Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Republican Dirty Tricks Copied from Randi's New Action Caper

Today's NY Times has a story today about Republicans in Arizona using street people to run as Green Party candidates to drain votes from Democrats:
Benjamin Pearcy, a candidate for statewide office in Arizona, lists his campaign office as a Starbucks. The small business he refers to in his campaign statement is him strumming his guitar on the street. The internal debate he is having in advance of his coming televised debate is whether he ought to gel his hair into his trademark faux Mohawk.
Mr. Pearcy and other drifters and homeless people were recruited onto the Green Party ballot by a Republican political operative who freely admits that their candidacies may siphon some support from the Democrats.
Steve May, the Republican strategist, clearly used the playbook Randi Weingarten used in creating a phony opposition by buying off New Action in 2003, the oldest opposition party to Unity Caucus in the UFT. Randi had the advantage of course of being able to offer jobs and Executive Board seats to New Action.

Look for New Action leaders in faux Mohawks.

Not to miss
Fenty/Rhee Going Down in Flames?
The Answer Sheet - this guest blog by Sam Chaltain is so delicious I won't have to eat for a week as he compares th Fenty/Rhee to a Greek tragedy - with selected passages like:
“We came to grief through our own senseless stupidity.”


Counting Votes
Dorothy Brizill, dorothy@dcwatch.com

On Saturday morning, September 4, Mayor Fenty held a press conference and political rally with Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee at the Broad Branch Market across from Lafayette Elementary School in Chevy Chase. Despite an E-mail alert sent to Fenty supporters through the District, urging them to attend the press conference and to “wear green” (Fenty’s campaign color), the 150 attendees were almost exclusively white Ward 3 residents. After Rhee was introduced to the crowd by Councilmember Muriel Bowser as the District’s school chancellor, and after Mayor Fenty referred to her repeatedly as the chancellor, she prefaced her remarks by stating that she was attending the rally as a “private citizens.” In her remarks, Rhee went out of her way to appeal to the basest fears of those in attendance. First, she explained how one of her daughters, who is attending Alice Deal Middle School this year, has a classmate who had transferred there from the private Maret School. According to Rhee, the student had transferred to Deal because her mother “was tired of paying $30,000 a year” in tuition. Rhee went on to tell the assembled parents and students that school reform “is not done yet. The only way we are going to continue the progress we’ve seen is to reelect this man here,” Adrian Fenty.
After the press conference, I approached Rhee and asked her if she were violating the Hatch Act, which prohibits government employees from using their official authority or influence to interfere with an election, or from using their official titles when engaging in political activity. In response, Rhee reiterated that she was attending the political rally as a private citizen, and said that “I consulted with my lawyer, and he told me it was okay to be here as a private citizen.” When I tried to press her as to who her attorney was (e.g., a DCPS attorney; an attorney from Perkins Coie, which is the legal counsel for the Fenty 2010 Committee, or Peter Nickles), she refused to answer, turned her back, and simply walked away. John Falcicchio, Fenty’s campaign guru, overheard my conversation. He indicated that he was not familiar with the Hatch Act, but said he would get back to me with the name of the attorney. To date, Mayor Fenty and his campaign, in typical fashion, have not provided the lawyer’s name.

Idiotic advice from Mayor saying parents should call 311 when they have a problem w/ schools; whenever you do, they just transfer you to Tweed, and there you fall into a black hole of non-responsiveness. 

My experience is they don’t take down your complaint, give you a number,  promise to follow up or anything else.

The Post should follow up with some test calls to 311 w/ school problems and see how far that gets them.

New York Post
Public-school parents who need help navigating the Department of Education's massive bureaucracy should call the city's central help line rather than reach out directly to school-district offices, Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday.
His advice came in response to a Post probe that found that nearly half of the city's 34 school districts were not responsive to phone calls made by reporters posing as parents who had enrollment issues.

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