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

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

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

McMahon turns down pay raise

Of note since Council member McMahon would seemingly be on the short list of '08 Congressional candidates, although Borough President apparently is more likely. Via the NY Post;

Two City Councilmen have notified the council's personnel office that they won't be accepting the 25 percent raise that was recently approved.

Democrats Tony Avella (Queens) and Mike McMahon (S.I.) sent letters last week asking that their base salary remain at $90,000 and not rise to $112,500 after Mayor Bloomberg signs the bill to that effect.


McMahon told The Post that he voted against the measure and is giving the money back because he believes the council should continue to be made up of "citizen legislators" who have outside interests and incomes.

Well done Mr. McMahon.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Vito's "commanding win"

I was waiting to do a piece on the media coverage of the race, but I just can't find the time to sit down knowing how miniscule coverage and unbias coverage for that matter was in this race. In a spate of free time today I randomly decided to go back to Vito's campaign site, figuring he packed it up and moved on like the circus. On his front page is this lovely bit of 'reporting' from the Staten Island Advance and Tom Wrobleski, "Vito bucks the Dem tide with commanding win." Brilliant!

Now by commanding win, Tom Wrobleski means the closest margin of victory in 5 races, narrowing even more over his 2004 59-41 victory (57-43 in 2006). Oh and since the headline was only long enough to espouse the virtues of Vito's amazing accomplishment, he failed to sum up this piece in that title; Vito outspent Harrison 13:1, or $1.3 million to $100,000. While Vito raised the same amount as he did in '04, his challenger Harrison raised less than one quarter of Barbaro's $450,000 in '04 and yet Vito still lost 4%.

I wanted to put it in perspective by seeing who flipped a Republican seat while being outspent 13:1 with a minimum of the incumbent maintaining at least a budget with the magnitude of $1 million. The only challenger I could come up with was Carol Shea-Porter's truly commanding victory in NH-01 on her shoestring $198,000 budget. However the cash differntial was not quite as drastic as it was here in NY-13. She was outraised by a margin of 5:1 ($1 million to $197,000) and outspent by a margin of only 4:1 ($605,000 to $123,000) [via Opensecrets.org]

While the idea of the blue wave was a strong methaphor throughout many articles across the country and it may have been hard to resist finding a way to wrap a story around it, how accurate was it to use a basis to declare this commanding win? Mr. Wrobleski fails to mention one other congressional race in comparrison to show a comparable cash on hand scenario or 2004 matchup to show Vito's campaign prowess. He doesn't mention that the CoH margin was the largest in NY13 out of every race in NY state with a Democratic challenger. He doesn't mention that the race in NY-23 was the next closest in terms of Democratic CoH ($139,000), and yet the Republican incumbent maintained less than a 4:1 advantage, and the Republucan incumbent won 63-37 [via Opensecrets.org].

So the moral of the story is: not losing races that shouldn't even be close equates to commanding wins. The reality though is more akin to Bloomberg winning in '05. It is less a commanding win and more simply a commanding warchest.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Going Hungry in NYC

As I sit in my family's house preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving today I find a new perspective to approach a recent statistic that 1 in 6 New York residents can not afford to purchase enough food to feed themselves and their families. Via the New York City Coalition Against Hunger;

During the most recent three year time period (2003-2005), 1,256,000 of the city's residents -- one in six -- lived in households that could not afford to purchase an adequate supply of food, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data analyzed by NYCCAH. During this time, 15.4% of city residents lived in those food insecure households, representing an approximately 112,000-person increase over the 2000-2003 time period, when 14.0% of New Yorkers lived in such households.

This is an astonishing fact given a short ferry ride from Staten Island puts one amidst the financial capital of the world, where the haves purchase million dollar apartments over looking this mecca of commerce and the have nots have limited access to food, housing, healthcare and education.

In 2005, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, New York was the only state in the nation in which both poverty and overall earnings income increased, making the state a leader in inequality of wealth.

The problem is not contained in our five boroughs though as poverty has been disregarded across our country, notably in the wake of Congress's inaction on Hurricane relief that failed to deliver upon the promise that many immigrants hoped for upon site of the Statue of Liberty in our harbor. From a September 1 post;

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.

This is Staten Island (2001 Census);
9% of the residents of Staten Island lived in poverty
11% of related children under 18 were below the poverty level
6% of people 65 years old and over were below the poverty level
8% of all families and 27% of families with a female householder and no husband present had incomes below the poverty level

This country has given the keys to DC to Democrats once again after placing their hopes in the hands of Republicans to no avail. Poverty. Mimimum wage. Healthcare. Access to an equal education. These are the moral issues of today.

