NY13 Blog; Retaking NY-13 from Rep. Vito Fossella

Following the corruption, ineffectiveness and hypocrisy of Rep. Vito Fossella.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Has the Politicker blocked me?

With news coming in at a ferverant pace all afternoon in regards to Rep. Foley's resignation I was kept quite busy reviewing FEC contribution forms to find links to Fossella and reading various news sources and blogs as the story developed. I came across the Politicker's post mentioning the Congressional resignation. By now you know I have been commenting (and here) on the Politicker not covering the Fossella v. Harrison congressional race. So when I went to add a comment that our very own Rep. Vito Fossella took a contribution from disgrace Rep. Foley, and to my surprise I received a 403 error;

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This morning I came back to the post to resubmit my comment thinking there was just a server issue only to get the same error. I had a few friends attempt to comment and preview their comments, which I am blocked from doing and they have had no problems doing so.

My whole frustration with the Politicker started when a comment I submitted, asking where the coverage of this race was, was never published. I am told it essentially was lost. The Politicker requires all comments to be approved before they post them. Now it seems after two posts on my small blog showing that they are not covering the race I have been banned from commenting on their site. I guess that is the easiest way to continue to overlook this race, if you prevent those asking questions from being able to ask those questions.

So Politicker, why am I prevented from commenting?

Please take a second and go over to Politicker and write a comment (anything will do) and try to preview it. I get a 403 error when previewing and posting. Please let me know your results in the comments. You do not need to Post the comment.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Fossella took money from Rep. Foley

Rep. Mark Folley (FL-16) submitted his resignation today to Rep. Hastert after ABC uncovered sexually explicit internet messages with current and former Congressional pages under the age of 18.

Rep. Fossella took a $1,000 donation from Rep. Foley.

Add this to the list of disgraced members of Congress that
Rep. Vito Fossella has been caught taking money from.

Anything can happen

Rep. Mark Folley (FL-16) submitted his resignation today to Rep. Hastert after ABC uncovered sexually explicit internet messages with current and former Congressional pages under the age of 18. Now it looks like this seat could flip to the Democratic challenger Tim Mahoney.

Rep. Bob Ney (OH-18) decided not to run for re-election after winning his primary. The reason, he plead guilty to federal charges of bribery and corruption relating to Jack Abramoff scandal. Ney is being pressured to resign by his own party. Now it looks like his seat will flip to the Democratic challenger Zack Space. Space has a $205,000 to $13,000 cash on hand advantage over his opponent and is leading in polls.

Rep. Tom DeLay (TX-22) resigned his seat this past spring after winning a difficult primary. He has been indicted on several criminal charges that he had conspired to violate campaign finance laws. Now it looks like his seat will flip to the Democratic challenger Nick Lampson. Lampson has a $2.1 million to $30,000 cash on hand advantage against his write-in opponent.

This is why we question Vito's vail trips with Bob Ney.
This is why we question Vito's baseball game with Tony Rudy, Jack Abramoff and ASG.
This is why we question Vito's $10,000 donation from Tom DeLay.

This is why it is important Harrison has forced Vito to debate, and why Harrison will force him to account for his actions. There is a change coming if you are tired of 'more of the same' from Washington.

Spitzer makes Democratic inroads in Republican areas

from the NY Times

Five weeks before the election, about 8 in 10 voters said that they had no opinion of Mr. Spitzer’s Republican rival, John Faso. Mr. Spitzer, a Democrat, is supported by a majority of those surveyed not only in the Democratic-dominated city, but also in its more heavily Republican suburbs and in upstate areas.


The poll showed that after nearly 12 years of Republican leadership under Gov. George E. Pataki, voters in both parties said they were ready to vote for a Democrat. Thirty-five percent of the Republicans surveyed said they planned to vote for Mr. Spitzer, compared with 45 percent for Mr. Faso.


On Iraq, 54 percent of those surveyed said that the United States should have stayed out of Iraq, and 61 percent said that the Senate candidates’ positions on Iraq would be one of the top three issues they would consider.

This is a dream year for the Democratic ticket in New York. Chances are those voters crossing party lines to vote for Spitzer or even *gasp* Clinton are going to have less inhibitions to then vote for a Democrat in a Congressional or State level race.

Iraq, a local issue

From the Boston Globe;

A new congressional analysis shows the Iraq war is now costing taxpayers almost $2 billion a week -- nearly twice as much as in the first year of the conflict three years ago and 20 percent more than last year -- as the Pentagon spends more on establishing regional bases to support the extended deployment and scrambles to fix or replace equipment damaged in combat.

That is $2 billion a week that is not going into education, whether that is building new schools, reducing class sizes or increasing teacher salaries. That is money that is not going into our local police and fire departments. Remember going through that closing fire houses stage in order to save a budget? That is money not spent on infrastructure, job creation and small business incentives, health insurance, environmental protections. If we weren't spending $2 billion a week there, we could make improvements to the Verranzano bridge AND eliminate tolls for residents.

This money has to come from somewhere and ultimately it is your taxes this year and for years to come.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Harrison's Energy Policy on YouTube, 4 of 4

Part 4 of 4, thanks to Marc at http://bluespotblog.com

Harrison's Energy Policy on YouTube, 3 of 4

Part 3 of 4, thanks to Marc at http://bluespotblog.com

Harrison's Energy Policy on YouTube, 2 or 4

Part 2 of 4, thanks to Marc at http://bluespotblog.com

Harrison's Energy Policy on YouTube, 1 of 4

Part 1 of 4, thanks to Marc at http://bluespotblog.com

A Fossella recap

Fossella took $10,000 from ARMPAC, the PAC of the indicted Rep. Tom Delay. He has not returned any of the money.

Fossella took a $500 contribution from Rep. Bob Ney, who has plead guilty to federal charges pertaining to the Jack Abramoff case. Fossella has donated this.

Fossella took a $500 contribution from Neil Volz, a former aid of Rep. Ney who has also plead guilty to federal charges pertaining to the Jack Abramoff case. Fossella has returned this money.

For the past 5 winters, Rep. Fossella has been an invited guest of Rep. Bob Ney at the Lodge at Vail, where he was one of four members of Congress to spend the weekend being lobbied by numerous unidentified lobbyists. This event was organized by Rep. Bob Ney who we stated has plead guilty of federal charges relating to lobbying charges. Rep. Bob Ney has resigned his leadership positions and is being pressured to resign from Congress from his own party. Fossella has spent $25,124 flying himself and his family to Vail for these events. That money came from campaign contributions. Fossella has refused to disclose which lobbyists he met with.

