Saturday, September 30, 2006

Reynolds' Excuse: I Passed the Buck

Reynolds' statement, via the Hotline Blog:

For Immediate Release: Contact: Press Office

Saturday, September 30, 2006 (202) 479-7070

NRCC Chairman Tom Reynolds Statement

WASHINGTON — National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) Chairman Tom Reynolds today issued the following statement:

"Rodney Alexander brought to my attention the existence of e-mails between Mark Foley and a former page of Mr. Alexander's. Despite the fact that I had not seen the e-mails in question, and Mr. Alexander told me that the parents didn't want the matter pursued, I told the Speaker of the conversation Mr. Alexander had with me.

"Mr. Alexander has also said he took the matter to the Clerk of the House. An investigation was then conducted by the Clerk and John Shimkus on behalf of the House Page Board.

"Mark Foley betrayed the integrity of this institution as well as the trust of his colleagues and constituents. There is no excuse, and he needs to be held accountable."
Let me get this straight: Tom Reynolds was alerted to wrongdoing by Mark Foley that by his own account "betrayed the integrity of [the House of Representatives] as well as the trust of his colleagues," and Reynolds was content to drop the matter after a conversation so impotent that the other party, Denny Hastert doesn't even remember it?

Tom Reynolds is going to have to do better than that if he expects to be forgiven by the voters of the 26th district.

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Reynolds in Deep Over Foley Scandal (UPDATED)

Rep. Tom Reynolds is a step away from becoming a Dead Man Walking. As Josh Marshall wrote last night on Talking Points Memo:
If I'm understanding this correctly, ... the leaders of the House Republican caucus have known for almost a year that a member of their caucus was having cybersex with an underage congressional page. And apparently they did nothing about it.
The incumbent GOP Congressman, who has been locked in a tight battle with Democratic-Working Families challenger Jack Davis, is about to face an avalanche of questions about his role in covering up the Mark Foley sex scandal.

Reynolds, part of the House Republican leadership team, knew about the allegations that Foley made advances over the internet towards a 16-year-old congressional page, and apparently took no action. The AP reports today:
The congressional sponsor of the page, Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-La., said he was asked by the youth's parents not to pursue the matter, so he dropped it.

Alexander said that before deciding to end his involvement, he passed on what he knew to the chairman of the House Republican campaign organization, Rep. Thomas Reynolds, R-N.Y. Reynolds' spokesman, Carl Forti, said "We are not characterizing conversations that Congressman Reynolds may have had or may not have had with other members of Congress on that subject."
The usual questions -- What did Reynolds know and when did he know about it -- appear to be answered: He knew about the improper actions of a colleague "months" in advance of their public revelation. The questions that leaves are: why didn't Reynolds act, and how his constituents will react to his apparent application of political calculus to a deeply troubling allegation of personal misconduct.

The Davis-Reynolds race, which was already tight because of the visceral anger towards the Bush administration's trade policies, may be at a tipping point.

From the WFP's policy-based perspective, in a year when helping Take Back Congress is our number one priority, we have been very excited about a referendum on one-sided trade agreements without adequate labor and environmental safeguards. That dynamic has turned what should be a cakewalk for a powerful Republican leader like Reynolds into a statistical dead heat.

But if Reynolds' role in covering up a fellow member of Congress's predatory internet activity proves to be the margin of difference in this race, we'll take it.

UPDATE: Rochester Turning reports that there's going to be a protest outside Reynolds' office in Greece, NY (outside Rochester) at 1pm today.

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Friday, September 29, 2006

Rangel, Nadler support Take Back Congress

I'm excited to share a letter cosigned by Rep. Charlie Rangel and Rep. Jerry Nadler in support of the Working Families Party's Take Back Congress campaign.

From their letter (pdf):
"Everyday we are more confident that Democrats have a historic opportunity to regain majority control in the House this cycle and that with so many competitive races in New York, our state will be the key battleground in this effort. As Dean of our Delegation and your colleague in the Delegation, we write to remind you that we are poised to play a pivotal role by supporting Democratic Congressional candidates across New York. This is not the first time you have been asked to help our Congressional candidates, but today we are urging you to do so by supporting the "Take Back Congress – New York" campaign, an effort of the Working Families Party.

