The Albany fallout
City politicians appear shell-shocked over the GOP coup in the State Senate.
Albany is a “‘Twilight Zone,’” said City Councilmember Lewis Fidler, the day after chaos erupted in the state capital.
“There’s complete gridlock,” said one City Council member. “Nothing will get done there.”
Speaking to members of the United Canarsie South Civic Association, Fidler stressed that holdups in Albany could have a tremendous impact on the city. Among the items endangered by the political situation, he said, is control of the school system, with mayoral control set to sunset on June 30 unless it is renewed, as well as the city budget, since portions of it rely on the state legislature giving the city the ability to raise certain taxes.
“We can’t pass the budget till we know exactly what revenue parameters we have,” Fidler emphasized.
One Brooklyn State Assembly member noted that, while chaos reigned in the senate, the Assembly was doing its work, but nobody noticed. “We all get painted with the same brush,” the official complained. “They all say, Albany is dysfunctional, not the Senate is dysfunctional.”
Keeping an eye on Carl
While Southern Brooklyn State Senator Carl Kruger didn’t jump ship along with renegade Democratic Senators Pedro Espada Jr. of the Bronx and Hiram Monserrate of Queens during last week’s Albany power grab, he stood awfully close to the plank, insiders said.
At hastily convened meetings late last week, local Democratic power brokers made it clear that their sights are now aimed squarely at the voluble Kruger. After all, a person at the meeting claimed, it was Kruger, with his Gang of Four, who laid the ideological platform for the most recent defiance.
Sources familiar with the recent discussions said that the Working Families Party and a host of local unions have pledged their support “to secure the ouster” of Kruger. “He’s despicable and betrayed every cause he pledged to support,” said a person who attended one of the meetings.
Kruger said he’s been working diligently to bring the majority back to the Democratic side, and said the ‘gang’ days were never meant to “undo a process” or destabilize the party. “There was never an issue of breaking ranks to cause a stealth attack,” he said.
He said he enjoyed strong relationships with the WFP and local unions. “I can’t respond to rumor and innuendo,” he said.
Having a ‘fine’ time
It’s pretty amazing just how many violations a City Council member can rack up in one election if he’s not careful.
The New York City’s Campaign Finance Board announced Thursday that it has fined Flatbush City Councilmember Mathieu Eugene $24,000 for 29 violations stemming from his 2007 campaign.
Board members charge that Eugene failed to provide bank statements, accepted five corporate contributions (a no-no) and used campaign funds for non-campaign related expenses (a BIG no-no).
We don’t begrudge the Council member the violations. After all, 2007 was a pretty confusing year for the podiatrist-turned civic activist.
He ran three times that year: first during a special election, then during a follow up election when his opponents alleged that he had just moved into Brooklyn’s 40th District (again, another no-no). A few months later, he had to hit the campaign trail again, this time in the general election.
Calls to Eugene for comment were not returned as this paper went to press.
Howard Dean sees double
Former Vermont Governor, 2004 presidential nominee and the godfather of progressive politics Howard Dean took the A train to Brooklyn last week to endorse not one candidate in fight for the 39th Council District, but two.
That’s politics for ya, folks.
Dean endorsed candidate Josh Skaller last Tuesday morning, but had to admit that he was also endorsing opponent Brad Lander since both men had helped him run for president in 2004.
Dean took all of the blame for the double endorsement, claiming that he hadn’t realized that he had made a promise to endorse Skaller, and had also promised Lander that he would stay out of the race.
“It was only fair to lend my name to both candidates,” he said. “If I was more research-oriented and did my homework, this wouldn’t have happened.”
Get back to work!
That’s the message City Councilmember Bill de Blasio is sending to state legislators.
With pressing issues on the table like the soon-to-expire mayoral control law, de Blasio says state Senate and Assembly members must end the chaos in Albany and get back down to business.
“Public school parents cannot afford to be held hostage by Albany’s dysfunction. I am outraged and concerned as one of the hundreds of thousands of public school parents depending on a reformed version of mayoral control passing before June 30th. We need our state senators to get back to work now before time runs out,” de Blasio said.
At least somebody’s working
Wanna know what’s going on in the circus we call the New York State Legislaturei Well, don’t bother asking Assemblyman Peter Abbate.
The almost 25-year Albany veteran representing the 49th Assembly District in Bay Ridge prefaced his regular remarks to Community Board 11 last week with a stark declaration before any of his constituents even had a chance to query him.
“I don’t know what’s happening in the Senate,” Abbate said in a preemptive strike. “I don’t know who’s getting what. We’re working hard in the Assembly.”
While he couldn’t predict who would be king next week, he did say that’s when the goody-two-shoes Assembly would have the “people’s business”done by — specifically, Wednesday.
Abbate said among the work the Assembly is tackling includes reenacting mayoral control of the city schools with a few changes such as not allowing the Department of Education to close any schools without at least six months’ notice.
“We can pass bills on our side and the senate can finish their business whenever they decide to do it. They can do them in July or August or whenever they get their act together,” Abbate said, adding that some state senators appeared to be “ethically challenged.”
Capano gets GOP nod
The Kings County Republicans officially endorsed Bob Capano in the 43rd District City Council race.
Capano will face incumbent Vincent Gentile in the Bay Ridge/Bensonhurst/Dyker Heights area, which is considered a GOP stronghold for Brooklyn. Prior to Gentile holding the seat, State Sen. Marty Golden held it.
“I am asking all Brooklyn Republicans to make this race a priority. We must join together to win back this seat and give Republicans a much-needed fresh voice in the City Council,” Craig Eaton, chairman of the Kings County Republican Party said.
“Unlike the incumbent, a career politician who has held one government job or another his entire adult life, Bob works in the real world as a teacher and supermarket manager, and understands the lives of regular people. He has a proven track record of community and public service that will serve our district well in City Hall.”
Capano, a lifelong local resident, thanked the GOP for the nod and promised a spirited campaign.
“Winning this race will give us back some much-needed checks and balances in the City Council,” said Capano. “I will be a Councilman who understands, and is in touch with, the lives of families living in our community.”
Gentile said that while someone’s got to run against him, it won’t change his campaign.
“(The race) will be based on my accomplishments as well as what we see unfold,” he said.
Send political tips, gossip and hearsay to politics@c