Fossella has spent over $50,000 in campaign contributions on family travel and vacation costs.

After the NY Daily News brought several of these violations to light Fossella has amended 18 FEC contribution forms.

Fossella had $5,683 in travel expenses covered by Ephiphany Productions. Ephiphany was admonished by the Federal Election Commission for illegal donations to members of Congress, including Fossella.

Fossella was essentially fined $60,000 by the House Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards, which was chaired by Rep. Bob Ney. This decision was reached under Ney's tenure as chairman. He stepped down about two weeks later.

Titone endorsement

Yesterday, Democratic State Senate nominee Matthew Titone picked up the endorsement of the Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum. I am doubtful that an endorsement from the Public Advocate in any race carries much weight for the sheer fact that the office and office holder are such an unknown to the general population of the city. However what is interesting is the possibility that Gotbaum, the second highest ranking official in the city behind the mayor, may be looking to take that next political step to succeed Bloomberg. Similar to the news of Rep. Anthony Weiner getting involved in Stephen Harrison's efforts, we might be seeing another mayoral hopeful trying to use their campaigning clout to boost their 2009 chances.

Matthew Titone, State Senate nominee 24th SD

The Harrison Interview

The Politicker interviewed Stephen Harrison. Check it out, it is a quick read.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Republican ticket falls apart

The Republican Attorney General Candidate Jeanine Pirro is reportedly under state and federal investigation. NBC 4 runs the story claiming that she worked with Bernard Kerik (formerly Secretary of Homeland Security nominee) to plant a recording device on her husband's boat whom she believed was cheating on her.

The top of the ticket this November has Elliot Spitzer (D-Gov nominee) in a more competitive race against Hillary Clinton (D-Sen) to see who can amount a larger margin of victory and possibly break Sen. Schumer's state wide record. Now it appears the Attorney General race may not even be a race if Pirro can't avoid these claims. That would mean that the highest ranking Republican candidate with potential to make a race is State Comptroller, and even that is doubtful. Regardless of even if this was a real race chances are Republican candidate Callaghan is not going to turn out Republican voters in droves.

But what does all of this mean to NY13? It means that as we get closer and closer to November the Republican party keeps shooting itself in the foot and diminishing its chances of high voter turn out. They are alienating registered Republicans who are losing reasons to turn out an vote in a mid-term election. While those voting on a Conservative Party line may be politcally minded enough to turn out to vote regardless of the scenario, the average household Republican is now having more and more reasons to stay home. That bodes well for a few Democrats;

Stephen Harrison, Congressional candidate NY13 CD
Matthew Titone, State Senate candidate 24th SD
Janele Hyer-Spencer, State Assembly candidate 60th AD

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Who wants to cover this race? Part II

The Daily Politics, political blog of the New York Daily News.

The Daily Politics describes itself thusly; "The Daily Politics is a running conversation about New York's political scene." Of course they also covered the Lamont/Lieberman race (14 posts) and recently Sen. Allen of Virginia, so if the scope is this large surely there is room for a congressional race atually within the city limits. The following are the only Fossella/Harrison references I could find in posts on the Daily Politics;

April 10, 2006; DeBlasio not running
July 20, 2006; Daily Gotham comments on Daily Politics ignoring the NY13 race
Aug 02, 2006; Photo of Fossella and Bush, no related text
Aug 16, 2006; Harrison campaign goes to Fossella HQ for debate request
Sept 26, 2006; Link to the Politicker interview with Harrison

Simply put this is rather dismal. The New York Daily News is the only paper actually attempting political reporting. They ran a week of stories (10 articles total) of corruption and ethical problems plaguing Fossella, yet the Daily Politics didn't make reference to any of that. The Daily News also ran the piece on Fossella's $60,000 mailing violations. No coverage on the Daily Politics blog. If that wasn't all there are a few other stories the paper found worthy enough of running that the blog didn't give a mention to. I guess it is somewhat appropriate that one of their four posts was about another blog ripping them for failing to cover the race.

To the Politicker, hey sorry for complaining, comparatively you are do amazing work.

I have traded emails with Ben Smith, the blogger at Daily Politics. One issue I want to make clear is that I am not claiming the lack of media coverage is the reason this race does not appear to be a top tier race. I do believe there have been several stories with notable connections to the likes of Ney, DeLay, and Abramoff that should have raised some very questionable practices with the Congressman. However those have barely been covered or followed up in any great depth. The competitiveness of this race should have no impact on the coverage and reporting on the acts of a member of Congress.

Who wants to cover the race? Part I

Back on September 21 we ran this post, Why is the Politicker not covering this race in which we outlined a concern that the only competitive congressional race was being ignored for the most part. The Politicker is the political blog of the New York Observer. After reaching out to the staff I had a rather positive response and acknowledgement that more coverage would be beneficial. I am not changing my perspective until I see a continued effort by the NYC political media to do some reporting. The following is a basic outline of posts relating to either Fossella or Harrison since January 2006. Stephen Harrison was not solidified as the Democratic candidate until the very end of January.

The Politicker

Jan 13; Fossella went to UPenn
Feb 3, 2006; Vito to Face Harrison
Feb 6; Vito to have fund raiser at Bloomberg's
Feb 24, 2006; Bloomberg fund raiser for Fossella
March 14, 2006; DeBlasio in SI
March 21, 2006; DeBlasio and DCCC
March 24, 2006; DeBlasio
April 6, 2006; Rep. Rangel on DeBlasio
April 10, 2006; DeBlasio drops out
April 17, 2006; Vito fund raising
May 31, 2006; NY Sun on Fossella tax credit
June 16, 2006; Fossella on 9/11 health effects
June 27, 2006; NYDaily News coverage of Vito corruption
Aug 16, 2006; WFP endorsements
Aug 24, 2006; Harrison fund raiser at Ozzies
Sept 19, 2006; Vito and Diane Savino, homeless speech
Sept 22, 2006; Upcoming Harrison interview
Sept 25, 2006; Debates announced
Sept 26, 2006; Harrison interview

19 - posts (2 are duplicates mentioning future posts)
5 - on DeBlasio
5 - on Harrison

Of those 5 Harrison references, 1 is a generic listing of every WFP endorsement statewide, 1 is an announcement of an upcoming interview (not the interview) and 1 is a one sentence mention of a fund raiser. DeBlasio was a potential Democratic candidate for about a month. To put that in perspective KT McFarland (Republican Senate candidate runner up) got 11 mentions, Alan Hevesi (NY Comptroller) got 4, Rep. Weiner (who doesn't have a big race until 2009) got 5.

