Monday, November 30, 2009

Austin Fenner, Ex-NY Post Employee, Sues The Paper, Charges Racism

Another former New York Post employee is suing the paper, alleging that he was subject to unfair employment practices and that editors engaged in racially-motivated news coverage.

Austin Fenner, who was fired from the Post on the same day that former editor Sandra Guzman sued the paper over her own dismissal, claims that he was "routinely humiliated," "openly cursed at" and subjected to "Jim Crow"-style segregation while working as a city desk reporter.

Using the same lawyer as Guzman, Fenner alleges that he too was fired from the paper both for being a minority (he is African-American) and for complaining about racist coverage. Fenner, like Guzman, publicly expressed his disappointment with a Post cartoon that depicted the author of the president's stimulus package as a chimpanzee shot dead by befuddled cops.

A spokeswoman for the New York Post, in an email to the Huffington Post, said that the allegations were "totally false and the claims of discrimination completely baseless."

The complaint filed by Fenner doesn't deliver as many jaw-dropping allegations as Guzman's complaint earlier this month. The 27-page document mainly asserts that editors repeatedly yelled profanities at Fenner, made him travel further and more frequently than his "White" colleagues and denied him the same resources that other reporters received to cover events. Such accusations are occasionally levied in other newsrooms, though the Post has a lengthy history of poor race relations in the newsroom.

There are, however, certain charges that do stick out. Fenner alleges that the two defendants -- Michelle Gotthelf, the metropolitan editor of the Post and Fenner's direct superviser as well as Daniel Greenfied, the assignment editor and deputy metropolitan editor at the paper -- banned him from entering the Post's newsroom for a five-month period.

"Specifically," the complaint alleges, "they told Mr. Fenner that he was forbidden from coming into the newsroom anymore unless he got their permission in advance... Mr. Fenner's ban from the newsroom was an act of utter humiliation designed to strip him of his dignity and self-respect as a reporter and as a man and was based on his race and/or color and implemented to punish him for his opposition to Defendants' discriminatory practices. It was also a throwback to the days of Jim Crow segregation."

The complaint also asserts that after the Post published the controversial chimpanzee cartoon, New York's Governor David Paterson approached the paper asking for an interview on the controversial matter.

Story continues below

"[T]hey refused a request by Governor David Paterson, the first Black Governor of the State of New York, to be interviewed about the cartoon," Fenner's complaint alleges. "Specifically, after Governor Paterson made it know that he wanted to be interviewed about the nature of that cartoon and had also agreed to be interviewed about any other subject, the White editors at the Post summarily refused to interview him.... Such a rejection of a sitting Governor is unprecedented and practically unheard of in journalism."

In alleging "discriminatory treatment, harassment and/or unlawful retaliation" at the hands of the paper's editors, Fenner lists Gotthelf, Greenfield, as well as News Corporation and the Post itself as defendants. His lawsuit comes just weeks after Guzman's, in which it was alleged that she and others were routinely subjected to misogynistic behavior, unfair hiring practices at the paper and an unlawful firing.

Both former employees are being represented by Ken Thompson of the firm Thompson, Wigdor & Gilly LLP.

Asked about Fenner's firing several weeks ago, a spokesperson for the New York Post said that the paper had "no comment on Mr. Fenner's employment status."

Petey Espada Tells Staffers to "Shut Up"

'Gag' reflex by Espada as charity probe heats up


Last Updated: 7:06 AM, November 29, 2009

Posted: 3:22 AM, November 29, 2009

Embattled Bronx politico Pedro Espada Jr. is advising staffers at his health-care charity to check with his lawyers before speaking to state investigators probing allegations of financial misconduct -- a move some see as an effort to silence them. An Oct. 29 letter urged Soundview HealthCare Network employees to "immediately" call the Manhattan law firm of Hafetz & Necheles if they're contacted by the Attorney General's Office or "any other member of law enforcement investigating Soundview."

"It feels like they want to have too much control over what we say," said an employee who gave a copy of the letter to The Post.

