With Education Reform

From the NY Post:

Paige said America has come a long way on race relations in a short period of time. The former teacher-in-chief gave the United States a grade of B for advancing civil rights — and pointedly recognized the progress made in his native Mississippi.

He said discrimination still exists, but described it as “episodic,” not government-sanctioned and systemic.

“There are opportunities out there. The doors are open now. The ceilings are broken,” he said.
He said President Obama’s election — as well as his own success — provide powerful lessons that black people are prospering as productive and equal citizens in 21st century America.

While celebrating the racial progress, Paige — who helped craft the federal No Child Left Behind Law — said there’s more work to be done. He said if King were here today, he would agree that “closing the racial achievement gap in education is the civil-rights issue of our time.”

Education, said Paige, can help overcome the cycle of poverty and dysfunction that has held back many minorities.

King would likely call Paige a “drum major for justice” — dedicating his life to helping provide better educational opportunities to children, particularly minorities in poor urban areas.

Notice the dog whistle words meant to appeal to the education reform free marketeers in Paige's MLK Jr. account.

King would agree that closing "the racial achievement gap in education is the civil-rights issue of our time."

King would pat Paige on the back for being a "drum major for justice" who helped bring "better educational opportunities" to "minorities in poor urban areas."

Those are the buzzwords the corporate education reformers use all the time to justify privatizing the public education system - the "racial achievement gap" in test scores and graduation rates is alarmingly high, it is the "civil rights issue of our time," we can solve that issue by bringing "better educational opportunities" to "minorities in poor urban areas" (i.e., by closing public schools, firing the unionized teachers, opening charter schools, hiring non-unionized TFAers who can be fired at will.)

In short, Paige is claiming MLK would be on board with NCLB, RttT and the rest of the corporate education reform agenda.

Can't you hear it?

I have a dream that every child will be tested in every subject in every grade all the year through so that their teachers can be evaluated, their data can be collected and tracked, vendors can be provided that data to better provide on line educational tools and assessments so that we can close the "racial achievement gap" and finally live in a land where children of all races, religions, colors and creeds enjoy similar test scores.

The March on Washington as brought to us by Rod "Houston Miracle" Paige.

Why isn't he up on charges along with Beverly Hall for fraud?

You can read about Paige's education reform miracle when he was running the Houston school district here.

Like Eva Moskowitz at Harlem Success Academy, Rod Paige knows that "success" in education comes by subtracting the "problem students' from your statistics.

I wonder what Paige thinks King would say about that.

Eva Moskowitz: Success Through Attrition And Suspension

A devastating column by Juan Gonzalez in the New York Daily News on how Eva Moskowitz gets those high test scores:

Success Academy, the charter school chain that boasts sky-high student scores on annual state tests, has for years used a “zero tolerance” disciplinary policy to suspend, push out, discharge or demote the very pupils who might lower those scores — children with special needs or behavior problems.

State records and interviews with two dozen parents of Success elementary school pupils indicate the fast-growing network has failed at times to adhere to federal and state laws in disciplining special-education students.

At Harlem Success 1, the oldest school in the network, 22% of pupils got suspended at least once during the 2010-11 school year, state records show. That’s far above the 3% average for regular elementary schools in its school district.

Four other Success schools — the only others in the network to report figures for 2010-11 — had an average 14% suspension rate.

Success Academy chief Eva Moskowitz recently defended her network’s “higher than average” suspension rates compared with public schools as a way to promote “order and civility in the classroom.” And this week, the Eli Broad Foundation announced a $5 million grant to Moskowitz to help expand her network from 20 to more than 100 schools.

Those schools outperform city schools on state tests: This year, 82% of the network’s students met standards in math and 58% met standards in English, compared with just less than 30% who were proficient in math and 26% in English citywide.
But The News found a disturbing number of suspension cases where the network’s administrators removed special-education pupils from normal classrooms for weeks and even months, while at the same time pressuring their parents to transfer them to regular public schools.

Read the whole column.

Success through getting rid of "scholars" who don't meekly submit to the Endless Test Prep.