The Working Families Party has played a decisive role in electing Democrats to Congress in New York, including the last two times we picked up seats, when Tim Bishop and later Brian Higgins joined us in the Delegation. The WFP's Take Back Congress – New York campaign is an independent effort targeting Republican-held seats. The WFP's ability to attract additional votes for our candidates – especially in districts where independents and Republicans outnumber Democrats – will be of real help. WFP already has run radio ads in the NY-24 and NY-20 and is known for extremely cost-efficient and effective field campaigns. We regard the Take Back Congress – New York campaign as an additional vehicle for aiding our terrific Democratic challengers in the most competitive Congressional races."
Read our Take Back Congress propsectus and see what they're excited about - and then get involved!

There are phonebanks open in New York City, Ithaca and Auburn - and if you can't call you can donate online.

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

NY-26: A Referendum on Trade Tightens

The WFP has had its eye on the 26th congressional district for a while. Jack Davis did better than anyone expected in 2004 against GOP incumbent (and NRCC chair) Tom Reynolds.

Davis is running again, and the first public polling shows the race as a statistical tie. MyDD picks up the numbers from the Survey USA/WGRZ IVR* survey:
The race for the congressional seat in New York's 26th Congressional district between Congressman Tom Reynolds and businessman Jack Davis is neck and neck according to new scientific polling information.

The survey was commissioned by Channel 2 News and was completed by Survey USA. It breaks down as the following:

45% Tom Reynolds (R)
43% Jack Davis (D)
8% Christine Murphy (G)
4% Undecided
Murphy, the Green candidate is now off the ballot, so query where her support goes.... Hmmm... left-leaning voters looking for an alternative to the Democratic Party.

What is this race about? We had the opportunity to observe some focus groups in the Buffalo suburbs recently, and the emotion around the loss of jobs due to unfair trade is visceral.

In fact, when you think about it, it's hard to see how Jack Davis could lose an election that clearly become a referendum on trade. But anything's possible.

Mike Arcuri's effort in the 24th district remains the WFP's top congressional priority, with a substantial independent expenditure directed at unaffiliated voters and independent-minded Republicans. But Jack Davis would clearly benefit from a little WFP oomph too.

* IVR = Interactive Voice Recording -- this is an automated touch-tone survey, a methodology that some question and others find to be sometimes more reliable than human telephone interviewing.

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Arcuri Pledges to Protect Social Security; Meier Silent

A lot of people in New York's 24th Congressional District depend on Social Security - almost 20% of the district. When you look at the number of people in New York who depend on Social Security, the 24th ranks third. And when you look at the number of children in the state who depend on Social Security, the 24th comes in first.

That's why D-WFP Congressional candidate Mike Arcuri is publicly signing a pledge to oppose the new Bush plan to privatize Social Security. Arcuri's opponent in the 24th District Congressional race, Dick Cheney-clone Ray Meier, won't sign the pledge to oppose Social Security privatization.

Here's George Bush back in June, talking about Social Security privatization:
"If I can't get it done this year, I'm going to try next year. And if we can't get it done next year, I'm going to try the year after that."
Social Security privatization isn't going away as long as Bush is in office. Bush's 2007 budget diverts $721 billion of Social Security funds away to private accounts. So why won't Ray Meier say where he stands on privatizing Social Security? Maybe Meier figures we already know he's pledged to rubber stamp what George Bush wants. Or maybe Ray Meier doesn't want to say anything because he knows he's not a good fit for the 24th District and he's trying to sneak his way into Congress.

Come out and hear Mike Arcuri pledge to protect Social Security. Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. and Citizen Action of New York are organizing the pledge and the signing.
  • WHEN: Friday, September 29, at 10am
  • WHERE: East Side Senior Day Center at 675 Catherine St in Utica
And don't forget tonight's debate, sponsored by the League of Women Voters:
  • WHEN: Thursday, September 28, at 6:30pm
  • WHERE: Donovan Middle School in Utica
You can also phonebank with us in the 24th and in New York City or make a donation.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Too Much, Even for Bernie K.