Government watchdog Blair Horner, of the New York Public Interest Research Group, agreed that the letter could "shut up potential whistleblowers."

Espada, however, said it was all routine. "Employees are entitled to in-house legal counsel . . . The letter was a formality to remind them," he said.

The AG's office declined comment, but investigators know of the letter, said a source close to the probe of the $15 million Bronx nonprofit.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Palin Tricked By Comedian Again, Says Canada Should Drop Public Health Care (VIDEO)

Click here to find out more!

Walsh is the co-creator and star of This Hour Has 22 Minutes -- a nightly news parody show in the same vein as The Daily Show -- and she arrived in character, as the conservative Marg Delahunty, to the Borders where Palin (the "Alaskan Aphrodite") was signing books.

"I just wanted to ask you if you have any words of encouragement for Canadian conservatives who have worked so hard to try to diminish the kind of socialized medicine we have up there." Walsh shouted to Palin as she approached the table.

Palin's handlers tried to help her by ushering Walsh out of the Borders, but Palin could not be deterred. When Palin left the signing, Walsh caught up with her in the parking lot, where Palin suggested that Canada should get rid of its public health care system. "Keep the faith" Palin said, "because common sense conservatism can be plugged in there in Canada too. In fact, Canada needs to reform its health care system and let the private sector take over some of what the government has absorbed."

Raw Story points out that it is unlikely this plan will go over well among Canadians -- even among conservatives.

A recent study found that 90 percent of Canadians support universal, single-payer health care. A poll taken last summer shows 82 percent of Canadians believe their health care system to be better than the US's, despite constant grumbling about waiting times for treatment of non-life-threatening conditions.

This is Palin's second brush with Canadian comedians. Last November a comedian from Montreal convinced the former governor she was speaking with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Watch the video below.

Later, Walsh remarked to the Canadian Press that "It was great fun, but also very strange."

Walsh said, she found it equally bizarre that no one was allowed to ask Palin any questions at the book-signing....

"We're in a bookstore, at a public event, in a place one would think was a bastion of free speech. And no one was allowed to ask questions. What are they afraid of?"

Mayor Bloomberg spent $102M on campaign to win third term - or $175 per vote

Saturday, November 28th 2009, 4:00 AM

Mayor Bloomberg's third campaign for mayor has become the most expensive political campaign in American history.
Showalter for News
Mayor Bloomberg's third campaign for mayor has become the most expensive political campaign in American history.

Mayor Bloomberg's 2009 campaign spending of more than $102 million to win a third term shatters a record previously set by ... Mayor Bloomberg.

The mayor - who has spent more of his own cash pursuing elected office than anyone in U.S. history - blazed through $18.7 million between Oct. 20 and Thursday, new figures show.

Bloomberg, whose worth has been pegged at $17 billion, prevailed by less than 5 percentage points despite wildly outspending city Controller William Thompson, who ran on private donations and public matching funds.

The win cost Bloomberg about $174.53 per vote, much of it on his ubiquitous TV ads.

Thompson's official numbers come out Monday, but an aide said he spent about $8.3 million - or about $15.51 per vote. That would mean Bloomberg outspent Thompson by about 12 to 1.

Bloomberg shelled out $74 million in 2001 and $85 million on his 2005 reelection.

Campaign spokesman How-ard Wolfson said this year's record price tag was "absolutely" worth it in a election season with a national anti-incumbent undercurrent.

"In a climate in which people are unhappy - [with] the economy especially - campaigns have to start early, and they have to reach out to voters in many different ways," Wolfson said.

A Thompson aide said the controller made it a close race by focusing on core issues like the high cost of city living.

There's a mixed message in the bang Bloomberg got for his buck this year after angering some voters by pushing the City Council to overturn the two-term limit for mayors, said Prof. David Birdsell of Baruch College.

Although it may be "bad for democracy" to have one candidate with so much more financial firepower than any rival, he said, the slim margin suggests there's "hope for people who can run tough, effective campaigns to exploit the weaknesses of even extraordinarily well-financed candidates."

As yet unrevealed is how the big-bucks mayor may reward his staff for this year's narrow victory.

