Saturday, June 14, 2008

Political Maneuvering

In America you can go on the air and kid the politicians, and the politicians can go on the air and kid the people.
--Groucho Marx (1890 - 1977)

While Tom Duane keeps his media department spinning out updates on his career in a well-organized campaign, he is perched to enjoy some real power if the Dems finally take over the Senate. Though he has not lost any weight recently that does not seem to affect his popularity downtown. He's still one of the few politicians who gets a round of applause when he appears, before he speaks. It’s also hard to tell whether the former rancor between him and Senator Connor, the former Minority Leader of the Senate, is still aglow. Connor felt betrayed by Duane, who bolted during some crucial votes which would have allowed Connor to retain that post. It's hard to tell where that particular hatchet is buried.

Connor has also been recently upstaged by Daniel Squadron, a young, former aide to Chuck Schumer who traveled with the Senator for nearly two years and co-authored a book with him. Recently, a private fundraiser was held in SoHo for Squadron and, understandably, Connor is not happy that D.I.D. also voted to endorse Squadron for the re-election that he had planned on winning -- especially, since the potential control of the Senate makes everyone anxious over having real purse-strings available to them. While Squadron was not available for comment, the event no doubt went well since Schumer was hosting it.
Connor's re-election bid is in doubt now, considering the fact that in his last re-election bid with Ken Diamondstone opposing him, the contest was closer than expected. He had D.I.D. support in that race.

The Glickster, as Assembly Member Deborah Glick is affectionately known, appears to be running for re-election with no opposition. The rumor had been floated that Maria Derr would seek to unseat her in her uncle’s former seat (William Passannante), but now that Derr has been making the rounds for a run against Brad Hoylman and Andrew Berman for Christine Quinn’s City Council seat next year – that is no longer a problem. If Derr loses in that race, she may be back for a challenge later. For now, Glick is unopposed and appreciated in the Village.

Bob Morgenthau is kicking off his campaign for District Attorney next week and while he both older AND wiser, he remains a formidable adversary. His nemesis, Leslie Crocker Snyder, is expected to challenge him again so it should be an interesting contest. Unilike other D.A.'s, Morgenthau has organized a well-oiled team of prosecutors and has an impeccable record. Snyder will have an uphill battle trying to unseat someone who has been cognizant of civil rights as well as the safety of the community.

Brad Hoylman, someone who had been suspected of having no sense of humor has apparently shed his cape and appears to be quite personable lately. Some on Community Board #2, (where he is Chairman), actually have been amused by some of his comments. Out from under his Vice Chair, sub Rosa, persona, under previous Chair Maria Derr, we have someone who may present a real challenge to Andrew Berman in the City Council race next year. Hoylman's close relationship with Quinn may be helpful and Tom Duane is also known as a buddy.
Recently, he was sighted having lunch with John Sutter of the Villager and Hoylman appeared to be leaving in good spirits. Wonder if Lincoln Anderson would have some comments on that? Hoylman also gets points for meeting with Jim McManus and Carlos Manzano – two important political people who control the West Side. Derr has done the same. It should also not be lost on everyone that McManus snubbed Eliot Spitzer when he was running for Governor – and that did not play out well for Spitzer.
McManus is a close friend of Paterson, Rangel, Dickens and the powerful Uptown crowd.

Apparently, Scott Stringer can’t make up his mind about whether he wants 4 more years as BP or wants to throw his hat in the ring for Public Advocate.
While some feel that if he does not run next year for Public Advocate, he will face a vacuum when the second 4-year term as BP expires. Hyperactive politicians fear inactivity and being out of the public eye – and, therein lays the nervousness. While not making an announcement to run, he has been busy making his supplicants on the Community Boards aware that they work for him and not to stray. His connection to Julie Menin of Community Board #1 goes beyond City Council (for her race against Pete Gleason next year) and enters the realm of Big Money for campaigns. Bruce Menin has the cash.
City Councilmember Eric Gioia, meanwhile, has announced that he is in it and intends to win it. His campaign is starting in earnest and he has a well-oiled media organization. His forays downtown appear to be under way and we can expect to hear a great deal about his plans in the near future. It’s likely that he will be deflected from the Community Boards, however, while Stringer decides whether he will challenge Gioia.

We hear that some changes are planned for Community Board #2.
There is speculation that a few members who have recently been dropped from the Board may shortly be invited to join again.
Don’t be surprised if Phil Mouquinho, for example, Hudson Square activist and owner of P.J. Charlton’s soon re-appears on the Board.
It’s not only important what you do in politics; it’s just as important what you Don’t do. He has been a prolific and successful fundraiser – and has produced quite well in support of the DSNY Steering Committee.
Unlike some minor political activists who would benefit from an anger-management course, Phil is a friendly guy who always has a smile and handshake ready, even for political opponents. And, after being the good neighbor on the block for 50 years, he knows his politics.
With close friend Maria Derr, former Chair of Community Board #2, running for City Council as well, Phil is in good company.
Who knows, maybe Bob Rinaolo, former Chair of the Community Board #2 Business Committee and owner of The Garage and Senor Swankey’s – may decide that Florida is not enough to satisfy his needs.

The Mayor’s race is at a minor lull right now since Bloomberg’s media machine has him seeking a third term, running for Vice President, running for Governor, and finally, operating some sort of philanthropical entity. While he decides what he plans to do, not that we have anything to say about it, Quinn is wading through Slushgate.
Some downtown people say she is politically dead – others claim that she is tough enough to withstand the stiff breeze blowing over from the former Staten Island landfill, where all recent Mayors have drawn their support. Bill Thompson seems to have avoided any fallout from that particular dung heap and is poised to present the biggest challenge to a field that is otherwise limited to Weiner and Avella.

As Don Ameche said, Thing’s Change.

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