From WNBC's reporting:

Sources told NewsChannel 4 that in one conversation, Pirro complained that one of Kerik's employees was reluctant to board Albert Pirro's boat [to plant the bug].

Jeanine Pirro suggests, "We can just simply say, if there is an issue, that I am redecorating it for our anniversary." She complains that Kerik's man is, "uncomfortable with that."

Kerik responded by saying, "But Jeanine, I'm having the same f------g problem with everybody. Everybody is panic stricken because it's you. I've gone out on a limb. I had two other people looking at this. It's a problem."

So let me get this straight. Pirro's surveillance request was too unsavory for Bernie Kerik?

Mike Arcuri - WFP street piece

If you're in New York's 24th Congressional District, here's our newest street piece for Mike Arcuri as a pdf - download it, print it out, and pass it around.

If you're in New York City or the 24th Congressional District then you should come phonebank with us. At right is a picture from last night's phonebank.

If you can't phonebank then you can help by donating to the cause.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Count on Me - 6 weeks until the election

Last week we started collecting online Count on Me pledges - and the response has been great!

The Count on Me campaign is a 7-week drive to identify 200,000 progressive voters who will give Eliot Spitzer a clear public mandate for progressive change by voting for him for Governor on Row E, the Working Families Party ballot line.

Here are four things that we want Eliot Spitzer to start working on when he officially takes office on January 1:
  • Universal health care
  • Living wage jobs
  • Fair funding for every public school
  • Real campaign finance reform
As people take the Count on Me pledge, they've been telling us why they're casting a progressive vote on Row E. Showing support for universal health care is the #1 answer, with living wage jobs close behind.

Here are some of the things people are saying:
"Working in the medical field, I see it to be very important for all to have health care. It will cost the economy less to prevent and treat health problems, as oppose[d] to when the problem gets out of control and may be too cumbersome to handle."

"Improvement on health care, wages, and affordable housing"

"We hear the phrase, 'our children are the future', well, we need to have fair funding of our public schools to help educate and teach our children using all resources needed."

"Build more affordable assisted living housing for seniors and the disabled."

"Support for clean energy technology and sustainable agriculture."

"Strengthening of rent stabilization laws; voting reform: no Diebold machines!"
What are you voting for this November? Take the Count on Me pledge and let us know.

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Monday, September 25, 2006

43 days until Election Day

Over the next 43 days from now until the election, we're going to call thousands of New York's swing voters. These voters will make the difference in close races where our D-WF challengers can win Republican-held Congressional seats and Take Back Congress.

Our phonebanks are already open in Ithaca and Auburn and we're expanding in Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn, with more coming soon.

If you want to help then sign up to come join other WFP supporters for a night making the calls we need to win.

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Friday, September 22, 2006

NY-24: Mike Arcuri late September update

The polls confirm what our on-the-ground experience shows: Mike Arcuri is winning his race for an open Congressional seat in New York's 24th Congressional District. But Arcuri's not taking anything for granted as he campaigns throughout the district. Here are some Arcuri quotes from a campaign event and subsequent interview:
"The thing I am most proud of as a DA is the Child Advocacy Center we established in Oneida County . . . Our role as public servants is to make it easier for people who have been abused, people who have been neglected to get the help they need from the government. That's what our Child Advocacy Center did."

"We need to change the course of our country . . . We need new leadership, and that's why I'm running for Congress."

"My major domestic focus would be to ensure that we get quality healthcare in this country"

"[Iraq] is not a popular war, and it is the wrong war."

"I think one of the problems for our nation right now is that we are so overextended in Iraq that it is very difficult for our military to get engaged in other parts of the world like Darfur, like Lebanon"
Next Thursday is another chance for you to hear Mike Arcuri speak. The League of Women Voters is hosting a debate between Mike Arcuri and his opponent, Dick Cheney-clone Ray Meier. The September 28th debate is at Donovan Middle School in Utica and starts at 6:30pm.

This debate will be a change for Meier - he'll have to take a break from spreading negative stories around to actually talk about the issues. We'll see if Meier decides to agree to drop his opposition to raising the minimum wage and to stop weakening Social Security, or if he just repeats George Bush's talking points that things are fine in Iraq.

Help us Take Back Congress - volunteer or donate today!

