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

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

Monday, December 31, 2007

End of the year, End of the quarter

As the ball gets closer to dropping so do the financial reports for Rep. Fossella for his fund raising efforts from October 1 through tonight at midnight. Story after story is covering his abysmal $50,000 in cash on hand. His ability to finance his campaign as well as he has done in the past is being questioned. He went into massive debt trying to hold off Stephen Harrison and just 10 months from his next election he has yet to climb out of that hole.

If you are looking to help make that hole harder for him to climb out of consider pitching in some money to either Stephen Harrison or the Democratic Nominee Fund (which goes to the winner of the Democratic Primary).

Enjoy your evening whatever your plans, because tomorrow we usher in a new year and new representation for the Thirteenth district. Happy New Year everyone!

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LTE: More Subprime Mortgage Crisis and Fossella

A recent LTE in the Advace;

Who could see the sub-prime mortgage crisis coming? Well, Congress for one.

In April 2005, the Republican Congress tightened up personal bankruptcy filing laws, making it harder for individuals to find relief and get back on their feet. Many Democrats joined in this vote; Bush signed it into law. Who benefited? Not the working poor or the middle class.

Where are his calls for investigations? Where were his efforts before this escalated to this point? If Vito Fossella is part of the problem he can not be part of the

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LTE: Subprime Mortgage Crisis and Fossella

A recent LTE in the Advace;

If Fossella really wants to help the problem, why not lobby for an investigation into the business practices of the mortgage businesses and brokers who made so much money on these loans, fully knowing that most of them would default? Fines for fraud violations could be applied to a fund for the victims. I don't expect to see that from Vito, since he receives much of his campaign money from banks and financial industry services and probably would not want to hurt his friends.

The people of Staten Island need some new thoughts and some real answers to the problems we are facing now and in the future. We don't have to accept the hollow offers and half-hearted attempts at problem solving. We can demand that government work for the people again instead of the other way around.

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

1704 Days Later

Two milestones unfortunately passed, 1700 days since "mission accomplished" and 3900 American troop deaths in a senseless war.

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Friday, December 28, 2007

Steve Harrison's end of Quarter Ask

I enjoy seeing how much Steve Harrison's campaign has grown and learned from his last campaign. He is already out of the gate with the starts of a new website redesign, he is investing in his fund raising efforts and he is doing email campaigns putting up some initial money for a mass mailer program for campaign emails like this one that came in tonight;

Dear ,

I wish you a healthy and prosperous New Year.

As 2007 approaches its end, the December 31 financial filing for our campaign is fast approaching.

A good filing coupled with our recent endorsement by Frank Barbaro, a democratic icon, will catapult us into the New Year with great momentum! At a news conference last Friday, Frank endorsed me because we share a common philosophy and democratic values. Check it out on YouTube!

With Frank’s boost and the outpouring of support I’ve received from you and so many others, I am especially confident that I will be your next representative in the United States Congress.

If you have already donated, please accept my thanks. If not, and you intend to do so, a contribution before the end of the year will have great influence on future donors and endorsers alike.

Please click here now to help us make a strong showing for this crucial filing. Your contribution of $100, $500, $1000 – or any other amount – will go a long way.

Happy New Year and on to victory!


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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

LTE: Vito Fossella on Immigration

An LTE in the Advance;

Republicans, however, worry about the guy doing their lawn. The middle class is being destroyed . Health benefits are becoming a memory. Pensions are gone. They're trying to destroy Social Security, college loans are harder to come by, the dollar is in free fall, but watch out for them there immigrants.

Where is Fossella on immigration;

U.S. Rep. Vito Fossella, R-N.Y., has proposed the scheme to withhold federal highway funds for purely political purposes. It's a stunt linked to the presidential race, in which New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and other Democratic contenders have wrestled with the question of whether it makes sense to issue driver's licenses to residents who have not completed the immigration process.

The answer, of course, is that it does make sense. Everyone who drives should go through the proper preparation and testing before they take to the road. By making driver's licenses available to all, states ensure that more people who get behind the wheels of automobiles know the rules of the road.

Unfortunately, some politicians have seized on the driver's license issue as a way to bash a selected minority of residents and those leaders who seek to create rational systems for responding to the surge in immigration. Fossella is one such politician.

Fossella's bill would punish states that seek to make their highways safer by denying them highway funds. It's a measure that is as dangerous as it is senseless. And it attacks the underpinnings of the federal system by creating a new tool for forcing state officials to follow the dictates of distant bureaucrats in Washington.

Where is Fossella on issues like Iraq;

Your search - Iraq site:http://www.vito2008.com - did not match any documents.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas Vito Fossella

via the Advance;

Peace activists raised their voices in song against Rep. Vito Fossella last night, caroling original compositions outside his Amboy Road office and his home.

Ten activists and soldiers' mothers from across Staten Island joined the Granny Peace Brigade in the two-hour-long protest against the Iraq war, which ended only when police shooed the carolers from in front of the congressman's home.


Elaine Brower of Great Kills, an organizer for the Movement for a Democratic Society, said Fossella has "stubbornly refused to meet with his constituents to discuss his voting record on the Iraq war."

Brower's son, James, has served two tours with the Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan and is slated to redeploy again in 2008. She expressed outrage over Fossella's perceived snub of constituents.

One of the carolers wrote in the comment that the police had recommended/asked them to move from the street to the sidewalk for their safety but otherwise never made them leave.