To further show the lack of basic coverage the months of February, March and April all had three NY13 related posts while two months out from the election, the month of September only has four, one as we mentioned is just an announcement of an upcoming post, the result of our questioning their lack of coverage. Without that post, they would only be at 2 posts for the month.

Next up: The Daily Politics

Monday, September 25, 2006

Fossella finally agrees to debate Harrison

STATEN ISLAND/BROOKLYN, NY –Vito Fossella ( NY-13 Staten Island and Brooklyn) has finally accepted Steve Harrison’s proposal to debate four times. The candidates will debate twice in Staten Island and twice in Brooklyn.

The agreement comes two months after Stephen Harrison originally proposed debates. In the past, Vito Fossella has rarely debated opponents in the past. . An incumbent agreeing to multiple debates late in the campaign generally signals a competitive race.

“I look forward to debating my opponent,” remarked Harrison. “The people of Staten Island and Brooklyn deserve to hear directly from their candidates, and now they’ll have the opportunity. Congressman Fossella has been all too quiet about Iraq, our national security, veterans’ benefits, Social Security, healthcare, transportation, and many other issues. It’s time he answers to his constituents.”

The first debate will take place on October 9, during the Pleasant Plains/Princes Bay/Richmond Valley (PPPBRV) “Meet the Candidates Forum” at the United Methodist Church in Staten Island.

On October 10, the two candidates square off in the first Brooklyn debate, hosted by the Dyker Heights Civic Association.

The Richmond County American Legion will host the candidates on October 20, and the Bay Ridge Community Council (BRCC) will host the final debate on October 24.

Harrison sent a letter proposing four debates in July, and provided Congressman Fossella with eight possible dates.

Fossella’s first they claimed they had not received the letter, which had been both faxed and mailed. The Fossella campaign upon learning that Harrison was going to ask for the debates in person after 3 weeks without response, conveniently faxed to Harrison a statement while the Democratic candidate was already at Fossella campaign headquarters. It acknowledged receipt but stated Fossella would be in Washington for all proposed dates, despite Congress not being scheduled to be in session and Fossella being in New York for a press conference on one of the dates.

Last week the Congressman’s campaign came back with four dates, which the Harrison campaign accepted.

For more information, visit www.harrison06.com.

Big Story Breaking...

2pm is the ETA. Stay Tuned.

So this has been delayed as I wait on verification for part of the story. Consider it still developing.

Fossella dislikes healthcare for our Troops

This is an image from Rep. Vito Fossella'a website. Half the fun is he counters Harrion's bridge proposal with, well stuff that isn't related to a bridge. I guess that is a good way to differentiate yourself.

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What is more interesting about this image, is the fact that he decided to use a photograph that included the word "TRICARE" on the LED of the VA sign. "TRICARE is the United States military's health plan for military personnel and their dependents," via Wikipedia. The problem with this image is that it is misleading. The article does not discuss TRICARE at all, instead focuses on the VA Hospital staying open. In fact Fossella as recently as 2005 voted down a TRICARE bill, which we covered on August 25th;

Rep. Fossella opposed expanding access to the military's TRICARE health insurance program to thousands of Reservist and National Guard members, even though 20 percent of all Reservists do not have health insurance, and 40 percent of Reservists aged 19 to 35 lack health coverage.

HR 1815 , Vote #221, 5/25/2005

For a campaign that is able to take identical photographs seconds apart, with differnt cameras, by the same photographer who claims to be working first for Vito's administration and seconds later on the payroll of Fossella's re-election campaign, it is without a doubt that this is a very intentional choice of photograph. Given that they would have to just wait seconds for the sign to change, or could simply crop the photo as to not include the word TRICARE, one has to wonder why Fossella attempts to mislead our own veterans of all people.

Fossella does not support body armor for our troops.
Fossella does not support healthcare for our troops.
Fossella does not support bringing our troops back to their families.

Reminder: Harrison event at The Cup tonight

Join Caroline Cutroneo, Not Yet, Joy Ryder, the best open mic performers around & special guests for a Steve Harrison Congressional campaign benefit concert
Help the Democrats take back Congress

Monday September 25
7-10:30 pm
The Cup (Formerly known as the Muddy Cup)
388 Van Duzer Street
Staten Island, NY 10304
Suggested Donation $25
More appreciated
Open Mic performers free

Also, Tuesday
Senator Charles Schumer, Honorary Chair
Representative Anthony Weiner, Guest Speaker

JT’s Restaurant
9703 3rd Avenue
Brooklyn, NY

Tuesday, September 26, 2006
RSVP ASAP: (718) 836-0760

Sunday, September 24, 2006

More Fossella and Bob Ney

Yesterday we learned of Rep. Vito Fossella's verdict returned by the House Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards in regards to the complaint filed by Stephen Harrison. Fossella essentially was fined $60,000, but ultimately cleared of 10 of 11 charges.

So who exactly in on this House Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards? Well up until Monday, September 18th, Rep. Bob Ney was chairman of the House Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards.

via his House site;

First sworn into the US Congress in 1995, Congressman Bob Ney has represented Ohio's 18th Congressional district, which today encompasses 16 counties in Ohio. Ney is the Chairman of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing, a member of the Committee on House Administration and a member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. In addition, the Congressman serves as the Chairman of the Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards, the Chairman of the Joint Committee on the Library, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Committee on Printing, and a Deputy Majority Whip.

Rep. Bob Ney took Fossella on trips to Vail with lobbyists for the past several winters.
Rep. Bob Ney contributed to Fossella's campaign.
Rep. Bob Ney chaired the committee that cleared Fossella of his campaign mailing violations.

I wonder what tomorrow's connection will be?

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Fossella fined $60,000

Back on July 29th we brought you Rep. Vito Fossella's week of Corruption. Part of that (Thursday and Friday) was commentary on his illegal use of mailing funds for re-election campaign material.