That's Eva Moskowitz's motto.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Howard Dean On What De Blasio's Candidacy Means

There aren't too many Democrats I like or respect these days, but Howard Dean is one.

Here is what Dean did today:

Top Bloomberg aide Howard Wolfson went on NY1 last night and criticized Bill de Blasio's mayoral platform, arguing that the public advocate was inconsistent on term limits and would bring New York City back to the high-crime era of the 1970s. 

This morning, de Blasio appeared with 2004 presidential candidate and former national Democratic chairman Howard Dean at a subway stop at 72nd Street and Broadway.

"Howard does a great job of providing spin for Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn," de Blasio said. Asked if the concerted attacks on him meant he was the front-runner, de Blasio laughed and turned to Dean.

"When you have one of the greatest spinmeisters in the American political scene attacking Bill de Blasio, that's a pretty good indication he has a good chance of being the next mayor," said Dean.
"Well said," said de Blasio.

I asked Dean what de Blasio's campaign meant nationally for progressive Democrats.

He said, "Bill is not some starry-eyed progressive who thinks money grows on trees. He knows that you have to balance budgets. He knows that you have to make tough decisions. But he has a different vision of the world."

He added, "I think Bill would be a great leader to have New York re-put its stamp on the rest of the world."

Let's see - Howard Wolfson, Bloomberg's slimy attack dog, hammering de Blasio on NY 1, Howard Dean defending de Blasio at 72nd Street.

Gee, which Howard do I listen to?

Know A Man By The Enemies He Makes

NYC Educator says if Weingarten, Bloomberg and Wolfson don't like de Blasio, there may be something to him.

I think he makes a good point.

Diane Ravitch made some good points in her endorsement of de Blasio as well.

Let's see - Ravitch for, Weingarten/Wolfson/Bloomberg against.

Hmm, which side am I on...

Bill Thompson And Black Community Support

This NY Times article looks at Thompson and de Blasio on stop-and-frisk and finds most people just don't buy Thompson's position:

Mr. Thompson, a former city comptroller, enjoyed overwhelming support among blacks when he ran against Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in 2009. But this year, he must win over voters like Anthony Padgett, 55, a father of two who works as a housekeeper at a Brooklyn hospital. Mr. Padgett, who had seen Mr. de Blasio’s television ad, said the candidate’s outspoken stance on the stop-and-frisk tactic had helped secure his support. 

Mr. de Blasio, currently the public advocate, “knows what’s going on out there,” Mr. Padgett said as he rode a G train on Monday. “I know he would raise holy hell if his son got roughed up because he has an Afro.” 

By contrast, Mr. Padgett said, Mr. Thompson had been “wishy-washy” on the stop-and-frisk practice, adding, “No one knows where he stands on the issue.” 

In fact, Mr. de Blasio’s and Mr. Thompson’s aims are not far apart: they both want to reform the stop-and-frisk practice, which this month was found by a judge to be violating the constitutional rights of minorities. Both candidates say they would reduce the number of police stops, particularly in neighborhoods with predominantly black and Latino residents. 

But Mr. Thompson had long shied away from the more heated remarks of his rival, even warning of an “overreaction” among the tactic’s critics. And Mr. de Blasio has gone further in his policy proposals, supporting police oversight measures passed by the City Council that Mr. Thompson has said are the wrong approach. 

In interviews on Monday with African-Americans across Brooklyn, where Mr. Thompson and Mr. de Blasio both have roots, there was a clear gap in perception of the candidates’ positions, with many residents saying that they felt uncertain about where Mr. Thompson stood, and that they supported Mr. de Blasio because of his forceful statements and his persuasive advertising. 

Vincent Tolliver, 60, said that he had been frequently stopped on the street by the police, and that he would vote for Mr. de Blasio “for the simple fact that he has a real stance on stop-and-frisk,” adding, “He doesn’t want his son going through the same thing that other black kids do.” 