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Media coverage of the Barbaro endorsement

The Advance is up with their article on the endorsement;

Steve Harrison, who will be running in New York's 13th Congressional District, which includes Staten Island and southwest Brooklyn, was given the thumbs up by former state Supreme Court Justice Frank Barbaro at the St. George Ferry Terminal.


"The fact that Frank came on a night like tonight ... it shows the depth of the support," said Harrison.

Unfortunately the article seems light on research with presumptive comments like this;

They insist that, despite the money Fossella has in his campaign war chest, Harrison can win.

Fossella's FEC filings are easily accessible showing him with a massive 'war chest' of $50,000. We already covered that the Politico is reporting this as some of the worst incumbent fund raising efforts this cycle. In fact Fossella's 'war chest' only has $13,000 more in it than that of Stephen Harrison. Factor in debts owed by each campaign and Harrison has a $58,000 advantage. So much for Fossela's 'war chest'. Nonetheless we are getting media coverage much more often and much earlier in the cycle now which is a net positive, despite poor reporting.

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Video of Steve Harrison at the Barbaro endorsement

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Video of Frank Barbaro's endorsement

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Frank Barbaro and Stephen Harrison fund raising

Elizabeth at the Daily Politics, the NY Daily News political blog, covers the Barbaro endorsement. For me the most interesting quote of it all is this;

He also rejected the argument that it will take $1 million or more to run a successful campaign against Fossella, who spent $1.3 million to Harrison’s $130,000, saying: “I think it will take $500,000, and I think we can raise that.”

'WE can raise that'. Remember that Barbaro raised $425,000 in his campaign in 2004, so he knows how to raise money and has the connections to do so.

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DCCC to go after Rep. Vito Fossella

We hoped. We saw signs. Now it is official. Rep. Van Hollen released a list of the 40 House seats he has on his radar as chairman of the DCCC. Rep. Vito Fossella is one of those targeted seats. Clearly the DCCC believes they can make major gains in NY with four seats on this list (NY13, 25, 26, 29). via Roll Call;

"We're now letting our base know, our supporters around the country know, that it's critical that they now start directing resources to some of our key challengers," Van Hollen said. "We think we've done a good job putting our Frontliners in good shape."

Remember this is even more of an impact given the Republican counterpart to the DCCC, the NRCC like Fossella is in debt and nearly out of money and currently won't be able to bail out Fossella's campaign or even match the DCCC spending here.

h/t to MyDD

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Press release on Barbaro's endorsement

NY Political Icon endorses Democratic Congressional candidate Steve Harrison Former State Supreme Court judge and assemblyman Frank Barbaro endorses Harrison 6 PM December 21 press conference at the ferry terminal in Staten Island.

(Staten Island, Brooklyn) Iconic 80 year old former worker organizer, assemblyman and New York Supreme Court judge Frank Barbaro will endorse Democratic Congressional Candidate Steve Harrison at a 6PM, December 21, press conference at the ferry terminal, St George, Staten Island.

Harrison, is challenging New York 13th Congressional District (Staten Island and Southwest Brooklyn) incumbent Vito Fossella, New York City’s only Republican House member, again in 08, after receiving a higher percentage of the vote in 06 than any Democrat since the district’s creation.

Barbaro, in a prepared statement also marveled at Harrison’s o6 election achievement, calling it remarkable for a first time candidate with limited funds.

Barbaro cites Iraq, universal healthcare, preserving social security and protecting worker rights as among the reasons for his support of Harrison.

“Your positions on these issues demonstrated a deep commitment to American Values set forth in our Constitution and to our core Democratic values.”

Barbaro, whose public service career spans more than 50 years, also lauded Harrison’s community involvement.

“Your record of community achievement rooted in volunteer efforts over many years tells me that you will be guided by those you represent, not self interests or the greed of developers that is strangling our community. It is rare that we find a candidate who is honest and a man of integrity like you who always tells the truth,” said Barbaro.

Barbaro, a former longshoreman and labor organizer, after two unsuccessful runs, was elected in 1973 to the New York State assembly representing the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Bensonhurst and Gravesend, serving until 1997, when he joined the State Supreme Court.

After retiring from the bench in 2003, Barbaro in 2004, like Harrison two years later, ran against Fossella, becoming the first Democrat to crack 40 percent against the Staten Island Republican. He also challenged incumbent mayor Ed Koch in a 1981 Democratic primary.

Barbaro, who pursued a law degree at night while working as longshoreman, currently maintains a private law practice in the Albany, NY suburb of Watervliet. Through that practice, he’s still battling Fossella. Barbaro acted as legal council in April for anti-war protesters dubbed the Fossella 5. The group was arrested for disorderly conduct and trespassing after they refused to leave the Republican’s office when his staff wouldn’t contact the Congressman to set up a meeting. The charges were eventually dropped.

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Frank Barbaro endorses Stephen Harrison

Yesterday, 2004 Democratic candidate Frank Barbaro endorsed Stephen Harrison in his campaign to take on Rep. Vito Fossella.

This could be a very interesting development in two areas. First it reinforces the activist and progressive trending towards Harrison. In 2004 Barbaro was the favorite candidate of many new political activists coming out of several presidential campaigns. He had the backing of groups like DFNYC and if I recall NDM among others who turned out large amounts of volunteers to phone bank, canvass and poll watch. Barbaro's campaign was actually my first introduction to politics in the district.

The second area is fund raising. Barbaro was almost the dream candidate for this district in terms of fund raising. He pulled in $425,000, keeping Fossella to just a little over a 2:1 financial advantage. When ever we talk about the DCCC getting behind a candidate you hear that they want to see candidate who can raise $250,000+. If Barbaro was in the race today he certainly would have the DCCC very excited by what he pulled in. If Frank can use his connections and fund raising prowess to Harrison's advantage we could see a nice healthy influx of cash. The question is what if any financial impact Frank will have.

