Shining bright lights on backroom deals in the NYC body politic.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

'Tis All About Degrees of Separation

Oh Let Us Count 'Em

Some New Hires at the City Council:

Jeffrey Baker: $65,000

John Collins: $46,000


Jonathan Ettricks, $100,000 (a recent increase)

A lot of moola for a Legislative Policy Analyst, wouldn't you say? Perhaps the fact that Ettricks comes from the Anoroc Democratic Club, home of Queens Chief Tom Manton, didn't hurt his cause?

Ronnie Franks, Jr.: $38,000


Laura Gordon: $42,000

Legislative Investigator

Keith Gugliuzza: $90,000


DeNora Johnson: $60,000

Counsel to the Committee on Governmental Operations

Scott Kirkland: $44,000


Omar Lopez: $45,000


Omany Luna: $60,000


Sylvia Maraia: $8,345


Ululy Martinez: $145,000
Former aide to Bronx Dem Boss, Jose Rivera, who had front row seats at Quinn's inauguration. Also serves as the proud pappa of Council Member Joel Rivera.

Lucy Mayo: $95,000

Quinn confidant; now Policy Director

Brian Nahman: $45,000


Robert Newman: $140,000 (recent increase)

Council's Legislative Director

Troy Outlaw, Jr.: $40,000 (recent increase)


Shauneeq Owusu: $45,000


Desiree Pagan Venegas: $50,000


Richard Persky: $53,000


Christopher Riley: $80,000

Former Spokesperson for the Board of Elections

Antonio Rodriguez: $95,000

Husband of Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera who is the sister of Council Member Joel Rivera, both of whom are the children of Bronx Chief Jose Rivera (see above).

Paul Thomas: $60,000


Ricardo Trinidad: $30,000


Maribel Valencia: $70,000 (recent increase)


Angelisa Ramirez: $30,000

Here we go again: daughter of Roberto Ramirez, famed puppetmaster of Freddy Ferrer and the Bronx gang.

Rangel's Roundin' Up the Troops

For DeBlasio

Looks like the Harlem Charlester is whippin' up the troops for the soon-to-announce Staten Island Congressional candidate Brooklyn Council Member Bill de Blasio. How's that for a triple play?

In a note that went out to the NY Congressional Delegation yesterday (click here to view), Dean Rangel directs his colleagues to "indicate to me what your level of support will be if Bill should decide to run," and concludes by saying that "...I am certain that Bill is deserving of our support."

Doin' the yeomen's work, we tell ya ... luvin' it!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Council's White Fudge

Yummy!

Ok. Roomie's back.

And here's the deal. We are now fully rested individuals ... and are ready to talk turkey.

As promised (tho it took longer than we ever expected), we ran some numbers regarding Quinn's firing techniques ... and we'll gladly share with you what we discovered.

But first, we must mention this one caveat ... that unlike the Council, we DID NOT have access to Council records, and only had limited access to Council staff. And so, our numbers are only as good as we think they are. But we will share with you our calculations anyway, and they follow:

On February 22, 2006, Quinn staff said:


1. That 46% of staffers fired were people of color.


We agree; 45.9% to be exact.


2. That 43% of staffers fired were women.

Ummm ... apparently ... genitalia ... not the Council's strong suit. 44.26% were women, to be exact. And we're not sure how we could give the Council any leeway here.



3. That before the firings, 45% of the Council's central staff was female.

Again, off on the genitalia tip; 46.4% is our answer.


4. That before the firings, 43% of the Council's central staff were people of color.

And we say - NO WAY! Our number is 39.21%. And under our most generous of scenarios, the Council only gets up to 40.6%.

Under the most generous scenario, the numbers would look like this:

Non-Hispanic White: 165 (59.35%)
Non-Hispanic Black: 52 (18.71%)
Hispanic: 41 (14.75%)
Asian: 20 ( 7.19%)

Feel free to talk amongst yourselves...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

In Case You Haven't Noticed!