Today the NY Daily News, the only real source for news on this race, follows up with the House commission's finding;

U.S. Rep. Vito Fossella must pay back at least $60,000 for using duplicate photos of New York firefighters in both campaign and taxpayer-funded congressional mailings, a House commission has decided.

The best part of the article has to be Fossella's response to having to pay back $60,000;

Fossella portrayed the decision as a victory, emphasizing in a press release the commission's dismissal of the complaint without mentioning how much he'd have to repay.

Calling a $60,000 fine a victory is like standing on an air craft carrier and declaring "Mission Accomplished."

Friday, September 22, 2006

Harrison event at The Cup, Monday 7pm

Join Caroline Cutroneo, Not Yet, Joy Ryder, the best open mic performers around & special guests for a Steve Harrison Congressional campaign benefit concert
Help the Democrats take back Congress

Monday September 25
7-10:30 pm
The Cup (Formerly known as the Muddy Cup)
388 Van Duzer Street
Staten Island, NY 10304
Suggested Donation $25
More appreciated
Open Mic performers free

Also, Tuesday
Senator Charles Schumer, Honorary Chair
Representative Anthony Weiner, Guest Speaker

JT’s Restaurant
9703 3rd Avenue
Brooklyn, NY

Tuesday, September 26, 2006
RSVP ASAP: (718) 836-0760

Fossella (R) scared to debate Harrison (D): day 57

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Why is the Politicker not covering this race?

I have a small NYC rss feed to help me keep on top of stories I may have missed. On that list is the Politicker, the blog of the New York Observer. The Politicker is interesting for the sake of staying on top of anything possibly related to news about politics in this city. But I have one small complaint. Now that the primary is over, the only competative Congressional race in the city, NY13 gets no coverage.

The last time I could find Harrison coverage was from August 24th. No coverage of his National Security Speech, Energy Policy speech, the bridge proposals, the Schumer/Weiner upcoming fund raiser. Nothing.

On September 18th they managed to cover a returned $100 donation from the Lamont campaign. Lamont by the way is running for Senate in Connecticut.

Three days before news came out the Rep. Vito Fossella had taken a political contribution from Rep. Bob Ney, who that day plead guilty to federal crimes relating to Jack Abramoff. He is the first sitting member of Congress to do so. Did the Politicker cover it? No, in fact they didn't even publish a comment we made in their September 18th Morning Read asking about this discrepency in coverage.

It isn't like this is the only media source whose coverage of this sucks, but I am starting here, so what is the deal Politicker?

The bridge vs. healthcare, jobs and education

As I was writing the article yesterday about Rep. Vito Fossella being scared of the bridge debate I kept thinking back to talking points of the NRCC that Republican incumbents need to run on local issues. I thought Vito was scared of the bridge debate, and I still agree, seeing how he offered no proposal and suddenly Stephen Harrison was offering something to the residents. Whether the proposal will go anywhere or not, it is a new proposal, something residents of the thirteenth probably are unfamiliar with being represented by Fossella for several terms.

However after some more thought on the matter, I think there is some campaign complexity to this national v. local issue juxtaposition. When you look back on this past term of a Republican Congress we see;

-Congress gave the President the ability to go to war in Iraq
-Congress has refused to hold this administration accountable on the many failures of this was (war profiteering, failed strategies, lack of international support)
-Attempt to privatize Social Security
-Failure to increase minimum wage while taking Congressional pay raises
-The largest deficit this country has faced
-Exporting of jobs through CAFTA
-No Child Left Behind which has crippled state education funding
-Disaterous Medicare Part B

The list goes on, but needless to say this "do nothing Congress" has no oversight on the failures of this administration. They can not run on national issues, and in fact must run away from these national issues.

Vito Fossella does not mention a plan for Iraq on his website.
Vito Fossella refuses to acknowledge that he is a Republican on his website.

This norminally would put a lot of Republican incumbent's in a dangerous situation as we see in almost every House analysis that shows major shifts in House seats, most likely leading to a change of control. Vito Fossella is playing the wait game, figuring he can get through the election without having to campaign, and by that I mean debate and offer plans to his constituents. So how does Harrison win?

1. 40% CORRUPTION: A continuing feature here is the corruption of Rep. Vito Fossella. $10,000 from Tom DeLay. Contributions from Rep. Bob Ney and Neil Volz. A fund raiser held by Tony Rudy and very likely Jack Abramoff and the Alexander Strategy Group.

2. 40% National Issues: The war. Healthcare. Jobs. Education. Run against Bush and run against a Republican Congress. Fossella can not counter this. Period. Want proof, where are his proposals and policy speeches?

3. 20% Local Issues: These have to be differential issues and have to be new policy to highlight Fossella's lack of proposals on ANYTHING. How do we discuss the bridge? Waive tolls for residents by offering prepaid EXPass for all vehicles registered in the district. There is nothing to gain from being controversial, but everything to gain from being insightful.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Fossella (R) scared to debate Harrison (D): day 55

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Fossella's Republican Pollster

In that crappy 'wacky' Advance article they ran yesterday, one thing I skipped over was that Rep. Vito Fossella hired a polling company, FLSConnect, to poll Staten Islanders on a distorted version of Harrion's plan. In most circles that would be considered a push poll, or a poll that really is more of a political advertisement by the nature of the questions than a real poll.

The Advance does a bit of reporting in noting;

FLS performs fund-raising, get-out-the-vote, automated calling and other services for Republican officials, candidates and local parties, as well as for the Green Bay Packers, General Motors, Exxon and other clients.

and that is a bit of an understatement. When you visit their site, the first thing to see is glowing praise from Karl Rove and this tidbit on their 'About Us' page

Our client list consists of the last five Presidential Campaigns and Bush/Cheney 2004. We also provide services for the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senate Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and hundreds of Republican State Parties and candidates on all levels, as well as corporations, associations and other organizations.

Does it really require that big of a leap to expect a partisan firm such as FLSConnect would come back with a partisan poll for their client? There are no poll questions published. There are no statisitcs on how many residents were called and the diversity of their make up. But the Advance ran it nonetheless as news. Surely if they work for the Green Bay Packers it must be a legit opperation.

Is Fossella Scared of a Bridge?

