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March 21st, 2007

PLUNKITT OF TAMMANY HALL

by Trip Plunkitt

A POLITICAL COLUMN OF AMAZING RANDOMNESS.
BY GEORGE WASHINGTON PLUNKITT III (A.K.A. TRIP PLUNKITT)

We hear that at the recent County Democratic Committee dinner, David Paterson was called to the dais to speak but was mysteriously absent -Lt. Governors often disappear after the election, but so soon? Also at the dinner were some possible candidates for public office: Current board chairs Maria Derr (CB2) and Julie Menin (CB1), both presumably running for office in ’08 and ’09, respectively, as well as wannabe CB2 chair Brad “I am NOT a bar owner!” Hoylman.

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Governor Eliot Spitzer has inexplicably hired Carl Andrews (who some describe as the bag man* for disgraced former Brooklyn County Leader Clarence Norman) to be his director of intergovernmental affairs. This may expand Carl’s career opportunities tremendously. Remember Eliot’s campaign slogan: “Day one, everything changes” (except that day two, everything goes back to the way it was.)
*bagman: informal agent who collects or distributes the proceeds of illicit activities.

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Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer has been waking up to smell the garbage. He’s now picked up the ball and is running with the borough’s handling of solid waste. He had faced modest criticism for not paying enough attention to the garbage situation – and it was getting stinky. But speaking of really bad smells, taking out the dead wood and the “I’ve never seen a conflict of interest I didn’t like” community board members is now high on Stringer’s list for the coming (re)appointments. His “screening committee” is fine, as long as it only screens IN people who are ethical, engaged, and can work well with others. It’ll be spring soon — time to prune.

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Ex-City Planning Commissioner Joe Rose and former Giuliani aide and recently departed head of NYC & Company, Cristyne L. “Dragonlady” Nicholas are jointly holding a fundraiser for Rudy Giuliani. How is Cristyne going to be joining Rudy this time? Wonder how perpetually smiling, third wife Judith Giuliani feels about it? Are we now going to have two beamers gazing up at the G-man? Get your pepto!

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Newly empowered Congressman Jerrold Nadler is pushing a change in the 10 year long Verrazano Bridge toll mess. Senator Charles Schumer (half of a Mutt and Jeff act*) abandoned lower Manhattan shortly after getting elected by failing to make good on his campaign promise to correct the oneway exodus through the Holland Tunnel, thus killing SoHo with massive, asthma-inducing traffic congestion. We can only hope Nadler will come through. God knows, somebody has to! (cough)
*The other Schumer half is his wife, City Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshal, who is leaving DOT after a long tenure (how can you fire the Senator’s wife?). She hired Lorie “Rhymes With Witch” Ardito to be her henchperson for lower Manhattan. Booted out of Brooklyn, Ardito landed here, some say on a broom, in ’05. Stay back, I tell you!

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City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is distancing herself from the mayor on the school busing disaster. Part of the Mayor’s “plan” gives metrocards to kindergarteners to allow them to ride the subway alone to school. It seems that Alvarez and Marsal, the Mayor’s (OK, it’s Chancellor Joel Klein’s, but don’t get picky) private consultant who came up with the brilliant “money saving” plan, stand to make a good percentage of the money it “saves.” (Is this really a plan to make the rest of the middle class parents in the City send their kids to private school?) To complain, the Mayor said the public should call 311 instead of the press; I’d put my money on the press. If you see any 5 year-olds on the subway alone during the AM rush hour, please hold their hands…they’re probably lost. Maybe the mayor is too.

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Gerson has his constituents anticipating his next move, well, at least a move. But wait! He had a celebration at City Hall for Chinese New Year, which was called “The Year of the Boar.” There’s a rumor floating about that Senator Connor moves up or over and Gerson takes his slot in ’09 – kicking everyone upstairs. Anyone for musical chairs?

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A sitting judge tried to kill a fundraiser that local political leader Virginia Kee’s Chinese Planning Council had, telling people to boycott the event because Virginia supported a “Jewish white man” in a recent race against a Chinese woman. Maybe Virginia thought the guy was better? Nah!

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Dan Doctoroff, Deputy Mayor for “Rebuilding” is backing the plan to locate a major new garbage facility in Hudson Square. Word is that this is payback for the lack of community support for his silly, illadvised west side stadium plan (maybe he has time for rebuilding at G.Z. now!) Dumping all this over the Holland Tunnel, which includes thousands of gallons of flammable fuel is, how do you say? Dumb? (Yo! Where’s Homeland Security when you need them?) Let’s see if the yuppies in the new glass house built on Spring Street can tear themselves away from their flat screens long enough to protest this horrible plan. Why, even “The Donald” is against it.

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Speaking of Doctoroff, he apparently is pushing the Cirque du Soleil proposal at Pier 40. See Dick and Jane scramble to appease the big man in his quest for west side domination. We guess that the ol’ Doc wants to win one once in a while, after being soundly trounced with his stadium. “It’s the money, stupid!” Follow the money! Cirque has the dough!

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Community Board One has been embroiled in controversy over whether the Joint P.O.W./M.I.A. Accounting Command (JPAC, an independent search group) will come into the void that was the Trade Center (a.k.a. ‘The Pataki Legacy’) to look for human remains. All the elected officials who weigh in on anything support this proposal. City Hall is against it, and inexplicably, the Doctoroff brigade has been marching to the board to urge them to just say no. The board voted yes. This may be the first time in recorded history that City Hall actually seemed to care about something the community boards vote on. Stay tuned, and thank God if you didn’t lose anybody on 9/11.

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Former City Parks Commissioner and Hudson River Park Trust board member Henry Stern continues to amaze. Recently, he touted a theory on the decrease in crime. His comments involved a study by John J. Donohue III and Steven D. Levitt, who claim to have found evidence that the recent drop in the crime rate can be attributed to the availability of legalized abortion. D. and L. suggest the crime rate began to drop approximately 18 years after Roe v. Wade legalized abortion, when states with high abortion rates (like New York) started seeing a greater fall in crime rates. Get it? The aborted fetuses would have become the criminals. Well, to quote the late, great writer Molly Ivins, Stern’s remarks “probably sounded better in the original German.”

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