Crowley made criminal justice in Queens about race long before he complained about the ethnicity of his primary challenger
Crowley confuses ethnicity and race with power and privilege
Today, the Intercept reported that Joseph Crowley (Establishment-NY) complained at a recent political event that his Democratic Party primary challenger, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, was focusing her campaign too much on issues of ethnicity or race, remarking, according to the report, that these types of issues were “unnecessarily divisive.”
At many of Crowley’s political events, he loves to brag about his Irish background. Yet, he feels it is fair to deny Ocasio-Cortez any opportunity to speak about her heritage and background, seemingly solely because she is Hispanic.
Having all the power of being the Queens party boss is not enough for Crowley. He wants to use the privilege he has as a White male in power to snuff out his opponent by stoking fears about ethnicity or race to his largely White audiences, as his recent political event was described.
Long before Ocasio-Cortez ever decided to challenge Crowley in a Congressional primary this year, though, Crowley made issues of race central to how Queens was going to be governed. One need not look too far to see how Crowley has used race and White privilege in Queens to further his own ideas about what is fair about who holds elected office.
Before Crowley inherited his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, Richard Brown (Establishment-NY) was first appointed and then reëlected, uninterruptedly, as the District Attorney for Queens County. Now an octogenarian, Brown has said he has no plans for retiring. Though he holds elected office, Brown acts as if being the District Attorney is a job he gets to decide how long he keeps. Like Crowley, Brown acts as if he is entitled to his elected post. The major problem caused to Queens County voters is that Brown is resisting criminal justice reform, as called for by Ocasio-Cortez. Brown wants to keep arresting his way through the opioid crisis, even though Whites are shown to mainly be turning to dangerous synthetic painkillers as lifestyle drugs. Because Brown also resists speedy calls for legalizing marijuana or decriminalizing other crimes that disproportionately affect minority communities, criminal justice in Queens is prosecuted with race-based overtones, notably Broken Windows policing.
Prelude to the Biggest Upset of 2018: A Look Back at Elizabeth Crowley’s Devastating Loss in Queens
Elizabeth Crowley lost — because the voters are tired of the Queens Machine
The Winds of Change
Many of those following national politics might be be unaware of a devastating development that occurred in Queens County back in the fall of 2017, and which foreshadows a potential upset in the upcoming contest for New York’s 14th congressional district. Congressman Joseph Crowley‘s cousin, Elizabeth Crowley, was running as an incumbent in a City Council election against the relatively unknown centrist Robert Holden, who she defeated in the Democratic Party primary — only to eventually lose to him in the General Election by 137 votes. Elizabeth Crowley, who raised 10 times the amount of Holden, and who had the backing of Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Establishment-NY) and the Queens Machine, should have crushed Holden in the General. When the votes were totaled and recounted, however, Holden squeaked by — pulling off an upset that many had thought was impossible.
Part of a Larger Pattern
Elizabeth Crowley is not the only neoliberal Democrat the People have grown tired of. One might recall Christine Quinn‘s epic loss to Bill de Blasio in the 2013 mayoral race. Quinn’s loss showed that the political left in America’s biggest city was ready to challenge the corporatist, big money Democrats. Several years later, Democrats ignored that lesson when Hillary Clinton noteworthy downfall demonstrated that the Democratic base was no longer inspired by big money politics.
La Corrupción en Queens
Crowley es responsable por la corrupción política en Queens.
#DESPIDAALJEFE. En los 20 años que Joseph Crowley (Jefe-Queens) ha estado en el Congreso y en los 12 años que ha presidido sobre los Demócratas en Queens, él ascendió para convertirse en presidente de la Conferencia Demócrata en la Cámara de Representantes. El chisme entre los lobistas es que Crowley posiblemente corra para la posición el President de la Cámara de Representantes en caso de que los Demócratas recuperen el control.
Dado que Crowley está utilizando su puesto como el jefe de los Demócratas de Queens para obtener más poder en la Cámara, echemos una mirada retrospectiva a cómo los líderes del Partido Demócrata de Queens han abusado de su poder.
