Sunday, September 22, 2013

Who are the "Progressives" – New York Party Bosses' Picks

There is a lot of talk this year about "Progressive" Mayoral candidate Bill deBlasio, but many point to some upstarts who are expected to win in their districts for seats in the NY City Council as the "Proggressive challengers."

A sampling of those described as such were on the Joe Torres' Tiempo today (09/22/2013). Three Hispanic candidates running for New York City Council who won their primary races.
"There are 3.2 million registered Democrats in the city, only 510,000 Republicans, but there are more than 826,000 voters who identify with no party at all."
New York City Primary Excludes Nearly One Million Voters
– Independent Voter Network
The turn-out was historically low for the Democratic Primary.  This is more than just a trend, it's a situation fostered by the Unity Democrat/ Republican Parties that is "counted" on to continue for the scheduled November elections and in future elections. The Independent Voter Network explains: "There are There are 3.2 million registered Democrats in the city, only 510,000 Republicans, but there are more than 826,000 voters who identify with no party at all."

The Republican turn-out was even more lackluster, given that the scandal plagued Anthony Weiner, who was a distant fifth, got more votes placing last (5% / 31,874) in the Democratic Primary than the Republican winner, former MTA boss and Giuliani aide Joe Lhota (52.5% / 29,807).

In November, New Yorkers will elect a new Mayor to replace billionaire Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg was unelected to a third term with the help of Council Speaker, Christine Quinn. Hitching her political wagon to Bloomberg's proved to be Quinn's undoing. Her Democratic Mayoral rivals scored with voters by pointing out that Quinn helped change a city law so Mayor Michael Bloomberg could run for a third term in office.

Quinn had very low numbers in majority black neighborhoods for the Mayoral Primary -- just 4% of the votes, according to the Village Voice. Remember how she blocked the naming of a Brooklyn Street in honor of community activist, Sonny Carson? It was simply "a matter of self determination" for Brooklyn residents, but Quinn and Bloomberg didn't see it that way.

The "Proggressive" candidates. Not surprisingly, these folks (ditto deBlasio), were chosen to run and supported by the establishment, though there was a hint of discord from something Bill deBlasio said during his acceptance speech after his primary win. Candidates traditionally have deep connections within the Democratic party -- that's a prerequisite to get endorsements.

Bill deBlasio himself on the preceeding political talk show on local ABC channel 7 -- Diane Williams, touted how he preferred political insiders, saying that (paraphrasing) he would hire experienced public servants for his administration rather than people from the "private sector," because the work required a certain mindset.

What is the mindset of a politician? Like Bill deBlasio, they know instinctively what to say during the timeline of an electoral campaign to disparate interested parties to win their support. DeBlasio should know, he was Madam Clinton's Campaign Manager when she ran for the New York Senate... can't get more establishment than that.

That is, unless you're a GOP politician, then the prerequisite is that you say and do everything to appease your "conservative" base, while alienating your potential constituency and everybody else.

After decades of playing "bad cop" it's now time to play "good cop" in New York politics -- a microcosm of how the political game is played nationwide in the U.S.

As stated, Mr. Torres had on three Hispanics who won in the Democratic primary race for NY City Council in their districts: Ritchie Torres (Puerto Rican), Carlos Menchaca (Mexico), and Antonio Reynoso (Dominican); from the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens respectively.


Ritchie Torres

25yr old Ritchie Torres won his primary in the Bronx's District 15 and is likely to become the first openly gay elected official in that borough. Torres won with 36% of the vote in a 6-way race. The Bronx-born Puerto Rican had support from labor, political groups and his formfer boss, East Bronx councilman Jimmy Vacca.

It's not surprising that three openly gay candidates were among those vying for the Bronx District 15 city council race. It was a Bronx state senator, Ruben Diaz Sr., who cast the lone Democratic vote in that chamber against the state’s 2011 same-sex marriage law.

Ritchie Torres raised more money than any of his opponents, not unrelated, young Torres' rivals question his living arrangements:

NY Daily News - Why is Ritchie Torres, a candidate for City Council, living in a building for the homeless, low-income and the mentally ill? Opponents are suspicious, but the candidate says poverty, not mental illness, is why he lives there.
The general election is in November. The district overwhelmingly skews Democratic and Ritchie Torres is heavily favored to win.