Overall great news for Harrison as he probably will capture the few headlines and talk for this race prior to the fourth quarter FEC filings, our first glimpse at what Recchia has been able to amass.

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Fossella skips out on Energy vote

Oil. Alternative fuel. Energy Independence. Stuff Rep. Vito Fossella has no opinion on. Via Politicker;

28 of 29 New Yorkers in the House voted for the bill (NY13 Blog note: the Energy Bill) when it came up for its final vote last week (it cleared the chamber on a 314-100 vote). The lone exception was Staten Island’s Vito Fossella, who didn’t show up to vote.

The bill is The Energy Independence and Security Act, HR 6. Fossella didn't even vote no like he normally does, he didn't even vote. He couldn't even bring himself to be one of the 198 co-sponsors of the bill, so certainly he can't say he supported it and wanted it to pass despite his failure to do his job and vote.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Politico on Fossella's abysmal finances

The Politico puts together a run down of House members who have low, or in Rep. Fossella's case abysmal fund raising numbers. We knew his numbers were going to take a big hit after he lost one of his committee seats, but his fund raising efforts are starting to surprising political insiders.

$50,286 - Rep. Vito Fossella (R-N.Y.)
$115,249 - Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.)
$108,336 - Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio)
$206,084 - Rep. John R. Kuhl (R-N.Y.)
$376,692 - Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.)

He has less than half what the next closest House member, Rep. Schmidt has. On top of that he already has one of the most expense media markets, but no one on this list comes close. Rep. Lamborn serves in a Denver suburb and Rep. Schmidt more than likely has to compete with Cincinnati markets. Neither can compare with NYC and they have more money for a cheaper market. Fossella's numbers really are surprising pathetic for a ten year incumbent. His party has to be cringing at the thought he is making this a much easier pick up opportunity.

Speaking of his party remember that the RNCC has more debt than cash and more likely than not will not be able to throw cash into this race on his behalf should polls start showing this as close as it is.

via CQPolitics;

The DCCC spent $2.7 million in November, leaving it with $30.6 million in cash on hand, according to FEC reports. The NRCC, meanwhile, spent $2.9 million — more money than it raised for the month. It lags way behind the Democrats in cash on hand, with just $2.3 million.

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More Rudy

"Republican Giuliani Plummets In National Poll", via the WSJ;

After holding a double-digit advantage over his nearest rivals just six weeks ago, the former New York City mayor now is tied nationally with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at 20% among Republicans, just slightly ahead of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at 17% and Arizona Sen. John McCain at 14%. Other polls show Mr. Giuliani's lead shrinking in Florida, one of the states he has based his strategy around.

see also:
Rudy's poor showing is bad news for Vito Fossella

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Vito Fossella votes for middle class families to pay more taxes

First Fossella cries and bemoans Democrats for not passing a patch to the AMT only to vote against it two days later. It passed by the way, thanks to the Democrats he claimed were "dragging their feet."

Monday, December 10, via the Advance;

Fossella (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn) issued a release today blasting House Democrats who are "dragging their feet" when it comes to passing the patch to the alternative minimum tax (AMT). Fossella cites that as a result of their not passing the patch, 23 million middle-class families will have to pay as much as $2,000 more in taxes next year and the 50 million Americans that are owed about $75 billion will have to wait an extra 10 weeks for their returns due to the delay.

Wednesday, December 12;
Rep. Vito Fossella voted AGAINST passing the AMT patch. This must mean that Vito Fossella wanted 23 million middle-class families to pay $2,000 more in taxes and wanted to delay tax returns for another ten weeks for 500 million Americans.

November 9;
Rep. Vito Fossella voted AGAINST HR 3996 the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2007.

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LTE: Disappointment in Katrina Aid

A recent LTE in the Advance;

I would like all the do-gooders who have voiced their opinion that the government didn't do enough for the people who were affected by Hurricane Katrina, to take a look at the Advance article of Dec. 4 regarding the $500 million in fraud that was stolen from the American people. You can hardly blame these people for taking the money that was literally thrown at them by the government.


We were conned and the government was a knowing accomplice to this huge ripoff. Human nature, I guess, caused these people to take and steal in the wake of a tragic incident. It does not bode well for the reputations that they left behind. Unbelievable!

On top of loses in funding we have people like Rep. Fossella who despite mismanagement of funding and despite the lingering massive need for more help, voting against anything that would help those still struggling in a post
Katrina life
. Human nature may explain why people took the money, but it can not begin to explain the lack of compassion Rep. Vito Fossella has shown the victims.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Giuliani's poor showing is bad news for Vito Fossella

via the NY Sun;

Rudolph Giuliani's decision to largely abandon the early voting state of New Hampshire and concentrate his efforts on the Florida primary three weeks later reflects an uncomfortable truth for the former New York mayor: The more he campaigned in the Granite State and the more he spent on advertising there, the more his poll numbers dropped.


He must now be sure to win Florida on January 29 to capture its large cache of delegates, as part of a strategy that sees him withdrawing from the smaller early states in favor of states such as New York, California, and Florida, which send large numbers of delegates to the nominating convention.

However, the wisdom of that strategy was cast in doubt yesterday by the latest poll in Mr. Giuliani's home state of New York showing the mayor's lead over his nearest Republican rivals cut by 11 points.