When I saw the 'wacky' article yesterday in the SI Advance I was a little confused. It quotes Rep. Vito Fossella as saying Stephen Harrison's (D) bridge proposal was 'wacky.' The reason why this is confusing is because this story has been out since August 31, when the Advance first made reference to the proposal and Fossella's 'alternative' plan.

It is not difficult to realize that Fossella is running his campaign as if it is a non election year. If he ignores his opponent and doesn't screw up he is on his way to keeping his job for two more years. If he doesn't debate Harrison he knows the media market is too expensive for his challenger to get his message out. But Stephen Harrison had to go and offer a plan for the Verrazano bridge that called for Express EZpass just like Fossella helped implement on the Outerbridge, and then had the wit to suggest that a toll seperating Brooklyn and Staten Island breech state law and would like to do away with residents having to burden this cost. And so Fossella attacked. And attacked. And attacked. And attacked.

Clearly this was not Fossella's plan to have to acknowledge his opponent or any of his proposals. Fossella has never countered Harrion's National Security Speech. In fact Fossella won't mention Iraq, he has nothing to gain from a public so adverse to the situation. Fossella has not countered Harrison's Energy Policy speech. Again he has nothing to gain from acknowledging he has supported energy bills that have gasoline at $3 a gallon. Then all of a sudden Harrison suggests eliminating the toll on the Verrazano and using one of Fossella's old plays, Express EZpass and now Fossella is worried.

It has been 21 days since both of their plans for the bridge have been public. So why is he so vigorously attacking this plan still, when the rest of his play book says keep quiet. Maybe it is easier than explaining his connections with Rep. Bob Ney.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Fossella (R) scared to debate Harrison (D): day 54

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Harrison to deliver Energy Policy speech tomorrow

Stephen Harrison (D) will be delivering yet another policy speech, following on the heels of his National Secuirty Speech. This time the focus will be on Energy and it's effects on National Secuirty, the Environment, and the Economy.

Tuesday, September 19, 8:00PM
The Staten Island Museum
75 Stuyvesant Place
Staten Island, NY

A question and answer discussion will follow the presentation. For more
information, please go to www.harrison06.com or call 718-836-0760.

Why did Ney give Fossella money?

via Newsday

Why would corrupt Ohio Congressman Bob Ney give $500 to Vito Fossella, his Staten Island colleague? What was Ney expecting in return?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Fossella took money from Rep. Bob Ney

As we have already mentioned Rep. Vito Fossella is connected to the criminal Rep. Bob Ney, the first sitting member of Congress to plead guilty to conspiring to commit fraud and violate federal lobbying laws. But now we find out that Rep. Vito Fossella has at the very least taken money directly from him and appears to have yet to return the money despite Rep. Ney's guilty plea and his impending resignation/removal from Congress.

Rep. Bob Ney's donation to Rep. Vito Fossella

Let us not forgot Rep. Fossella has also taken money from;

Tom DeLay (indicted), $10,000 (returned: $0)
Neil Volz (plead guilty), $500 (returned: $500)

Taking money from corrupt officials is not exactly something new to Rep. Fossella.

It appears Rep. Fossella has already announced plans to donate the money he took from Rep. Bob Ney.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Voters dislike Republicans in 2006

I just got an email from the DCCC, not my favorite organization, but always good to know what they are up to. Their language is quite similar to what I have been saying here for a while;

So what would provoke Republicans to make such a show of pretending to be independent? Let's consult the polls -- here are some recent results on the "generic ballot" question, i.e. whether a voter would generally prefer a Democrat or a Republican for Congress:

Gallup (9/7-10/06): Democrat 53% Republican 41%
Pew (9/6-10/06): Democrat 50% Republican 39%
ABC (9/5-7/06): Democrat 50% Republican 42%
CNN (8/30 - 9/2/06): Democrat 53% Republican 43%

Non-partisan Congressional analyst Stu Rothenberg takes another stab at evaluating the state of play. The good news for Republicans is that, according to Rothenberg, it's not an "anti-incumbent" election as is often said. The bad news is that...

"Instead, what is developing is a classic political wave of voter dissatisfaction about the direction of the nation and the performance of the president... Republican incumbents are in trouble not because they are incumbents, but because they are Republicans."

Judging by how rarely Republicans mention their party affiliation in their ads, they may have already come to understand that.

Remember Rep. Vito Fossella thinks he is an independent. I wonder why?

Friday, September 15, 2006

Janele Hyer-Spencer Campaign HQ Opening TODAY

586 Midland Avenue, Staten Island, corner of Colony Ave, 2nd floor.

Saturday 4:00 P.M.

Janele is running for State Assembly, in the 60th AD. If you are around go check it out.

Harrison's upcoming Energy Policy speech

Stephen Harrison (D) will be delivering yet another policy speech, following on the heels of his National Secuirty Speech. This time the focus will be on Energy and it's effects on National Secuirty, the Environment, and the Economy.

Tuesday, September 19, 8:00PM
The Staten Island Museum
75 Stuyvesant Place
Staten Island, NY

A question and answer discussion will follow the presentation. For more
information, please go to www.harrison06.com or call 718-836-0760.

Rep. Ney pleads guilty, 27 months in jail

via CNN

Republican Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio pleaded guilty Friday to federal charges in the congressional investigation into corruption and bribery involving disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, according to the Justice Department.

Ney pleaded guilty to conspiracy and making false statements in a deal in which he will cooperate with the Justic Department's influence peddling investigation.

The plea deal was filed Friday morning in U.S. District Court in Washington.

The Justice Department and Ney's lawyers agreed on a sentencing recommendation of 27 months in prison, provided Ney continues to cooperate, but the final sentence will be determined by a federal judge.

Rep. Bob Ney is the first member of Congress to plead guilty to federal charges in connection to illegal lobbyist activities in relation to Jack Abramoff. Remember Jack Abramoff was a host of a fund raiser for Rep. Vito Fossella back in 2002. Abramoff also hired Neil Volz, who has already plead guilty, after he left his job with Rep. Bob Ney. Neil Volz made two donations to Rep. Vito Fossella. Finally each winter Rep. Vito Fossella went on lavish ski trips to Vail, Colorado as a guest of Rep. Bob Ney's. Rep. Vito Fossella was one of only three other members of Congress to go on these trips where they meet with various lobbyists trying to influence legislation. Stephen Harrison's job is now connecting Fossella with Ney and Abramoff. It won't be hard to create doubt in the minds of voters about the ethical standing of their Congressman. Getting the truth about that baseball game and those trips to Vail will require some work though.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

BREAKING! Ney to plead Guilty, Vito potentially might fall

Rep. Bob Ney, the Ohio Congressman whom Rep. Vito Fossella accompanied on lobbyist trips to Vail each winter has apparently agreed to plead guilty to to federal charges relating to his dealings with lobbyists, including Jack Abramoff. Via NY Times;

A guilty plea would make Mr. Ney, a six-term congressman, the first member of Congress to admit to criminal charges in the Abramoff investigation, which has focused on the actions of several current and former Republican lawmakers who had been close to the former lobbyist.


