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Archive for the tag 'elections'

Not sure if I should vote for the Giant Douche Or the Turd Sandwich - Not sure if I should vote for the Giant Douche Or the Turd Sandwich  Futurama Fry

Source: QuickMeme.com

One candidate is facing a 20-count indictment on charges of tax evasion. His campaign is mired with allegations of illegal contributions. Friends are likely going to prison. His associates, from mobsters to porn kings, leave much to be desired.

The other one is an empty suit of the highest order, unable to even bullshit his way through some of the simplest policy questions. He has focused instead on calling his opponent names (to be fair, a trick they’ve both used).

The race, of course is between incumbent Congressman Michael Grimm and Democratic challenger Domenic Recchia.

Faced with the prospect of endorsing one or the other, newspaper editors would be best to sit this one out. Admittedly, that’s easy for us to say – we don’t do endorsements. We think you can make up your own mind… even though voters surely face a doozy this coming Tuesday.

The Staten Island Advance is made of sterner stuff than us, I guess. They issued their endorsement this morning to Congressman Michael Grimm. It was a bit of a surprise, given that the paper has thoroughly and aggressively reported on Grimm’s woes. But the endorsement was one for the ages, as the editorial team churned out 990 words to thinly mask what was little more than a reluctant, “Mrrrph, this one I guess. Sure, whatever.”

Here are some of the highlights (paragraph breaks may have been removed to fit the list format):

  • There are, on occasion, electoral races in which both candidates are of high quality and high integrity and conduct a tough but fair campaign about the issues … The election for the House of Representatives seat in the 11th New York Congressional District is nothing like that.
  • That choice for us is Michael Grimm. Surprisingly, if a choice is to be made, Mr. Grimm should be that choice, even under these circumstances.
  • [Recchia] doesn’t bring much else to the table. His campaign strength, it would seem, is to say he’s not Michael Grimm.
  • To have Staten Island’s congressman under federal indictment has been a black mark on this borough and has made it the laughingstock of the nation … Unfortunately, his opponent’s astonishing incoherence in public statements only adds to the ridiculousness.
  • Stories about Mr. Grimm’s extra-curricaular activities are numerous. We learned that he spent considerable time in the ladies’ room of a Brooklyn tavern with a female friend, who he claimed to be counseling.  We heard he pulled a gun during a melee in a dance club in Manhattan. We heard him threaten to throw a reporter off a balcony because he didn’t like a question posed.
  • As distasteful as this contest may be on a number of levels, we have a choice to make, as do the voters. On Tuesday, Mr. Grimm is still the best practical choice for Staten Island. Our system of justice calls for us to wait until February, when he faces trial, to discover the rightness or wrongness of that decision.

It’s pretty clear the venerable editors over at the advance know their choice is between two lumps of coal. Or, rather, as South Park once so well depicted the modern American electoral system, between a Giant Douche and a Turd Sandwich. And if that sounds like a reach, just watch this clip between the two fictionalized candidates and tell us if it really is any less substantial than the two televised debates between Grimm and Recchia:

We don’t know about you, voters of the 11th Congressional District. But we’re writing in Hypnotoad.

Congressman Michael Grimm and Councilman Domenic Recchia

Congressman Michael Grimm and Councilman Domenic Recchia

Republican Congressman Michael Grimm and Democratic challenger Domenic Recchia faced off for their third debate last night, trading barbs about corruption, influence and skinny dipping in the Sea of Galilee.

The televised debate was widely covered as the campaign attracts national attention, due in part to Grimm’s 20-count federal indictment and Recchia’s blunders on the campaign trail. The debate followed much the same formula, with Recchia deflecting questions of policy and focusing on the incumbent’s legal woes, while Grimm portrayed the Democrat as a left-wing ideologue unprepared for the job.

On the simpler, seemingly innocent questions, the candidates still faltered. Neither could recall the name of the last book they had read.

“These are not supposed to be stumpers,” said moderator Errol Louis, according to the New York Times.

Recchia also divulged that he has smoked pot, while Grimm said he never did, according to the Daily News.

And when the Democrat accused Grimm of skinny-dipping during a trip to Israel, the incumbent called him a liar, pointing out that, though he was there, it was a member from Kansas who took the nude plunge.

You can find more detailed coverage of the debate here:

The general election will take place November 4.

Source: assembly.state.ny.us

Source: assembly.state.ny.us

Borough Park Assemblyman Dov Hikind is in hot water with outraged constituents after co-sponsoring a job fair that charged unemployed workers a $20 entrance fee.

