Tag Archives: election 2011

Bozo The Clown or Jim Crow was at City Hall (Election 2011)

(The weapons on display, Newsday has a better image)

 UPDATE: Additional photo below

Newsday has an unbelievable story from election day.  Not the Democratic Party’s sweep of the City Council, but allegations of voter intimidation by a detective in the Long Beach Police Department.  Read the whole story here

As Newsday says:

Ruth Bernstein, a local Democratic lawyer who was monitoring the polling site for the party in the early evening last Tuesday, said she considered the appearance of Det. Sgt. Howard Domitz, holding a long gun in each hand, an “intimidation” effort aimed at driving away minority voters.

As you can see in the above picture, the event absolutely happened, but the details are far more complicated.  It seems the guns were actually “a pellet rifle and a disabled shotgun” recovered from the West End raid.  Further, the City argues the guns were on public display for “less than two minutes.”

City Manager Charles Theofan said when asked by Newsday that “It was probably not a good idea to do that on a busy day with people around.”

Lt. James Canner, the LB chief of detectives, wrote that  “No one was reprimanded because this is the course of normal business around a Police station.”

The Nassau County District Attorney’s office is actively investigating the complaint, but declined to say more.

So what do we have here?  A situation where the property room was just so over-following with weapons, that a detective decided to bring them out to his boss, who was outside in front of City Hall, which is also police HQ, and a polling place, on election day to ask “what do I do with them?”

A detective managing the property room’s inventory?  I’m not even sure what kind of question “what do I do with them” is.  They were evidence of the loan-sharking and drugs raid from the previous week.  Shouldn’t they just stay sitting in the property?  Why wouldn’t you call your boss to the property room to answer a question like that?  Of course, all speculation.

Sounds more like a case of “oh check out these cool toys we got.”  That qualifies this as an instance of the worst possible judgment to have on election day, or as I call it,  “bozo the clown” syndrome.

There’s of course the subject of this complaint which alleges voter intimidation.  Ms. Bernstein argues they were brandishing the weapons outside City Hall to basically scare off minority voters.  Now if something like that was actually the intent, we’re dealing with some very nasty Jim Crow style voter intimidation.

So what do you think: was Bozo the Clown or Jim Crow out front of City Hall on election day?

Read the whole story at Newsday

Another reader sent in this photo (I love camera phones):

Election 2011 Stat Crunching (No Big Turnout, But A Big Margin)

Fewer people voted in the 2011 election in Long Beach than in 2009 based on the results posted via News 12/ Nassau County Board of Elections.

This year, approximately 7,131* people voted. In 2009, 7,243 Long Beachers voted – some 112 more.

And as much as this election was a “landslide” in terms of the change in the balance of power for the City Council – going from 3-2 to 4-1, it’s important to remember that the bottom Democrat only beat the top Republican (Marvin Weiss) by 375 votes or roughly 5% of the total votes cast. The party in the majority of the City Council has now switched four times since 2003 (2003, 2005, 2007, and now 2011) – that’s enough to give you whiplash.

If you want to look at another way, 21,280 votes were cast for the City Council, with 11,302 going to the Dem candidates, and 9,978 going to the Republicans. When presented that way, the Democrats won the election 53% to 46% – what would be considered a strong victory in a national election (and coincidentally almost the exact same percentage then-Senator Obama beat Senator McCain).

So what does all that mean? This election wasn’t a rush of fresh blood into the Long Beach political system. These were the same residents that vote in every election looking at what the incumbents have done over the last two years, and making a decision based on that record. This was a significant referendum on the Republican party in Long Beach. This looks like what some have called a vote “against” the Republican party as opposed to a vote “for” the Democrats. I think without a doubt though, this election affirms that the residents get the final say in how this town is run, and that should serve as a friendly reminder to those soon coming into power.

* Methodology: Because of the “pick 3” system, my math may be off by a few votes. Basically to figure out how many voters there were, I added the total number of votes for the leading Democratic and Republican candidates (what are the chances the same person would vote for both?) In 2009, there was a Long Beach judge up for election, so everyone that voted in Long Beach for City Council had to vote in the judge race (and there were only two choices). That number is therefore the total number of voters in Long Beach.

Councilman Fagen: “It all starts now” (Election 2011)

The following is an open letter sent to SeabytheCity from Councilman Mike Fagen on the results of Election 2011:

Words will just not describe this. Actions will.

It is just an incredibly special day. This is the beginning of a new and better Long Beach.