They said the agreement with the Justice Department — and the exact criminal charges, which are expected to include conspiracy and false statement — would be disclosed in Washington as soon as Friday and would probably require Mr. Ney to serve at least some time in prison.

Fossella and Ney January 23, 2006
Rep. Vito Fossella and Rep. Bob Ney July 11, 2006
Fossella in Vail July 12, 2006
Fossella + DeLay + Ney August 14, 2006

Sen. Schumer Fund Raiser for Harrison

Senator Charles Schumer, Honorary Chair
Representative Anthony Weiner, Guest Speaker

JT’s Restaurant
9703 3rd Avenue
Brooklyn, NY

Tuesday, September 26, 2006
RSVP ASAP: (718) 836-0760

This is very exciting news for two potential reasons. First of all it is always nice to have the fund raising power of a Senator behind an event. But second, and possibly more telling is Rep. Anthony Weiner's attendance. With the primary battle for NY-11 over, and his candidate Yvette Clarke getting the nod, Rep. Weiner who has his sights on the mayoral race is going to do what he can to show off his bench building power. Now with NY-13 as the only legitimately contested congressional race do we see Weiner's organizing and campaigning abilities turned towards helping this race, and maybe others, to shore himself up as the front runner to succeed Bloomberg?

Stuff Happens

My apologies for the down time with this site. Unfortunately I have had some big changes in my life, that were very much unexpected. In the mean time posting might be light, but we do have a nice scoop coming later today after I go for a run. Stay tuned...

Friday, September 08, 2006

Even Fossella supported a similar plan to Harrison's

Now isn't this interesting? It seems Rep. Vito Fossella, in his haste to criticize Stephen Harrison's proposal to eliminate tolls and alleviate this unnecessary aggrevation on constituents, failed to realize that just a few years ealier he promoted the same plan Harrison has put forth.

Stephen Harrison's plan;

My plan is a comprehensive one calling for the elimination of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge toll for all residents of Staten Island (and the residents on the Brooklyn side of the congressional district), as well as the installation of high speed E-ZPass for nonresidents to speed traffic flow.

Fossella's response, via the SI Advance;

Fossella's camp dismissed Harrison's idea as unlikely, but Harrison said he thinks it could work, and would rather be known for his willingness to dream big rather than continue to saddle Staten Island and Brooklyn commuters with one of the nation's highest bridge tolls.

via Port Authority press release

U.S. Representative Vito Fossella said, “Staten Islanders want solutions to reduce the traffic congestion that is clogging our local roads, highways and bridges. The only way we are going to solve this problem is by utilizing new technologies and exploring innovative ideas. Highway-speed E-ZPass will improve traffic flow on Route 440 and on the bridge itself, reduce congestion and increase convenience for many Staten Island motorists. I am delighted to have secured $350,000 for this important traffic improvement project and thank the Port Authority for their commitment to enhancing commuting for Staten Island motorists using the Outerbridge Crossing.”

So Fossella thought this was a good plan before he thought it was a bad plan?

Oh, and Gov. Pataki supports the same concept.

Pataki (R) supports plans similar to Harrison's

Gov. Pataki (R) has previously praised the use of EZ Pass Express lanes for both their efficiency and capacity increases they allow on bridges. Pataki made the following statement on the use of Express E-ZPass lanes on the Outerbridge Crossing, via Port Authority press release:

“Our region has now moved into the next phase of electronic toll collection. Highway-speed toll lanes process up to 1,800 vehicles per hour. The capacity increase that Express E-ZPass provides is a huge boost for the 16 million customers who use the Outerbridge Crossing annually. These new express tolls will make it easier and faster for millions of motorists.”

Then acting Governor Codey of New Jersey had this to say;

“The debut of Express E-ZPass illustrates our continued commitment to reduce delays and congestion on our roads. Express E-ZPass helps drivers get to their destination quickly and safely.”

And finally, let's just put all of this to rest. It is supported by both Republicans and Democrats. It reduces delays and congestion, something Staten Island needs. I leave you with this from the Port Authority Vice Chairman on what this would do to non EZPass users;

“Express E-ZPass is the latest in a series of enhancements to our E-ZPass system. Highway-speed toll collection benefits E-ZPass and non E-ZPass customers alike, by reducing congestion and keeping our roads safe.”

SI Advance botches Harrison's toll reduction plan

Earlier this week the Staten Island Advance ran several quotes from various Democratic incumbents throughout the district about what they reported was Stephen Harrison's (D) plan for the Verrazano Bridge toll. In a spate of misinformation and bad reporting they managed to put aside Harrison's plan they reported a day earlier and insert the notion that he wanted to bring back two way toll booths in Staten Island. We ran a story earlier this week comparing Harrison's plan and Fossella suggestion to not make any changes.

On Thursday August 31, Maura Yates of the SI Advance stated:

Meanwhile, Stephen Harrison, the Democratic challenger for the congressional seat, took a different approach to providing relief for local bridge users. Harrison called for eliminating the toll entirely for all Staten Island and Brooklyn residents who live within the 13th Congressional District.

Yet on Friday September 1, Tom Wrobleski of the SI Advance claims;

Staten Island Democratic lawmakers yesterday quickly distanced themselves from congressional candidate Stephen Harrison's proposal to re-institute the two-way toll on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

The bridge had a $267 million surplus in 2005 and Harrison suggests eliminating the toll altogether for residents of the 13th Congressional District (Staten Island and Brooklyn) instead of sending that money to Albany to be divided up amongst the entire state which is what currently happens under Rep. Vito Fossella's oversight. How the Staten Island Advance managed to read between the lines on that and suggest he wanted to go back to two way toll booths is astoundingly astute for the sheer incompetence in their reporting.