La maquinaria política en Queens le dio a Crowley su asiento en la Cámara de Representantes
Crowley ya era un político cuando Thomas Manton decidió, en 1998, a retirarse del Congreso de los EE.UU. Para facilitar una transferencia de poder antidemocrática entre los políticos, Manton esperó hasta que hubiera pasado la fecha límite para que las personas se registraran para postularse para las primarias del Partido Demócrata de ese año para reemplazar a Manton. Como Manton era presidente del comité del Partido Demócrata de la Reina, básicamente “instaló” a Crowley en su lugar. Como Crowley se presentó sin oposición, se le garantizó ganar las primarias del Partido Demócrata. Así fue como Crowley fue a Washington para representar a Queens y el Bronx.
Ocho años después, en 2006, Manton se murió, y Crowely ya había consolidado el poder entre los Demócratas de Queens. Un día después de la muerte de Manton, el New York Times ya estaba especulando que Crowley se convertiría en el líder de Queens Demócratas. El ala del establishment del Partido Demócrata cree que el poder y el liderazgo deberían pasar de un líder neoliberal a otro. En otras palabras, los puestos de poder y liderazgo no son ganados por elecciones donde la gente tiene voz. Por el contrario, los guardianes, como Manton, al igual que los superdelegados, aseguran que las élites del partido no tengan que correr “contra los activistas de base.”
Crowley es responsable por la corrupción política en Queens
Como jefe de los Demócratas de Queens, Crowley decide quién de entre los políticos recibirá apoyo electoral del Partido Demócrata. En el pasado, Crowley ha apoyado a Hiram Monserrate, Malcolm Smith, John Liu, Shirley Huntley, y Ruben Wills. Estos funcionarios fueron objeto de acción por parte de reguladores o fiscales. Frente a la corrupción casi ininterrumpida, Crowley ha mantenido su silencio sobre la corrupción que devora el centro político de los Demócratas de Queens.
El fiscal del distrito de Queens
Por más tiempo que Crowley ha estado en el Congreso, Richard Brown ha sido el Fiscal del Condado de Queens. Durante este tiempo, muchos escándalos de corrupción han terminado las carreras de varios políticos de Queens. El informante Adrian Schoolscraft fue secuestrado y retenido contra su voluntad por agentes de la policía en el Hospital Jamaica. El Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, Close Rikers y los movimientos sociales de inmigración han exigido, hasta cierto punto, la reforma del sistema de justicia penal. Y todo el tiempo, el fiscal del distrito de Queens se ha resistido a los llamados a la reforma. Porque en cada elección Brown hace su campaña para el cargo público con el apoyo del comité del condado del Partido Democrático de Queens, no hay forma de que Brown responda al público. El modelo de persecución discriminatorio de Brown es permitido por Crowley.
Necesitamos elegir un nuevo Fiscal de Distrito para Queens. La reforma del sistema de justicia penal se está adoptando en Brooklyn y, hasta cierto punto, en Manhattan. Pero Queens se resiste, porque eso es lo que quiere Crowley.
Con un nuevo liderazgo en Queens, podemos exigir que el Fiscal de Queens se enfrente a los oficiales de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas, a los que se les permite atrapar a los neoyorquinos en los tribunales y juzgados del condado de Queens. Esta silenciosa complicidad o colaboración del Fiscal del Distrito debe llegar a su fin.
El jefe de Queens subvierte las funciones democráticas del Concejo Municipal
Crowley ha utilizado su poder para seleccionar a dos líderes del Concejo Municipal de la Ciudad de Nueva York: Christine Quinn y Corey Johnson. Los dos fueron preferidos por los promotores inmobiliarios. Además, Crowley ha ayudado a formar el liderazgo de muchos comités en el Concejo Municipal. Trata al Concejo Municipal como una fuente de empleos patronales para sus partidarios políticos. Al interferir con el liderazgo y la selección de empleados en el Concejo Municipal, Crowley está destruyendo la autonomía del Concejo Municipal. No es coincidencia que Crowley haya recibido grandes donaciones políticas de promotores inmobiliarios y que haya apoyado leyes o realizado nombramientos políticos que beneficien a los desarrolladores inmobiliarios. Muchas de las acciones oficiales de Crowley han proporcionado beneficios económicos a algunos participantes en la industria de bienes raíces. Sin embargo, no hay responsabilidad por la traición de Crowley a la confianza pública o por su violación del deber de proporcionar servicios honestos al público.