All of us took this huge boulder and we finally pushed it up the hill together. Exhausting, frustrating, confusing, and then finally exhilarating!! Len Torres and myself had two excruciating years serving this City to the best of our abilities… in spite of the fact that we were doing it blindfolded and with both hands tied behind our backs. Now, with the assistance and support of Fran Adelson and Scott Mandel, the City is going to move forward in a way that has never been seen before.

Today is a day for thanks to all of you for every bit of effort that went into this victory. It is a day to celebrate the monumental win that this is. Tomorrow, we begin the difficult task of rebuilding the City on a multitude of levels. Financially, culturally, philosophically and most of all, transparently. We are going to restore the concept of common decency. Get used to being treated with decency and common courtesy. We are going to create a culture of professionalism that will never be dismantled. Intimidation, retaliation, misinformation none of this will be tolerated any longer. We are neighbors and we are citizens. In order for the City to move forward, we must move forward as one.

It all starts now.

Congratulations to Len, Fran, and Scott for such a monumental victory.

(I invite all other candidates – winners and losers to send in their take on the campaign and the future of Long Beach)

Democratic Landslide (Long Beach Votes)

The unofficial Election 2011 results are in and the winners are:

Torres – 3,798
Adelson – 3,796
Mandel – 3,708
Weiss – 3,333
Sofield – 3,324
Goodman – 3,321

City Council

Democrats Len Torres (incumbent), Fran Adelson, and Scott Mandel won seats.

Republican incumbents, Mona Goodman and Thomas Sofield Junior lost their seats, while Marvin Weiss goes down for his second defeat in a City Council election.

With the winnings in the City Council, the balance of power now moves from Republicans 3-2 to a Democrats 4-1.  MikeFagen remains as an incumbent Democrat and John McLaughlin remains as the incumbent Republican.  For sure, there will be a lot of changes come inauguration day and you’ll be sure to hear about it here.  This now makes the fourth political majority swap in nine years!

County Legislature

Denise Ford  beat incumbent Darlene Tangney in Nassau Country’s fourth district.

Thank You For Not Telling Me to Vote For You (@tangney)

Just yesterday I was griping about how irritating politicians harassing me at the Long Beach train station were.  My commute is hellish enough, I don’t need someone handing me a piece of paper I don’t care about.

This being election day, I have to note something amazing happened though.  Walking towards the LB LIRR station today, I noticed a few people handing out stuff so I  got ready a  snarky zing that I was going to hit them with to voice my disapproval of their antics.

Instead as I approached, this polite dude tried to hand me a bagel and said, “please remember to vote.”  I noticed a Darlene Tangney sign behind him.  I don’t think he even had a campaign pin on him.

Wow is all I can say.  The first person involved with this election that I’ve come into contact with that didn’t tell me what to think or who to vote for.  Very classy.

Note: To be clear, this is in no way an endorsement, just an observation.  Like I said yesterday, you can make up your own mind.

Election 2011 (LB Politics: Business As Usual)

With the 2011 Long Beach election upon us, we cap off what appears to have been a particularly venomous season, but the more I’ve read about it, the more it turns out this is par for the course in Long Beach.

When thinking about what sort of shenanigans have gone on during this cycle, the way the debates were handled, the City Council meetings,  the behind the scenes games these politicos have been playing, the horrendous signs and fliers across town; I couldn’t help but think of this 2003 New York Times article, “New Year in Long Beach Is Truly Special”

I’ll give you the lead paragraph:

 

THEY use words like ”liberation” to describe the fall of a government dominated by one man who governed through intimidation and fear, doling out patronage jobs and contracts for insiders and retaliating against anyone who dared to challenge the system.

The article goes on to highlight the tyranny of a former Long Beach regime who was vilified – rightly so – for all sorts of obvious violations, and how an up-and-coming group of politicians were going to come in and clean up the City.  It goes on to highlight lawsuits facing the City, financial challenges, development issues, and how the new team promised to “open up” City workings.

My point?  It’s 7 years later, the City has swapped the majority party a few times, yet LB still faces all the same challenges – and then some – and it’s election time yet again.  You can read all over the interwebs about “who” you’re supposed to vote for.  You’ve gotten ads stuck to your windshield, politicians standing at the train station (I particularly enjoy this at 6:30AM), and signs across town trying to convince you who is better for Long Beach.

The last thing I’m going to tell you is who to vote for, instead all I say is to make up your own mind and vote.  Long Beach is decided by single votes.  In the 2009 election a candidate lost by 12 votes – clearly, you can actually make a difference and have your vote count in a way it never will in state-wide or national election.