For more on poverty and Staten Island;
The Reality of Poverty
Fossella's Salary vs. Poverty
Today's Census Poverty Numbers
WFP on Poverty Numbers

Monday, November 20, 2006

Early Janele speculation

Interesting, in that Ms. Hyer-Spencer is already among those being mentioned as a potential 2008 opponent against Rep. Vito Fossella (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn), and now has a toehold in the Brooklyn end of the congressional district.

This piece comes from an article by Tom Wrobleski at the SI Advance about a phone poll that seems to be focusing on Janele, either as a target in 2008 for her Assembly seat or as a potential candidate for Vito's seat. Either way the candidate speculation is under way.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Funding the Race, Part IV; Candidates as Donors

In the last post I outlined the lack of financial help from our 19 returning Democratic members of Congress in New York. While that is where a lot of easy money can come from, no real candidates for this seat will come from that tier, instead it is the local candidates and incumbents we have to keep our eye on for 2008. That being said, let me state that I was rather frustrated with the lack of urgency of our elected officials in publicly not coming out with a statement on their candidacy. It effectively stalled Harrison's ability to compete against Fossella until late April.

In 2004 one State Senator donated to Barbaro's campaign and that was outgoing Senator Seymour Lachman. In 2006 there were no contributions from any state senators to Harrison's campaign.

In 2004 eight Assembly members donated to Barbaro's campaign, two from the district; Cusick and Lavelle. In 2006 only Lavelle contributed to Harrison's campaign.

Here are the non-Congressional contributions:

Vinny Gentile (Council Memeber) 7/31: $250.00
John Lavelle (Assembly Member) 7/06; $500.00
Matthew Titone (State Senate candidate) 6/06; $300.00

There is no indication from Mr. Harrison about whether he is interested in running again for this seat, but I assume that there are several other potential candidates who will be looking at this race due to this year's results. Looking at this list of donors above though I can't fathom why anyone who did not contribute (financially or logistically) would think that they have the right to this nomination and the right to campaign and ask for financial help should they win the nomination. Missing from that list are; Diane Savino, Mike Cusick, Mike McMahon and Bill deBlasio. Now I understand not all of these officials are going to be looking at this seat in 2008, but they are the presumed front runners other than Stephen Harrison.

I want to also reitterate a point I was hitting on from the final weeks of the election in regards to potential candidates. After the local elected officials one by one slowly removed their name from consideration for this race, it was presumed that Stephen Harrison had the nomination. Council member Bill de Blasio, whom I hear nothing but wonderful things about, with the help of Rep. Rangel decided to look into jumping into the race with the potential backing of the DCCC. He was received rather chillingly by the locals and both himself and Rep. Rangel in a bit of an embarassing sidenote withdrew the notion of running on April 10, 2006. Upon withdrawing de Blasio in a letter (see update) threw his support and promised campaign help behind Harrison. While de Blasio went on to solicit his email lists for volunteers and donors for various races in NY and even in PA (Lois Murphy) he never came through with any support, short of a last minute after thought. In the end he did nothing more than take the limited media coverage away from the eventual Democratic nominee. If people are putting together a short list of potential nominees for 2008, de Blasio should never be mentioned.

Looking at those donors again, it is a sad note that a state senate candidate gave more than any other local official short of Lavelle, the Democratic Party leader on Staten Island. While Sen. Schumer and Rep. Weiner hosted a fund raiser for Harrison, neither appear to have actually contributed. When the SI Advance botched their coverage of Steve's bridge toll proposal where were the letters of correction from local officials who the paper made to look like they were opposing his plan? To me this shows a lot about their personal ambition as opposed to the greater good served by fixing what is wrong with Congress. As an outsider looking in I saw lot of press appearances and very little actual support, meaning; money, man power, canvassing, phone banking, or literature for the nominee. To me the list of potential nominees starts with who has helped the previous candidates. Understandably using this criteria may have ruled Harrison out had there been a contested primary, but looking forward it is the first metric I am going to use in analysis of potential candidates.

Funding the Race, Part III; Congressional Donors

This is a revisit of two older posts, Funding the Race, Part I and Funding the Race, Part II. Both of those talk about the amount of money incumbents up and down the ballot from members of Congress to City Counil sit on despite having some of the most uncompetitive races. This is a follow up with 2006 donor information, focusing only on NY Democratic Congressional members.