El 26 de junio, vote por Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez para el Congreso
#DESPIDANALJEFE. Ya no podemos soportar la corrupción y traición al público por parte de Crowley. Desde su tolerancia a la corrupción, hasta su obstrucción de las funciones democráticas del Concejo Municipal de Nueva York, hasta la forma en que las donaciones de bienes raíces parecen determinar sus actos oficiales, necesitamos un nuevo líder. Puede votar por un nuevo futuro, por un candidato que se tiene el bienestar de nuestra communidad en mente. Vote por Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez para el Congreso.
Fire Boss Crowley
Joseph Crowley (Establishment-NY) is a party boss, who is unaccountable to the people.
Voters have to #FireTheBoss, #FireBossCrowley !
For 20 years, Crowley has been in Congress. For 12 years, he has been chair of the Queens Democratic Party county committee.
In all this time, Crowley has held enormous power and influence over New York City politics. He has authority to determine who gets to run for public office in Queens. He exerts power to select the speaker of the New York City Council. He doles out patronage jobs in key City institutions, such as in the City Council, the City Board of Elections, and Queens Borough Hall.
Vote for Ocasio-Cortez on June 26
Ocasio-Cortez promises to end the Queens machine
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a Justice Democrat, and one of us. She is running for Congress to be a champion of the people, not to represent the corporate wing of the Democratic Party. She will restore democratic functions to Queens civic bodies and end the machine-like control of the County party boss. On June 26, vote for Ocasio.
Fighting for Working Families, Against Rezonings and Luxury Development
Defending Public Housing. Ocasio-Cortez will fight to protect and to expand public housing in New York City. She will find the money to make much needed improvements and repairs to public housing. She will stop the conversion of public housing to Section 8 housing that is being used as a backdoor to privatization. Ocasio-Cortez will also fight to end any form of discrimination against public housing tenants, such as making sure that permanent exclusion is ended.
Stopping Gentrification. As a parent and the product of a working family, Ocasio-Cortez feels the pinch that New Yorkers experience in the pocketbook due to escalating rents, gentrification, and displacement of communities. Ocasio-Cortez showed up for the comunity in Elmhurst to protest the construction of a 13-story tower with a big-box store (a “Target“) in its commercial space. Ocasio-Cortez knows that unregulated real estate development, including the relentless construction of luxuyr housing, is the source of escalating rents in New York. If elected, Ocasio-Cortez will use her position within the Queens Democratic Party county committee to elect officials, who will end the non-stop gentrification of Queens.
Getting Big Money Out of Politics
Reforming the Queens Democratic Party. It has been reported that, in the lead-up to when U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (Establishment-NY) installed the real estate industry ally Corey Johnson as speaker of the New York City Council, the Queens Democratic Party county committee was accepting political donations from powerful real estate development firms, such as Rudin Management Company, which is headed by William Rudin, who is now chair of the Real Estate Board of New York (“REBNY”) ; BFC Partners, which was co-founded by Donald Capoccia, who was able to walk away with controversial development rights over the Bedford-Union Armory in Brooklyn ; and the Brodsky Organization, a real estate develoment company whose leadership includes Daniel, Alexander, and Thomas Brodsky, who were spearately campaign contributors to Speaker Johnson’s 2017 committee to reëlect. Were Ocasio-Cortez to defeat Crowley, she could be counted on not accepting corporate money to the Queens Democratic Party county committee.
Returning Democracy to Queens. Ocasio-Cortez will make reforming the Queens Democratic Party county committee a priority. She will see to it that participation, meetings, and the selection of leadership for the county committee is opened up to the public. Ocasio-Cortez’s commitment to transparency will end the undemocratic stronghold that Crowley has used to have his way with Queens politics.
Addressing Income and Wealth Inequality
Because Ocasio-Cortez will represent the people, she pledges to address the income and wealth inequalities that are making New York City a land of haves and have nots. She will take her sensibility of being a working New York City parent and fight for social, economic, and legal policies that will promote a living wage, job guarantees, and union protections.