So while I won’t tell you who to vote for – beside’s Anthony’s Transparency Party of course – why not chime in below and discuss your impressions of Election 2011, who you’re voting for, and what you think about the candidates.  I for one am thrilled Election Fever may soon break.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rant: Outbreak Long Beach (Election Fever in Full Swing)

If politics in Long Beach weren’t divisive enough with the “us” against “them” dynamic that has been emblematic of much of its recent history, every two years, an especially virulent plague comes and wreaks havoc.

That’s right, election fever. If residents didn’t already have enough to argue about, the odd-year election cycle adds politically-charged rhetoric, obnoxious signs, irritating “endorsements,” and enough misinformation to put Washington, D.C. to shame. Last night’s City Council Good and Welfare session put this on display for all to see, and really highlighted how bad its gotten (though looking over news clippings for the last few decades, it might have always been this bad). Politicians screaming at one another. Residents screaming at politicians. Politicians arguing with residents. Accusations, threats, hyperbole, rumors, lies, and innuendo all over. And to top it off, nothing got done and I doubt anyone’s opinions were changed.

As one resident explained they left the meeting early, “because the tension became exhausting and honestly the state of the Long Beach government became too upsetting.”

I couldn’t agree more. It seems everything has become so divisive, so polarized, so hostile, that little gets done and more are left sickened by the atmosphere that hangs over Long Beach. Gone are the care-free days of summer. The splits in the City Council are echoed through the City, dividing residents even more. thus limiting the possibility of compromise and agreement that much more.  And I’m left not knowing what the “answer” to all this would even look like.

I for one am looking forward to the signs coming down and the election rancor to ratchet down. We’ll have more of a play-by-play on the City Council meeting later, but for now I’m going to go hide in my bunker until the outbreak passes.

Fagen Tweets 4 Point Manifesto (And He’s Not Happy With City Hall)

As Election 2011 continues to heat up, Dem Councilman Mike Fagen (elected in 2009 and not up for reelection in November) has taken his gripes about the way City Hall has worked in his time there to everyone’s most despised favorite microblogging site, Twitter.

In a list of four grievances, he dubs “Key points that City does not want you to know,” he rattles off a barrage of claims and questions about the City’s current budget situation.  (Below I’ll include his tweets, and my best guess at what he was ranting about in 140 characters or less)

1-City just ran almost $3 mil in red in fiscal year that ended June 30.

I assume what he’s talking about here are the results of the FY2010/2011 audit * is the same thing he was talking about at Tuesday’s City Council Meeting when he mentioned “preliminary numbers” from the City’s comptroller’s office.  The City’s fiscal year goes from July 1 – June 30.  So the City wrapped up FY 2010/2011 on June 30th, the City has a “preliminary” number, then sends the financials out to an auditer to get analyzed.  An auditor then comes back and says “actually the City made this much, not this much… you’re (either) broke/rich.”  If Mr. Fagen’s preliminary numbers are correct, a $3 million shortfall would completely wipe out the remainder of the budget surplus that has been in place (though rapidly vanishing) for years. (*Updated based on reader email who was at Tuesday’s Council Meeting and noticed the same figure was used)

2-Water and sewers lost almost $1 mil

Here, my guess would be he’s referring to the revenues generated by the Water and Sewers departments.  Remember, those services have had their associated fees increased, so a shortfall here is really a shock if it is in fact true.

3-City has the info..won’t release any of it before the election.

This seems a bit like a non sequitur, because Mr. Fagen is the City.  Though, I would think he is referring to the “Republican” majority.  Now this just harkens back to a theme anyone that’s read this blog understands: City Hall’s very interesting idea of what transparency is.  It’s well documented that Councilman Torres has had to actually FOIL for information about the Quiksilver Pro, even though he’s an elected member of the City.  The Long Beach Herald today confirmed that Mr. Torres still hasn’t received a reply on his months-old FOIL request.  Turns out Seabythecity actually got the documents before an elected member of the city government!  You can read about it here.  Is it such a stretch to believe the City majority wouldn’t share budget data with some on the City Council?

Mr. Fagen’s claim here is that the City has received new financial data about the state of the City, but has chosen not to release it before the election because it could reflect poorly on the “Republican” majority.

4-PBA gets settled. How do we pay them the 4 years of retro pay $1.5 mil?

Mr. Fagen finishes off by talking about the long running saga of the Police Department’s contract.  They’ve been operating without a contract for years.  Once a contract is reached, a huge lump sum payment is required to be made.  Mr. Fagen above estimates that the lump sum is $1.5 million.  As I’ve repeatedly talked about the City’s precarious budget position, $1 million here or there could spell serious trouble.