In 2005, Bloomberg lavished 79 campaign staffers with a total of $1.55 million in bonuses.

The mayor gave 11 members of his staff a total of $850,000 in bonuses after his 2001 underdog win.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Audacity of Bruno's Corruption: Editorial Board Outrage Over the Years Leads Nowhere

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

By Gary Tilzer

Breaking News: Atlantic Yards Project in Brooklyn Clears Legal Hurdle *** Gov. Paterson Calls For Budget Power

In 2005 Bruno is passing lobbying and ethic reform at the same time he using his government position to rip off the tax payers according to federal prosecutors. He either has a large set of balls or he knows the game is fix and nothing is illegal in Albany.

From the NYP "For if the "historic" package on lobbying and ethics "reforms" trumpeted by Pataki, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno and glowingly approved by several good-government groups is anything at all, it is - like the desert mirage - a chimera, the political equivalent of a Las Vegas magician's trick designed to shift an audience's attention away from an otherwise obvious sleight-of-hand. ALBANY'S EMPTY ETHICS REFORM(NYP) June 23, 2005 (notice how the good government group always do the bidding of the leaders)

NYT Today: Albany’s ‘Ethics’ on TrialThe trial of former State Senator Joseph Bruno makes clear that state law and its enforcers have too often allowed ethics in Albany to be optional (NYT Ed) The Times writes: "If Mr. Bruno broke no laws - something a jury will probably decide very soon - that would only confirm what many other New Yorkers have long thought: the problem is not what's illegal in Albany but what's legal."

The NYT Editorial Board
Problem is NYT has tried but failed over the years to change Albany
The real question now is the old gray lady ready to go to war with a new generation who runs Albany, who see the press as weak and not a factor in their governing or reelection. Now with thousands of less readers, it will be a tall order for the NYT to change the way Albany works

"Reformers' Feud."
(Series Fixing Albany) March 4, 2004 "It would certainly be a crisis. Anyone who is familiar with Albany knows it's dangerous to presume that the Legislature will rise to an occasion, or do anything quickly. In the meantime, there would be no way for the public to have any idea of what lobbyists were up to."

"The 'Then What?' Problem" (Series Fixing Albany) Feb 16, 2004 "It's the ''then what?'' in Albany that seldom gets asked and almost never gets answered by New York's 212 legislators. Bills aimed at cleaning up Albany's governmental stables tend to disappear into legislative limbo. History suggests that the State Senate will pass an equally impressive-sounding but somewhat different batch of reforms and that the two versions will never be reconciled."

Pledges of Reform in Albany Stumble in a Familiar Whirl of Politics December 8, 2004 Lawmakers in both parties pledged in their November re-election campaigns to overhaul the notoriously dysfunctional state budget process, but by the time the dust had cleared in Albany yesterday, they had failed to fulfill this campaign promise. . . So, as with many things in Albany, the fate of the Legislature's promises to reform itself seemed caught in a net of complicated politics, entangled in the mostly contentious negotiations over a host of other proposals that seemed to swirl like the snow outside the State Capitol. . . ''The pre-election rhetoric has fallen far short of the post-election reality,'' said Blair Horner, a lobbyist with the New York Public Interest Research Group, who observed the events firsthand by stalking the hallways, as is his custom. ''Today was Albany at its most typical: secretive insider deal-making.''

It comes down to this: Can Spitzer force lawmakers, finally, to act responsibly - on behalf of all New Yorkers? . . . The Senate, nominally in Republican hands, vowed yesterday to resume spending at the unsustainable rates of the past, despite Spitzer's efforts not to cut spending, but to slow its growth. . .Spitzer promised that everything would change on "Day One" - a grand, if wholly rhetorical, notion. Day 90 - April 1, the budget deadline - is a different matter. If Spitzer hasn't prevailed by then, he never will.