Criminal Justice System Reform
For longer than Crowley has been in Congress, Richard Brown has been the District Attorney of Queens County. During this time, corruption scandal after corruption scandal has engulfed the careers of several Queens politicians. Separately, the whistleblower Adrian Schoolscraft was kidnapped and held against his will by police officers in Jamaica Hospital. The Occupy Wall Street, the Black Lives Matter, the Close Rikers, and the immigration justice social movements have focused on the need for ciminal justice system reform. And all the while, the Queens D.A. has resisted calls for reform. Because Brown runs for office with the express support of the Queens Democratic Party county committee, he has not answered to the public calls for ciminal justice system reform. Why should he, when his brand of race-based prosecution is enabled by Crowley ?
When you elect Ocasio-Cortez, she will make sure that there is a healthy — and long over-due — primary race for Queens D.A. Criminal justice system reform is being embraced in Brooklyn and, to some extent, in Manhattan. But Queens resists, because that is what Crowley wants.
Immigration Justice. Once Ocasio-Cortez brings new leadership to Queens, she will also push the Queens D.A. to stand up to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, who are being allowed to entrap New Yorkers in the Queens County courts. This silent complicity or collaboration by the Queens D.A. must come to an end.
Fighting for Women’s Rights
In Ocasio-Cortez, voters will be able to count on a leader of the Queens Democrats, who will not enable politicians, who, in turn, keep Republicans in power up in Albany in a political arrangement that undercuts the expansion of equal rights for women. Ocasio-Cortez believes in finally achieving equal pay for women. She also will continue the fight to end gender discrimination. She will defend against any attempt at rolling back civil rights by Republicans.
Medicare for All
Ocasio-Cortez has gone on the record to champion a single-payer healthcare system for the United States. As a member of the U.S. Congress, if elected, she will support and vote for legislation to make sure that everybody receives healthcare coverage regardless of income or occupation.
Vote for Ocasio – Get a Reminder to Vote on June 26
The Queens Machine
The Queens County Committee chairs always become corrupt
Joe Crowley did not petition to get on his first Congressional ballot, and he inherited the post of chair of Queens Democrats
Crowley was a career incumbent New York State Assemblymember (think “Albany“) when U.S. Rep. Thomas Manton decided, in 1998, to retire from the U.S. Congress. In order to facilitate an undemocratic transfer of power between political insiders, U.S. Rep. Manton waited until after the deadline had passed for individuals to register to run for that year’s Democratic Party primary for Manton’s Congressional seat. Because Manton was Queens Democratic Party committee chair, he basically “installed” Crowley in his stead as the beneficiary of the ballot petitions collected by his campaign committee. Because Crowley ran unopposed, he was guaranteed to win that year’s Democratic Party primary and, in a City with a supermajority of Democrats, that is how Crowley went to Washington to represent Queens and the Bronx.
Eight years later, in 2006, Manton died, and U.S. Rep. Crowely had already consolidated power amongst Queens Democrats. Within a day of Manton’s death, the New York Times was already speculating that Crowley would inherit the leadership of Queens Democrats, even if Crowley was being bashful about it. The establishment wing of the Democratic Party believes that power and leadership should pass down from one neoliberal leader to another. In other words, power and leadership posts are not won by elections where the people have a say. Rather, gatekeepers, such as Manton, much like superdelegates, ensure that party élites don’t have to run “against grassroots activists.”
A brief, recent history of the corruption of the Queens Machine, and of other County Committee chairs
In the twenty years that Crowley has now been in the U.S. Congress and in the twelve years he has been chair of Queens Democrats, he has ascended to become chair of the House Democratic Conference. Word amongst lobbyists is that Crowley is within reach of becoming Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives should the establishment Democrats take back control of the House.
As voters go to the polls on June 26 for the Democratic Party primary and as Democrats actually consider Crowley for House Speaker, let’s look back at how Queens Democratic Party leaders have used their power.
Donald Manes was the long-time chair of the Queens Democratic Party county committee when a slow-moving corruption scandal caught up with him. A controversy at the New York City Parking Violations Bureau revealed that Manes was receiving kickbacks. The granting of cable television franchise licenses also came to be under investigation. Essentially, the making of political appointments and the granting of official acts had been turned into a money-making operation. When the press began tracing figures in the corruption investigation back to Manes, Manes sensed that the jig was up. He had already made one suicide attempt and had resigned the Queens Borough Presidency and the Queens Democratic Party county committee leadership post before finally taking his life in 1986. After the dust settled over Manes’ suicide, Manton was selected as the new chair of the Queens Democrats.