Roomie Is On Hiatus...

At least for the next few days...

Will be back soon with gusto!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Columbia University Students

Not So Active in NYC Politics

Just an interesting stat: in a recent survey of 310 students, only 9.6% of out-of-state Columbia coeds were registered to vote in NYC.

The Columbia Spectator has more to say about this...

Friday, March 17, 2006

Rangel's Meek Cadi

Not So Cheap

In the world of completely useless expenditures on behalf of the taxpayers are these:

Charles Rangel, Dean of the NY State Congressional Delegation, is driven around his 16-square mile district in a Cadillac Sedan Deville that costs us taxpayers about $1,000 a month.

And even worse is Queens Rep. Greg Meeks who drives a Lexus at a cost of $1,062.85 a month.

Just as a point of comparison, former Mayoral candidate and Queens Representative Anthony Weiner leases a Chevy Impala, which costs us $219 a month.

The edit heads at the Daily News chime in today about this nonsense.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Hack It!

Yowsers!

Wanna see all that is... well... NOT SO GOOD with the NYC Democratic Party?

Check out Ed Helm's hilarious flick about Paul Hackett (who's not the problem), and NYC political consultant, Hank Sheinkopf.

Please, just shoot us now! (video)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Roomie's Still Workin'...

Apologies for the Delay

But here's the deal ...

At issue for us is how to adequately determine the race and gender of Council staffers. Not as easy as one might think...especially since we don't work at the Council (and therefore, must rely on a variety of sources to help us pinpoint every attorney, analyst, secretary and messenger; to help with the effort, please email us at publicsway@yahoo.com).

But, we're still working on it ... and do plan to have a final analysis for you ... hopefully sooner rather than later.

In the mean time, though, we thought it most appropriate to release to you all the information that was released to us in response to our FOIL request. No reason for us not to share...

The only thing we're not currently including - for technological reasons - is in Part III, the list of the entire central staff of the City Council prior to the dismissals (which in the short term, we'd be happy to email to you if you contact us at publicsway@yahoo.com).

-------------------------------------------

Part I: The Council's Official Response
(as given to us)

March 9, 2006


Backroom Deal Breaker


Re: FOIL request


Dated: February 23, 2006


Dear The Editors, Backroom Deal Breaker:


Enclosed is the Council’s response to your above dated request. This response consists of the following:


1. list of central staff terminations;

2. list of central staff prior to terminations; and,

3. statistical information for staff.


Very truly yours,

Edward F. O’Malley
Records Access Officer

-------------------------------------------

Part II: The List of Dismissals (as given to us)

ANGELO, Larian; ANNAMUNTHODO, John; ARBELO, Rick; BAFFI, Giselle; BUTLER, Steven; CASTANEIRA, Evelyn; CHERRY, Claude; COLON, Richard; DAMASHEK, Jay; DARGAN, Denise; DILLON, Alexander (Sandy); DOULALAS, Athanasios; FINGERMAN, Daniel; FONTANO, Joseph; GARDNER, Kebra; GLADSTONE, Seth; GOLDEY, Mark; GOLDSTEIN, Stuart; GRAHAM, John; GROOTFAAM, Barbara; GRULLON, Santiago; GUILLERMO, Angela; IEN, Michael; JACKSON, Tisha; JEDREZYK, Agnes; JOYCE, Patrick; KHAN, Sandra; KURUVILA, Bikku; LaBONTE, Marie; LENNY, Andrew; LIFRAK, Saphora; LOTITO, Natalie; LUHMANN, Daniel; MA, Hui Jin; MARK, Troy; MENSAH, Evans Gyima; MIKUTEL, Sarah; MULLEN, Gloria; PAUL, Ajay; PENA, Pedro; PEREZ, Giovanna DeCastro; PEREZ, Julissa; RANNEY, Nora; ROBIN, Sean; RYBATSKY, GalinaSABALVARO, Maria Christy; SANCHEZ, Luisa; SANTORELLI, Michael; SARICH, John; SERVENTI, Jenny; SOLOMON, Stephen; STEIN, Perry; STROMAN, Kim; THELEMAQUE, Carl; TIXE, Kanessa; TRAMONTANO, Frank; TURRIAGO, Daniel; WILLIAM, Joy Leshaunda; WITZ, Doris Robin; WONG, Yan; ZUBEL, Paul