Any decline by Rudy is good news for Harrison and Recchia. Should Giuliani win the Republican nomination it will be a difficult, maybe impossible road ahead for the Democrats here as Rudy will undoubtedly run extremely well in Staten Island and easily poll several points above any other Republican candidate. As I discussed in my very first post Fossella and Bush pulled nearly identical numbers in each AD back in 2004 while the Democratic candidate Frank Barbaro saw down ballot attrition caused by John Kerry voters turning out to the polls in large numbers but not voting past the office of President. In another presidential year the Democrats benefit from a Republican Presidential candidate that does not excite New Yorkers.

see also:
Rudy Continues his Death Spiral
Giuliani tries to revitalize campaign in Florida
Rudy Giuliani's Poll Numbers Tank in New Hampshire

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Vito Fossella's recent legislative votes

AMT Relief Act of 2007, HR 4351
Vote Passed (226-193, 13 Not Voting)

The House passed this measure to patch the alternative minimum tax that would be financed by a pay-as-you-go plan.

Rep. Vito Fossella voted NO

Intelligence Authorization Act, FY2008, HR 2082
Vote Passed (222-199, 10 Not Voting)

This bill authorizing intelligence spending would also ban waterboarding, mock executions, and other severe methods of interrogation.

Rep. Vito Fossella voted NO

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Monday, December 17, 2007

LTE: Flag waving won't help veterans

From a recent LTE in the Advance;

It is nice to hear that Elizabeth Hasselbeck of the "The View" has had a healthy baby boy, but is this top news?

Meanwhile, our soldiers are being treated like nothing upon their return from their duty -- hospitals in poor conditions; waiting hours and hours for a doctor to see them within uncomfortable, metal hospital beds.

Our soldiers are being demolished for no reason except for greed and for oil's sake! How long are we going to wait before it gets even worse? Just put out your flag. That will solve everything -- while these soldiers are maimed, and without proper veterans' benefits for themselves and their families.

For those of you no longer interested in just waving a flag and saying support our troops, Rep. Fossella has a solution. Window signs! You can do both with just one sign and not tire your arm. Thanks Vito Fossella!

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

1,690 Days Later

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Vito Fossella bought by those who profit from subprime lending victims

Recent news in the Wall Street Journal on Wall Streets involvement in the subprme mortgage crisis raises some concerns over where Rep. Fossella's loyalties lie;

The group's big bet that securities backed by risky home loans would fall in value generated nearly $4 billion of profits during the year ended Nov. 30, according to people familiar with the firm's finances. Those gains erased $1.5 billion to $2 billion of mortgage-related losses elsewhere in the firm. On Tuesday, despite a terrible November and some of the worst market conditions in decades, analysts expect Goldman to report record net annual income of more than $11 billion.

Rep. Fossella has taken $17,500 from Goldman Sachs, with $5000 of that coming in last year's election cycle alone. Rightfully so a few eyebrows are being raised then by what Goldman knew and who exactly they were serving, their clients or those at the top reaping these massive gains;

Goldman's success at wringing profits out of the subprime fiasco, however, raises questions about how the firm balances its responsibilities to its shareholders and to its clients. Goldman's mortgage department underwrote collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs, complex securities created from pools of subprime mortgages and other debt. When those securities plunged in value this year, Goldman's customers suffered major losses, as did units within Goldman itself, thanks to their CDO holdings. The question now being raised: Why did Goldman continue to peddle CDOs to customers early this year while its own traders were betting that CDO values would fall? A spokesman for Goldman Sachs declined to comment on the issue.

Goldman bet money and profited against this subprime lending craze all the while underwriting those debts. Can you have responsible government when your representative is taking money from the likes of Goldman Sachs, and not just a small contribution. Goldman's $5,000 is more than any individual is legally allowed to give ($4,800) raising the question of who Rep. Fossella represents and listens to when it comes time for him to draft and vote on legislation.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Vulnerable Republican representatives

There is an interesting if not slightly complex analysis by a blogger over at Swing State Project that attempts to use statistics to understand competitive Congressional districts. I won't say I can elaborate any more on plf515's analysis but some of it may look familiar as I have tried to tackle similar topics (demographics and PVI);

If you want to model the probability that a district will elect a Democrat, then the predicted value is the probability of them electing a Democrat. If they *do* elect one, then the residual is 1 - the probability. If they elect a Republican, then the residual is the probability. So, one way of looking at vulnerability is to see Republicans who have high residuals - that is, the district seems likely to elect a Democrat.

For our first model, we'll use Cook PVI as the IV. Cook PVI is basically a measure of how the district voted in 2000 and 2004 presidential elections.

Not surprisingly, there's a strong relationship between Cook PVI and congresperson's party: The mean Cook PVI in Republican represented districts was R + 9; in those represented by Democrats, it was D + 11.

There are 25 districts where the model predicts a Democrat, but there really is a Republican:

Now, let's look at models of demographics:
If we model race (%Black, %Latino and %Other Race.... leaving out %White to avoid collinearity) we get the not surprising result that increases in any of these make the district more likely to elect a Democrat.

Based on this model, there are 70 vulnerable Republicans

TX02 AL01 AL03 AZ01 CA03 CA21 CA24 CA26 CA41 CA42 CA44 CA45 CA48 CA49 CA50 CA52 CT04 DEAL GA01 GA10 IL06 NC08 NJ07 NM01 NM02 NV03 NY13 OH01 OH12 OK05 TX03 TX07 TX10 TX26 TX31 TX32 VA01 VA05 VA10 VA11 WA08 SC04 AL02 FL21 GA07 MS03 NJ02 OK04 TX24 VA02 AKAL CA19 CA22 CA25 CA46 FL18 FL25 GA08 LA04 LA05 LA06 LA07 MS01 OK01 SC01 SC02 TX01 TX06 TX14 VA04

NY13 has a D+1 PVI and is the 12th most vulnerable district in terms of PVI vs. incumbent's political party.