It Not Just the NYT Editorial Board that is ignored

'We've gone beyond dysfunctional - to chaotic.'NEW York state now passes budgets on time - but that doesn't mean it's not still dysfunctional. The current state budget, for example, boosts spending much faster than revenues, raises our sky-high debt even higher - and relies on more than $3 billion of one-shots that plug today's budget holes while increasing future budget gaps. Result: The state now faces gaps totaling at least $9.8 billion (and as much as $12.8 billion) in the 2007-08 and 2008-09 budgets."

Media Master Bloomberg tell the NYP "If you want great services, you have to have good people . . . You have to pay them fairly." At the same time according to newspaper reports the city is looking to layoff workers to close a 4.1 Billion dollar budget gap, Bloomberg is working to pay back the UFT for staying out of the mayoral campaign with higher pay. 4% increases is the buzz. Today's NYP Editorial Mayor creampuff makes the case that the mayor has already increased teacher pay 43% during his watch

Stuy Town: High Finance Continues to Manipulates Government
Fannie Mae created in 1938 as part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal mission is to tear down barriers, lower costs, and increase the opportunities for home ownership and affordable rental housing for all Americans. Freddie Mac's mission is to provide liquidity, stability and affordability to the housing market. Effort by several New York legislators to get bondholders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to include them in any restructuring, hit a wall. In separate letters to the group of legislators, the two lenders said that while they "understand" and "support" tenants concerns, they are in no position to help Wall Street Hijacks Federal Agencies Created to Provide Affordable Housings * Black eye over Stuy Tishman Speyer mortgage default imminent as the owners work with the pension funds to try to restructure the debt with their bondholders. The California pension fund has already written off the billion they contributed to the 5.4 Stuy purchase price. Reports are today that after the court ruling that Stuy rents were illegally raised and the colapse of New York housing market that the complex is now worth $1.8 billion, a third of the purchase price.

Update Daily News continues to beg Albany November 15, 2009 Editorial Masters of disaster: State Senate fiddles while fiscal Armageddon gets closer True News November 11, 2009 The Greatest Generation vs. Today's Take Albany Generation It is funny how the Daily News Editorial Board continues to beg to a generation that has tuned them out. It not denial when you don't care Nothing from nothings: State Senate Dems again fail to do their duty to New Yorkers

Above the Fold Court: Land Can Be Seized for Arena The 6-1 ruling by the New York State Court of Appeals allows the contentious $4.9 billion, 22-acre Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn to proceed. The project includes a new arena for the New Jersey Nets *** Obama Sets Dec. 1 Troop Deadline * Obama promises to 'finish the job' in Afghanistan

More Coming soon on the following issues

Quinn rails on yard plan
Homeless beggar jars a sham: AG Andy rips sidewalk beg 'con' * Homeless Organization Is Called a FraudWheels come off!
Pedicabs few & far between as crackdown takes effect

Gov of La Mancha Albany
New York state must cut spending By SHELDON SILVER ***
More budget talks last night *** Aqueduct Racetrack Still Awaits a Decision ***Former Bush Treasury Official Eyeing Self-Financed GOP Run For Governor *** Sheldon Silver may make pact with Gov. Paterson, leave Senate on the spot (NYDN) *** Paterson, lawmakers fail again to strike budget deal*** The Times Union says we should listen to Moody's ***AG received defense cash campaign fund took tens of thousands of dollars from law firms representing clients that his office was investigating, records show *** Cuomo Took Cash From Lawyers With Matters Before Him (Update4) (Bloomberg News) *** Paterson was in Buffalo at two fund-raisers *** Video of the Monserrate Inquisition Panel's second meeting *** Special interests have helped fill Sen. Carl Kruger's campaign coffers *** Paterson: Cut My Way, Or Give Me the Power to Cut My Way *** Reaction to the Paterson Declaration *** Skelos: Paterson Wants a Credit Downgrade*** 'What's Next, Martial Law?' *** PM Let Me Cut Budget, Paterson Says; No, Lawmakers Reply (NYT) *** Skelos And Sampson, Albany's New BFFs *** Paterson Softens School Cuts in New Plan *** Paterson Proposes Emergency Legislation To Close Budget Gap (NY1) ***Gov. David Paterson modified his deficit reduction plan to reduce cuts to education and health care *** 1199 And GNYHA Remain DissatisfiedPay to Play Bruno In Closing Arguments, Bruno as Bully or Honest Worker (NYT) *** Defense rests in corruption trial of ex-Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno ***Albany’s ‘Ethics’ on TrialThe trial of former State Senator Joseph Bruno makes clear that state law and its enforcers have too often allowed ethics in Albany to be optional (NYT Ed) *** Bruno case in hands of jury *** Analysis of some of the points of contention in the case. (TU) *** The Times asks: "What happened to the Albany district attorney, David Soares, who promised to go after the scandals in the State Capitol? It took the federal authorities to pursue Mr. Bruno?" *** Golf Was Central to Bruno, in Politics and in Busines *** Bruno Jury Out By Roger J. Stone