Harrison's plan calls for EZpass Express lanes to be designated instead of toll booths currently in use and having the toll waived for residents. These EZPass Express lanes are already in effect in various states, such as this one in Maine;

The new technology allow E-ZPass users to zip through the tolls at 65 miles per hour. Speed toll collection systems are already in use at 18 facilities around the country, including the Pennsylvania turnpike and three toll highways in New Jersey.

Turnpike authority Executive Director Paul Violette said highway speed toll collection will offer convenience and promote efficiency.

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The EZPass Express lane is the one on the left where the people in suits are standing for the dedication. Note there are no toll booths and the yellow signs say "Keep Moving".

So Stephen Harrison is suggesting eliminating the toll for residents of the district and implementing a traffic reduction initiative. Rep. Vito Fossella is suggesting no change, and giving the toll money to Albany.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Fossella (R) scared to debate Harrison (D): day 42

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Two things today. First we have brought back the duck after many requests. And second we start the side-by-side comparison of which will be higher, the number of days Rep. Vito Fossella works this year or the number of days he avoids debates with Stephen Harrison (D).

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Fossella's Salary vs. Poverty

Seeing how Rep. Vito Fossella and the rest of Congress may not even spend 80 days at their jobs this entire year I wanted to revisit an earlier post on the realities of poverty in the district. Rep. Vito Fossella will make approxiamtely $2,064.63 per day if he works only 80 days this year. After a five day work week, he will have matched the annual income of a consituent in his district who makes minimum wage ($10,700). And now for the post;

While Vito Fossella is off skiing in Vail, Colorado and staying in five star hotels his constituents are busy working to actually support themselves.  Not many may realize he is making $165,170 in salary. If that was not bad enough, he is about to get a pay increase this January that would bring his salary to $168,500.  Curiously some members of Congress think if they can make this much money maybe, just maybe they should increase the minimum wage for the lowest paid workers in America. Unfortunately Rep. Fossella is not one of them.  The current minimum wage by the way is $5.15 per hour, whereas Rep. Fossella's salary breaks down to about $79.40 per hour for a forty hour work week.

Rep. Fossella
Salary: $165,170.00
Per Hour: $79.40

Minimum wage
Salary: $10,700
Per Hour: $5.15

It might be prudent at this point to mention that Rep. Fossella, as with all members of Congress enjoy some of the best health care benefits possible and is guaranteed a pension after retirement.  In fact he keeps that pension even if he goes to jail, as Rep. Cunningham has shown us.  Oh and he gets paid vacation time, if that wasn't evident with all of the time this Congress has been in recess.  For the minimum wage earner to make $10,700 per year they would have to work year round without any time off including federal holidays. As for them getting access to healthcare, well that is another story.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Also recall in a former article we noted that 15.2% of the families on Staten Island make less than $25,000 combined annually. And of the 5.3% make a combined household family income of less than $10,000.

UPDATE I had to remove the table tags in the salary comparison because they were messing up the text flow on the page.

More Republican weakness

via Pew Research Center;

Recent surveys suggest this Congress has largely failed to meet even the modest expectations of the public. In surveys taken in July and early August of registered voters as well as the general public, the percentage who approve of the job Congress has been doing has averaged about 27%.


With three months left in its two-year term, the polls suggest that the 109th Congress has made its mark on the public mostly for what it hasn't done.

A survey by the Pew Center for the People & the Press in June found that 45% of registered voters said the current Congress had accomplished "less than usual." That's double the proportion who expressed a similarly sour view four years ago and even higher than the 38% level of dissatisfaction recorded on the eve of the 1994 election.

Maybe it is a good thing they will work less than 80 days this year or else they might screw up even more and do even more harm.

Fossella (R) scared to debate Harrison (D): day 41

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"This Republican-led, do-nothing Congress is on its way home for a five-week vacation. I'm sure while there, they'll be glad to explain to their constituents why they need so much rest in a year in which they will work fewer than 80 days."

-Lou Dobbs, CNN

The new question is will the total number of days the constituents of the thirteenth distrct wait for Fossella to agree to debates out number the days (<80) that Rep. Vito Fossella will work as a member of Congress this year.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Harrison Volunteer Appreciation Day

The next 60 days are going to be a whirlwind, and we’re all going to have to work hard to win this race. So, this week, I’m happy to offer something fun back: Thursday, September 7th, I’m hosting a ‘Volunteer Appreciation Day’ at the Staten Island Yankees game. In their last game of the regular season, the Yanks will take on the Tri-City Valley Cats. We’ve reserved the picnic area in the stadium, and are inviting all our supporters to come out, enjoy the game and a barbeque, and help me show thanks to the people who have already worked so hard.

The game is at 7:10 pm, and the barbeque will start around 6:30 and run through the game—there’s a great view of the field from the picnic area. The stadium is a short walk from the ferry terminal, so the whole thing is very convenient for people coming home from work in the city. We’ll also run car pools from Bay Ridge for people from the Brooklyn side of the district.

We’re hoping to offer free tickets to as many volunteers as possible. Can you help by sponsoring a volunteer at this event? Every $30.00 donated between now and September 7th will be used to give a free ticket to one of our volunteers. Please help me thank the hard-working people who make this campaign possible. You can sponsor a volunteer or purchase tickets for yourself by making a donation at http://www.harrison06.com/vad.php

For more information, call Tom at 718-836-0760.

Revisiting Fossella's Illegal Activities

Back on August 13th, the NY Daily News ran a follow up on Rep. Vito Fossella's illegal/inappropriate usage of tax payer created photographs in campaign materials.

U.S. Rep. Vito Fossella has a new explanation for why his photos with constituents - and Elmo from "Sesame Street" - were improperly used in congressional mailings and campaign literature.

Although the photos used in both instances appear to be exactly the same, the Staten Island Republican now says they are actually different snapshots.

Fossella's campaign responded claiming that identical photographs used in both tax payer funded Congressional mailings and in re-election campaign literature in reality are two different photographs taken seconds apart. In an attempt to legitimize his claims he submitted a report by Ronald Sartini a susposive photography expert from Brooklyn. The campaign refused to acknowledge if Sartini was paid for his report or if he was paid did that money come from his Congressional accounts or his re-election campaign coffers.