Next, I looked at income and urban-ness, and, again not surprisingly, districts that are higher income are more likely to be Republican, and those that are more Urban are more likely to be Democratic. Based on this model there are 79 vulnerable Republican districts:

AZ02 AZ03 CA03 CA21 CA26 CA41 CA44 CA45 CA49 CA50 CA52 FL01 FL07 FL08 FL09 FL10 FL12 FL13 FL14 FL15 FL24 IL06 KS04 LA01 MI11 NJ03 NJ04 NM01 NM02 NV03 NY13 OH01 OH12 OH15 OK05 PA15 PA18 TX03 TX07 TX13 TX26 TX31 TX32 WA04 WI01 SC04 FL06 FL21 NE02 NJ02 OH03 TX11 TX24 UT03 VA02 AZ06 CA02 CA19 CA22 CA25 CA46 CO05 FL04 FL18 FL25 LA06 LA07 NV02 OH08 OK01 SC01 TN02 TX02 TX06 TX12 TX19 UT01 WA05

The 2000 Census shows that in Staten Island family household income was struggling to make ends meet. 15.2% of the borough made less than $25,000.

5.3% made less than $10,000
3.3% made $10,000 to $14,999
6.6% made $15,000 to $24,999

Finally, let's put it all into one model. This model worked somewhat better, and identified 20 hyper-vulnerable Republicans.
AL03 AZ01 CT04 DEAL FL10 KY05 MI07 NM01 NV03 NY13 NY23 PA03 PA15 WA08 NJ02 PA06 IA04 MI04 MI06 OH06

Only 5 members of Congress feel into all three categories, one being our very own Rep. Vito Fossella.

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Vet Real Estate Tax Exemption

I came across this LTE and was rather unfamiliar with the topic, Vet Real Estate Tax Exemptions. It might be of use to someone out there or someone may be able to fill me in with some background on the issue;

Attention all military veteran homeowners:

The veterans' real estate tax exemption is heading for extinction. The
2007 veterans' real estate tax exemption decreased 27 percent.
Contacting local politicians, past and present, has proven futile.

Just remember those who did nothing as the veterans' real estate tax
exemption heads for zero.

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Sunlight in the Thirteenth District

via Sunlight Projects;

Beginning in 2006, the Sunlight Foundation launched the Punch Clock Campaign, asking all candidates for congressional office – challengers and incumbents – to promise, if elected, to post their daily schedules on the Internet. Lawmakers who agree to share their schedules, including who they've met with and why, show that they are responsive, open, transparent and above all accountable, leading to greater public trust.

Inspired by the 60 percent of Americans who 'punch a clock' to account for their time at work, Sunlight asked why members of Congress should not also account for their time to their employers: the citizens they represent. With the aid of ordinary people across the country, Sunlight asked candidates to sign a pledge to post their schedules on the Internet once elected.

Check out the map (http://punchclockmap.sunlightprojects.org/) today. Are your members of Congress missing from the map? If so, please call them today and ask them to post their daily schedule on their Web sites.

Currently Rep. Fossella is not working with the Sunlight Foundation or independently making his schedule publicly available. Feel free to contact his office and encourage him to do so. Congress works for you not themselves.

As for Steve Harrison and Domenic Recchia feel free to let me know if their campaigns are willing to sign onto the Punch Clock campaign.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Republican leader agrees Bush bringing down Republicans

In the last post and in prior ones I have been laying out the need to "keep Fossella connected to Bush." Now Rep. Boehner, the Minority Leader for the Republican party agrees that doing so is damaging. via Politico;

Polls show the public holds congressional Republicans in low esteem. Boehner’s effort to craft a new agenda for Republicans remains under wraps. And in the minority leader’s own words, their fundraising “sucks.”

“Now the money sucks for two reasons,” Boehner said in a Politico interview. “People are mad at the president; they are mad at the party. And then [there is] this whole immigration fight. People just turned off the spigot.”

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OH-05 vs. NY-13, is there anything to learn here?

Yesterday there was a special Congressional election in OH-05, northwest Ohio. The only reason I bring this up is the voting break down is very similar to NY-13. Both in 2006 and yesterday the Republican won the race 57-43%, which was the final here in 2006 between Fossella and Harrison.

OH-05 2006
Gillmor (R) - 56.85%
Weirauch (D) - 43.15%

OH-05 2007 (Dec 11)
Latta, Robert (R) - 56.87%
Weirauch, Robin (D) - 42.95%

NY-13 2006
Fossella (R) - 56.80%
Harrison (D) - 43.20%

The difference in the districts comes in the partisan make up of the voters. OH-05 has a PVI of R+10 whereas NY-13 has a PVI of D+.5. To put it another way take a look at the Bush v. Kerry totals in the two districts;

Bush - 60.93%
Kerry - 38.53%

Bush - 54.61%
Kerry - 44.50%

So a much more conservative and Republican leaning district in Ohio gave us as close of a Congressional race as we have here. Why?

I haven't had time to formulate any thoughts on this myself except to say that there appears to be unsatisfied Republican voters who are voting against the party message. The Republicans had two different candidates in 2006 and 2007 so it seems as though there is more of an issue of frustration at Bush and/or the party than at the candidate regardless of who it is. If true this would be the precursor for us in 2008. Keep Fossella connected to Bush.

