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4 Days to Go — Voters on THURSDAY, Sept. 13 Can Put an End to the IDC

9 Sep

You, or people you know,  may think the state’s IDC (Independent Democratic Conference) is done and gone. Yes, State Senator Jeff Klein, its founder and leader, no longer has the fancy office or leadership positions handed over by his GOP pals, who wouldn’t be leading the NY State Senate without his help. But Klein and other IDC political pals use IDC money for their campaigns even though they’re not supposed to. They’re still using money that was raised for the IDC. Take a look:

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So this has been reported before, but more voters should know that the IDC is indeed still functioning campaign-wise and it’s just one of the many ways Klein has used — and still uses —  the IDC to benefit his current campaign and those of his entire tawdry team.

According to an article in City & State, Risa Sugarman, chief enforcement office of the New York State Board of Elections, recently issued a letter arguing that, “in order to be in compliance with a June court ruling, members of the IDC must return hundreds of thousands of dollars that was funneled through a finance account to the members from the state’s Independence Party. Of the $2.5 million that the IDC raised in conjunction with the Independence Party, Sugarman pinpointed more than $1.4 million that needs to be refunded.”

Meanwhile, Alessandra Biaggi is getting incredible endorsements and grassroots from so many organizations, unions, and elected officials (including City Comptroller Scott Stringer, who has come to the Bronx to campaign for her several times). And all of that is great, but what’s even more critical to her campaign is your support financially and volunteer-wise. Just go to her website and do whatever you can! (Oh and here is the recent endorsement of The Daily News.)

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State Senate candidate Alessandra Biaggi, a real Democrat, at a forum for State Senate candidates, organized by the Northwest Bronx Community and Coalition last month. Klein didn’t show up. Photo by Jordan Moss

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22 Days to Go: Biaggi Will Attend Bronx Town Hall Tonight for State Senate Candidates. Will Klein?

22 Aug

With only 3 weeks (+ a day) to go before the critical primary vote on Thurs., Sept. 13 for staten senator, in the 34th Senate District (and others all over the city), the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition is hosting a Town Hall tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Monroe College, 2501 Jerome Ave. (near Fordham Road) for Senate candidates interested in representing a few northwest Bronx districts. Alessandra Biaggi will be there. I heard that her opponent, incumbent Jeff Klein has not RSVP’d. Anyone interested in learning where candidates stand on many critical issues — health care, housing, schools, jobs, etc. — are welcome to attend.

Don’t Miss Tonight’s Debate at 9 p.m. – Biaggi vs. Klein for State Senate

13 Aug

Care about the Bronx? Your neighborhood? State politics?

Well, watch tonight’s BronxTalk debate, hosted by Gary Axelbank, between state Senate candidates Jeff Klein and Alessandra Biaggi! at 9 p.m. on BRONXNET – Cablevision channel 67 or Fios channel 33 (will be aired again through Friday at 9 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m.) Here’s an advertisement for the debate in the Daily News today.

For some reason the above ad doesn’t mention Axelbank, the lifetime Bronxite who has hosted critical debates like this for a couple of decades. Here’s a photo of him:

Debate on Monday and 35 Days (Just 5 Weeks!) to Go Before Thurs., Sept. 13 Vote in Critical Bronx State Senate Race!

9 Aug

As I already reported, BronxTalk will air a critical debate between State Senator Jeff Klein (incumbent and IDC founder) and progressive, grassroots challenger Alessandra Biaggi on Monday, Aug. 13 at 9 p.m. . If you can, invite some friends and neighbors over, especially those who know little, and want to learn more, about the campaign. And spread the word about the debate to as many friends local voters as you possibly can! If you won’t be home that night you can always watch it on the web, beginning the next day. Of course, there’s a lot more to learn about Biaggi (and Klein) on her website and in my previous posts. Her site is also a great way to get involved and donate to her critical campaign (it affects the entire state!) .

Some other news:  Biaggi got an essential endorsement from the CWA (below) yesterday:

And in a recent tweet, Biaggi linked to a Gotham Gazette article focused on unanswered calls from Cuomo and legislative leaders for sexual harassment hearings. “The silence is alarming,” she wrote. “Albany needs to be better, now. I’ll fight everyday, and sound every alarm, until women are safe at work. This is not normal.”

Klein Fibs About 32BJ/SEIU Support. It’s Biaggi Who Has Their Endorsement. (38 Days to Go Before Election on Thurs., Sept. 13)

6 Aug

This ain’t right. A few days ago, incumbent State Senator Jeff Klein, founder of the IDC, which enabled Republicans to hold power of the State Senate for 7 years, posted this tweet, implying that he’s been endorsed by the union 32BJ/SEIU:

But that’s just a straight fib. 32BJ/SEIU has not only endorsed his challenger, the true Democrat Alessandra Biaggi (check out third logo under quotes right here), but its taking it to the streets.