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

WFP video shoot this Saturday

You're invited: We're shooting an anti-war ad in Prospect Park on Saturday morning, and the ad is going to feature WFP supporters singing and lip syncing in a group to a classic peace song by Pete Seeger. So we want you to come!

RSVP online or with your name and phone number to Betsy Nagler.

Here are the details:
Entering on the Southwest/Prospect Park Southwest side of the park:
By Public Transportation:
  • F Train to Ft Hamilton Parkway - Exit at Greenwood Ave end of train. Walk southeast on Greenwood toward the Park. Make a left on Prospect Park Southwest. Go two blocks to Vanderbilt.
  • B-68 Bus along Coney Island Ave/Prospect Park Southwest.
By Car:
  • From Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges: Take Flatbush Ave to Grand Army Plaza, Prospect Park West exit, make left on Prospect Park Southwest at Bartel Pritchard Circle to Vanderbilt St.
  • From BQE: Take BQE to Prospect Expressway, 10th Ave exit. Make left on 11th Ave. Make right on Prospect Park Southwest to Vanderbilt St.
Enter the park at Prospect Park Southwest and Vanderbilt St, walking through Vanderbilt St Playground. Continue roughly straight across West Drive on to Wellhouse Drive. Follow Wellhouse Drive for 5-10 minutes until you see the Peninsula on your right, looking out over the lake.
Entering on the Southeast/Ocean Ave side of the park:
By Car to Wollman Rink parking lot:
  • From Manhattan via Manhattan Bridge: Go straight on Flatbush Avenue for about 2 miles until you reach Grand Army Plaza. Go halfway around the circle and continue on Flatbush Ave. (the Brooklyn Public Library will be on your left and the Park on your right). After you pass the Zoo and the Lefferts House on your right, make a right hand turn at the traffic light at Ocean Avenue. Follow Ocean Avenue to the next major intersection, which is Ocean and Parkside Avenues. Make a sharp right into the Park (diagonally across from McDonald's). Proceed slowly on the Park Drive to the flashing light where you make a left into the Wollman Rink Parking Lot.
  • From BQE South: Exit at Tillary Street and turn onto Flatbush Avenue. Then follow the above directions: Manhattan via Manhattan Bridge.
  • From Staten Island via BQE North: Exit at Atlantic Avenue, making right onto Flatbush Avenue. Then follow the above directions: Manhattan via Manhattan Bridge.
Walk north from parking lot, past the Rink, and continue around the lake (it will be on your left) until you reach the Peninsula. About a 10 minute walk.

By Public Transportation:
  • Q, S or B Train to Prospect Park station - Exit at Lincoln Rd end of the train.
  • B-41 bus to Flatbush Ave. and Ocean Ave.
  • B-43 bus to Ocean Ave. and Lincoln Rd.
  • B-48 bus to Lincoln Rd.
Walk north-west up Lincoln Rd, crossing Ocean Avenue to enter the park. Make a right on East Drive, then a left on Wellhouse Drive (the first semi-paved road on your left). After 10-15 minutes, the Peninsula will appear on your left, looking out over the lake.
See you Saturday!

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Why New York City Needs Industry

[I presented the following testimony at the City Council on September 18 in support of Resolution 141, which would create a new zoning category, Industrial Employment Districts, to protect New York's remaining 230,000 industrial jobs. While the specific zoning changes are somewhat technical, the testimony focuses on the larger issue of why the City needs to do more to preserve industry. I'm posting it here to help explain why the WFP takes industrial retention throughout the state so seriously, and point out some of the specific problems facing industry in New York City.]

Chairman Avella, Councilmember Katz, other distinguished members of the Council. Thank you for allowing the Working Families Party to offer our testimony in support of Resolution 141.

I am the Policy Director of the Working Families Party, a community-labor political party that has been active in New York City for the past eight years. All of you know the WFP; most of you have run on our ballot line. And you know that our core commitment is to good jobs for New York’s working families.

In our opinion, Res. 141 is an important step forward in preserving and creating good industrial jobs here in New York City. It is supported by many of the unions and community groups affiliated with the WFP. We urge you to pass it promptly.