Fossella made his unusual claim in response to an investigation being conducted by the House Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards, which is looking into possible violation of rules that prohibit a member of Congress from using his office to benefit his reelection campaign.

Essentially Fossella claims that one of his staff members, Craig Donner, took several photographs seconds apart. Mr. Donnor claimed to have used his own (not a campaign owned) Sony DSC-P100 camera.

Greg Smith, the reporter covering this story seems to embarass Fossella's flimsy string of excuses in just one sentence;

But Donner did not respond to written questions about how he was able to take campaign and congressional photos within seconds of each other without violating the rule barring staffers from doing campaign work.

Let's just be clear about what happened here. Rep. Vito Fossella's campaign potentially acted illegally in using tax payer funded photography in both his official and re-election communications. Further he did act illegally in allowing his paid Congressional staffer to violate these rules by working simulaneously on both campaigns, while being a tax payer paid Congressional staffer.

Personally I find it ridiculous that an elected member of Congress is reduced to this kind of avoidance and lack of accountability. If he wants to clear up this issue in an acceptable manner that does not include covering his ears and saying la, la, la, la when these accusations arise, he can turn over the memory stick from his staffers Sony camera. Doing so would address four indisputable issues, as you can see in two sample screen shots I uploaded from my own camera and iphoto:

1. the file names of the two differing photos used in each instance
2. the shutter speed of the camera to show that they it was possible to take identical photos seconds apart
3. the camera name which will show it was in fact a Sony DSC-P100
4. the exact time down to the second each photo was taken (image 2)

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[note there is an hour difference on my camera setting, however the dates are the same and the time is essentially the same with exception to the hour differntial]

These are simple and quick solutions to this potential illegal activity by a sitting member of Congress. He can clear up at least part of the issue, the potentially illegal use of the same photograph in Congressional mailings and campaign election mailings. But should he avoid it, like many other things (debates!) he has not escaped the fact that his campaign broke the law by allowing a Congressional staffer to be working on his re-election campaign while being paid by tax dollars in his Congressional staff role.

Anti Incumbent Sentiments

via CNN

A majority -- 55 percent -- said they are more likely to back a challenger in races on this year's ballot. Such anti-incumbent sentiment is higher than the 48 percent recorded as "pro-challenger" in a similar survey in 1994, when the GOP took control of both houses of Congress.

Monday, September 04, 2006

More Republican weakness

the NY Times jumps into reporting on Republican re-election weakness;

After a year of political turmoil, Republicans enter the fall campaign with their control of the House in serious jeopardy, the possibility of major losses in the Senate, and a national mood so unsettled that districts once considered safely Republican are now competitive, analysts and strategists in both parties say.


“It’s the most difficult off-year cycle for the Republicans since 1982,” said Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma and former chief of staff to the Republican National Committee. “Environmentally, it’s about as good from the Democratic perspective as they could hope to have.”

Republicans weak all over the country

via Yahoo! News;

"I don't think the question any longer is can Democrats win control of Congress, it's can Republicans do anything to stop it?" said Amy Walter, House analyst for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report newsletter. "All the factors and issues are pushing so strongly against Republicans."


Strategists in both parties say the glum public mood has created a strong desire for change and given Democrats a big advantage at the traditional opening of the campaign season on Monday's Labor Day holiday.

"It's too late to fix the national mood -- it's not going to be fixed," said Republican pollster Frank Luntz. "The major issues are not playing well for Republicans this year, and Republicans are not playing well with America this year."

Fossella (R) scared to debate Harrison (D): day 39

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Nothing new here. Rep. Vito Fossella clearly doesn't think his constituents deserve a debate between candidates. As long as no one asks any questions he will pretend it is the fault of the Harrison campaign and look the other way.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Change or more of the same

via Washington Post;

But in devoting the few remaining legislative days almost exclusively to security issues, Republicans will leave major domestic tasks undone, including President Bush's prized immigration overhaul and long-promised legislation to toughen the restrictions on lobbying after a wide-ranging corruption scandal. No budget plan for 2007 will be completed. Promised relief for seniors struggling with their Medicare prescription drug plans will have to wait. And as many as eight of the 11 bills needed to fund the government will not be passed before the November elections.


In Michigan, "the number one issue is the economy," Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) said. "The emphasis they're putting out there now is related to world events and the fact that the national economy is not facing what Michigan is facing. But if you're hungry, you've got less time to delve into international affairs."

Democratic gains

via Yahoo!

The number of Americans calling themselves Republican has fallen to its lowest level in more than two-and-a-half years. Just 31.9% of American adults now say they're affiliated with the GOP. That's down from 37.2% in October 2004 and 34.5% at the beginning of 2006. These results come from Rasmussen Reports tracking surveys of 15,000 voters per month and have a margin of sampling error smaller than a percentage point.

The number of Democrats has grown slightly, from 36.1% at the beginning of the year to 37.3% now.

As news like this becomes a weekly trend, one has to wonder what advantage the constituents of the thirteenth congressional district have in returning a weak Rep. Vito Fossella to an even weaker minority party in Congress.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Fossella (R) scared to debate Harrison (D): day 36

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Harrison pledges not to deface neighborhoods

via the Bay Ridge Courier

An election time ritual in Bay Ridge has been played out, as some candidates for public office in the community have pledged not to deface the neighborhood with campaign signs and posters on public property.

At the home of the Bay Ridge Community Council’s Robert Kassenbrock, the organization’s annual contract signing was held, with Democratic Congressional candidate Stephen Harrison and Democratic Assembly candidate Janele Hyer-Spencer on hand to sign an agreement not to post campaign materials on bus shelters, street lights, subway stations and the like.

Congress's response to issues of Poverty

An op-ed in the Washington Post today discusses the Republican failure on part of Congress and the President to effectively address poverty. The whole piece is worth the read.

All manner of politicians and columnists said in Katrina's wake that this was the time to revisit the problems of the destitute. The anguish of the people of New Orleans's Lower Ninth Ward would have at least some redemptive power if the country took poverty seriously again.

It didn't happen. The innovative ideas that came from all sides were swept off the table. The poor became unfashionable once more. Congressional conservatives changed the conversation.


President Bush and the Republican Congress, take a bow: You took power to make the well-off even better off, and you have succeeded brilliantly.

As for the poor and the middle class, maybe they'll do better after the next hurricane, or the one after that.