The New York Post reports:

The event in Midwood was jointly promoted by the Orthodox Union and state Assemblyman Dov Hikind.

… Hikind, who has $792,691 in his campaign treasury, defended the fee.

“There are expenses involved. It takes money to put this together,” Hikind said of the Jobs Fair held at Young Israel of Midwood on Thursday.

Hikind said many people who showed up at the door were allowed in for free, if they said they couldn’t afford the fee.

A notice put out by the Orthodox Union Jobs Board last month also required employers to pay $200 to participate and not-for-profit groups, $100.

The controversial job fair fee was first reported by JPUpdates. The site said approximately 30 companies attended, paying the fees mentioned above.

The participants consisted mostly from middle aged, 18 and older to special needs kids. “Why are you charging me money to enter? I am unemployed,” one angry person, who refused to identify himself, told a staffer at the entrance. Another person, a lady who arrived at around 6:15 pm, was furious that she was still asked to pay the fee to spend the last 45 minutes at the event.

Hikind spent approximately two hours at the event, with campaign workers hanging posters on the wall and handing out palm cards. An update on the story says that the OU took issue with the blatant campaigning, and the pol had been told he would not be permitted to hang posters or to distributed literature.

The organization also defended the fee, citing expenses, but said they accommodated those who could not pay.

Hikind is running for reelection on November 4.

grimm

The trial of Congressman Michael Grimm, facing tax fraud allegations and other charges, has been postponed until February 2. At a hearing on the postponement, prosecutors hinted that some of the charges could be split from the indictment and prosecuted in a separate trial.

During a hearing on Tuesday, Grimm’s defense landed a minor victory, winning the postponement from an early December date until February 2 so that they can review materials. Prosecutors turned over approximately 100 hours of recorded conversations, including 10 hours conducted in a foreign language. The defense team said they’d need extra time to review them because, “I’d be sitting at my desk for two full working weeks,” said defense lawyer Jeffrey Neiman, according to the Staten Island Advance.

The judge also denied Grimm’s legal team’s request earlier this month for information from the prosecution that they thought would prove the investigation was the result of a political witch hunt and professional vendettas. That included knowing the involvement of particular FBI investigators and the role played by a prosecutor now running as a Democratic candidate for State Assembly.

The judge found the claims without merit, calling it “unsupported and random speculation.” The New York Times reports:

Prosecutors pointed out that there were 10 other cases involving cash payrolls to avoid taxes from 2012 to 2014, making it hard for Mr. Grimm to argue that he alone was selected. Mr. Kaminsky, they said, never acted with improper motive and was only one of several prosecutors involved in the investigation. As for the idea that the office chose Mr. Grimm for his politics, the other elected officials the office prosecuted in the last four years were Democrats, prosecutors said.

The judge is still mulling a motion to dismiss three perjury-related charges on the basis of jurisdictional issues. Because it pertained to his Manhattan-based restaurant, the defense argues that charges should have been filed in the Southern District of New York, not the Eastern District, which is where he’s being prosecuted.

The Advance notes:

Prosecutors conceded the jurisdictional issue, but Judge Pamela Chen stopped short of dismissing those three counts without prejudice Tuesday, as Grimm’s defense team is still seeking to dismiss the entire case, perjury charges and all, arguing “selective and vindictive prosecution.”

“In effect, the venue motion is really a separation motion of the perjury and obstruction counts, effectively resulting in two trials for the price of one,” Gatta said. “We’re happy to oblige the defendant if he wants two trials.”

Today, Friday, October 10, is the last day to register to vote in the November 4 general election. Here’s what you need to know:

• If you’d like to print off and mail your registration, the form can be found here in English and here in Spanish. Forms must be postmarked no later than October 10 and received by a board of elections no later than October 15 to be eligible to vote in the general election.

• You can also register in person at our Kings County Board of Election office, but this also must be done by October 10. That said, if you have been honorably discharged from the military or have become a naturalized citizen since October 10, you may register in person at the board of elections up until October 24.

• You can register via the DMV online if you have a NY state-issued ID, though you have to set up an account.

• Not sure if you’re registered? Check on your current voter registration here.

Assemblyman Brook-Krasny (left) and challenger Lilikakis (right). Photo by Bailey Wolff.

Assemblyman Brook-Krasny (left) and challenger Lilikakis (right). Photo by Bailey Wolff.