Industrial retention is a long-standing concern for us in the WFP. We were here in April 2005 to urge a vote against the proposed rezoning of industrial areas in Greenpoint-Williamsburg. Before that, we were here to testify in support of Intro. 242, which would create a Business Relocation Fund to discourage irresponsible conversion of industrial buildings to residential use and offset the costs of relocation for industrial businesses. We opposed the rezoning in Hunters Point, and supported giving the Council power to review decisions by the BSA to grant variances in industrial zones. Those of you who have sought the WFP endorsement may recall questions from us on many of these issues.

So preserving New York City’s industry has long been important to the Working Families Party, and it will continue to be a central issue for us in the future. There are several reasons for this.

  • Industry is important to our affiliates. Several of our affiliated unions – most notably UNITE HERE – represent large numbers of industrial workers. We stand with them 100 percent in their fight to protect their members’ jobs. And for community groups, especially those representing immigrants, industrial jobs are often their members’ best chance to enter the middle class.
  • Industry is a powerful engine of job creation. True, industry represents a relatively small fraction of the city’s employment today. But according to the New York State Department of Labor, manufacturing has an employment multiplier of 3.04, meaning that for every manufacturing job created, two additional jobs are created in other sectors.[1] Similarly, every manufacturing job lost costs us two additional jobs. By contrast, leisure and hospitality – to pick one example – has a multiplier of only 1.5, meaning that each job creates only half a job in other sectors. Clearly, an economic development strategy that focuses on tourism will deliver less bang for the buck than one that also addresses the needs of industry.
  • Industry is important to a robust city economy. In recent years, New York has become highly dependent on a handful of sectors, especially finance, insurance and real estate, or FIRE. This has left us vulnerable to the ups and downs in the stock market. Just a few years ago, with the end of the dot-com bubble, we saw how easily an economic monoculture goes from boom to bust. A more diverse economic base will help us better weather the next financial downturn.

But without action to preserve our dwindling stock of industrial space, New York will continue losing industrial jobs. During the 1990s, the United States as a whole saw manufacturing employment decline by 3 percent, but New York City lost a full third – 33 percent – of its manufacturing jobs. Over the same period, national employment in wholesale trade, another key industrial sector, increased by 13 percent in the nation as a whole, but declined by 15 percent in New York City. These losses were not inevitable. Those industrial businesses that could easily relocate, or that had no compelling reason to be in New York City, have already left. Those who remain can succeed here, and want to be here. The problem is a lack of stable industrial space.

Rezoning of industrial areas for commercial and residential uses, with the accompanying increased rents and real-estate speculation, has been a, perhaps the, major contributor to the decline of industry in New York City. Yet to the extent the City has attempted to preserve industrial jobs, its tools of choice have been tax incentives and subsidies. Most manufacturers and industrial-retention advocates agree that these approaches cannot be effective in the face of an absolute shortage of suitable industrial space. If the City does not simultaneously take steps to preserve industrial zoning in areas of major industrial employment, subsidies to industrial employers simply contribute to the increase in rents and do nothing to preserve jobs.

Res. 141 will help resolve this dilemma by creating a new zoning category of Industrial Employment Districts. These districts will strengthen and clarify the rules for existing industrial-zoned areas where there are high concentrations of jobs, giving businesses the security they need to invest and expand. And they will reduce the temptation for property owners to jack up rents, sign short leases, or hold property vacant, in the hopes of converting to a non-industrial use. By encouraging investment by industrial businesses, it will help create good jobs for New York’s working families.

I am not going to go into the details of the bill, except on one point. We believe it should be amended to map those areas currently included in Industrial Business Zones. Other than that, I’ll leave the details to other speakers, who are better versed on the specifics. Suffice to say, we at the Working Families party have given Re. 141 careful consideration and support its prompt passage.

[1] New York State Department of Labor, “Understanding the Multiplier Effect,” Employment in New York State, April 2005

Count on Me kickoff

Big business interests have influence in Albany because they write big checks. Until we get real campaign finance reform, working families have to rely on another way to have our voices heard: with our votes.

Today, the Working Families Party is launching a 7-week drive to identify 200,000 progressive voters who want a more progressive New York. We're calling it our "Count on Me" campaign.