2006 Donors to Stephen Harrison (both are also 2004 donors);
Rep. Jerry Nadler 4/21: $1,000
Rep. Nydia Valezquex 10/27: $2,000

Back in April I outlined a concept similar to what Chris Bowers over at MyDD ended up similarly pushing on a national level (Use it or Lose it), and that being current members of Congress putting up money to fund Democratic challenger races instead of sitting on piles of cash in their campaign coffers. I prefaced my entry then addressing 2004 donors to Barbaro with the following;

There are 20 Democratic members of Congress from New York state, of those 12 are in New York City. In 2004 8 of the 20 donated to Barbaro’s campaign, 6 from New York City. One item of note is that the Bush v. Kerry race topped the ballot and may have pulled money away from Barbaro. Of those twenty only two, Higgins NY-20 and Bishop NY-01 faced a competitive race winning with 51% and 56% respectively and had a dire need to keep their funds and fundraising efforts within their own district. No other members were re-relected with less than 63%. Excluding Higgins and Bishop, the 18 other members of Congress have a combined $7.21 million cash-on-hand.

The following are members of Congress who failed to give either in 2004 or in 2006, with their percentage of vote in 2004, 2006 and 2004 CoH followed by 2006 CoH;

0406name (district)04 CoH06 CoH
94% 96% Jose E. Serrano (NY-16)$73k$20k
93%92%Edolphus Towns (NY 10)$208k$92k
80%84%Joseph Crowley (NY-07)$546k$718k
75%76%Eliot L. Engel (NY-17)$131k$199k
72%73%Louise M. Slaughter (NY-28)$378k$257k
71%100%Gary Ackerman (NY-05)$834k$862k
70%70%Nita M. Lowey (NY-18)$878k$1.07m
66%70%Steve Israel (NY-02)$808k$1.13m
63%65%Carolyn McCarthy (NY-04)$521k$627k
56%61%Timothy H. Bishop (NY-01)$449k$716k
51%79%Brian M. Higgins (NY-27)$530k$463k

This year has been a little more bleak, despite Harrison's eventual better results than Barbaro. Only 2 of the 20 members of Congress in NY state contributed (Nadler, Valezquez), down from 8 of 20 in 2004. Of the two then competitive seats, Higgins and Bishop, both of them won re-election this year with over 60%. Thus none of the 20 members of Congress in 2004 (not including 2006 freshmen) were re-elected with less than 61% this year. 7 of the 11 on the list above are now sitting on more CoH than they did in April.

Of the 2004 donors who did not contribute in 2006 here are their numbers;

100%100%Gregory W. Meeks (NY-06)$146k$166k
89%94%Charles B. Rangel (NY–15)$455k$474k
81%84%Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-14)$646k$697k
70%100%Anthony D. Weiner (NY-09)$528k$177k
70%78%Michael R. McNulty (NY-21)$303k$303k
67%100%Maurice Hinchey (NY-22)$125k$143k

4 of these 6, 11 of the 17 listed are now sitting on more CoH than they did after 2004. Combined, these 17 members who did not give are now, post election sitting on $8.18 million. That is up from the 18 members who after 2004 were sitting on $7.21 million.

Just to close out this post, I am not suggesting that all of these members must fund every challenger, as that would quickly wipe out their CoH which is needed for some. What I am suggesting though is that in light of the sweep of Congress and the 29+ new members, the foresight was there to know that Democratic challengers were strong this year and any funding would go a lot longer than it did in 2004. For these members to sit on so much money is ridiculous. Now I haven't had a chance to cross reference if they contributed to other races, but I do know that they overlooked the only race in their backyard (for most of them). They easily could have swung $20-40k into this race if they wanted, and now we have to wonder how much it would have cost to reach out to 7% of the district. Even if say $40k at the high end did not flip the seat, a closer margin of victory for Vito would have put this seat on notice for the DCCC and 2008 donors. What we need to look at going forward is a commitment of $20-40k from these members of Congress to the Democratic nominee at the start of their campaign, or the day after the primary should it be contested.

Rep. Weiner; none
Sem. Schumer; none
Sen. Clinton 10/27: $1,000
Vitory '06 11/02: $1,000

Also Part II:
I need to say a special note of thanks to Rep. Nadler. Not only did he give, but he gave to the campaign back in April. That money back then goes a lot further than some of the last minute donations the week leading up to the elections when advertising and printing costs are already budgeted and paid for. This is not a knock on Nydia though, my understanding is that there were campaign laws that prevented her from contributing earlier.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Forgive me for the slow posting, but I imagine there is not as much urgency with our readers now that election day has passed. Jumping head first into blogging a race consumes your life, and the past few days have been free of politics, or rather I have reduced my political intake. I have learned a lot in the past eleven months and this is definitely just the beginning of things to come with this district.