By Bailey Wolff

The Bay Ridge Real Estate Board hosted a “Meet the Candidates Event” Wednesday night at the Dyker Heights Golf Course. Present at the forum was four-term incumbent of the 46th District, Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny, and his opponent, first time political hopeful, Stamatis Lilikakis.

Vice President of the Bay Ridge Real Estate Board Aldo Iemma and his wife Deborah organized the forum in order to establish communication between members of the community and elected officials who represent them in government.

“We want to educate, and encourage connections so that everyone is involved with the political process,” said Deborah Iemma.

Stamatis Lilikakis was the first of the two candidates to speak. He discussed the need to lower taxes to stop the “exodus” of businesses from New York State.

“I actually know what most people in this room feel,” said Lilikakis. “And I’m running for office because I’ve had enough of being a blank check for Albany and for our federal government … my goal is to try and lessen some of that burden.”

The 46th Assembly District spans the waterfront from Brighton Beach to Bay Ridge.

The 46th Assembly District spans the waterfront from Brighton Beach to Bay Ridge.

Running as a Republican-Conservative, Lilikakis said that he has united “different factions” in his party, and if elected, wants to create more opportunities for business and education in the district.

He also spoke about illegal conversions—the process of turning singe-family homes into multi-family, non-permitted housing units. “They’re illegal. They shouldn’t be here. There should be a task force, by the police department and fire department to go in and stop these things.”

Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny took the floor after Lilikakis and defined the 46th voting district as “very diverse.”

“From very liberal Coney Island to the more conservative part in Dyker Heights … you have people speaking more than 50 different languages with many different political opinions.” Because of these reasons, Krasny stated, the district needs a “balance minded politician” to represent every member of the district.

“One of the first priorities of every government,” said the assemblyman, “should be supporting the economy and increasing the number of jobs in his district.” He pointed to low state income taxes and universal Pre-K as two of his achievements, but also quoted the statistic that 70 percent of his constituents rely on government funding “in one form or another.” For this reason, he said, “I have to be very careful when cutting taxes.”

When a member of the audience asked Krasny about government funds to rebuild after Superstorm Sandy, he quoted recently announced numbers of $25 million to build jetties and $2.9 million for a seawall to protect his district’s waterfront.

“Some services, some departments, some programs—like Build it Back—they didn’t do the right job,” the assemblyman said. “I know as a private citizen what is going on with Build it Back. It’s terrible. But it’s getting better.”

These two opponents will debate at 7:30pm on October 14, at St. Phillip’s Church in Dyker Heights. The church is located on 80th Street and 11th Avenue. The General Elections will be held November 4, 2014.

State Senator Marty Golden (Photo By Erica Sherman)

State Senator Marty Golden (Photo By Erica Sherman)

Federal prosecutors are looking into the campaign finances of State Senator Marty Golden, the pol confirmed.

“The campaign fund is being looked at,” Golden told the New York Post, regarding a probe by United States Attorney Preet Bharara.

The paper reports:

Golden has hired Gottlieb & Gordon, a law firm that specializes in government investigations and white-collar crime defenses, in response to a subpoena from the Manhattan federal prosecutor’s office.

… [Golden] said he didn’t know why his campaign fund was being targeted.

Bharara’s office leads the nation in political convictions, having also put away former Sheepshead Bay State Senator Carl Kruger and several others. The prosecutor has not indicted Golden or made any public announcements about its investigation.

Golden was previously being eyed by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Moreland Commission before it was disbanded. Bharara’s office took over several of the cases the Moreland panel was looking into.

The New York Post speculated that the commission was eyeing the $541,599 that the pol steered to the Bay Ridge Manor, a catering hall he once owned and is now owned by his brother.

It’s also possible that the probe is looking at activity surrounding multi-million dollar tax breaks given to luxury developers in Manhattan, including a $44 million waiver to Extell Development. The commission sent subpoenas to those developers last summer. Golden sponsored the legislation in the Senate, and pleaded ignorance when asked about it.

grimm

When news broke in 2012 that Congressman Michael Grimm was the target of a federal investigation, the pol said it was a liberal media conspiracy. Now the pol’s defense team is depicting it as a political witch hunt led by a prosecutor with electoral aspirations, and aided by former FBI colleagues settling a score.

Grimm pleaded not guilty to a 20-count indictment that alleges, among other things, tax evasion, fraud and illegal hiring practices connected to a restaurant he owned before running for office. The trial is set to begin in December, but the pol’s legal team sent a pair of letters earlier this month that appear to suggest the direction their defense will take – not one that clears his name of tax fraud, but one that says he was only caught because the prosecution sought to take down a Republican.

