Why is Vito Lopez still in the State Assembly?
It has been two weeks since word leaked out that we the taxpayers paid off, er, compensated two women who claimed that Mr. Lopez, a veteran legislator and chairman of Brooklyn’s Democratic county committee, harassed them in the workplace. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver approved a secret $103,000 payment each—and never saw fit to refer the case to the Assembly’s Ethics Committee.
But that very committee did look into other allegations against Mr. Lopez and found an appalling record of intimidation, inappropriate conduct and harassment. Subsequent news accounts reported that Mr. Lopez, who is 71 years old, frequently commented on the appearance of female staff members, and sometimes made inappropriate advances. Women interviewed by The New York Times said that they felt threatened by Mr. Lopez’s boorish behavior. The assemblyman brusquely told one staff member to remain quiet after she complained about unwanted and aggressive advances from an aide to one of Mr. Lopez’s allies.
In a better world, Mr. Lopez would be thoroughly ashamed and would already be in self-imposed exile. His Assembly seat would be vacant. He would not still be the leader of Brooklyn’s Democrats.
But, of course, we are not talking about a perfect world, or even a decent one.
Longtime Assemblyman and Kings County Democratic leader Vito Lopez married the Brooklyn Democratic Party with the Occupy Wall Street protests yesterday, leading a delegation of supporters, political allies, unions and community groups over the Brooklyn Bridge to make common cause with the demonstrations.
A rare divide has formed between Democrats and affordable housing advocates over a prevailing wage provision in the extension of the popular 421-a tax credit. Those advocates say that an extension of the 421-a tax credit that includes requiring them to pay prevailing wages to construction workers on non-public projects will drastically reduce the number of Read More
Cops: Two died in separate accidents. [WSJ]
Cops: Suspect pushed an officer over the railing of steps in a Brooklyn brownstone. [City Room]
Cops: MTA officer mistakenly fired a shot at a fellow officer. [AP]
Teacher Accountability: Jeff Klein talks to 60 Minutes. [CBS] Albany Ethics: “Moreland Act investigation could Read More
Brooklyn Inside Baseball
Brooklyn Congressman Ed Towns said today that the only thing that could keep him from winning his son’s seat as district leader is a bloc of at-large committee members, who were appointed by county chair Vito Lopez last year.
“Well, it’s a difficult task because of the fact that they have all these at-large members,” Read More
The Back Back Room
Yesterday a reader forwarded me the email that Congressman Ed Towns sent out to Broolyn’s district leaders informing them of his desire to stand for the seat that his son Darryl is vacating.
From: Ed Towns <XXXX@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, Feb 26, 2011 at 10:34 AM
Subject: 54th District Leadership
To: XXXX@gmail.com Read More
One of the most common defenses made of Brooklyn Democratic boss and Assembly Housing Chair Vito Lopez — espoused by himself and others — is that while he may bend the rules, it is always in the service of his beloved Bushwick.
The Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Center, which Lopez founded in the ’70s and Read More
Andrew Cuomo paid a visit to Jewish leaders today, and found himself in the thick of Brooklyn’s political divide.
According to sources, he visited with four Hasidic rabbis, and at three of the meetings he was met by Brooklyn Democratic Party boss Vito Lopez and Steve Levin, his former chief-of-staff who now serves on the Read More
Brooklyn Democratic Party Boss Vito Lopez has a team of lawyers at the Kings County Courthouse to try to knock his opponent, Esteban Duran, off the ballot.
A Supreme Court judge ruled in favor of Duran last week, but Lopez appealed the decision. Duran is challenging Lopez for his position as a district leader, which Read More
Tuesday’s hearing on the 421-a Property Tax Exemption Program almost didn’t happen.
“When we mailed out the notice and we reached out to a lot of people, there was almost no response,” Vito Lopez, chairman of the state Assembly’s housing committee, said. “So it’s quite interesting.”
At issue was whether 421-a, which gives tax breaks Read More