De Blasio Inauguration Both Populist and Tightly-Controlled

Members of the public in City Hall line up to greet Mayor Bill de Blasio. (Photo: Stan Honda/Getty)
Members of the public in City Hall line up to greet Mayor Bill de Blasio. (Photo: Stan Honda/Getty)

A line hundreds deep and hours long snaked through the City Hall rotunda this afternoon, crammed with New Yorkers waiting to take a picture with the new mayor of New York City after his inauguration.

To the many admirers of Mayor Bill de Blasio, the first Democratic mayor in two decades, a bitter cold day in January and a massive wait could do little to diminish their glow.  Continue reading “De Blasio Inauguration Both Populist and Tightly-Controlled”

Speaker Hopefuls Don’t Know Exactly How They’ll Choose a Speaker

Several of the candidates  for council speaker met a forum at New York Law School last night.
Several of the candidates for council speaker met a forum at New York Law School last night.

The candidates for City Council speaker aren’t sure exactly how to pick a winner. 

Several of the pols vying for the city’s second most powerful post were stumped at a Manhattan forum last night when an audience member asked about the specific process by which their 51-member body will go about choosing the next speaker in January. Continue reading “Speaker Hopefuls Don’t Know Exactly How They’ll Choose a Speaker”

Smith Scandal Highlights Waning Influence of County Political Parties

(Photo: Getty)
Preet Bharara explaining the alleged bribery plot. (Photo: Getty)

“That’s politics in New York,” the New York Post‘s cover blared in stark black-and-white ink this morning. “It’s all about the f–king money.”

The quote, allegedly made from Councilman Dan Halloran to a cooperating witness, was revealed yesterday as U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara unsealed charges not only against Mr. Halloran, but State Sen. Malcolm Smith and a small slew of other political figures in what Mr. Bharara called “a corridor of corruption stretching from Queens and the Bronx to Rockland County and all the way up to Albany itself.”

Specifically, Mr. Halloran is accused of “essentially quarterbacking” a scheme to secure Republican establishment support for Mr. Smith’s mayoral bid. Mr. Smith, a Democrat, would need the blessing of three of the five county Republican organizations to run on the GOP line, and he allegedly arranged for cash bribes in his attempt to do so. But, looking more broadly, the strange scandal also shines light on these county organizations and their few remaining powers in city politics.

Continue reading “Smith Scandal Highlights Waning Influence of County Political Parties”