Tuesday, May 15, 2007


UP FRONT News May 5, 2007
Published by Tom Weiss
Editorial Advisor: Willard Whittingham
“The paper that can’t be bought and can’t be sold.” www.tomsupfrontnews.blogspot.com


One of the reasons I believe that there are, relative to the rest of New York City, proportionally more Republicans in Staten Island than the other boroughs is because of the cliquish and boss-like nature of the Democrats. While much of Staten Island is Republican, and has repeatedly elected as Congressman Vito Fossella, a reactionary pal of Dick Cheney, the north shore is heavily Democratic.

I’ve lived in Staten Island for over two years and have learned the machine politics of for example Carmine de Sapio in Manhattan and Meade Esposito in Brooklyn continue to prevail. The boss is Hillary Clinton and her control is enforced by people like New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and her pal City Councilman Michael McMahon. “Liberals” such as State Senator Diane Savino – who has a Chief of Staff named Robert Cataldo who, in the privacy of Savino’s district office on Richmond Terrace office, once threatened me with violence when I was seeking urgent constituent assistance as a homeless person – enforce Mrs. Clinton’s dictatorial rule. The late Assemblyman John Lavelle was less blatant but just as Clinton-subservient.

You see, the machine Democrats do not take kindly to a citizen, such as me, who publishes a newspaper that exposes Democrats such as Hillary Clinton, Christine Quinn and Ed Koch, among others, as frauds when it comes to human rights. And Democratic machine, particularly in Staten Island, was not at all happy when I ran as a Democratic write-in candidate for the U.S. Senate against Mrs. Clinton, an elected official who some years ago not only denied me urgent constituent services but threatened me personally. My campaign widely voiced the truth about Clinton, who is greedy, power-obsessed, anti-poor, anti-peace, and anti-human rights.

Staten Island is also something of a media monopoly borough. While there are plenty of Times, Daily News, and steadily increasing number of UP FRONT News readers, The Staten Island Advance is still sort of the paper of record. A few weeks ago I was at a meeting of enrolled Democrats, all of a progressive, Clinton-independent nature. Someone brought up the subject of the Advance and what followed was something of a cascade of derogatory comments. A few months ago, a professional landscape engineer I met on the ferry referred to the paper as the Staten Island Retreat, a label I have been using for months. The political editor of the Advance is a dour fellow named Tom Wrobleski, an apparent McMahon/Quinn pal, who for months censored out the news of my candidacy. When he did cover me, he wrote a possibly libelously incorrect account of the very public dispute that emerged when the paranoid Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, publicly referred to me as a “stalker.” Tom Wrobleski politically selects the phone messages and e-mails to which he will not respond. Indeed, I had to complain to News Editor Dean Balsamini, who essentially directed Wrobleski to do a story on my campaign. Wrobleski conducted the interview by telephone and his story appeared on page one (thanks no doubt to Balsamini) in the Advance on August 21, 2006, long, long after he knew of my campaign. The best part of Wrobleski’s article is his mention of the fact that I have accused Hillary Clinton of covering up the Genocide in Tibet. And that makes Tom Wrobleski and the Staten Island Advance perhaps the only paper that doesn’t follow up a story on Genocide.

Despite all this, I like Staten Island, which, believe it or not, has a history of progressive activism, some of which even occasionally gets reported in the Advance, a newspaper clearly purchased more for its advertising and local sports than for its political reporting. There are no-nonsense human rights activists like Majorie Ramos, of the Staten Island Unitarian Church, Bill Johnson, and Sally Jones. Perhaps New York City’s most genuinely progressive elected official, former City Councilmember Mary Codd, represented Staten Islander’s a lot better than its citizens are being represented under the local Clinton machine, was a Staten Islander. Mrs. Codd is one of the reasons why Staten Island has perhaps New York City’s most potent environmental movement. She would have made a great mayor but she decided too late to run against Ed Koch.

I wound up living in Staten Island quite by chance while homeless and staying at a drop-in center near the ferry known as Project Hospitality. While the food was good, among the many things that the machine in Staten Island covers up is staff abuse there. I was a victim of same and it was perpetrated by a guy named “Maurice”, who used to force people to stand outdoors coatless at 6:00 AM in frigid weather while he supervised floor cleaning. He also liked to throw people out who stood up to him. He would have been something at Treblinka or Abu Ghraib. A Palestinian acquaintance of mine helped me find a place and I’ve been living in Staten Island since.

There is, however corruption and it is a reality that the politicians are playing games with me when it comes to representation and constituent services. I have already received an explicit refusal of assistance on several quite urgent matters involving several government agencies and also involving Project Hospitality from McMahon, who openly cited his anger at me for criticizing his pal Quinn. McMahon, as is now widely known thanks to some tabloid coverage, ranks low on the ethics scale as he has been found to have his staff do some of his personal chores. Diane Savino’s staffer Cataldo might be out of his mind so I can’t approach her. Newly elected Assemblyman Matthew Titone, whose office is run by the later Lavelle’s Chief of Staff, is a McMahon pal.

Parts of Staten Island are very beautiful; it has perhaps the world’s greatest collection of Tibetan art at the Jacques Marchais Museum, appropriately located at New York City’s highest altitude in what I call the Staten Island Himalayas. The presumably forever free ferry is for me a much better commute than a crowded subway.

Staten Island, however, has a political dark side and it appears that UP FRONT News will shed light on it.

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