Belinda Becker, 48, a D.J. who lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant — “the heart of stop-and-frisk country,” she called it — said Mr. Thompson did not seem as committed as Mr. de Blasio to changing policies she associated with Mr. Bloomberg. And Robert Pressley, 50, a public-housing employee, said Mr. de Blasio’s ad with his son had deeply affected him. “My son and daughter are biracial,” Mr. Pressley said. “It made me think of my family.” 

Even Mr. Sharpton, whose endorsement — not yet made — is coveted by the candidates, acknowledged that the de Blasio commercial had made a strong impact with black voters. 

“I’ve probably heard more about that ad than any ad in the campaign,” Mr. Sharpton said. 

The CW is that Thompson will over-perform his poll numbers, especially with black voters, as he did in 2009.

But what if his incoherence on stop-and-frisk undercuts that support?

What if de Blasio's biracial family helps de Blasio with black voters.

The ad with de Blasio's son has resonated with voters, especially black voters.

It will be interesting to see if Thompson can pull in the support from the black community that he got in 2009.

He certainly needs to if he wants to make the runoff.

Unfortunately for him, he thought he had the black community vote sewn up, so he tried to straddle the middle ground on stop-and-frisk and now he's paying for that strategy.

“It’s two claps and then a sizzle.”

The NY Times took a stab at charter school teacher burnout and attrition rates today.

Norm Scott did a nice job of taking the themes the charter school operators hawk around their teachers - experience is a detriment, 5 weeks TFA training is more than enough to give teachers the skills they need, anybody with more than a couple of years experience gets burnt out - and applying them to the journalism profession, such as it is.

Good stuff from Norm.

I want to take a bit of closer look at what the Times describes these charter teachers doing in the classroom and the kind of advice their young administrators give them to improve their teaching practice:

Novice teachers receive constant feedback from principals and other campus administrators. On a recent morning, Melanie Singleton, a 27-year-old principal at YES Prep Hoffman, which opened in Houston this month with five of its nine teachers in their first year on the job, circulated through classrooms. 

Observing two first-year math teachers, she noticed that both were reviewing place values with sixth graders. “We might not be pushing them as rigorously as we can at this point,” she said. And when one teacher exhorted her students to give themselves a celebratory chant, Ms. Singleton corrected the teacher’s instructions. “I have to interrupt,” Ms. Singleton said. “It’s two claps and then a sizzle.” 

Every other week, new teachers meet with instructional coaches for 45-minute sessions. On an afternoon last week, Christopher Reid (experience: four years teaching middle school math) sat down with Alondra Aponte, a first-year art teacher. He praised her for giving students helpful tips for drawing self-portraits and for creating a positive classroom climate. 

But he said Ms. Aponte’s students should settle into their desks more quickly, and asked her to role-play the beginning of class four times. Mr. Reid offered comments (“You say ‘all right’ a lot,” “walk around the room narrating those who are doing a good job”) and helped Ms. Aponte install a time-keeping app on her laptop so she could give students precise deadlines.

That 27 year old principal sure does give some great advice -  “I have to interrupt.  It’s two claps and then a sizzle.”

Gee, thanks for that advice, Ms. Singelton.

What would we do if those kids grew up thinking it was time to give themselves "a celebratory chant" instead of "two claps and then a sizzle"?

I mean, how irrevocably would they have been damaged by this bad teaching?

And Mr. Reid, thanks for making sure the teacher knows that she must must emphasize the ticking clock for students at all times - there is NO time to waste! - because life is, if nothing else, an endless race.

The comments on the article are quite telling.

Overwhelmingly, readers are responding to the dehumanization of the routines, the absurdity of claiming experience makes no difference in teaching, the damage that is done to human relationships and individual growth and development by frequent teacher turnover.

Here is one comment:

It used to be a mission for professionals and a peace corps like endeavor for those wanting to serve a mission. Now it's a business model. Sure there are some natural teachers in these schools and hopefully will grow, get into the profession as one should.

To teach with this little experience across a school presumes scripted curriculum, scripted lessons, and frequent tests tied to both. That is not teaching.

The schools? Look closely at enrollments and who is quietly dissuaded from getting in the lottery. Check out the results on the NYC website on charters.