Inspector Clouseau
Another Troopergate Chapter Closed *** Felton Admits Troopergate Role, Won't Be Fined

Inside City Hall O invites mayor to state-dinner gala ***Gaming Out The Bloomberg III Cabinet: Schools, Parks, FDNY and DEP *** "He wouldn't share a stage with fellow Democrat Bill Thompson, but President Obama invited Thompson's campaign rival, Mayor Bloomberg, to attend a White House state dinner tonight." *** Bloomberg defended the move of trapping straphangers in the train where a murder took place *** Metro says "Bloomberg angrily defended" the move to lock the train doors *** A Philadelphia newspaper carries the news of Bloomberg defending the closing of the D train doors after the stabbing *** British media picks up the story of "horrified passengers forced to stay" in the D train *** A woman at Bloomberg's campaign headquarters said Africans "were exercised that the campaign had not produced a separate poster for them." *** Mayor Mike Bloomberg should meet with common folk after buzz about campaign trickery *** Is New York Ready for Instant Runoffs?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Did Karl Rove Pursue Gonzalez

By Rafael Martínez Alequín

In May of 2001, President George Bush nominated Miguel Estrada to a key federal appeals court position.The court is very influential, and is widely seen as a stepping stone to the Supreme Court. He received a unanimous "well-qualified" rating from the American Bar Association.
Democratic Senators opposed the nomination, noting Estrada's lack of any prior judicial experience at the local, state, or federal level. Democratic Senators also objected to the refusal by the Office of the Solicitor General to release samples of Estrada's writings while employed there. Republicans, however, stated that the Democratic concerns were actually just an attempt to deny Estrada a circuit court seat because of his conservatism.Undaunted by the opposition, Bush had another strategy.
A look behind the scenes would reveal an FCC review of a $2.4 billion merger between Univision, the nation's largest Hispanic television network and Clear Channel, a leading owner of Spanish-speaking radio stations. It was by no coincidence that both companies were owned by White, male, Republicans who were staunch Bush supporters. Opponents of the merger said that the combined company would control 70 percent of the Hispanic television network and radio stations. Good news for Bush who could then enlist their favor to promote the nomination of Miguel Estrada.
Then, New Jersey Democrat, Bob Menendez and New York State Senator Efrain Gonzalez, strongly advocated against the merger. Gonzalez headed up a little known agency called The National Hispanic Policy Institute. He placed print ads in Capitol Hill publications charging that the merger would create an unstoppable progression in the Spanish -speaking media that would drive out all other groups such as the Spanish Broadcasting System. Bob Menendez was equally strident.
He was the only member of the Hispanic Caucus to go public with allegations that Univision had blocked Democrats and their complaints about the Estrada nomination. Several other House Democrats supported Menendez's complaint but refused to record their charges.On September 4, 2003, Miguel Estrada withdrew his name from the nomination as a federal judge. A swirl of controversy surrounded him including a rarely invoked filibuster by the Democratic opposition. One could consider the case closed.
But, on September 8, 2006, Senator Robert Menendez was placed under investigation for allegedly collecting rent from an organization headed by a political supporter for whom he secured funds through a federal earmark. And only days prior to that, New York State Senator Efrain Gonzalez was indicted on August 25, 2006 on charges that he fraudulently took $37,000 from a community organization for Yankees tickets, a Caribbean residence and clothing.
All charges have yet to be substantiated. Some speculate that Bush had unleashed his "dog of war." Rover, minus the R, i.e. Karl Rove. The ever faithful aide possibly played a vengeful hand in the demise of both Menendez and Gonzalez. Bush does not like to lose. The case against Menendez found him innocent of criminal charges. The case against Gonzalez has moved at a snail's pace. Predictions of a trial date vary from October to January, 2009. The prosecution lacks evidence.
Stay tuned and pay close attention. Very close attention.........