Of course this probably all goes out the window if Giuliani is on the top of the ballot.

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Military Families trust shifts to Democrats

via the LA Times article from earlier this week;

Now the disapproval of Bush appears to have transferred to his party. Republican leanings of military families that began with the Vietnam War -- when Democratic protests seemed to be aimed at the troops as much as the fighting -- have shifted, the poll results show.

When military families were asked which party could be trusted to do a better job of handling issues related to them, respondents divided almost evenly: 39% said Democrats and 35% chose Republicans. The general population feels similarly: 39% for Democrats and 31% for Republicans.

"The Democrats are not seen as the anti-soldier group anymore," said Charles C. Moskos, a military sociologist at Northwestern University. He added that Bush's firm backing of the troops did not gain him any points because the entire country was now viewed as supportive of the military, even if not of the war. "He doesn't get extra credit for that."

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Vito Fossella's recent legislative votes

Creating Long-Term Energy Alternatives for the Nation Act HR 6
Vote Passed (235-181, 16 Not Voting)

An Act to move the United States toward greater energy independence and security, to increase the production of clean renewable fuels, to protect consumers from price gouging, to increase the energy efficiency of products, buildings, and vehicles, to promote research on and deploy greenhouse gas capture and storage options, and to improve the energy performance of the Federal Government, and for other purposes.

Rep. Vito Fossella voted NO

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LTE: Bush vs. Democratic Congress

I am moving on from writing introductions to these. I think you understand the drill by now. A recent LTE in the Advance;

Bush's little war, which was going to pay for itself, will cost over $1 trillion. Even with that, we could have kept our economy stable, but not when Republicans gave billions to the top 5 percent.

Who is going to get stuck with the bill? The poor, the elderly, the middle class, but not that 5 percent. Then you read article after article saying things like, President likens Congress to teen with credit card.

Where is it written that the media has to regurgitate Bush's lies? When they know a politician is lying and media repeats the lies as though it were the truth, that's called propaganda.

I sense a larger amount of letters coming through expressing displeasure in either Fossella, Bush or government as a collective whole. Continue to connect Fossella to Bush and you have a campaign strategy.

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Halt the MTA Fare Hike

The MTA still proposes fare increases on 86% of all trips taken by subway and bus riders - those who use discount or unlimited MetroCards. Fares for LIRR and Metro-North commuters as well as bridge and tunnel tolls are also slated to rise.



Monday, December 10, 2007

Defeating Vito Fossella

First off go read the full article by Daniel Millstone over at the Daily Gotham that this post is based on.

Daniel has a wonderful post where he catches up with Sen. Diane Savino and discusses her current support of Domenic Recchia in the context of progressivism. First off the quote that should sum up this whole race for the Democratic Party;

For me, the question is which of them can win. On their worst day, either Steve or Domenic would be better much than Vito Fossella. Electing either Harrison or Recchia would be a great victory. I campaigned hard for Steve in 2006 and, if he’s the candidate in 2008, will do so again.

Diane goes on to outline a fund raising benchmark of $500,000 that she feels any candidate would need to raise by the end of the fourth quarter in order to basically have a good shot of defeating Rep. Vito Fossella. The threshold would potentially bring the DCCC to the district, which they seem anxious to do. Domenic seems to agree at least with the scale of fund raising needed;

Recchia, a Democrat, said he would have to raise about $2 million for the race and said he hoped to have a "significant" amount of money banked by Jan. 1.

I thought I recalled Recchia or someone close indicating the need to raise $200k by the end of the quarter, but the quote eludes me.

And finally Diane hits on a familiar note;

Savino expressed disappointment at the vitriolic atmosphere, name calling and hostile remarks which the supporters of Harrison & Recchia had resorted to.

Seeing this as well, this was my suggestion;

So instead of going after each other or wasting time doing work for Fossella, let's use this time to explain to voters of the district that Fossella continues to want the war in Iraq to go on indefinitely, Fossella continues to support President Bush and his failed policies and when given the chance Fossella has failed to step up and do anything meaningful in Congress.

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Fossella Fund Raises

via Tom;

Fossella marked the occasion [his 10 years in Congress] by gathering about 600 of his closest friends and backers for a fund-raiser at the Excelsior Grand, New Dorp.

After his contributions went down by 33% and his cash on hand went down by over 50% from the second quarter to the third, Fossella desperately needs to raise all the money he can in this fourth quarter.

If you have any Recchia or Harrison numbers or fund raising stories you want to share as always email me at ny13blog(at)gmail.com

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LTE: Discontent with the administration

In a recent 'Letter to the Editor' (LTE) in the SI Advance a writer comments on his discontent with the Bush administration and the rest of the Government in DC;

Wake up, America. Speak out and see what is going on in your government while you are trying to just survive in America today. And I would also ask at what point would a Republican feel ashamed of and terrified by this administration for its outright lies, the outing of a covert agent, extraordinary renditioning, holding people in Guantanamo without bringing charges after four years, leaving them in limbo, illegal surveillance and wiretap, destroying the American economy and trashing the Constitution?

The adversity to not just the President but Fossella's party remains high. How the Democrats will speak to these constituents is what will make or break their campaign.

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Military families lose confidence in Bush and Fossella's War

via LA Times;

Families with ties to the military, long a reliable source of support for wartime presidents, disapprove of President Bush and his handling of the war in Iraq, with a majority concluding the invasion was not worth it, a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll has found.

The views of the military community, which includes active-duty service members, veterans and their family members, mirror those of the overall adult population, a sign that the strong military endorsement that the administration often pointed to has dwindled in the war's fifth year.

