Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Hobgoblins of Inconsistency

Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation.
--Henry Kissinger (1923 - )

For a good read on the term-limits saga, Henry Stern’s continuing reportage and commentary gives you some pithy views of how the game is playing out. The latest round of political posturing seems to suggest that Speaker Quinn expects more than she is getting from Hi-Rise Mike’s staff. And, while she expects a plum appointment in his new third term for rounding up the natives to push through the Council vote, all is already not golden. Whether the Councilmembers' compliant efforts will be rewarded by another term, or whether either the Council vote will be reversed by the Justice Department (not likely), or whether voters turn out the quislings at the polls next year (likely) – remains to be seen.
What is more likely, and is being played out right now – is that having produced the required vote, many Councilmembers are feeling their oats. They are giving Quinn and Bloomberg a little stress.
While politics is a many faceted game, three-dimensional chess comes to mind. And, it should not be lost on any of us that while the media has been brainwashing everyone about Mike’s much-touted popularity, never discount a multi-leveled plan that anticipates a Love Fest when our Mayor “relents” and decides upon having another special referendum to confirm his high level of morality and support for democracy. Can’t you see the hugging and kissing in the streets as we all learn to love Big Brother – with the big fat checkbook – when we are told there will be a referendum after all?
But, don’t expect love and kisses from Downtown where the hotels are sprouting like daisies – as the City agencies ignore tenants and residents who are being sold out for the benefit of developers. Hotels, a fake 45 stories Trump condo and a 3 District Sanitation garage, to boot.
Quinn has practically signed her soul away for Mikey, Alan Gerson has sold out SoHo -- and the voters will remember. Apparently, a new blog/website devoted to Quinn’s questionable popularity has recently appeared. Can Gerson’s be far behind?

While the term-limits fiasco plays out, many of the Downtowners are figuring out what their next job will be. Whether they will run, whether they can run, whether the on-again, off-again pleasures of Mikey will change yet again.
Gerson is running for his seat again and the likely opponents will be Pete Gleason and Margaret Chin. Menin will likely not challenge Gerson. Gerson may be vulnerable despite the fact that he’s a “nice guy.”
Gleason is tenacious, close to the unions, and committed. He is known as someone who remembers his friends and hires people who, when they pick up the office phone, will be able to answer a question. Jim McManus said of those he has supported, “you can pick up the phone and get him on the line.”
Margaret Chin is still a bit of a cipher. She is well respected in the Asian community but has not yet broken out of that provincial mold in some people’s minds. She is enormously effective and has become a solid supporter of stabilized tenants. But, again, it has been limited to the Chinatown community. Her intelligence and drive is still encapsulated and she would need to be seen as breaking out of that.
Julie Menin, Chair of Board #1 has appeared on CNN and seems to have decided that her star is tied to political expertise with knowledge of national politics. With a lot of cash and a PR firm behind her, the reality of what she really knows or understands is debatable. There have been a few snickers, however, by Downtown political junkies over that. While the clamor over the aborted D.I.D. incursion has subsided it is unknown whether this permanently damaged her support – at least outside of Community Board #1. Menin’s evaluation of a run for City Council seat may have as much to do with Alan’s omnipresent Jewish mother (Sophie) as any political issue. It is widely assumed that Jewish females have a lock on downtown voters. Menin has made numerous mistakes, including taking the advice of a small coterie of Downtown activists who are about as community-minded as Genghis Khan.
So, we may or may not have another five years of Alan, based upon how loudly Sophie yells out at him from behind the phone. We all await the Vendor Law, for example, in SoHo after what could only kindly be called “minimalist” politics. Nothing else, after all, has happened for SoHo in eight years.

There are positive expectations that Daniel Squadron will give SoHo residents a much-awaited shot in the arm. With numerous problems that have long been ignored (illegal billboard proliferation, traffic management and pollution, tenants rights, antiquated zoning and overzealous development, lack of parking, liquor license oversaturation) --we look to Election Day for the conclusion of a stellar campaign. Squadron has indicated that he is an activist and will work tirelessly for SoHo. We’ll keep you posted.

No comments: