Archive | November, 2010

The elections hit Black power hard: The time to start fighting back is now

18 Nov
By BILL LYNCH, Chairman of Bill Lynch Associates

It is hard to believe that just two years ago, many of us stood in the plaza in front of the Harlem State Office Building cheering and weeping for joy over the election of the first African-American president, Barack Obama. There is no other way to describe the feeling in the wake of the 2010 elections than terrible, especially for African-Americans in New York and nationally.

In New York State, we will no longer have an African-American governor, and with Democrats in danger of losing the State Senate that we only just won in 2008, leaders John Sampson of Brooklyn and Malcolm Smith of Queens, both African-American, could lose their posts. Continue reading

Giuliani? What was Cuomo thinking?

18 Nov

By ELINOR TATUM, Publisher and Editor in Chief

Black New Yorkers went to the polls on November 2 and helped give Andrew Cuomo a big electoral victory over Carl Paladino. Blacks represented 18 percent of the electorate, up from 10 percent in 2006.

And how is the governor-elect thanking Black New Yorkers?

He has appointed Rudy Giuliani to his transition team as co-chair of the public safety committee. There cannot be a greater slap in the face to Black New Yorkers than this appointment. Continue reading

State Senate Democratic majority: Every vote counts and we are counting every vote

11 Nov

By STATE SEN. BILL PERKINS

Most of the focus of the 2010 election has been on Capitol Hill, but closer to home here in New York, there are three closely contested races where counts are still underway that will determine which party holds the majority in the now Democrat-controlled State Senate. These races are outside of New York City, in Nassau, Westchester and Buffalo, but we need to keep a watchful eye on them because of what’s at stake for communities of color and also because widespread voting irregularities throughout the state have called the new voting system into question. There are still thousands of absentee, affidavit and emergency ballots yet to be counted and we need to make sure New York in 2010 doesn’t become what Florida was during the 2000 presidential election. In these contests, only hundreds of votes separate three Democratic incumbents—Craig Johnson, Suzi Oppenheimer and Antoine Thompson—from their Republican opponents. The outcome will impact policies in New York for years to come as Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo takes the reins of power in the executive mansion. With control of one half of the State Legislature in the balance, voters deserve a full, fair and honest accounting of the ballots cast in these races, especially after previous electoral debacles. To that end, Democrats have now launched what we believe to be the largest election protection effort New York has ever seen. This was the first general election run on new electronic voting machines. Voters and poll workers were not accustomed to the new system. In Suffolk County, there have been wild swings in the initial counts in the 1st Congressional District and the 1st Assembly District. Meanwhile, in Nassau County, there are reports of ballots that weren’t scanned. Overall, there may be as many as 10 races in dispute throughout the state because of voting discrepancies. All across New York, we heard reports of ballots rejected because voters checked, rather than filled in, the bubble next to a candidate’s name. The law states that every ballot where the voter made their intention clear must be counted, but these ballots weren’t. This is an area that could require further legislation to protect voters. In addition, thousands of votes cast by men and women serving in the military, or who for some other reason were unable to travel to a polling place on Election Day, have yet to be tallied. These citizens have every right to be heard. Make no mistake, we will not allow a rush to judgment to quiet the voice of the people. Democrats have dispatched teams to make certain every vote is counted. Although Republicans want to declare a victory by press release, Democrats understand we have laws to ensure accuracy and fairness in close races. Two years ago, Democrats were able to gain a slim two-seat majority after 43 years of lost jobs, high taxes, inequitable education funding and a health care policy that disenfranchised New Yorkers. Since then, we’ve stimulated job creation, expanded health care access to the underserved, opened up state contracts to more minority- and women-owned businesses, created low-interest student loan programs and forced public authorities like the MTA to be more transparent. We’ve also advanced progressive policies such as reforming the Rockefeller Drug Laws and the NYPD’s invasive stop-and-frisk practices. Whether these policies continue rests on the outcome of these pivotal races. We believe that when the votes are fully counted, we will build on the victories Senate Democrats witnessed on election night. In Queens, Tony Avella, a proven advocate for his community, beat Republican State Sen. Frank Padavan, an incumbent who served for nearly four decades. In Rockland County, David Carlucci of New City was victorious against a Republican political giant, County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef. Carlucci’s win puts this seat in Democratic hands for the first time since 1983. And in Buffalo, Erie County Legislator Tim Kennedy beat Jack Quinn III, the scion of a Republican political dynasty. The importance of the outcome in these three other races cannot be overstated. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “I am not interested in power for power’s sake, but I’m interested in power that is moral, that is right and that is good.” We must not and we will not let any voters be passed over by a flawed voting process or a pointless rush to meet an arbitrary deadline for power’s sake. We are ready to go through every ballot to make sure the people’s voice is heard.

GOP ‘shellacking’

4 Nov
By HERB BOYD, Special to the AmNews

In an hour-long speech followed by a question and answer session in the White House’s East Wing, a day after the election, President Barack Obama said, “I take responsibility,” on a number of points. And no acceptance of blame was more crucial and telling than the tidal wave, or “shellacking,” as he put it, that gave Republicans control over the House of Representatives.

“Over the last two years, we’ve made progress, but clearly too many Americans haven’t felt that progress yet. They told us that yesterday,” he said, his voice trailing off. “As president, I take responsibility for that.”

Continue reading

Voters bring back term limits

4 Nov
By CYRIL JOSH BARKER, Amsterdam News Staff

New Yorkers spoke loud and clear at the polls on Tuesday by allowing city elected officials to serve only two terms. The vote also prevents the City Council from voting to extend term limits.

Responding to one of two questions on the back of their ballots, 74 percent of people voted in favor to keep term limits to two terms. The decision comes after Mayor Michael Bloomberg extended term limits in 2008, allowing him to run and win a third term in 2009.

Last week, Bloomberg came out in support of reducing term limits back to two, simply stating during a press conference, “I’m voting to restore it.” Continue reading

New voting system smoother for Election Day but not problem-free

4 Nov
By CYRIL JOSH BARKER, Amsterdam News Staff

While the new voting system for the general election was an improvement from the primaries, problems still arose for many voters who cast their ballots.

On Tuesday, voters again used the new way of casting their votes by using paper ballots, rather than lever machines. During the primaries, problems ranging from malfunctioning machines to improperly trained poll workers prompted Mayor Michael Bloomberg to call the process of “royal screw-up.”

In fact, things were so bad last time that it prompted the Board of Election to fire its executive director, George Gonzalez.

Reports indicate that officials from 311 said that they received 729 complaints about ballots and voting machines and 674 about poll sites, while 185 called to complain about poll workers. Approximately 4,266 people called looking for their polling site and 1,554 needed to get general election information. Continue reading

No official stamp, Freedom Party marches on anyway

4 Nov
By Nayaba Arinde, Amsterdam News Editor

The morning after the night before Freedom Party supporters hit the ground running.

“Oh we got the win!” beamed Councilman Charles Barron, who up until Tuesday night had been the Freedom Party gubernatorial candidate. “We are having a press conference on Thursday to announce our founding convention on February 22 and 23rd; when we are going to hammer out our platform, our issues, develop our strategy for our political empowerment, and build our membership. The Freedom Party is here to stay. We are on the move.” Continue reading

Cuomo and the Community

4 Nov
By Curtis R. Simmons, Stephon Johnson, Josh Cyrus Baker and Amity Paye

Andrew Cuomo has assembled a lengthy Urban Agenda document covering a range of issues that are of interest to communities of color.

In a document covering more than 250 pages his staff has covered a range of issue from criminal justice, housing, education, small and minority businesses. The Amsterdam News staff began the process of analyzing the document so that we can access how a Cuomo Administration would approach issues facing urban and communities of color throughout the state. Continue reading

Dems sweep state’s top positions

4 Nov
By HERB BOYD
Special to the AmNews

Unlike the rest of the country, where the Republicans reaped a harvest of votes and almost ran the midterm tables, the state senate race in New York remains a big question mark with three races still up for grabs.

Not in doubt, though, are the state’s top positions that were handily retained by the Democrats with Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo defeating Carl Paladino by a two-to-one margin out of a total of some 2.5 million votes. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand beat back their Republican opponents; Eric Schneiderman, after a nip and tuck race with Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan, is the new attorney general-elect; and Thomas DiNapoli, who replaced Alan Havesi as state comptroller, finally edged out Harry Wilson.

Continue reading

Election 2010: What does this election mean?

4 Nov
By CURTIS R. SIMMONS

There is no way around it. Tuesday night was not a good night for either the Democrats or Black political empowerment.

While most elected African-Americans did not lose in races around the state or in the nation, decades of accumulated power were washed away in Washington D.C., and gains long fought for in Albany are also at risk as well.

Just two years ago, African-Americans of every political stripe celebrated the election of the first Black president, and analysts are saying that white voter anger over his ambitious agenda has resulted in an unprecedented backlash. In Washington, Democrats lost 60 seats—the largest loss of seats since Truman’s big losses in 1948. Continue reading