Cast Your Vote To End Albany’s Culture Of Corruption
By MICHAEL SCHENKLER
Two weeks ago, Bronx’s Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera was found spending State money on her lovers – she put the first on her payroll and the second in charge of a not-for-profit she was funding. Last week, Brooklyn Assemblyman and Kings County Democratic leader Vito Lopez was stripped of his legislative power, censured and is being pressured to give up his County leadership post as a result of an ethics panel charge that he groped female Assembly staffers. And now, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has admitted to covering up a $100,000 settlement in the incident.
This week was Queens’ turn, with the indictment of State Senator Shirley Huntley (D-Jamaica) on corruption charges stemming from playing financial footsie with family members and a not-for-profit she funded.
We could look back and recite convictions and pleas of blatant illegal activity on the part of many elected State Legislators including: remember former Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin, who stole everything in sight; former Assemblyman Tony Seminerio, selling his influence; then there’s former Senator Hiram Monserrate, using public money for political purposes and physically brutalized his girlfriend. Recently, Senators Carl Kruger and Pedro Espada Jr. led the never-ending parade from elective office to handcuffs.
What’s the solution?
Throw the bums out!
Why, all of them.
Culture Of Corruption
The culture of corruption in Albany is seemingly omnipotent and although we do believe there are still honest legislators there, they have knowingly played ball on the corrupt field. If they’ve been part of the Albany culture for a decade and have not brought change. It’s time for the people to make a change.
Sadly, even in this redistricting year, very few of the longtime New York State legislators face serious challenges.
If yours does, regardless of party or principal, consider voting for a newcomer – not someone moving from Assembly to Senate, but fresh blood.
We’re very tired of those who go along to get along. We’re very tired of those who are not part of the solution, because they are part of the problem.
It is time for a change.
Change in Queens No. 1
|City Councilman James Sanders Jr. should be elected to replace indicted State Senator Shirley Huntley.
We have to start cleaning house at home, here in Queens.
While the venerable Mrs. Huntley has previously been supported by this paper, the time has come. We’ve seen enough of her relatives benefitting from the not-for-profit footsie game, to seek an alternative to Huntley.
Now, the Attorney General’s indictment punctuates the mandate for change.
Huntley’s primary opponent is Councilman James Sanders (D-Laurelton), who has demonstrated his independence and his ability to work hard for the people. While I personally like James, this is not the issue.
Shirley Huntley has been a longtime part of the Albany culture of corruption and it is now catching up to her.
Yes, she is entitled to a trial, but she doesn’t deserve your vote.
Change in Queens No. 2
The Stavisky family has been exposed to the Albany culture of corruption years before Senator Toby replaced her deceased husband in the Senate. She had gone to Albany with her husband, who had been a member of the legislature for 34 years before his untimely death.
Toby has extended the Stavisky hold on the legislature for the past 14 years.
In the close to 50 years the Staviskys have made their living as legislators, their only child Evan was exposed to Albany and learned very well how to make a huge amount of money by playing the lobbyist game. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with lobbying Albany. There is nothing wrong with being a lobbyist.
However, when your mother is chairperson of a committee, there is something wrong with that committee legislating and funding your firm’s clients and their industry or giving grants or member items to your firms’ client. There is something wrong when you profit because your mom is an elected official or she does anything as an elected official to help your firm, its clients or to help you to recruit clients.
But such is the culture of Albany.
Evan Stavisky has run the fastest-growing lobbying firm since its inception a decade ago, and his mom’s elective office is one of the firm’s biggest assets with its Albany clients.
If it’s not illegal, it should be. Either way, it stinks.
Ugly Stavisky Campaign
|Independent Democrat John Messer deserves your vote against State Senator Toby Stavisky to help rid Albany of its culture of corruption.
On two occasions over the past several months, I took the Stavisky campaign to task for “being ugly.”
First, when the incumbent Senator turned her back on a couple she had known for years because he was my friend and colleague and I wrote the Senator could lose her reelection race.
Next, when a Stavisky campaign spokesperson attacked her opponent John Messer’s campaign worker, falsely calling him a convicted rapist and attempting to deflect the issue at hand and smear her opponent, resorting to false ugly guilt by association accusation.
Well, now we have Toby Stavisky ugly strike three . . . lying about an endorsement.
There it was on Toby Stavisky’s reelection website under the words “Proudly endorsed by:” on the seventh line . . . “Congressman Gary Ackerman”.
Now I don’t speak for my old friend Gary, nor do I know who he endorses or when, but the Congressman endorsing Toby really surprised me, even though she was the choice of the county organization, as all incumbents are.
So I asked: “Gary, Did you really endorse Toby?”
He responded: “No I did not.”
He continued: “She never asked me, and I’ve not made an endorsement in this race.”
I’m not going to talk about the relationship between Toby and Gary, but as a longtime observer, there is no way she could have assumed Gary would be with her.
Her campaign just blatantly lied.
No surprise, they’ve been pretty ugly so far.
With more than enough years in Albany, the culture of corruption seem to have done it to Toby Stavisky. It’s time for a change.
I know Toby’s opponent, businessman John Messer is bright, hard-working, driven and truly committed to all the people of this multicultural district. He is independent, self-funding, not beholden to special interests, and has no lobbyists in the family.
Albany needs the creative, fresh, entrpreneurial drive of a John Messer to rid it of the stench caused by Toby and her colleagues who have spent years looking the other way, gone along to get ahead and have played favorites with State funds.
Nothing is clearer to this writer, John Messer should replace Toby Stavisky in Albany if the New York State legislature is ever going to change.