We can give Eliot Spitzer a clear public mandate for progressive change if 200,000 of us vote together for him for Governor on Row E, the Working Families Party ballot line.

Can we count on you to vote on Row E? Sign the Count on Me pledge at:

Here are four things that we want Eliot Spitzer to start working on when he officially takes office on January 1:
  • Universal health care
  • Living wage jobs
  • Fair funding for every public school
  • Real campaign finance reform
And we want votes on Row E to send Congress a message to bring the troops home from Iraq.

Be part of something big. If we can count on you to give Eliot a mandate for progressive change and to send a message to Congress, then sign the Count on Me pledge here:

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Western New York kicks things off

The Western New York WFP chapter kicked off their election work over the Labor Day weekend with the Labor Day Parade float pictured on the right (click the picture to see a bigger version). Here's a report from the chapter:
"Congrats on a successful event! We went above and beyond to bring both celebration and solidarity to the labor movement! Roger Cook deserves some serious accolades for visioning the ballot box & hand that cast a ballot on Row E; Frank Hotchkiss and Bob Chadwick for engineering it; Micaela Shapiro, Eric Walker, and Rebecca Town for getting us started; Mike Mottern and Carol Alt for painting; Bill Ervin for the Flat bed truck connection; and Jim Duncan for pulling us all together for such a successful Labor Day Parade! We really stood out! Thanks to all the members who marched with us and wore hard hats and welder's masks supplied by Dawn and Frank. And a special shout out to Dave Chudy and his brother, Chuckles the Clown!"
Find the chapter nearest you and get involved today.

I'll finish it off with more Labor Day pictures from the Western New York chapter.

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Friday, September 15, 2006

Cheney and Bush campaign for Meier, Sweeney, Kuhl

Republicans Ray Meier (NY-24), John Sweeney (NY-20) and Randy Kuhl (NY-29) are calling in political favors from their friend George Bush. Bush has dispatched his wife to campaign for Ray Meier and John Sweeney and sent Dick Cheney to campaign with Randy Kuhl (Cheney has already been campaigning with Ray Meier).

None of this should come as a surprise: Ray Meier, John Sweeney and Randy Kuhl are tied to the hip with George Bush and Dick Cheney.

If Cheney and Bush are going to come to New York to campaign, I'd like to see them talk about the issues. But what do you think the chances are that they'll agree to drop their opposition to raising the minimum wage or agree to stop weakening Social Security?

Yeah, I don't think so either.

All this raises the question, does the country really need more George Bush yes-men in Congress? If we want real representation in D.C. then we need to elect new people to Congress. Help elect Mike Arcuri, Eric Massa and Kirsten Gillibrand: volunteer or donate.

And, in the comments, share your ideas for welcoming Bush and Cheney to New York.

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DMI on making development subsidies effective

If development and urban planning interest you, the Drum Major Institute is hosting a panel discussion on making sure economic development subsidies are effective next Monday morning. It's a hot issue that plays out in a number of development issues in New York City and around the state. Here's more from DMI -
"It's time to ask and answer some important questions: How can our economic development policy also reduce poverty? How do we choose which businesses need to be supported with subsidies? How do we ensure that corporations fulfill their promises? How do we do all of this while spending New Yorkers' tax dollars fairly and wisely? And, ultimately, what kind of New York do we want for New Yorkers?"
The featured guest is Minnesota State Senator John Hottinger, who sponsored a groundbreaking Minnesota law instituting new standards of transparency and accountability for state and local economic development subsidies. Panelists include:
  • Errol Louis, a New York Daily News columnist who writes about subsidy accountability.
  • State Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky (AD 92), Chairman of the Standing Committee on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions, which oversees the state's public and private corporations.
  • Adrianne Shropshire, a DMI Fellow and Executive Director of Jobs with Justice.
The panel is next Monday, September 18th, from 8am until 10am (a light breakfast will be served) at The Harvard Club (27 West 44th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues). RSVP by emailing or by calling 212-909-9663.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

2006 primary election congratulations

The day after the primary, our congratulations go out to all our endorsed candidates. Here are some victories to enjoy, and a big thank you:

Congratulations to John Hall in NY-19 and Yvette Clarke in NY-11, who won contested Congressional primaries.

