2011-06-08 / Political Page

Future Looks Bleak For Weiner

For a media conscious pol like Congressmember Anthony Weiner, all of the media space he has hogged during the past two weeks should have been priceless.

But since it portrayed the 46-year-old sixterm lawmaker and mayoral wannabe as an outof control, sex obsessed Internet Romeo and blatant liar, Weiner’s political career appears to be doomed.

Ask yourself: if I were a deep pockets political contributor, would I be giving him any money to get reelected or to run for mayor two years from now?

If I were a fellow Democrat, would I want to support him for re-election or campaign with him. Not likely.

In fact, experienced pols, like ex-Mayor Ed Koch and political consultants, like Hank Sheinkopf, who advises Democrats, both see Weiner as being in deep trouble.

The immediate indication that his own party has lost faith in him was evident as former House Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked for a full-scale ethics probe of Weiner’s admission that for the past three years, before and after his marriage, he’s been exchanging online steamy messages with six women.

Since the 46-year-old six-term lawmaker and mayoral wannabe has been portrayed as an out-of-control, sex obsessed Internet Romeo and blatant liar, Weiner’s political career appears to be doomed. Since the 46-year-old six-term lawmaker and mayoral wannabe has been portrayed as an out-of-control, sex obsessed Internet Romeo and blatant liar, Weiner’s political career appears to be doomed. Pelosi stated: “I am deeply disappointed and saddened about this situation, for Anthony’s wife, Huma, his family, his staff and his constituents.”

Pelosi also said an investigation would determine whether Weiner used any official resources to carry out his correspondence, and whether there were any violations of House rules or ethics.

Remember, despite Weiner’s teary admissions to his sexting antics were finally made on Monday, the fact is that Democrats are presently making plans for an all-out effort to re-elect President Barack Obama next year and to try to re-gain some of the seats they lost to Republicans last year when the GOP won control of the House.

Democrats were elated last week when their candidate in Upstate New York won a special election to fill the congressional seat vacated by Republican Christopher Lee after he posted bare-from-the-waist-up pictures of himself on the Internet to try to get the attention of women. That little bit of momentum is now lost and may not be retrievable because of the Weiner mess.

On Monday, Weiner ruled out resigning his Queens/Brooklyn seat, but the New York Post story the following day reported that Weiner expects Democratic mapmakers will be redrawing district lines for next year’s elections, according to a source.

Even if Wiener does get to run for re-election next year, he may face a second challenge from Bob Turner, a Breezy Point Republican who got 41 percent of the vote in losing to Weiner last year. Turner, a wealthy ex-businessman, has the cash to carry the fight to any opponent and he can renew his opposition to the Obama healthcare program, which was his key issue last year. As for Weiner’s mayoral aspirations in 2013, he’ll have two years to try to undo the self-inflicted damage and rebuild his image and reputation. Let’s

remember also that Weiner’s marriage may be in trouble also, and that would add to his woes if his wife, Huma Abedin, splits from him. She did not appear alongside him when he finally admitted all the sexting exploits on Monday, which was not a good sign.

But getting back to the 2013 mayoral race, Weiner reportedly has about $5 million set aside already, but he certainly will need much more to first win a primary, which is actually the hard part for a Democratic hopeful because facing a Republican in the general election will require less money and is an easier task.

For the Democratic primary, there are already at least five creditable opponents lined up for that election. They are: Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, City Comptroller John Liu, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and Bill Thompson Jr., who lost to Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2008.

Weiner would have a fight on his hands fac- ing that bunch, but under these new circumstances it figures he’ll have much more of a hurdle to get by them. First and foremost, the wounded congressmember should have a more difficult time raising the cash to conduct a contentious primary.

No less an expert than ex-Mayor Ed Koch said in one report, even before Weiner admitted that all the sexting reports were true, that he thought he was in trouble. And Sheinkopf considered Weiner’s mayoral chances were nil after he admitted that all the online sex talk was true.

“Don’t bet on Mayor Weiner for 2013,” Sheinkopf stated. Referring to running for the office of mayor, Sheinkopf added: “The guy with the second toughest job in America doesn’t usually sit around sexting all day long.”

“I am deeply sorry for the pain this has caused my wife, Huma, and our family and my constituents, my friends, supporters and staff. This was me doing a dumb thing and doing it repeatedly and lying about it.”

GIANARIS IMPROVES BED BUG LEGISLATION: Continuing his fight against the bed bug infestation menace, state Senator Michael Gianaris (D–Astoria) has introduced new legislation enhancing his Bed Bug Notification Law. The new bill, which has already passed the senate Education Committee, provides flexibility in notifying parents of students potentially affected by bed bug infestation in certain school districts. It also allows principals with necessary guidance to allow targeted notification to affected students in appropriate cases.

Gianaris explained, “While we must remind parents of the importance of maintaining hygiene inside and outside of public schools, overreaching notification of infestation is erroneous and only causes unnecessary worry.”

The lawmaker said his new bill, “Keeps families of students not in infested areas from perpetual fear of bed bugs so that students can focus more fully on their studies. I am hopeful that this bill will reach the senate floor so that it can be passed into law.”

Gianaris’ initial Bed Bug Notification Law covering city public schools was passed in August 2010. It requires that the Parent Teacher Association and all parents of potentially affected school children receive notification from school health officials upon detection of bed bugs in their child’s school.

This past February the city Department of Education released data showing cases of bed bugs in public schools had increased in the first five months of the 2010-2011 school year, Gianaris noted.