-------------------------------------------

Part III: Council Calculations
(as given to us)


HEAD COUNT 278


TERMINATED 61 22%


WOMEN 26 / 61 43%


MINORITY 28 / 61 46%


AGENCY TOTAL


58% WHITE


42% MINORITY


54% MEN


46% WOMEN


-------------------------------------------

Monday, March 13, 2006

Clooney to Dems: FU

From One Liberal to Others

Senior Clooney is on a mad rampage ... again. The Oscar's most poetic waxer lets loose in the Huffington Post today. But this time Clooney takes aim at what he calls spineless Dems. Spineless? Lol!

Among them, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and John Edwards - albeit not by name, but by association. The Daily News has the story.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Council FOIL Clock Stops!

14 Days & 14 Hours

That's how long it took the Council folk to fully respond to our FOIL request.

Not bad, not bad at all. Kudos, in fact!

We received the response in its entirety late this afternoon; and to our surprise, it came with no ifs, ands or buts.

We're now processing the information, and hope to have something for you by the end of the weekend.

And with the response, we also close the polls. The results were pretty cut and dry:

72% of you thought Speaker Quinn had something to hide.
28% of you did not.

Only time will tell... we will release to you our analysis as well as all of the documentation the Council sent our way.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Randi's Pavlovian Response...

... To John Stossel's Lesson Plan

We never thought we'd say this, but there's much the NYC school system could actually learn from ABC's 20/20 reporter John Stossel.

Recently, Stossel ran a segment called "Stupid in America," (video) highlighting all the "nasty" things going on in our public schools, and challenging the system to finally face up to them.

But in one part of the segment, Stossel cornered UFT chief, Randi Weingarten, about the negative impact unions are having (video) on our children's education.

Needless to say, Randi was not so happy with Johnny. And predictably, she did what Randi does best; organized a demonstration outside his office to protest his treatment of teachers.

But here's the kicker: unlike the UFT, which has yet to refute any of Stossel's assertions, John Stossel came out and faced the angry mob himself - and in the process not only accepted an invitation to visit a NYC classroom (his previous request to visit was denied), but he also accepted an invitation to debate Randi.

Very refreshing!

And Stossel also notes:

Ironically, before I did "Stupid in America," the New York teachers union wanted to give me an award. The United Federation of Teachers' Social Studies Conference wrote: "Our organization, ATSS/UFT, would be proud to present you with the Hubert H. Humphrey Humanitarian Award for the outstanding work which you have done for social causes. ... Your development and generous sponsorship of In the Classroom Media provide students with the opportunity to enhance their civics education. This is the highest award that we can give to an individual. Past honorees have included Mario Cuomo, Shirley Chisholm, Charles Schumer, Dolores Huerta, Major Owens, Charles Rangel..." (click here to read more)

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Faith-O-Meter

Hi. We're Still Here!

Lucky 13 ... today is the 13th day sans peep from the Council about our FOIL request, aside from ... well ... that one day when they barely acknowledged receiving it.

So in celebration of this reality, we'd like to take a poll.

And no. It's not of the how-many-Council-staffers-does-it-take-to-fulfill-a-FOIL-request variety.

It is: Do Quinn and her gang have something to hide?? Yey or Ney.

That, friendlies, is our question.

Please vote in the sidebar. And feel free to comment as to why you think the Council footsies are a draggin'. Because at this point, we simply do not understand why the information is not being released.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Disrespectin' the Sphere

What Up With That?

