a bronx tale
“So what brings you guys out today?”
Rob Astorino kicked off his uphill gubernatorial campaign against incumbent Andrew Cuomo today with a joking question to those assembled for his formal launch on the steps of the Bronx County Courthouse.
“I am Rob Astorino, the Westchester County executive, and today we kick off our campaign for governor in the state of New York,” said Mr. Astorino, a Republican running in a heavily Democratic state.
Shot in the Arm
The New York Post sparked outrage today with a controversial front page featuring a photo of Menachem Stark–a Williamsburg businessman whose smoldering body was found in a Long Island dumpster yesterday–with the caption: “Who didn’t want him dead?”
The story, labeling Mr. Sark a “millionaire Hasidic slumlord,” detailed the 39-year-old father of eight’s allegedly shady business practices to argue there could be many potential suspects for his murder.
Law & Order
Autism advocates are set to protest tomorrow against a quiet effort by Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration to require annual flu vaccinations for all New York City schoolchildren under 5 years of age.
On Wednesday, with just three weeks to go until he leaves office, Mr. Bloomberg’s controversial Board of Health is set to vote on new rules that would force children as young as six months old to be immunized each year before December 31 if they attend licensed day care or pre-school programs.
Law & Order
Occupy Wall Street doesn’t want to be associated with the young West Village couple who were allegedly busted over the weekend with a houseful of explosives, weapons and a bomb-making guide. Morgan Gliedman, 27, and Aaron Greene, 31, were arrested Saturday after police reportedly found seven grams of highly explosive HMTD powder, a flare launcher, a shotgun, ammo, rifle magazines and instructions on making bombs, including a printout entitled “The Terrorist Encyclopedia,” at their home. An early report from the New York Post identified Mr. Greene as an “Occupy Wall Street activist,” but this afternoon the movement’s public relations arm said there is no evidence to support links between Mr. Greene and Occupy.
“There is nothing in the news stories to support a link between OWS and the individual arrested; his name is unfamiliar to many OWS activists,” the statement posted on the Occupy Wall Street Press Relations Working Group page said. “A very large number of people came through Zuccotti Park, and there are countless Occupy-related groups nationwide, so it is very difficult to ascertain if one person participated in anything related to OWS.”
Rumble in Rock Center
On Sunday, someone claiming to be affiliated with the hacker activist group Anonymous, released a two minute clip containing footage of last November’s eviction of the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park that they said was obtained from the NYPD’s Technical Assistance Response Unit. While the clip has widely been covered as having been “leaked” from the police, NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Public Information Paul Browne told Politicker the clip was ‘not ‘leaked” and may have been a combination of footage from television news cameras, public court records and even possibly from the occupiers themselves.
Law & Order
One year after it began, the Occupy movement appears to be waning, but Americans For Prosperity, the conservative economic activist group founded by the notorious Koch Brothers, held a rally near Rockefeller Plaza this morning to “stand up to Occupy Wall Street.” The event included comparisons between President Barack Obama and Fidel Castro, and several heated exchanges between the AFP contingent and Occupy Wall Street sympathizers who showed up to mock and infiltrate the rally.
According to multiple people who have been involved with planning and executing Occupy Wall Street protests the New York City Police Department targeted key organizers for arrests in advance of Monday’s Occupy anniversary demonstrations. These arrests may have prevented the movement from, for the first time, presenting a focused, single message at the center of the protests.
By this afternoon, Zuccotti Park was deserted. Approximately 12 hours after hundreds of Occupy Wall Street protesters gathered in the birthplace of their movement to mark its first anniversary, the space was vacant apart from the regular afternoon crowd of office workers and construction crews, who sat on the stone benches eating their lunches.
Prior to yesterday’s anniversary celebration, the occupiers vowed to stage “mass civil disobedience around the Financial District in resistance to economic injustice.” Indeed, according to the NYPD, there were 185 arrests in conjunction with the protests. However, in spite of the mass detentions, the simple narrative that is rapidly becoming conventional wisdom in the wake of yesterday’s protests is that Occupy Wall Street is finished.
CHARLOTTE, NC — So far, the street protests at the Democratic National Convention seem to be much larger than anything seen at the RNC last weekin Tampa. This afternoon, streets had to be closed and checkpoints were moved when a group of protesters took to the street on Stonewall Street a couple of blocks from the site of the convention. Politicker came out to see the protests and so did Joseph Smith from Port Hueneme, California, who was wearing an “Obama” basketball jersey and said his wife was a delegate. Mr. Smith got into shouting matches with several of the protesters, many of whom were cursing the president. Mr. Smith told Politicker he thought the protesters were being “disrespectful” and he suggested the protesters, who were mostly white, were working against minorities.
“I think it’s disrespectful in general for people,” Mr. Smith. “You’re talking about Obama did this and did that. George Bush did it, Senior and Junior, but they seem to forget. … If you really want to know what it’s about, it’s black and white.”
One of the protesters bristled at this characterization and pointed the minorities in the protest group out to Mr. Smith who dismissed this by saying, “You always had Uncle Toms in slavery.”
TAMPA, FL — Mitt Romney is currently on stage at the Republican National Convention. During his speech, a group of protesters attempted to interrupt the proceedings by shouting from the seats above the convention floor. Audience members drowned them out with chants of, “USA! USA! USA!”
Politicker was unable to hear the protesters from our spot on the convention floor, but, according to journalist Andrew Coyne, they were waving pink banners and shouting, “People over profits!” The protesters were quickly removed by security personnel. Dan Libit of the Daily said the protesters were affiliated with the activist group Code Pink, which staged a similar interruption during Paul Ryan’s speech yesterday.