Stephen Harrison lost his race 57-43% against our favorite member of Congress, who still has nothing to show for all his time spent in D.C. This is the closest anyone has come to knocking off Vito, the previous was in 2004 in a bitterly divided presidential election when Frank Barbaro took 41%. I will crunch the numbers later this week and break down both money and voting patterns should any emerge.

In 2004 Barbaro had close to a $450,000 to Fossella's $1.2 million. In 2006 Fossella had nearly $1.3 million to Harrison's $109,000. Clearly financing this race is a major problem and most likely the top issue to address in 2008.

There is a positive take away from this race however and that is Janele Hyer-Spencer's win of the 60th Assembly seat. Her 700 vote margin of victory seemingly owes at least a small portion to the strength of the Congressional candidate up ticket. Had the Democrats not fielded a candidate, or fielded someone similar to their 2000, 2002 candidates I have to wonder if a Democratic pick up in the AD would have been possible. Of course there are many factors that lead to her victory and I don't mean to downplay the candidate or her campaign. Her victory whether or not in part due to the congressional race is great news for the next congressional match up in 2008.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Congratulations to Janele

Janele Hyer-Spencer will be one of New York's newsest Assemblymembers, after her election victory has become official. Watching the numbers come in was at times nerve wracking, hovering just above and briefly under 50%, until the final few districts put her ahead for good.

With her victory Staten Island now only has 1 Republican City Council Member (plus 1 vacant seat held by Lanza), 1 Republican Assembly Member, and 1 State Senator.

While the implications may be a little more long term, winning very local elections is one way we will retake this Congressional seat, if meerly by reducing the experienced Republican bench.

Janele was the first candidate who took this blog seriously and reached out on several occassions with political knowledge and insight. She impressed me with some early and rather intelligent web research/outreach team. Best of luck to her in Albany. It will be nice to see Assemblywoman Hyer-Spencer campaigning along side our '08 congressional candidate, that is if she is not the nominee.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

stephen's numbers

Vito Fossella [GOP] 55933 56.72%
Stephen A. Harrison [Dem] 42673 43.28%
Reporting: 522 of 523 precincts - 99.81 percent

Ok I am done for tonight with this, analysis or something intellectual will come later.


D. Janele Hyer-Spencer [Dem] 10752 51.57%
Anthony C. Xanthakis [GOP] 10096 48.43%
Reporting: 99 of 99 precincts - 100.00 percent

Waiting on info on absentee ballots, provisional ballots, etc...

Monday, November 06, 2006

Don't call it an upset

But you can call them upset constituents if you want. So this will be the last post prior to the elections tomorrow. I started posting back in December because I heard Frank Barbaro was having a press conference and got excited about the potential candidates for this year. To say I was underwhelmed at first would be an under statement. To say we have one of the best candidates I could have expected would similarly be an understatement.

Tomorrow you need to vote. If you care about healthcare for all, if you care about our troops and getting them out of this pointless war, if you care about our veterans, our teachers, our workforce. Tomorrow you need to vote. If you are not better off than you were two years ago, vote for change. But more importantly if your neighbors are not better off, vote for change.

But your work does not stop there because you need to bring people out to the polls with you. Tomorrow Stephen Harrison, the underfunded opposition will show the political world reason and strong policy can prevail over a big wallet and shallow leadership. Some people may call it an upset at the end of the day, but it really is just common sense prevailing. Vito is wrong on Iraq. Vito is wrong on Social Security. Vito is wrong on supporting Bush. But it is not enough just to vote against Vito, because in Stephen Harrison we have an amazing man of character. Pull that level for a Democrat tomorrow if Washington is no longer working for you, and see what happens.

To Mr. Harrison, you have shown us a lot in your resolve, and this district is better for having you. Tomorrow we RETAKE NY13.

Support our Veterans, vote Democratic

I have been canvassing a lot recently in several districts both federal and state, and one nice foot note I have is that the majority of the houses I am hitting with veterans I end up talking to someone who has had enough and is voting for Democrats. Staten Island and Brooklyn are no different.

via the SI Advance;

Harrison, an attorney from Brooklyn who is challenging Fossella, said veterans "are the group that has been hurt the most by the Bush administration over the last five years."