CROWLEY, MALONEY FIGHT PROPOSED ANTI-TERROR FUNDING: Denouncing massive cuts in proposed homeland security funding contained in a Republican leadership appropriations bill, Congressmembers Joseph Crowley and Carolyn Maloney (D–Queens/Manhattan) rose on the House floor to blast the bills and that key funding be provided for some crucial programs.

Maloney declared, “Homeland security is a top priority for our country and homeland security funding must reflect that. New York City is the number one terrorist target, and we must not cut programs that protect our ports, our transit systems and our cities.”

Crowley blasted the GOP proposed slashing, saying that the Republican bill sent to the floor, slashes support for many of our nation’s most important safety and protection programs, including initiatives recommended by the 9/11 Commission.

Included in the cuts, Crowley pointed out, was the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), which Crowley had spearheaded after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

“The establishment of this program was important because at the time there was not a single federal program designed to provide support to the areas in this country that are most at risk of a terror attack,” Crowley bellowed.

Maloney said almost $1.7 billion was being cut by the Republican bill.

“These homeland security cuts are gambling not just with money, but with lives,” Maloney warned.

Crowley pointed out, “The threat of terrorism remains very real, making it essential for cities that face the greatest risk to have the resources necessary to prevent attacks. I strongly urge the House to reverse these damaging cuts.”

LIU SAYS PENSION REFORM IS HERE ALREADY: While Governor [Andrew] Cuomo, Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg and many others are calling for pension reform because cumulative city and state worker pensions are driving up budget deficits, city Comptroller John Liu said in a statement released this past Monday that significant reforms already implemented will drive down city pension costs beginning in 2016.

According to a report done by his staff, Liu said, “The long term decline in pension costs is primarily due to the introduction of new, less expensive benefit plans that took effect between 1995 and 2009.”

Liu added, “Poor market performance over the past decade means we still have a few tough years ahead as those investment losses catch up to us. However, significant reforms already implemented in recent years will drive down costs for decades to come.”

BILL CLARIFIES ETHNIC SIGNAGE: Queens two Republicans in the City Council have introduced a bill which they hope will clarify ethnic signage in their districts. Councilmembers Peter Koo (Flushing) and Dan Halloran (Whitestone) have filed a bill under the state’s General Business Law (which requires signs on storefronts must be in the English language) to take enforcement away from the Police Department and placed in the hands of the city Department of Consumer Affairs.

The lawmakers said that the NYPD was too overburdened to adequately enforce the state law and because of the weak enforcement, many business owners aren’t even aware of the law’s existence.

Halloran and Koo feel that stronger enforcement by Consumer Affairs is a step in the right direction.

However, the lawmakers are also drafting a second law dealing with the ethnic signage issue which they hope will deal with other problems in the state law. This bill would require that 60 percent of the words on a business sign must be in the English language. They also point out that the state law does not apply to leased properties and its requirements are so vague as to be virtually unenforceable.

Halloran emphasized that the new proposed law is not intended as a revenue raiser for the city, and said that fines would be kept as low as possible.

“Immigrant communities are a critical part of New York City, and thriving immigrant business areas have kept the city moving forward amid this recession,” Halloran stated. The bills being proposed, he added, would enhance public safety and emergency responses by helping to find them in an emergency. They also help consumers, who he said, have the right to know where they are buying their goods.

Koo, a business owner whose district has many Chinese and Korean owned stores, stated, “The way the current law is written, there is no provision for the use of a foreign language printed on the sign. Our bills will allow immigrant businesses and communities to keep their ethnic character while complying with the law. Ultimately, these bills will help local businesses expand their customer base, increase revenues and be more consumer friendly.”

AVELLA BILL SPEEDS UP SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION: State Senator Tony Avella (D–Bayside), acting on information learned from a recent sex offender arrest in his district, has introduced legislation that would speed up the risk level determination timetable for convicted sex offenders and ensure that they are officially categorized under state law prior to their sentencing or released from incarceration.

Currently, Avella explained the law, known as the Sex Offender Registration Act, which states that the risk level determination hearing for sex offenders shall take place at least 45 days after notice of the hearing that is provided upon sentencing.

“Unfortunately,” he says, “this has allowed some sex offenders to be released into the community after their conviction and sentencing without a risk level determination and without being listed on the state’s Sex Offender Registry.”

Avella feels that “Due to the serious nature of sex crimes, we need to make sure that sex offenders’ risk levels are determined in as short a time as possible following their convictions.

“It is disgraceful that a sex offender can be living in one of our neighborhoods without the public knowing the risk that he or she poses.”

Avella’s bill requires that notice of the risk level determination hearing be given to the sex offender and the district attorney within five days of the conviction for any sex offender who is expected to be released on probation or otherwise discharged. The risk level determination hearing must then be held within 20 days of the notice and most importantly prior to sentencing, Avella said.

The legislation was designed by Avella following the arrest of Joseph Denice, a convicted Level 1 sex offender, who was convicted of sex abuse, second degree, in 2010, and then arrested again in January 2011 following additional crimes committed and probation violations arising from his volunteering in area Catholic schools, including St. Mel’s in Whitestone.

On June 1, Denice was sentenced to five-toten years in prison after pleading guilty to stealing checks from St. Mel’s Church’s Office of Religious Education. A day later, Avella’s bill dealing with risk level determination was passed by the senate’s Crime Victims, Crime and Correction Committee.

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