Posted by Rafael Martínez Alequín at 5:16 PM 0 comments

Monday, November 23, 2009

Council panel set to kill Kingsbridge Armory project if builder refuses to pay workers 'living wage'


Monday, November 23rd 2009, 4:00 AM

City council members could vote to kill the Kingsbridge Armory project, which would turn the fortress into a $310 million shopping mall.
Schwartz for News
City council members could vote to kill the Kingsbridge Armory project, which would turn the fortress into a $310 million shopping mall.

Council Majority Leader Joel Rivera
(D-Bronx) told the Daily News he has the support of enough members of the subcommittee on zoning and franchises, meeting Monday, to block plans to turn the 575,000-square-foot fortress into a $310 million shopping mall.Monday could be the turning point for the embattled Kingsbridge Armory redevelopment plan, with critical City Council members now claiming to have the votes to kill the project.

"We have the votes to pass it, or to kill it," said Rivera, who noted not just Bronx members on the committee are ready to vote the proposal down.

At issue is whether the developer, The Related Companies, will agree to require retail tenants to pay workers a living wage. Related has said it would have to walk away from the project because it would be unable to get bank financing under such terms.

Sources said that Related's options are to either offer some compromise on the wage issue, see the subcommittee kill the proposal or withdraw its application and let the city issue a new request for proposals to develop the armory.

Robert Lieber, deputy mayor for economic development, sided with Related at last Tuesday's subcommittee hearing, saying a wage requirement would scuttle the project.

Rivera and other Council members are set to meet privately with Lieber this morning prior to the hearing in what could be make-or-break negotiations, with Related officials expected to be standing by.

"They have a decision to make," Rivera said of Related. "Do they want to see this project move forward? If they don't budge, we have the votes to block it."

Calling opposition to the project "unprecedented," subcommittee Chairman Tony Avella (D-Queens) agreed the armory proposal could be doomed.

Opposition to the project has been building since Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. recommended nixing the project if Related does not sign a binding community benefits agreement with the living wage in it.

A living wage is generally defined as $11.50 an hour without benefits or $10 an hour plus benefits, compared to a $7.25 an hour minimum wage.

Though some U.S. cities have imposed citywide living wage mandates, New York has yet to adopt one.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Mayor Bloomberg hid plenty from New York citizens while campaigning for third term

Adam Lisberg

Sunday, November 22nd 2009, 10:07 AM

Then-governor of Alaska Sarah Palin met with Mayor Bloomberg in October 2007. Daily News asked for copies of these photos on July 8, but received them after Bloomberg was elected for the third time.
Tucker/Mayor's Office
Then-governor of Alaska Sarah Palin met with Mayor Bloomberg in October 2007. Daily News asked for copies of these photos on July 8, but received them after Bloomberg was elected for the third time.

• The city budget deficit isn't as bad as he said.Here's what you missed while Mayor Bloomberg was running for a third term - because he kept it under wraps until after the ballots were counted:

• The NYPD was quietly exempted from the budget cuts at almost every other agency.

• A $60 million tax loss that gave Bloomberg a soap box to rail against the state Senate has magically vanished.

But that's all just numbers. What really drives the point home is the photo of Bloomberg and Sarah Palin hanging around in City Hall.

The picture - and six others - was shot Oct. 10, 2007, when the then-governor of Alaska was on a visit to New York.

Bloomberg hosts visiting pols all the time for short meet-and-greets, and nobody knew at the time that, a year later, Palin would become a controversial Republican icon.