Fossella, he said, "wraps himself in the flags," but voted against granting Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans a $1,500 bonus and, in 2003, against expanding Tricare health benefits to National Guard and Reserve troops serving in the war.

"These are the kinds of things we have to reverse in this nation," Harrison said.

While Rep. Vito Fossella may flier the district with literature patting himself on the back for being the sole savoir of the VA hospital consider this;

1. Veterans benefits are horribly underfunded, even with this administration increasing funding recently. How many bills has Vito introduced to increase funding for Veterans benefits?

2. If Vito is so excited he saved the VA hospital, why as a member of the majority party who controls Congress was the hospital ever on the list for closures? If he has any power it would never have made the closing list, otherwise it just reinforces how ineffective he is for this district. Which one is it?

If you think Vito is strong on Veterans benefits think again. We should sparingly use our armed forces, because they are our sons and daughters and husbands and wives, and when we do need to send them off to fight on our behalf there should be no doubt that they are fully prepared and adequately protected. Filling up Walter Reed is not how I would consider supporting our troops and future veterans.

And how is this for veteran support of Harrison? The former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, General Clark endorsed Stephen Harrison.

Bill Clinton on line 1

The last minute flurry support is interesting, and you have to think these guys don't just get involved in any old race;

via the SI Advance;

Former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) recorded the "robo-calls" and the messages began hitting households over the last few days in anticipation of tomorrow's election.

"I support Steve Harrison because he has the honesty and vision America needs now, whether it's winning the war on terror, helping families realize their dreams, or restoring our nation to its place of world leadership," Clinton says.

When Fox News thinks it looks bleak...

It is a hard day to be a true Republican (these aren't your parent's Republicans) and tomorrow is only going to be worse.

Newsweek's latest generic Congressional polling (will you vote for a Democrat or Republican?) has Democrats leading by 16%, 54%-38%. 53% say they want Democrats to control at least one of the Houses.

If Newsweek is too partisan (to the left) for you, which is somewhat laughable, how about Fox News;

By a 13-percentage point margin, more voters think most Democrats in Congress deserve to be re-elected (46 percent) than think most Republicans deserve re-election (33 percent). Furthermore, a 52-percent majority of voters says most Republicans in Congress do not deserve re-election, including 33 percent of self-identified Republicans.

and how about this kicker;

Americans are about equally likely to say the country would be safe from terrorism if Democrats gain control of Congress (28 percent) or if Republicans keep control (31 percent), with another 35 percent saying it would not make a difference which party has control.

On Iraq, by a 37 percent to 30 percent margin, voters think it is more likely a solution would be found if Democrats win control than if Republicans stay in power.

No More Ski Trips

So Rep. Bob Ney, Vito's skiing partner from Vail resigned Friday. Who knew? Apparently after being convicted of two felonies, he stayed in office while his Republican party looked the other way. He plead guilty back on October 13, yet stayed in office and earning $3,100 a week! Rep. Fossella and the majority of the Republican party failed to call for his immediate resignation and choose to adjorn for the fall instead of removing him from office. They kept him on the payroll (our tax dollars) for weeks even though Congress was no longer in session and he had no work to do.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Bridge revisited

So remember that whole bridge thing? Stephen Harrison had suggested eliminating the toll for residents of the district based on federal laws which require congressional districts to be compact and contiguous. Part of that plan was to implement High Speed EZPass.

Hating to be shown up by someone actually proposing 'ideas' Rep. Vito Fossella went on the attack trying to change the talk to two way tolls instead of toll elimination. Part of his made up criticism was that need toll features would drastically increase conjestion in the district.

What Vito failed to remember was his own involvement in bringing High Speed EZPass to the district when he managed to get funding for it on the Outerbridge Crossing, which we covered back in September;

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.”

By the way this plan also garnered the praise of Republican Gov. Pataki. However to make matters worse for Vito, the SI Advance, who has been less then generous towards Harrison's campaign, actually followed up on this bridge issue;

As the candidates traded barbs, motorists driving the 407 Express Toll Route in Toronto cruise through a toll collection system without barriers, where transponder technology similar to E-ZPass collects tolls. Those without the device have a photo of their license plate snapped, and the system cross-references with vehicle registration data to dispatch a bill.

Harrison points to this configuration, installed in 1997, and variations in Melbourne, London and California, as evidence of how the system could work.

Canadian commuters have shaved an average of 30 to 45 minutes off their commutes each way, according to 407 ETR spokesman Dale Albers.