Congratulations to the winners of the closely contested primaries, including Alec Brook-Krasny (winner with 50.83% of the vote) and Antoine Thompson (winner with 53.36% of the vote).

Congratulations to the Suffolk County WFP chapter for their big night.

Congratulations to Ken Diamondstone, for running a close and competitive race.

And a big thank you to the chapter members and volunteers who got up early and came out to work the polls, knock on doors, make phone calls, and generally get out the vote. Sign up to join us in November when we do it again.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Vote in today's primary election

Today is the New York Primary Election. You can see the list of WFP endorsements online.

I'll be working the polls all day for Ken Diamondstone for State Senate, that's why the early morning post.

Be sure to take the time to vote today.

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Monday, September 11, 2006

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Connor endangered, Diamondstone nears win

Progressive Democrat Ken Diamondstone is moving closer to an upset in Tuesday's Democratic primary for State Senate. Diamondstone is running for State Senate in the 25th district, which includes parts of Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Tribeca, Chinatown, the Lower East Side, Soho and Greenwich Village.

Errol Louis has added Diamondstone's opponent, incumbent Marty Connor, to the short list of endangered incumbents. From the Daily News article:
"Diamondstone has begun sending out mailings that pound Connor for, among other things, his past alliances with the likes of Lenora Fulani of the Independence Party and his close ties to disgraced ex-Assemblyman Clarence Norman (for whom Connor presided over sham judicial conventions where preselected party favorites were named to the state Supreme Court bench).

The key outside factors that make an upset likely are an endorsement of Diamondstone by The New York Times and aggressive help from the Working Families Party, which has made the race a priority for Tuesday."

Be part of an upset in the making - email Patrick Van Keerbergen to volunteer at the polls on Tuesday.

Update: More on this upset in the making in the New York Times, the Politicker, and the Courier-Life.

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Friday, September 08, 2006

NY-24: Mike Arcuri up by 8 in poll

A new Constituent Dynamics poll (pdf) (more here) shows D-WF candidate Mike Arcuri leading Dick Cheney-clone Ray Meier by 49% to 41% in New York's 24th Congressional District race.

A Post-Standard article on the race reinforces the challenge and opportunity before us:
"Republicans hold an enrollment advantage in the district, but they face an electorate that's been supportive of national Democrats in recent years. It also includes a large number of independent voters."
In the same article, a Republican official admits trying to sneak Meier into office because he's out of step with the district:
"Meier will appeal to the same grass-roots, conservative voters who gave Boehlert [the retiring Congressman in the district] more opposition than the Democrats during his last two re-election bids."
We can win this one if we work for it. Anyone around the state can volunteer online, and if you're in the district then email me to ask for a lawn sign.

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Working Families Party endorses John Hall for Congress in NY-19

The Working Families Party endorses John Hall for Congress in New York's 19th Congressional District and urges a vote for John Hall in the upcoming Democratic Primary on Tuesday, September 12.

From Westchester-Putnam WFP Chapter Chair Pat Welsh:
"John Hall is the best choice for Congress to represent working families and the issues we care about. John is the strongest voice for change on health care, energy, jobs and the economy. We urge Democrats to vote for John Hall in the upcoming Democratic Primary on Tuesday, September 12."
Working and middle-class families recognize the WFP endorsement as a seal of approval for the
candidates that receive it - confirmation that they are the best choice to fight for them on issues like health care, energy, jobs and the economy. Vote for John Hall this Tuesday, September 12, and help Take Back Congress!

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Diamondstone's Got the Big Mo

One of the WFP's favorite candidates in this cycle is community activist and affordable housing maven Ken Diamondstone. He's running an insurgent campaign against incumbent Sen. Martin Connor in the 25th district (parts of Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO, Williamburg, Greenpoint, Tribeca, Chinatown, the Lower East Side, Soho and Greenwich Village).

WFP members are gravitating towards Ken's message of change the same way the New York Times did (Dorothy Siegel, George Albro, I shouldn't list too many names), and doing what they do best -- mobilizing for election day.

I think I smell an upset.