Truth be told. We weren't going to say anything. We were just going to sit here and enjoy whatever offline press coverage we got.

But Ms. Sabater, over at Daily Gotham, reminds us that we should expect more; much, much more from those who utilize our services. And in doing so, she goes straight for the Times' jugular.

Needless to say, we couldn't agree with her more, and owe Liza a BIG THANK YOU for watching out for us all!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Roomie's Got Sun!

So Says the Times

Obviously, we can't complain when the Times writes a monstrous piece on our sunlighting abilities.

Now ... if they'd only write a piece on how long it takes our government to turn around mindless Freedom of Information requests ... life would be grand!

Enjoy! Today's piece refers to this discovery.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Is This Significant?

We Just Don't Get It???

What does this mean for Mr. Suozzi or Mr. Spitzer? As reported in the New York Post today:

March 3, 2006
-- ALBANY - Long-shot gubernatorial hopeful Tom Suozzi won a round in his battle against Eliot Spitzer yesterday, as leaders of the Democratic Rural Conference agreed to let Suozzi speak at their nominating convention in Ithaca tomorrow.

DRC officials had initially claimed that Suozzi, the Nassau County executive, couldn't speak because none of the delegates expected at their gathering was willing to nominate him.

But Suozzi has now been told that if he can't find a nominator, "We'll find one for him," said DRC spokesman Brad Mintener.

Who cares?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

As the Clock Ticks

FOIL-A-RAMA

So, now that the Council process of reviewing our FOIL request is officially underway, we thought it would be appropriate to see exactly how long it takes the Council folk to determine whether or not the material we requested "is available".

And again, here's a quick refresher of our requested material:

1. A list of the Council's central staff before the firings.
2. Either the list of the 61 staffers fired (or, if it makes it any easier, a list of the central staff after the firings)
3. The calculations behind the percentages they put out by way of a Council spokeswoman on the day of the firings.

We would assume that this information would be ready to go. And we know that if Speaker Quinn wanted this information on her desk, it would be available to her within the hour.

But in the mean time, we sit and we wait, and we watch the clock in the sidebar tick-tock.

And lastly, while we are happy to pay the $.25/copy, we'd prefer to review the efficiently processed information by email. Just pdf the darn thing...

The Council Responds

Better Late Than Never?

At 6:04PM yesterday, 5 days and 5 hours after our initial FOIL submission, we received the Council's official acknowledgment of our request, saving us the hassle of having to file an immediate appeal with la Speaker Quinn.

The document, btw, was created at 5:25PM yesterday. And as you can see (by clicking on the image on the left), a lot of work went into this arts & crafts project; we didn't even get the Council letterhead treatment?!?!? No matter.

We commend the folks at the Council for taking the time to engage. This is a good thing.

Now we just need to know when we'll be gettin' the info ... that much wasn't made so clear.

But, patience is our virtue. We've got nothin' but time...

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Pissin' On the Peeps

Time's Up!

Unfortunately, it seems like the Council is more interested in prolonging the story of Quinn's Presidents Day massacre (which, given our propensity for cheap web hits, we're more than happy to continue pursuing) than they are in following the law, and sharing with us any of the information we FOILed.

In fact, we haven't even received as much as an acknowledgment - as required by New York State law:

"Each entity subject to the provisions of this article, within five business days of the receipt of a written request for a record reasonably described, shall make such record available to the person requesting it, deny such request in writing or furnish a written acknowledgment of the receipt of such request and a statement of the approximate date when such request will be granted or denied..."


So, we're now going to pursue the next step available to us ... and will file an appeal with Speaker Quinn:

"...any person denied access to a record may within thirty days appeal in writing such denial to the head, chief executive, or governing body, who shall within ten business days of the receipt of such appeal fully explain in writing to the person requesting the record the reasons for further denial, or provide access to the record sought."

And in the mean time, Council folk, we'll be doing our part to keep this story rollin'....count on it!