"It's extremely efficient," Albers said. "There's no lineup of vehicles queuing because you're not slowing down drivers."

The road is traveled by more than 340,000 cars daily, with 78 percent using transponder tags, and the rest, including American drivers, sent bills in the mail.

Now the Advance is very reluctant to even appear critical of Fossella on small matters, so this reporting is rather astounding. They could easily have gone without this follow up article and no one would have been the wiser. What is curious is whether they either are seeing through Fossella's mediocre representation or if they are starting to see that Harrison is the most competitive candidate this district has seen and are slowly warming up to the concept of actual ideas.

However, despite occasional hiccups, like drivers who change their addresses, 407 ETR boasts an accuracy rate higher than 99 percent, Albers noted.

Harrison believes the system could work here to collect the $267 million in annual tolls at the Verrazano.

A two-way toll would discourage trucks and travelers using only one side of the span, he says, and staggered toll prices could be used to discourage road-clogging trucks and rush-hour traffic.

So not only would this have the potential to reduce congestion caused by old toll booths, it could have the side benefit of having truck traffic rerouted. Surely Vito can find a problem with that, I have no doubt.

Jon Orcutt, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, called the high-speed toll-collection plan "feasible," adding that the MTA, one of the world's largest toll agencies and the only one in the region that has not yet implemented some form of high-speed toll, is "behind the curve."

Though Orcutt said Harrison's notion of exempting drivers in the congressional district from paying the toll is "absurd," he said the candidate is on the right track in terms of creating a more efficient and less polluting system by cutting back on idling at toll lanes.

Of course they couldn't go a whole article without at least a slight jab at Harrison, and having a non-government individual criticize the toll exemption worked for their needs. Needless to say the pros Mr. Orcutt cites in Harrison's plan clearly are reason enough to consider Harrison's plan as a starting point as opposed to Fossella's lack of a proposal. I guess Fossella is implementing his "stay the course" strategy on congestion and pollution. Hey it clearly has worked well for him on Iraq...

The Running Man

Stephen Harrison (he is the one on the right if that wasn't obvious): 4:47:38

Go Volunteer

Posting will be slow through Tuesday, so go out an volunteer you won't miss many posts. Call the offices and see what help they need;

SI: 718-720-8683
Brooklyn: 718-836-0760

People are starting to talk about a win in this race, even the SI Advance. It is all about GOTV efforts now. Every person you get to vote is one more vote for Steve, it is that simple.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

de Blasio campaigning for Steve and Janele

Election Day is fast approaching! Bill will be hitting the streets in Bay Ridge this weekend to campaign for Janele Hyer-Spencer for State Assembly and Steve Harrison for Congress and he would love you to join him.

General Wes Clark Endorses Stephen Harrison

November 3, 2006. Little Rock, AR.
Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander General Wesley Clark today endorses the candidacy of Stephen Harrison in New York's 13th Congressional District.

General Clark said, "Today Americans face many difficult challenges at home and abroad. There has never been a time when foreign affairs were as closely linked to our daily lives as they are now. While fighting the causes of terrorism that threaten our country, we also face a changing global economy that demands America educate its young men and women so that they can successfully compete for good jobs in the global marketplace. We need Stephen to fight for us in Congress, and I am pleased to endorse him today.

"As a community activist, attorney, and family man, Stephen has devoted his life to serving others. Married and the father of two children, he is committed to family values, economic growth, a strong military, healthcare and education reform, lower taxes and energy costs, Social Security protection, and ending government corruption.

"Stephen's integrity and experience are much needed in government today. In voting for Stephen Harrison, New Yorkers will return honesty and accountability to our political system and reduce the influence of special interest groups. They will gain a representative who looks out for their concerns and places the good of our country above partisan politics."

General Wesley K. Clark is a retired four-star general and served as the Supreme Allied Commander of Europe where he commanded NATO forces and directed Operation Allied Force in the Balkans, putting a stop to the ethnic cleansing by the Serbs

Advance calls Vito's crap

via the SI Advance, which is important because Vito references the paper in his ads, take a look;

Democratic congressional candidate Stephen Harrison yesterday accused Republican Rep. Vito Fossella of lying to Staten Island voters by falsely stating in a campaign mailing that Harrison wants to protect "the rights of terrorists."

The mailing, which hit Island households within the last few days, says Harrison opposes the Bush administration's controversial national security wiretapping program and claims he does so because the program violates the "rights of terrorists."