One of the real issues in the campaign (on the Brooklyn side of the district) is the proposed construction of luxury housing in Brooklyn Bridge Park (BBP). Connor's for it. Diamondstone's against -- and so is the community. It's not Atlantic Yards. Call this story "on the waterfront." But this primary election is shaping up as a referendum on an issue. And isn't that what they're supposed to be about.

So, if you're in the neighborhood, check out this BBP-related campaign event:
WHAT: Park Party for the Candidate Who Can Get Us a REAL PARK!
(party/rally/fundraiser/meet and greet the candidate)

WHEN: Thursday, September 7, 6:30-8:30pm

WHERE: 140 Pacific Street (between Henry and Clinton streets in Cobble Hill)
Question for everyone: When was the last time a New York State Senator was defeated in their own primary?

NY-24 Labor Day Highlights

This weekend, Take Back Congress volunteers were at the Central New York Labor Council Labor Day Picnic. Mike Arcuri talked to over 250 people at the picnic about how George Bush Republicans are taking the nation in the wrong direction, and how he wants to get us back on track. Then Rep. Maurice Hinchey (NY-22) told the crowd that he was doing everything he could to help elect Mike Arcuri to Congress, and he asked the audience to do the same.

Tompkins County Legislator Nathan Shinagawa received the Friends of Labor Award for his work passing a resolution in support of Fair Share for Health Care at the County level.

Tastiest part of the picnic? Jello molds!

Mark your calendars: on September 12 at 2 pm, Mike Arcuri will debate Dick Cheney-clone Ray Meier in a debate sponsored by the Herkimer County Farm Bureau. The debate will focus on "pressing national agricultural issues such as the 2007 Farm Bill, immigration reform, environmental regulations and dairy pricing." I'd expect ethanol and converting corn feed crops into energy crops will also be part of the debate.

If you want to come with us to the debate or can help let other people know about it beforehand - or if you want a lawn sign - then email me or volunteer online.

What points should Mike Arcuri be sure to make in the debate? What do you think the candidates need to talk about?

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

NY-20: Gillibrand TV ad on Iraq

Kirsten Gillibrand has just come out with a TV ad calling for a new strategy in Iraq. It's worth reading more about what Gillibrand has to say about Iraq. Her opponent, incumbent John Sweeney, still supports George Bush's failed plan to "stay the course" - a strategy that is leading to civil war in Iraq.

You can see the Gillibrand ad online, here's the script:
"Chaos and civil war in Iraq. Congressman Sweeney's solution: Stay the course. Sweeney supports President Bush's Iraq policy. He voted with Bush 100 percent of the time on Iraq. Enough. Our brave troops deserve a strategy for success, but we won'’t be able to change what is happening there [in Iraq] until we change what is happening here [in Congress].

I'’m Kirsten Gillibrand, and I approve this message, because we need a new direction in Iraq."
What do you think of this ad?

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Monday, September 04, 2006

Charles Barkley for Governor!

... of Alabama, that is.

The former NBA great is talking about getting into politics in his home state. "My platform is very simple: I'm going to improve public school systems and make neighborhoods safe," Barkley told The Hartford Courant. "Politicians do a great job of making you argue about things that aren't important. They want you to argue about the war in Iraq, about gay marriage and immigration. I'm against the war, but I support the troops. If gay people want to get married, that's none of my business. Immigrants are great people, working their behinds off. Really, America is divided by economics. It's the rich against the poor. And the gap is widening. We've got to find a way to uplift poor people. It shouldn't be the haves vs. the have-nots."

Couldn't have said it better ourselves. Barkley also thinks that "the Republicans are terrible and the Democrats aren't much better." If you want to run on the WFP line, Charles, just give us a call.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Campaigns & Elections covers Take Back Congress

From Campaigns & Elections: Inside Politics: People and Organizations (no link):
"New York's Working Families Party, one of the state's third parties, has named Peter Hatch as Director of Congressional Repo Operations. Hatch will work with Democratic and WFP-supported candidates to help them win Republican Congressional seats in November. He worked for John Edward's presidential campaign in New Hampshire and New York, and for the Kerry-Edwards ticket in Florida."
Is the 2006 election in your Labor Day weekend plans? Volunteer or donate

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