Nearly six out of every 10 military families disapprove of Bush's job performance and the way he has run the war, rating him only slightly better than the general population does.

And among those families with soldiers, sailors and Marines who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan, 60% say that the war in Iraq was not worth the cost, the same result as all adults surveyed.

Bold editing my own. The question then is, how can you support our troops and their families if you support Rep. Fossella?

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

How can Vito Fossella be fiscally responsible with $9 trillion of debt?

The Advance ran another ad article on Rep. Vito Fossella. They praise him for 20 paragraphs on his fiscal hawkishness and all but deem him the only person keeping our national spending in check. I am sure Fossella appreciates that the Advance writes this stuff so that he doesn't have to use his own spokesperson to pat himself on the back.

Staten Island's congressman tries to keep on the lookout for what he considers to be wasteful federal spending. Doing that is his duty, of course. According to Mr. Fossella, he has voted so far to reduce careless government expenditures for the 2008 fiscal year by at least $23.7 billion.

Psst, did you try looking over here at the war in Iraq? You remember that debacle right Advance? Back in January 2007 it was costing us $300 million a day. Where is Rep. Fossella's outrage?

In the days before the war almost five years ago, the Pentagon estimated that it would cost about $50 billion. Democratic staff members in Congress largely agreed. Lawrence Lindsey, a White House economic adviser, was a bit more realistic, predicting that the cost could go as high as $200 billion, but President Bush fired him in part for saying so.

if he wants to look into wasteful spending, where is his demand for a Congressional hearing on why this administration so grossly under estimated the cost of the war to date. The higher $200 billion is just slightly off of the $1.2 trillion estimates from nearly a year ago. But congratulations nonetheless on reducing careless expenditures by $23.7 billion, that is a whole 79 days of expenses for the US in Iraq.

Let's put this in perspective for a moment. $23.7 billion is a large number. The fact that it is so minusculed by the ongoing costs of this war alone truly shows Rep. Fossella's priorities. Sure there is a war, but is the Congressman just puts out another press release or shows us some endorsement for his Fiscal Conservatism maybe we can stop focusing on all those negatives of a $9 trillion debt. If you will just praise Fossella and not look behind the curtain all will seem rosy. Then again if the Advance won't look at what the $1.2 trillion price tag for Fossella's war in Iraq could have instead funded, let me show you;

doubled "cancer research funding, treatment for every American whose diabetes or heart disease is now going unmanaged and a global immunization campaign to save millions of children’s lives."

Combined, the cost of running those programs for a decade wouldn’t use up even half our money pot. So we could then turn to poverty and education, starting with universal preschool for every 3- and 4-year-old child across the country. The city of New Orleans could also receive a huge increase in reconstruction funds.

The final big chunk of the money could go to national security. The recommendations of the 9/11 Commission that have not been put in place — better baggage and cargo screening, stronger measures against nuclear proliferation — could be enacted. Financing for the war in Afghanistan could be increased to beat back the Taliban’s recent gains, and a peacekeeping force could put a stop to the genocide in Darfur."

But none of that is happening. A you can be sure that if any of that was proposed fiscally scrudge-like Fossella would most definitely vote against them and then roll out a press release letting tax payers know what he saved them.

So pardon me while I am skeptical of the Advance and Rep. Fossella's new found defender of fiscal integrity award, but where have you been for the past seven years when the debt has jumped from $5.7 trillion when Bush took office to the expected $10 trillion when he leaves. Where have you been for six of those seven years when you were part of the majority that crafted the budget, that oversaw our spending and had the chance to put a stop to all of this needless waste? Where were those airplanes then Rep. Fossella?

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Friday, December 07, 2007

Fossella and Bush oppose alternative energy funding

You pay $3 a gallon at the pump because of six years of Fossella's majority acting like this;

via the Houston Chronicle;

The House approved the first increase in federal automobile fuel efficiency requirements in three decades Thursday as part of an energy bill that also repeals billions of dollars in oil company tax breaks and encourages the use of renewable fuels.


The bill would roll back $13.5 billion in tax breaks enjoyed by the five largest U.S. oil companies with the money to be used for tax incentives for development of renewable energy sources like ethanol from grasses and wood chips and biodiesel and for energy efficiency programs and conservation.


The centerpiece of the bill is a requirement to boost automobile fuel economy by 40 percent to an industry average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020, the first such increase since 1975, when Congress enacted the federal auto fuel economy requirements.

Rep. Vito Fossella opposed this long term energy alternative legislation, no surprise really. This is a bill that President Bush has promised to veto so that Exxon and other oil giants don't lose their tax breaks while they are pulling in record profits. Vito Fossella happily obliged President Bush's wishes and sided with Exxon.

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Steve Harrison speaks on traffic congestion

I came across this brief mention of Steve Harrison commenting on
traffic congestion. It is good to see Mr. Harrison's public
appearances and participation in discussions across the district have
been going strong for a few months now. It appears that Rep. Fossella
did not have anyone representing him there.

via Walking is Transportation;

At the November 5 Staten Island public hearing called by the NYC
Traffic Congestion Mitigation Commission and held at Williamson
Theatre within the sprawling, suburban-style campus of the College of
Staten Island (CSI), there was a notable unanimity on on plaNYC's
Congestion Pricing proposal among Staten Island's elected


Citizen comments

--Steve Harrison, a Brooklyn resident and currently a Democratic
candidate for the Brooklyn/Staten Island congressional seat now
occupied by Republican Vito Fossella said, through a spokesperson
reading his testimony, that transit improvements must be made before
Congestion Pricing is instituted. Harrison also expressed the concern
that the proposal could result in a two-tier, class-based transit
system, with the rich riding limos and everyone else stuffed into
buses and subways.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

DCCC likely to play offense here

Two weeks ago I posed the question will the DCCC play offense here in the 13th in response to news that they plan on going on offense in 40 districts with their millions of dollars cash advantage. That answer appears to be yes!

via The Hill comes a little more detail;

"We have 40 seats at least — and growing — where we have good challengers in place, and that makes for a very big playing field this time around," Van Hollen said at a briefing with reporters.