The mailing includes a citation from the Sept. 30 issue of the Staten Island Advance that could lead voters to believe the newspaper quoted Harrison as using those words.

But a review of Advance records shows that Harrison has never made such a comment.


In the Advance article, "Opponents clash over terror legislation," Harrison does not use the word "terrorists," nor does he make comments pursuant to the claim that he is supporting them.

A further review of Advance records, as well as other media covering the race, do not show Harrison making any comments backing the rights of terrorists.

"Quotes or no quotes, it was attributed to the Staten Island Advance -- but it never appeared in the Staten Island Advance," said Advance Editor Brian Laline.

In addition to the flier, a Fossella advertisement being aired on radio all week also accused Harrison of the same thing. The radio ad specifically says Harrison supports the rights of terrorists "according to the Staten Island Advance."

Vito, a record of failure to run on

via Brooklyn Papers;

The budget surplus has been squandered on tax cuts. The post 9-11 good will of the world has been sacrificed for an invasion of Iraq that was hyped as vital to our national security, yet has only endangered it. Our addiction to fossil fuel has not been curtailed and our environment not cleaned up. The list is endless.

But the war in Iraq, like no other issue, defines where this country is headed. During the last mid-term election season, when our battle against Taliban-backed Osama bin Laden (remember him?) was just beginning, Americans chose not to change horses in mid-stream.

Four years later, the Bush administration and the Republicans who control Congress have a record of failure on which to run. And Rep. Vito Fossella has been with the president every step of the way.

It’s too bad that national Democratic officials choose to stay away from this vital battle. As a result, Fossella’s worthy opponent, Democrat Steve Harrison, was left to fight — and raise the money needed to take on an incumbent — alone. As a result, the race has almost entirely been defined by Fossella’s campaign commercials, in which he laughably claims to be an “independent.”

Harrison is articulate, right on the issues — and, most important, would not be a rubberstamp for two more years of Bush administration failure.

We heartily endorse Steve Harrison for Congress.

I wish the storyline that is starting to repeat itself was not 'what if Steve had the support and money.' Strategists for both parties are predicting a much closer race than in 2004, so should Harrison win, and I am not more privvy to numbers than anyone else, we are looking at the absolute collapse of the Republican party with Veto in the drivers seat.

The Seawall; an explanation

via Courier-Life;

With the election less than a week away, the ongoing slug-fest between Rep. Vito Fossella and challenger Steve Harrison has moved from rude to ridiculous.

Case in point: a recent e-mailed ad to residents on the Brooklyn side of the 13th Congressional District claiming that Steven Harrison caused the downfall and destruction of the Shore Parkway promenade.

You might recall Rep. Vito Fossella's attempt at attacking Harrison over the seawall at the fifth debate in Brooklyn. Unfortunately for Vito the crowd appeared to favor Harrison's leadership skills in preventing overdevelopment in the community.

“The Community Board is a group of volunteers,” said Harrison. “The only way we can get change is to demand it from the bully pulpit. Over the years both myself and my predecessors had asked him [Fossella] time and time again to please get the money to fix the seawall and he paid no attention. But after the seawall collapsed into the water, he went down there to take a picture in the remnants.”

Harrison went on to say that, while he claimed credit for getting the promenade repaired, Fossella “didn’t give ten cents to the repairs.” The job to repair the promenade was ultimately left to the Army Corps of Engineers, he charged.

In a press release this past May, Fossella’s office said that the Congressman “had secured $5 million in federal authorization from the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) to help offset the cost of the project.”

“[Fossella] is lauding himself for something that he should be blamed for,” Harrison said.

Throwing money at a desperate situation

via the conservative natured NY Sun;

Mr. Fossella, the lone Republican in New York City's congressional delegation, cruised to re-election in the 13th Congressional District in 2004, snaring 59% of the vote. This time, however, he is under greater pressure to distance himself from President Bush, who, though not on the ballot, suffers from low approval ratings in New York State.

And although his opponent, Stephen Harrison, has raised about $109,000 compared to Mr. Fossella's $1.3 million and has not received financial support from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, an expected strong Democratic turnout has obliged Mr. Fossella to go on the offensive.


With corruption and scandal prominent issues this election season, Mr. Fossella recently found himself facing ethics questions of his own over reports, first published in the New York Daily News, that he used campaign funds to finance family ski trips to Vail, Colo. When asked about Mr. Fossella's expenditures, Mr. Donner said, "Everything done by the campaign has been consistent with the law."

