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Queens Democratic Party to voters: We don’t give a damn what you think

In June, Wyatt Gibbons lost a Queens civil court judge seat to Lumarie Maldonado Cruz by 17,000 votes, 62% to 38%. The message from Queens voters seemed clear: We don’t want you.

Apparently the Queens Democratic Party didn’t get the message. At their convention this month, the party gave Gibbons a State Supreme Court seat, a position with higher pay and better benefits than the original position he’d run for. This is completely legal, as under New York state law, Supreme Court Judges are nominated by the parties (curiously, Gibbons also sought and received a cross-endorsement from the Queens GOP).

To quote Susan Lerner of Common Cause: “If a party can turn around and completely ignore the will of the voters expressed in the last month, then what sort of judicial election system do we have?”

Another way to put it: If your case goes to State Supreme Court, you better be on the right side of the machine.

In other news:

  • It’s a core principle of American government that the people have a right to see how their elected officials are conducting state business, but some New York politicians don’t seem to care about principles: Mayor de Blasio was recently revealed to have joined the long list of elected officials using their personal account for work purposes. Hizzoner used his personal email account for the first 16 months he was in office and, even more disturbingly, referred to himself as “The Tallman” (sic) in some of them. The newly-released emails reveal that May 2015 was the first time de Blasio told his contacts on his private Blackberry to please begin contacting the official government address. As noted, de Blasio was not alone: Governor Cuomo does not have an email address, and communicates using his Blackberry’s messaging system, which does not record messages sent or received.
  • Council Speaker Corey Johnson is, so far, the only (potential) candidate in the NYC mayoral race to self-impose a donation limit of $250 – but about 1/10th of his donations have come from people whose organizations have received millions in discretionary funds from the Council. His campaign account likely still has thousands less in such donations than potential rivals Eric Adams and Scott Stringer, however.
  • Speaking of Eric Adams, the Brooklyn Borough President raised over $2.9 million in donations by March 2018 for “One Brooklyn,” a nonprofit he started in 2014. Government watchdogs perceive this as a serious conflict of interest – a politician’s own campaign account might seem to present no issue, but when his or her nonprofit is receiving millions from the wealthy, how can we know they’re acting in the public interest? 

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • RepresentUs NYC will be holding a meeting on Thursday, August 22nd at 7pm at the Center for Remembering and Sharing (123 4th Ave in Manhattan). We’ll be discussing ways to get involved in the RCV NYC campaign. Please email Tom at tom.e.speaker@gmail.com if you plan to attend.
  • The New York State Public Campaign Financing Commission will hold its first meeting on August 21, 2019 at 1 p.m. in New York City.The meeting is open to the public, and this is our first opportunity to show the commission how much support there is for creating Fair Elections in New York! Please join us outside of the CUNY Graduate Center (365 5th Avenue, New York, NY) starting at 12:15pm to rally in support of Fair Elections for New York. Click here to RSVP. (SOURCE: Fair Elections for New York.)

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