Mr. Fagen punctuated his manifesto, with tweets thanking both the Long Beach Professional Fire Fighters and the Long Beach Police Benevolent Association (whose leader has sued City Hall) for their “overwhelming” endorsements of the Democrat’s ticket, i.e. Torres, Adelson, and Mandel.

Mark your calendars, Long Beach politics, already on Facebook, has finally invaded the twitter-verse.  His twitter claims, if true, would forecast an even worse financial future for Long Beach.  As reaction to his twitter rampage shakeout, I’ll update.

With three weeks left in this campaign, I’m really looking to what other fireworks come out and what other Web 2.0 outlets we’ll find the politicians ranting on.  A youtube remix from Ms. Goodman?  Mr. McLaughlin as a Tosh.O web redemptiont?  Perhaps a Google + note from Mr. Sofield Junior?  Or maybe we could get a blast of Digg comments from Mr. Torres?

Remember the debate is at the library tomorrow and it could be a real barn-burner.

Scott Mandel hit by “Harassment and Vandalism”

And in the latest issue of “What’s going on?,” LB Patch has got a shocking – and awful – story up about what appears to be a campaign of “harrasment and vandalism” around City Council Candidate Scott Mandel’s run for office.

Mandel reported that after a Latino Civic Association awards dinner on September 22nd, he found that his driver’s side mirror was covered in feces, and a pair of men’s underwear was also hanging off the mirror.

That evening after he went to sleep, he was woken by a doorbell ring at midnight.  No one was there, but he found feces on his car windshield, smeared on his front door, and more on his driveway.

Then on September 26, he found more feces on his property.  Four days, two disgusting attacks.  Classy

And of course, there’s more: Darlene Tangney – who is running for County Legislature – found her daughter’s car in front of her house with all its tires all slashed, and as I reported previously, the window of the Long Beach Dem’s Park Ave office was smashed.

All of the above events have had police reports filed to support the claims.  Specifically on Mandel’s, two are with the LBPD, and one is with Nassau County’s 4th precinct.

So, what’s going on?  Mandel has taken the high road and not accused anyone, but certainly has noticed a strange difference between a lack of feces-covered property before he decided to run, and now after his announced run the increase in feces-covered property.

As he says, “I’ve lived in Long Beach for close to a decade and I never had a problem… After I announced I was running in the election and I started campaigning, in less than a week [I’ve been a target] of three different incidents of harassment and vandalism.”

Instead of finger-pointing or childish pranks, Mandel did the right thing – went to the police, and the Nassau County DA, Kathleen Rice.

I can’t even begin to fathom what’s going on here.  Would people in this City really be this petty, this childish, this immature, this pathetic to stoop to disgusting pranks because they disagree with someone’s politics?  What would these morons hope to achieve by doing this?  Scare a grown man out of running for a council position?  Really?  Are we living in an amazing “City by the Sea” or some podunk town where jackasses threaten those they disagree with?

I for one sure hope these attacks stop, or even better the Long Beach Police Department gets to the bottom of this.  But based on their recent track record on arrests (note: there has still not been any arrests or follow-up on the September 19th Boardwalk Beating) I’m not particularly hopeful.  Good job though on those Irish Day arrests, I’m sure finding disorderly drunks in the West End was a challenge.

Now, Mandel is a champ and taking these cowardly actions in stride, but Councilman Len Torres sums up what the real problem is, “People are afraid to put political signs up because they are afraid they may be the next ones to be victimized.”

Attacks like these sour the entire political process and dirty everything that makes small-town democracy good.  Things stop looking like America very quickly when public support for someone different or a different opinion creates a palpable fear of criminal reprisal.  That’s just not the way things should work.

Note:  It took all my willpower to not delve into any scatological humor.  Political intimidation is really not something to joke about.

Election 2011 – Voter Registration Info

In conjunction with knowing just who our Long Beach candidates are: (Election 2011 – Better Know Your Candidates), there are a few of you who are still asking:

Who can vote?

How can I register?

How can I get an absentee ballot?

All those questions and more can be answered right here:

Nassau County Board of Elections

If you are going to mail in your registration:

Applications must be postmarked not later than October 14th and received by the Board of Elections not later than October 19th to be eligible to vote in the General Election.

YOUR VOTE COUNTS & EVEN YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE! (and other GO VOTE catch phrases….)

Thanks Eileen for the info!