Prior posts on Vail:
Fossella and Ney
Fossella in Vail

Friday, November 03, 2006

Fossella and Bush

via Brooklyn Papers;

Fossella also predicted that “the window [of American involvement] is closing.”

He wants to stay put until that happens.

“From Day One, I’ve said, ‘Let’s finish the job, let’s do it right, let’s give our troops the tools they need.’ ”

This despite voting against providing them with health care coverage via Tricare.

Fossella’s sunny forecast not only contradicts Democratic challenger Steve Harrison, who has sought from the outset to make Fossella’s strong support of the Bush-led occupation a campaign issue.

It also flies in the face of what’s become conventional political wisdom, as Republican candidates across the country distance themselves from both Bush and his war.

With Republicans such as Tennessee Senate candidate Bob Corker and New Jersey hopeful Tom Kean Jr. saying that the U.S. needs to get out of Iraq quickly, Fossella echoed the Administration’s rhetoric:

This in addition to Rep. Shays (R-CT) and Sen. Hagel (R-NE) who have both called for a timed withdraw.

But the closing remarks by Stephen Harrison are by far the best;

“We will ‘lit drop’ every single home in the entire district, we’re doing robo calls [including separate ones from Bill Clinton and his senator wife], and on Election Day, people will be everywhere,” he said.

“We can do it. Fossella has no message. He’s an absence of message. He’s just trying to hold on now.”

If you are sitting around this weekend give the Harrison headquarters a call and see how you can volunteer.

Staten Island: 718-720-8683
Brooklyn: 718-836-0760

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Cleaning House

via ucomics.com

Events for you

The campaign is constantly running literature distribution and phone banks out of both offices. (Staten Island, 370 Forest Ave, and Bay Ridge, 544 Bay Ridge Parkway). Drop by either office anytime after 1:00pm and they guarantee they'll have something for you to do!

Friday, November 3
6:30 - 9:00AM: Leafleting at the Staten Island side ferry terminal--just meet us there.
6:30 - 9:00AM: Leafleting with Steve at the express bus station, 86th St. & 14th Ave., Dyker Heights.
10:00 - 4:00: Steve will be out campaigning at a variety of locations in Dyker Heights, and he'd love for you to join him. If you're free during the day on Friday, give us a call at the Brooklyn office, 718-836-0760.
3:30 - 7:00PM: Leafleting at the Manhattan side ferry terminal. Please call the Bay Ridge office, 718-836-0760, to confirm.

Saturday, November 4
Canvassing all day in Staten Island and Brooklyn. Volunteers from Manhattan, consider coming out to Staten Island for a day! Catch the 11:30 ferry, and meet drivers at noon at the Staten Island side ferry terminal. If you can make it, please call us at 718-720-8683 or reply to this e-mail.
1:00 - 4:00 Burma-Shave visibility event in Staten Island. Bringing our surprisingly popular roadside attraction to a new neighborhood!

Sunday, November 5
Steve is running the Marathon! We'll be lining the route to support him and raise our visibility in Bay Ridge. If you're coming to watch the race, stop by one of our tables between 8:30 and 10:00 (one will be on 3rd Avenue at 75th Street, and one on 5th Avenue at 86th Street) and pick up a sign to wave along the route. Once the runners pass by, we'll break up and keep canvassing in Brooklyn.

Monday, November 6
6:30 - 9:00AM: Leafleting at the Staten Island side ferry terminal--just meet us there.
6:30 - 9:00AM: Leafleting at Brooklyn side subway stations--call the Bay Ridge office for details.
3:30 - 7:00PM: Leafleting at the Manhattan side ferry terminal. Please call the Bay Ridge office, 718-836-0760, to confirm.
6:00 - 8:00: Major literature distribution in Staten Island--come one, come all, for our last chance to blanket Staten Island neighborhoods with literature and get Steve's message out to voters! If you're coming from Brooklyn, we will arrange car pools. If you're coming from Manhattan, let us know what ferry you'll be on and we'll have drivers meet you.

Steve's Thursday events

Inside City Hall on NY1 has been moved to tonight (bumped from last night).

He's scheduled for a radio interview at 8:30am tomorrow, so tune in to WWRL.

At 11:30, he's having a joint press conference with Congressman Weiner to address veterans' issues.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Today's events

Steve will be interviewed on Sam Seder's show on AirAmerica, around 10:30am. You can listen live on their site, airamerica.com

Steve will be interviewed on "Inside City Hall" on NY1 (a segment to air between 7 and 8pm; repeated 10:30-11:30pm)