Monday, September 29, 2008


UP FRONT News August 25, 2008
Published by Tom Weiss
Editorial Advisor: Willard Whittingham
"The paper that can't be bought and can't be sold."

By Tom Weiss

When, after the August 24 service at the First Central Baptist Church in Staten Island, I told FCBC Rev. Demetrius Carolina that I am planning to run for the U.S. Congress as a Democratic write-in candidate in the 13th congressional district, he smiled, shook my hand and said, "I love it." While I am not taking his very positive reaction as an endorsement of what will be an uphill race against the very politically entrenched City Councilman Michael McMahon, as well as Republican and Independence Party candidates, I am very glad to receive the encouragement of perhaps Staten Island's most outspoken civil rights leader.

And if he ends up as a citizen supporting my candidacy it will not necessarily be because I am a member of his very community and human rights-conscious church; it will be because he sees me as the most human rights-oriented candidate for the U.S. Congess in the 13th congressional district, which includes all of Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn.

The incumbent congressman, Republican Vito Fossella, is going into political retirement as a direct result of his getting arrested last May while driving drunk on the way to his lover's house in Virginia. In Fossella's case the irony and hypocrisy involved are more apparent than in the case of let's say the even less monogamous Bill Clinton, Fossella having often pontificated about "family values" and other "conservative" virtues.

Within a few political moments of Fossella's downfall (as rapid as those previously of Elliot Spitzer and subsequently John Edwards) Councilman McMahon, who had been openly planning to run for the Borough Presidency of Staten Island, announced his candidacy for congress.

That announcement was soon followed up by expressions of support from various figures in the big money Democratic political establishment such as Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton as well as some union endorsements. In a move the surprised absolutely no one, State Senator Diane Savino, an important cog in the almost lily-white Democratic Party machine that runs the North Shore of Staten Island Carmine de Sapio-style, a politician who employs a seriously anger management-challenged hack named Robert Cataldo as her Chief of Staff, has endorsed McMahon.

As a steadily increasing number of Staten Islanders, who do not depend for their news on the establishment-protecting multi-billionaire (Donald Newhouse)-owned Staten Island Advance, perhaps New York's most politically "controlled" paper, are aware, Councilman McMahon has engaged in at least one very serious act of politically motivated negligence.

It is the job of an elected official to represent all his or her clients, regardless of political views. Mr. McMahon, however, operates by a different standard, and in fact in December, 2006, refused to assist me on a number of very serious problems involving abuses against me by several government agencies. Indeed, my attorney at the time, Jacob J. Goodman, who has since passed away, who provided some legal advice and assistance on these matters, urged me to obtain assistance from my elected officials. Mr. Goodman obviously did not understand the corrupt political machine in power in Staten Island, ruled colony-style by politicians from Manhattan (City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Mayor Michael Bloomberg) and Westchester (Hillary Clinton).

The details of the games played by Diane Savino and State Assemblyman Matthew Titone (who may be the worst state legislator in what has been correctly labeled "the worst state legislature in the country") are described in UP FRONT News. You will not find a syllable in the very politically censored Advance (known to many as the Staten Island Retreat).

Indeed when I ran as a Democratic write-in candidate for the U.S. Senate against Hillary Clinton, the Advance suppressed that story for months. My name finally got into the paper after the seriously paranoid and CIA-linked NYC Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum - with whom via a family member of mine, I've been personally acquainted since 1979 - claimed during a televised campaign debate that I was "stalking" her. My rebuttal to Gotbaum's totally false defamation (for which she later very privately apologized) first appeared in NYC Newsday on August 26, 2005, in an article which also reported my candidacy for the U.S. Senate against Mrs. Clinton. Generally accurate stories appeared in the Daily News and The New York Times on August 27.

Tom Wrobleski's error-riddled slanted story on the Gotbaum vs. Weiss dispute appeared with a front page lead in the Advance on August 27. The Advance reneged on its offer to print corrections. And they refused to print my letters to thre editor which they suggested I write.

Gotbaam's "stalker" fantasy cames as a result of my being present as a reporter at various public events as which Gotbaum spoke. And as far as "stalking" Betsy Gotbaum is concerned, my punch line is always the same, i.e. a reference to a country song recorded by Dwight Yoakum titled "I Ain't That Lonely Yet."

And is was only after I wrote an article on my U.S. Senate campaign blog at accusing the Advance of censorship and inaccurate reporting that Mr. Wrobleski was induced to interview me again and write an article about my U.S. Senate candidacy that appeared on the front page on August 21, 2006.