Take a look at 32BJ/SEIU members and their leader Hector Figueroa with Biaggi right here …

Biaggi vs. Klein Debate on BronxTalk on Aug. 13 at 9 p.m. (39 Days to Go Before Election on Thurs., Sept. 13)

5 Aug

Just got word from BronxTalk’s veteran host Gary Axelbank that he’ll host a debate between Alessandra Biaggi and Jeff Klein, candidates for State Senate, a week from tomorrow: Monday, Aug. 13 at 9 p.m. It’s on Optimum channel 67 and Fios channel 33. Don’t have those? Well, go to a friend’s house that does have one and invite more friends!   It’s critically important because, as I’ve already written here and here, it’s a local race with impact throughout the Empire State. If you can’t watch it at that time, it’ll be on-line soon thereafter.

40 Days to Go — Klein Has a Lot More $$, but a Lot Less Contributors (Uh, Supporters) than Biaggi

4 Aug

As Cindy Lauper sang, “Money Changes Everything.”

Right? Well, in terms of local elections, particularly the ones this year, it’s a little more complicated than that.

Incumbent State Senator Jeff Klein, founder of the Independent Democratic Conference, which handed Senate power over to Republicans, raised $1.8 million for his campaign. Alessandra Biaggi, on the other hand, has raised only $314,000, according to the investigative website Sludge. So, sounds like she doesn’t have much of a chance to defeat Klein, right?

Well, no, because what matters even more than money in local politics is people, and Biaggi has gathered a lot of them. The number of  her contributors and volunteers outweigh Klein’s significantly. Sludge reports she already has 4,108 contributors. He has only 932. Meanwhile, for Biaggi, 400+ volunteers are on the streets, knocking on doors, making calls, sending post cards and more.

The average donations to Klein are $1,915 and come larger from company’s and PACs. Biaggi’s donation averages are $76. So, thanks to a big pile of corporate donors, his current cash count is over 25 times larger than hers. (You can check out his top corporate donors in a City Limits article by Jeanmarie Evelly, a great reporter I worked with at the Norwood News and Bronx News Network.)

For detailed reports of what each candidate in this race and all state races are raising, and from whom, just go to this contribution database on the  New York State Board of Elections site.  If it isn’t clear already from this and previous posts, you’ll learn from that database that I support Biaggi. Happily. (If you’d like to do the same, go here.)

Have a great weekend, everyone!

 

 

 

 

42 Days to Go — Taking Down Members of Bronx-Born IDC (Independent Democratic Conference)

2 Aug

8.2.18 – I wrote about Bronx politics and critical local issues for almost 20 years, when I was reporter and editor of the Norwood News (in Community Board 7) and the Bronx News Network. One thing I rarely witnessed were Democratic incumbents (all were Dems except for Guy Velella during my tenure) facing primary challengers with a good shot of winning. During my time on the job, except when corrupt incumbents were defeated or stepped down (State Senator Pedro Espada, Councilman Pedro G. Espada, State Senator Efrain Gonzalez, Councilman Larry Seabrook, Nelso Castro, Eric Stevenson, Israel Ruiz, etc., etc.) few if any vets of the City Council, state Assembly, or state Senate, faced significant challengers.

But times have changed. If there’s one thing to be grateful to Trump and his seemingly corrupt victory for, it is this: excellent and energized freshmen progressive candidates are taking it to the streets along with big teams of dedicated volunteers. They are acting on the fact that state and local elections are as – and even more in many cases – critical to democracy and local issues as presidential elections. What happens – or doesn’t happen – locally has a dramatic impact on national politics as well. Even big-shot former U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neill famously said, “All politics is local.”

And it is not just local in terms of issues affecting Bronx residents and neighborhoods, but residents and towns of the entire Empire State.

And that’s because of the IDC, a team of eight “Democrats” who sided with Republicans in the State Senate, handed over all of the real power of Democrats to the GOP. That’s blocked every essential bill on critical issues like voting rights, school funding, a Health Care Act, and the DREAM Act from passing in the State Senate and joining forces with the Assembly, vastly controlled by Democrats.

State Senator Jeff Klein, of the Bronx, formed the IDC in 2011. It wouldn’t have existed without him. (Technically, it no longer exists since Cuomo made them shut it down earlier this year, but Klein and his team are being told to pay $1.4  million they received from the Independence Party. Like almost all other IDC incumbents, Klein faces a strong challenge from Alessandra Biaggi, who already has 400 volunteers on her team taking it to the streets, knocking on doors, phone banking, writing post cards, contributing whatever they can. Here’s her recent video.

Bronx Democrats (including me) have moaned and groaned for years that our votes don’t  count for much, particularly in presidential elections. But this is a Democratic primary with epic issues (local, state and national) at stake. Your vote – and participation – matters. Big time.

So learn more and volunteer for Biaggi (or any of the other challengers to IDC incumbents ) right now! There are only six weeks to go! The primary is on Thursday (yes, Thursday!) September 13.

Oh, and if you’d like to learn more about the IDC, check out this excellent, brief video Zephyr Teachout did last year.