The photos might have been inconvenient for Bloomberg while he was running against Democrat Bill Thompson in a heavily Democratic city, but they belong to the taxpayers.

The Daily News asked for copies of the photographs July 8. Under the state Freedom of Information Law, Bloomberg's lawyer Anthony Crowell had to respond within five days.

He handed them over two weeks after the election.

"There is simply no good reason for delaying disclosure," said the state's top public records watchdog, Robert Freeman, of the Committee on Open Government. "Embarrassment is not one of the grounds."

The photos are just a sideshow, though, compared to the city's improving financial picture.

In the campaign, Bloomberg and Thompson were pressed on how they would fill the $4.9 billion hole in next year's budget.

Documents released last week show a huge increase in tax revenues - cutting the hole down to $4.1 billion. Bloomberg knew that when he made his campaign pledge not to raise taxes; Thompson was in the dark.

"These are enormous numbers of great concern. Whether you have to walk 1,000 miles or 1,200 miles, either way, it's a long walk," said Bloomberg spokesman Stu Loeser. "We've made no secret of the fact that we have a very conservative budget."

The new budget figures also showed the NYPD was allowed to rescind $120 million in budget cuts, despite Bloomberg's tough talk about making painful decisions.

And perhaps you remember Bloomberg's July complaints about how the Senate's refusal to raise the city sales tax would cost the city $60 million a month.

The tax was raised in August instead. The new estimates show the $60 million gap has disappeared, which a spokesman attributed to more commerce in the city than expected.

Even if New Yorkers had known all of this, it may not have done much to change the outcome of a relatively close election. Still, Bloomberg used the power of his office to lessen the risk.

"That's the advantage of being in power," Baruch College Prof. Doug Muzzio said. "If knowledge is power, this is a perfect example of it."

    Saturday, November 21, 2009


    New developments in federal corruption case involving former state Senator Efraín González, Jr. may yield a plea nix. González has been awaiting sentencing for taking a plea deal after being pressured to do so by his counsel. That was back in May of 2009. He may have been improperly advised.

    On November 9, 2009, Federal Justice William H. Pauley held an emergency hearing in his chamber after receiving correspondence from González' son, Carlos González (41). YFP has learned that Carlos described an impasse to the judge between Efraín González, Jr. and his counsel, Murray Richmond, and alleged this impasse existed from January of 2009, five months prior to his plea.

    Carlos González also stated that Richmond has never been in the possession of discovery information turned over for the case by the government after the indictment was unsealed. That amounts to an approximate 23 boxes of evidence since 2006, and an additional 104 boxes turned over by the government in March of 2008.

    It would seem impossible for counsel to adequately prepare for trial if no due diligence of critical documents were ever properly inspected. We were able to reach Carlos González, but he declined discussion on the matter.

    Nevertheless, Judge Pauley dismissed Murray Richmond from the case. and appointed new counsel, Lance Croffet Suade of Linklaters, a well-known law firm representing clients worldwide.

    In Suade's first appearance in court on Friday, November 20, 2009, Suade successfully argued that time was necessary for him to review the case. Suade's first course of action is to review all evidence, to include all items of discovery. The next court appearance is scheduled for January 29, 2010. At that date, the judge will possibly entertain new motions. All options are available. One of the options on the table may be to rescind the original plea, especially if it's determined by Suade that González was wrongfully persuaded.

    We'll just have to wait and see.

    In the meanwhile, Justice Pauley ordered both the government and defense to get together and bring each other up to speed about the circumstances that lead to the original plea. In addition, the government needs to explain how they arrived at the alleged $200,000 they're claiming González, Jr. benefited from, and show specifics on how they reached that conclusion.

    This amount is vastly different compared to the original charge of $423,000 that was presented to the Grand Jury leading to the original indictment. What were the reasons that caused the government to drop $200,000 plus from the case? Were they fishing originally? Could it be that the remaining $200,000 falls under the same fishing expedition? Is there clear evidence that member item monies were misappropriated and used to benefit González? That's something I'm sure that Mr. Suade will get to the bottom of.