Councilman McMahon, after verbally promising to assist me with my serious problems in- volving several government agencies, changed his mind after he read an UP FRONT News article criticizing his political boss Quinn (aka the Marie Antoinette of NYC politics), for her refusal to respond to my polite face-to-face and e-mailed urgings that she sponsor a City Council resolution citing the racist Chinese Communist Genocide in Tibet and calling for the removal of the 2008 Olympic Games from Beijing. (City Councilman Tony Avella, a Democrat from Queens, and a candidate for mayor, did, at my behest, introduce a resolution - #1299 - along those lines which died thanks in part to lack of support from the powerful and autocratic Quinn.)

McMahon, in an angry December, 2006 e-mail to me, expressed his resentment that I had criticized Quinn and then showed his further ignorance of his responsibilities as a City Coun-cilman by declaring that for the City Council to express views on "international issues" was a "waste of time." Perhaps that would explain why the Council in 2001 unanimously passed (with Quinn ripping off the credit from another Councilmember) resolution #802 (my idea)
which denounced Communist China for its atrocities in Tibet. That resolution, however, had minimal impact because it made no mention of the Olympic Games issue, the big money issue.

Perhaps Councilman McMahon would like to explain, if it is a "waste of time" for the Council to address "international issues", why he voted some years ago in favor of a pro-Iraq War resolution.

Mike McMahon, who will go around claiming to be a labor advocate, might be experiencing some sibling-related discomfort over his lobbyist brother Tom McMahon's services to the Arker Domain Corporation, accused of Walmart-style anti-labor practices at the publicly funded construction project at Markham Gardens.

Under any circumstances, I know I have a stronger union background than certainly any candidate for congress in the 13th CD, having been an elected shop steward in Local 1199, District Council 37, and District Council 1707 during the years when I was a social worker.

Michael McMahon is, in a manner of speaking, being challenged for the Democratic nomination by "peace candidate" Steve Harrison, a lawyer from Brooklyn. Harrison ran against Fossella in 2006 and, in a solidly Democratic year, lost decisively to the Republican.

Mr. Harrison, who has shown hesitating interest in my very serious issues with McMahon even to the point of agreeing to hold a press conference on the matter but not being able to commit to a date, is approaching the primary race much in the way that John Kerry took on George Bush, weakly. Harrison's campaign organization is heavily influenced by some ultra-left types like the occasionally threatening David Jones of the marginal Peace Action of Staten Island, which features self-described "anarchist" Mike May, a guy with links to a full-fledged Lyndon LaRouche-oriented neo-fascist and criminal Geoffrey Blank. All indications are that Steve Harrison, who thinks that talking and talking about Iraq will beat Mike McMahon, will be decisively defeated in the Democratic primary.

There is no way I will vote for Mike McMahon - and not too long after he opened a campaign office very near my home in Stapleton on August 24 I politely told Mr. McMahon so personally. At the very least, Mike McMahon owes me a written apology for his December, 2006 refusal to assist me and a promise that he will assist me from now on, at least in his capacity as my City Councilman.

As I left church on Sunday on my way to McMahon's Stapleton office (and then to man- hattan), FCBC churchmember Marilyn Averett, as she is recurrently in the habit of doing, pulled me aside and sort of admonished me to behave with McMahon, as she was heading in the same direction. I told her that McMahon is the one who has disrespected me and I gave her a carefully graphic description of one such instance.

Ms. Averett is a member of Staten Island Community Board 1 (as is the sometimes hot-headed First Central Baptist Church member Larry Beslow), and is thereby the beneficiary of a political gift bestowed by Councilman McMahon - and, only a little less directly, by Michael Bloomberg, who controls the CB's in the name of the big real estate developers and gentrifiers who want to convert "downtown" Staten Island, including working class Stapleton, into another Soho.

When I told Ms. Averett of my intention to run against McMahon, in part because of his arrogance in speaking and voting against a City Council bill that would have changed the name of a few blocks of a Brooklyn Street to honor the late and controversial black nationalist Sonny Abubadika Carson, she replied with a saying about "staying close to one's friends but closer to one's enemies." That seemed to be her rationalization for perhaps voting for McMahon (although I doubt he would appreciate the "enemy" reference). The logical electoral extension to that interpretation of the "closer to one's enemies" saying, would suggest that a Jew in the 1930's could cast a ballot for Hitler or that a Tibetan would vote for Mao Zedong or that an African-American would vote for Strom Thurmond.

In any event, it is clear to me that none of the candidates for congress in the 13th congressional district is ready to make his priority human rights and integrity in office. My platform, which will be released soon, will make that clear.

Vote for me.
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