More about Ritchie Torres at

Carlos Menchaca

Carlos Menchaca is the first Mexican-American NYC Council Candidate for the 38th District in Brooklyn. First openly gay legislator in Brooklyn.

33yr old Carlos Menchaca was born in the border town of El Paso, Texas. His immigrant single mother raised him and six of his brothers and sisters with support from government programs like food stamps, medicaid and Head Start where Carlos first learned English.

Newcomer Carlos Menchaca received the endorsement of Rep. Hakeem Jeffries. He beat out 10-year incumbent Sara Gonzalez for the 38th District council seat in a surprise primary upset. Menchaca was a former aide to Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Borough President Markowitz.

More about Carlos Menchaca at


Antonio Reynoso

Antonio Reynoso is the 2013 Candidate for New York City Council District 34 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

30yr old Antonio Reynoso was born and raised in the Los Sures section of Williamsburg to immigrant parents from the Dominican Republic.

Newcomer Antonio Reynoso upset Democratic party boss Vito Lopez, effectively ending his attempted political comeback from an embattled political career.

Lopez resigned his NY State Assembly seat of 28 years (1985-2013), was demoted, censured and fined $330,000 by an ethics panel of his peers in Albany for groping, attempting to kiss, and engaging in sexually charged discussions with young female staffers.

For the November general, Reynoso (who reportedly struck a deal with his Democratic opponent Tommy Torres* to stay in the race) has been quoted as stating, "We're getting a lot of momentum" --

*Torres has quietly been forced from the ballot over accusations of fraud. Torres had submitted “over 300 fraudulent petition” signatures, which Reynoso’s campaign challenged in Brooklyn Supreme Court.

With his main rival Lopez and now Torres gone, opines: "Council hopeful Antonio Reynoso has a clear path to City Hall... "

More about Antonio Reynoso at

For a history of the 34th district NY City Council seat go to citycouncilwatch.


Corey Johnson

The least experienced of the four openly gay candidates running for the NY City Council was not on Tiempo today to tout his candidacy, but Corey Johnson is a District 3 candidate, who his fellow candidate Menchaca says is "the strongest candidate."

Johnson is endorsed by the NY Times plus 4 other community papers, according to his campaign website.

Under his candidate profile, Johnson lists employment as: Director of Government Relations and Community Affairs at GFI Development Corporation, Organizer at GLAAD and Member of Community Board 4.

Former Congressman Barney Frank, as well as other Democrat luminaries and unions have endorsed Johnson.

More about Corey Johnson at

Other gay City Council candidates who won their races are Danny Dromm, Jimmy Van Bramer, and Rosie Mendez.

The 51 member New York City Council gets an annual salary of $112,500.  

There are those who are gloating that "Progressives [won] big in the elections," but just because Democrats have appropriated the term "Progressive," doesn't mean that it rings any more true for them as the moniker "Maverick" did for John McCain and Sarah Palin when they used it in their presidential bid. Party bosses determine who the selected "Progressives" are. 

Cronyism and back-door dealings are an essential component of the Democrat/Republican Unity Party system. The term Progressive is meaningless not only because it is merely populous political rhetoric in the context of the election season, it's meaningless because real Progressives are excluded from the vote.
This primary system leads to results determined by a select few, then to a run-off that usually has an even lower turnout. An exclusion of third-party and non-affiliated voters not only drives turnout down in the primary, but it creates a general election ballot that’s not representative of New York City.
New York City has been called the most progressive city in the country, but can the exclusionary political system described above be capable of fostering "a populous Insurgency" and is it "poised to elect its most progressive government." It's wishful thinking that's based on a shifty foundation.

If it's any consolation, at the Washington Post blog, Jonathan Capehart writes that money didn't play much of a role in the NYC Mayoral primaries, even with the Koch brothers money involved on the Republican side. Capehart believes "money buys votes," but that "only gives candidates the ability to get their message out to voters." Well, there goes campaign finance reform and why not let corporations spend as much as they want on elections? The SCOTUS has designated that as "people," corporations have a right to get their message out to voters that "fracking does not hurt the environment."

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