Staten Island Advance reports:

In a letter dated Oct. 1, Grimm’s lawyers, Jeffrey A. Neiman and Daniel Rashbaum, fired off a list of 14 questions to federal prosecutors, many asking about the role of former Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Kaminsky in the investigation into the congressman.

Kaminsky, a Democrat, left the U.S. attorney’s office after the tax evasion indictment was announced to run for state Assembly.

“What role did former Assistant United States Attorney Todd Kaminsky have in the investigation of Mr. Grimm?” one question asks.

“When did Mr. Kaminsky first notify the United States Attorney’s Office of his intention to seek political office, informally or formally?” asks another.

… Grimm’s team also asked what role FBI Supervisory Special Agent Anthony Bivona and Assitant Special Agent in Charge Mary Gallingan played in the investigation, as well as many other indictments the U.S. Attorney’s office has sought in the past five years regarding restaurants paying employees in cash, under-reporting cash sales to the Internal Rvenue Service, or “hiring illegal aliens as employees.”

Neiman and Rashbaum wrote a second letter on Oct. 1, asking for documents, notes, copies of inconsistent statements, and criminal or psychiatric histories of witnesses in the case.

In a response dated October 2, Lynch’s office said they would provide relevant info prior to trial as required by law. But her office bristled at the 14 questions, saying they were neither pertinent, nor legally required.

“It should be noted, however, that the 14 questions about the investigation and other cases seek information that is irrelevant to the charges of this case…. The government therefore respectfully declines to provide the information sought in these 14 requests,” Lynch writes.

The Daily News has a little more about the request for information regarding the special agents:

Team Grimm appears poised to take on supervisory FBI Special Agents Anthony Bivona and Mary Galligan. Sources said Bivona had a falling-out with Grimm and Galligan led an internal probe of Grimm before he left the bureau.

SILive.com has full copies of the letters.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is deep in a campaign to register new voters across the nation in their hopes of taking back the House. In the 11th District, currently represented by Michael Grimm, the initiative has seen 6,600 new voters enter the fray.

The nationwide effort is being hailed as “an unprecedented field operation” and has already racked up more than 60,000 new voter registrations. It’s fueled by a well-financed campaign committee war-chest that dwarfs the Republican’s coffers by about $33 million.

With more than 500 paid staffers dispatched to 48 districts around the nation, the 11th District held by Grimm is being seen as a top-prize.

It’s Democratic challenger Domenic Recchia who stands to benefit from the new registrants. Although not all the new voters are bound to be Democrats since even DCCC employees must sign up anybody that asks, it’s more than likely they focused their new enrollment efforts in neighborhoods – particularly including Brooklyn – that lean Democratic.

To get an idea of the effect 6,600 new voters can have on this election, keep in mind that in the 2012 election only about 37,000 votes were cast – so 6,600 votes would be approximately 20 percent growth.

Source: Facebook

Source: Facebook

Democrat Domenic Recchia missed last night’s debate in Bay Ridge, giving Republican Congressman Michael Grimm, whose seat he’s seeking, an opportunity to bash him relentlessly.

The Staten Island Advance reports:

“He will be lockstep with Mayor de Blasio and the president,” Grimm said. “He voted with Mayor de Blasio 99 percent [of the time] when they were in the City Council together. OK, so if you believe the Brooklyn Bridge should have an $8 toll, that’s what he voted for.”

The congressman had the stage all to himself Tuesday and looked to connect himself to President Ronald Reagan, while slamming Recchia for voting in favor of extending term limits in the Council.

“He doesn’t care what you think and he proved that when he voted to extend term limits,” Grimm said of Recchia. ” … the people voted on term limits twice but my opponent said, ‘No, I’m going to have a third term.'”

In an interview with the press after the debate, Grimm said Recchia wasn’t there because he wasn’t prepared to debate the congressman and doesn’t know the issues.

The Recchia campaign said he was unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict.

Between the attacks, Recchia did find the time to address some issues:

He blamed Obama for a lack of a foreign policy, saying it had led to ISIS being emboldened to attack the United States. He said there needs to be a strong coalition to battle ISIS, which he called “the most funded, most brutal group we’ve ever faced.”

Grimm supports closing the Mexican border, and said the Affordable Care Act had “destroyed everything that was good” about the American health care system.

Grimm said he supports hydrofracking — “when done safely and responsibly, it’s the safe thing to do.”

The debate was organized by the Bay Ridge Community Council. Read more at SILive.com.

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