Read between the lines of this article.

It's a business model. Period. As the saying goes, follow the money.


High and consistent teacher turnover is not helpful for students in any situation, but is particularly unhelpful in a charter school environment. Charter school students often have people constantly entering and exiting their lives outside of school, and when the same is true of their school, it's an added strain. Kids feel bad and can feel abandoned when an adult they like leaves their lives. Regardless of the ability, energy and passion of outgoing/incoming teachers, institutional memory and relationships with students and their families take time to establish, and that's more difficult to do when a school is in constant transition.

And another:

I was the principal of a small nyc public school and it was clear that even the most motivated, talented and bright young teachers struggled in their first year or two of teaching- even with all the support we were able to offer.

Teaching is a complex, demanding profession. The new state standards require teachers to have considerable depth of understanding of curriculum and instruction. Teachers need to build their craft over time. Principals who lead schools need the background and experience to help them do so.

Two claps and a sizzle is neither teaching nor leadership- it's gimmicks. 

This one:

When my daughter entered middle school she was assigned a wonderful social studies teacher - someone with twenty years of teaching experience and a life time of travel that enriched that teaching. My daughter blossomed. The following year her teacher was a 24 year old with less that two years teaching experience. Lessons were formulaic and often inaccurate and she could not maintain discipline. She simply did not know enough about teaching or life to gain the kids' respect. At the end of the term she told the class she was quitting travel.

And this:

Experience counts. Anyone graduating from college and starting his profession soon realizes his education has just begun. Only a fool thinks otherwise, The secret is to keep the teacher while at the same time have the teacher keep her enthusiasm. This takes hard work on the part of the administrators.

Enthusiasm is not nurtured by limiting creativity in the classroom. Einstein said "Imagination is more important than knowledge.". Good teachers and administrators realize this and also realize creativity comes with experience....

 And finally this:

Just what our kids don't need--more instability in their lives and to serve as guinea pigs for freshly minted teachers in charter schools, who may not even have any coursework in child development and the psychology of learning and teaching or done an internship under the supervision of an experienced teacher.

Here is another thing that worries me. This article indicates that charter schools tout how they move new teachers up the career ladder fast. Speaking as a retired educator, I see lots of problems:

1. It takes about 3 years to get into the swing of things when you teach, and those first 3 years provide invaluable experience. And if you don't learn more about teaching each year--no matter how many years you teach--you are not suited to the profession.

2. I found that teaching young people really is a calling, and some of the best teachers I knew had no interest in going into administration--quite the reverse. Are our kids just supposed to be viewed as stepping stones for some ambitious young person's career trajectory?

3. I also believe that administrators would be more effective if they were required to put in teaching time; then they would understand what teachers go through.

4. Imagine what it will be like for seasoned teachers who are under the thumb of some young administrators with little teaching or life experience determining policy and handling problems.

Or is this whole game mainly about charter schools getting taxpayer dollars?

Few people seem to be buying into the “It’s two claps and then a sizzle" model of professional development or administration mentoring.

The other point I saw over and over in the comments - how many of these charter teachers teach only long enough until they can get out of the classroom and get into something "better" - i.e., administration.

Think of all the district leaders this is true of as well - some of the biggest names:

Michelle Rhee.

John King.

Kaya Henderson.

I dunno, maybe I'm a fool.

I never wanted to go on to something "better."

I like working with students in a classroom.

I think it's important to have experience at this job.

I have gotten better every year I have taught (I start my 13th year next week.)

The social and emotional learning skills I have picked up over the years as I have grown older myself have really helped me as a teacher.

I know how to reach students better now than I did in my first few years - sometimes that means academically (okay, that way of teaching isn't working, let's try this way...), sometimes that means emotionally (diagnosing what is holding a student back and then finding a way to begin helping the student through that issue...)

This is not the skill set a third year 24 year old TFAer has.

But as so many people in the comments noted, the elites don't care about that - they don't care about these kids in charter schools.

This is all about the money - monetizing the kids, squeezing the labor costs, making money off the tax breaks and real estate deals for charter school operators.