Van Hollen's list includes some districts Democrats have not competed in for years, including Rep. John Shadegg's (R-Ariz.), Rep. Vito Fossella's (R-N.Y.) and Rep. Steven LaTourette's (R-Ohio).

Bold text my own edit. This is why we compete here a year and a half out. Certainly this has to be some of the worst news for Rep. Vito Fossella.

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Fossella targeted by National Wildlife Federation

The National Wildlife Federation has released their "Final 50" list today highlighting 50 members of Congress they are targeting who have yet to endorse the Safe Climate Act or the Climate Stewardship Act. Should these final 50 holdouts endorse the bill there will be enough support to overcome a likely veto by President Bush, ensuring that Congress acts in an appropriate manner and reduces global warming related pollution.

Congratulations Rep. Fossella on making the list!

via the National Wildlife Federation;

How did we choose the Final 50?
Each of these representatives have supported some solutions to global warming--but they have yet to endorse a bill that measures up to the challenge.


Rep. Fossella voted for the Renewable Electricity Standard. He also voted for the Sense of Congress resolution calling for Congress to pass legislation that mandates reductions in global warming pollution. But, he has not supported comprehensive global warming legislation.

Help the NWF sway Rep. Fossella and get him onboard.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

LTE: Finding a Humane Health Care Solution

In a recent 'Letter to the Editor' (LTE) in the SI Advance a writer discusses the need for universal health care;

We feel it is utterly objectionable that SCHIP, the successful and kind Children's Health Insurance Program, is having so much difficulty being reauthorized.

"It has been the only success story in initiatives to improve health-care access," says Cindy Mann, who directs Georgetown University's Center for Children and Families. This program has been a step towards changing what is a national shame: Millions of American men, women, and children with no health insurance.

Recent U.S. Census Bureau figures released in August, show an estimated 47 million Americans, 9.4 million of which are children, were uninsured in 2006, up from 15.3 percent in the previous year. According to the nonpartisan Institute of Medicine, about 18,000 Americans die each year because they don't have health coverage.


We feel passionately that every person deserves health care! That is why we support HR 676, The U.S. National Health Insurance Act, sponsored by Rep. John Conyers. It is the solution America is looking for!

Rep. Fossella to date is refusing to support this bill.

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Fossella's President to cut funding to NYC security

Via the Associated Press;

A Bush administration plan to slash antiterror grant programs by more than half would threaten the safety of U.S. cities, New York politicians charged Saturday.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, DN. Y., blasted the administration's plan to eliminate some port and rail security programs and to cut Homeland Security grants for states and cities from $3.4 billion in the fiscal year 2007 to $1.4 billion in 2009.

Senators Schumer and Clinton along with representatives of Mayor Bloomberg have all spoken strongly condemning President Bush's short sighted and outrageous plan to cut security funding which would drastically impact New York City. Rep. Fossella has also joined the chorus attacking this illogical plan. Via the Advance;

"America can't afford to take this giant step backwards in fighting the terrorists. This proposal would gut funding for New York's police officers, firefighters and other emergency responders. It would make our city more vulnerable to a terror attack. I will do everything in my power to make sure this proposal is defeated."

The difference between these officials speaking out against the President's plan is that unlike the two Senators Fossella worked to give President Bush another term in the White House. He works to empower these decisions that come back to bite us. Where is Rep. Fossella's clout with his own party to prevent these disastrous ideas from ever coming to fruition? Now he is working to elect Rudy Giuliani despite the criticism from New York City's bravest and his sub par record on adequately equipping our responders. We can't afford more of Fossella's friends in the White House. We can't afford more of Fossella.

We have already seen that Fossella's lack of clout means he can't get disaster relief funding for his district. He can't get simple honorary motions passed in Congress. Now security funding is going to be cut by the leader of his own party. It is not just that Vito Fossella has no clout in DC he has no respect from anyone else in DC.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

LTE: Fossella opposed air traffic reform

In a recent 'Letter to the Editor' (LTE) in the SI Advance the writer comments on what Rep. Fossella's vote against the recent Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2007 means;

Down in Washington, the anger over delays, missed connections and lost luggage has reached the ears of members of Congress. On Sept. 20, the House of Representatives passed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2007, H.R.2881. (Roll Call Vote 890)

This legislation would require airlines to submit contingency plans to federal transportation authorities on how they would ensure passenger comfort and convenience during long flight and tarmac delays, including plans on deplaning after a lengthy delay.


Although this legislation passed the House, it did not pass with enough votes to survive a potential veto by President Bush. While all the Democrats voted for the legislation, only 43 Republicans voted for it. Our representative, Vito Fossella, voted against the legislation.

If this legislation does not become law and our air travel system does not improve, you now have a name and face to focus your anger on. The next time you miss a connecting flight, are sitting on the tarmac for hours or are looking for lost luggage, just remember Congressman Fossella voted against this legislation.

Bold text my own edit to the above quote.

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