In Brooklyn, the county chair, Meade Esposito, was eventually found guilty of corruption.
Under Manton, the Queens Democratic Party county committee remained a powerful political machine. The county committee was able to parlay electoral endorsement as a pretext to provide assistance to preferred candidates. It was also able to mount legal proceedings to disregard the ballot petitions of insurgent political challengers as a way to protect the safe election or reëlection of party insiders, according to a curosry look-back at Manton’s time as county chair published by the New York Times.
When Manton was ready to retire, he engineered his replacement in the House with Crowley, angering some Queens Democrats, who still naively believed that political party primaries were the vehicle that should determine office-holders, not insider transfers of power.
Before his death, one of Manton’s most important installations of power was the selection of Christine Quinn as speaker of the New York City Council. A political protégé of Wall Street billionaire Michael Bloomberg, Quinn controlled the votes on the New York City Council legislation by using a slush fund as the source of discretionary funding for Councilmembers and the extension of term limits to keep incumbents, like Mayor Bloomberg, in office. Before the decade was out, Crowley kept Quinn as Council speaker, despite her neoliberalism and her undemocratic exertion of power over her fellow Councilmembers.
Some of the preffered officials being supported by the county committee in that time of Manton’s death included then New York State Assemblymember José Peralta.
In Brooklyn, the county chair, Clarence Norman, was convicted of corruption charges.
As corruption began to be investigated across New York State by each of the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in New York City, several Queens officials were arrested, indicted, and found guilty — some of them incumbents, who had enjoyed support by the county committee chaired by Crowley : Hiram Monserrate, Jia Hou, Albert Baldeo, Malcom Smith, Daniel Halloran, and Vincent Tabone. Other Queens Democrats, who have become subject to regulatory or prosecutorial action, have included John Liu, Shirley Huntley, and Ruben Wills. Despite this horrifying record of corruption, Crowley remained silent about the corruption eating away at the political center of Queens Democrats.
In the wake of the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primary in New York State, much attention was focused on the purge of voters from the rolls in Brooklyn by officials holding patronage jobs in the City’s Board of Elections. It went often overlooked, but these patronage officials also purged Queens voters from the rolls, according to an investigation conducted by authorities with the New York State Attorney General’s Office, as noted in a report published by Gothamist.
In addition to corruption in leadership, media attention began to focus on the appearance of conflicts of interest and misconduct in the Queens County court system. In 2011, the New York Times began to drop hints that there was trouble brewing in the Surrogate’s Court of Queens County, which administers the estates of individuals, who pass away intestate, or without a last will and testament. The same, top-ranking officials with close ties to the Queens Democratic Party county committee named in the 2011 New York Times exposé reappeared in a 2017 special report published by the Daily News. Questions were raised both each time about how Lois Rosenblatt, the Queens County Public Administrator, referred cases and how three attorneys, Gerard Sweeney, Michael Reich, and Frank Bolz, were assigned cases before the Surrogate’s Court or who were able to exert so much influence in Queens County politics. Extra scrutiny was applied on the three attorneys, who were reportedly able to gate-keep political primary races or were able to exercise discretion over which judicial candidates received support from the Queens Democratic Party county committee. These county officials allegedly owe all of their political loyalty to Crowley. They also allegedly owe their financial success to Crowley, too. The Queens Democratic Party county committee, for example, allowed Sweeney’s law firm to earn $30 million in legal fees from his Surrogate’s Court cases for 10 years beginning in 2006, according to the report published by the Daily News.
After the 2017 Municipal election cycle, Crowley wrested control over the Council speaker race from lobbyists and installed a speaker of his own choosing — before any of the Municipal legislators, who would be casting their votes, had even been sworn into office for the legislative term that would be headed by the new Council speaker. Power-hungry and determined to use political appointments and the granting of official acts for his personal, political benefit, Crowley had succeed in patterning himself after his predecessors.
The Queens party boss remains in charge, until he is dethroned
Reports have been published that the activities of the Queens Democratic Party county committee have once again attracted the attention of anti-corruption investigators. In 2018, voters will have to decide if a change in the leadership of Queens Democrats must follow tradition — at the hands of Federal authorities, or in a primary election.
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