Democratic New York State Assemblyman (and party boss) from The Bronx, Carl Heastie, is the apparent front runner and favorite candidate to become the next Assembly Speaker as Assemblyman Sheldon Silver steps down and is facing corruption charges after a decades long reign in Albany but is Heastie the right choice?
It’s a complex question with a myriad of points to look at. Most Bronxites would salivate at the fact that The Bronx would be the seat of the New York State Assembly and open doors for our borough but at what cost would this be?
Heastie, given his record (or lack thereof), is tainted as much as his would be predecessor.
According to Capital New York analysis and investigations the following was revealed that over 45% of monies awarded by Heastie ($383,400) went to organizations that supported his re-election or to their directors who directly donated to Heastie’s campaign. Capital New York also mentions the fact that Carl Heastie attracted the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption as they investigated “approximately $25,000 in unitemized credit card expenditures.”
It doesn’t end there. Capital New York went on to further state that their analysis that since 2008, his campaign committee has made $60,795 in unitemized payments. (Read more on the “hundreds of thousands of dollars Heastie has contributed to campaign donors”.)
Heastie also continuously has insisted that contributions don’t impact legislative decisions (in what seems like support for Citizens United Supreme Court decision which opened the way for unlimited campaign contributions by corporations by way of PACs (political action committees) yet in 2013 he sponsored a bill that would be harmful to his constituents and The Bronx.
30% of Bronxites do not have bank accounts (second highest rate in the nation and in community board 1 in the South Bronx, over 50% do not bank accounts) and rely heavily on check cashing places. Heastie received $10,000 from check-cash stores and individuals connected with such businesses. In return, the bill which he introduced the Short-Term Financial Services Loan Act which would have amounted to nothing less than predatory lending. It would have allowed check-cashing businesses to make 90-180 day loans of amounts anywhere from $300 to $2,000 and charged up to 200% interest to borrowers.
It’s quite obvious that despite what Heastie says about campaign contributions not influencing him, his track record leads many to believe otherwise.
Then we have the issue of Stanley Schlein who is best described as Juan Gonzalez of the New York Daily News says:
“Still Heastie, like so many politicians in this town, carries some ugly baggage.
He’s surrounded himself over the years with some advisers for whom the word “sleazy” would be a compliment.
Chief among these is Stanley Schlein. He has been aide to so many party bosses — from Pat Cunningham to Stanley Friedman, who both went to jail, to Jose Rivera, and now Heastie — that Schlein is widely recognized as the borough’s fixer-in-chief. He’s also the key lobbyist for the Yankees with Bronx politicians.
Even after Schlein was banned from lucrative court- appointed guardianships because he’d reportedly mishandled so many of them for his elderly or ailing clients, Heastie put him in charge of helping to pick judicial candidates.”
At the end of the day it all boils down to who really runs the show here in The Bronx and it’s Schlein who has been pulling the strings for so many years. His connections to so many corrupt politicians and representing those of dubious characters like the Arroyos who seem to always attract some sort of scandal is a major cause for concern.
A blog which followed the Arroyos, posted this informative infographic on Stanley Schlein in one of their posts:
FreshDirect is another huge issue. Bronx residents overwhelmingly do not want FreshDirect to relocate to the borough. The residents of Community Board 1 constantly have fought and continue to fight this deal that would allow 1,000 diesel truck trips a day through a community already experiencing 8x the national rate of asthma and 21 x the hospitalization rate of all city neighborhood yet Heastie has stood by and allowed this deal to continue without challenging it or raising concerns about the impact on its impact on the health of the community.
Read more on Carl Heastie and why his election as Assembly Speaker will lead to no real, progressive change which New York State and New York City is in dire need of in Albany.
- Could Carl Heastie Be A Disaster Waiting To Happen? – The Albany Project
- Do trial lawyers already have a friend in Carl Heastie? – The New York Post
- Heastie rewarded contributors, racked up unusual expenses – Capital New York
- Bronx’s Carl Heastie Gains Early Support to Be Assembly Speaker – Wall Street Journal
- Is Heastie, Assembly Speaker Favorite, Ready to Hold the New York City Mantle? – Gotham Gazette
- Gonzalez: Carl Heastie on the verge of capturing Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s post – New York Daily News
And don’t forget to watch BronxTalk tonight:
TONIGHT ON BRONXTALK: CHANGES IN THE STATE ASSEMBLY – Tonight’s BronxTalk will feature Gotham Gazette reporter David King and Bronx Assembly members to talk about changes in the Assembly and the prospects for the Bronx’ Carl Heastie to be the next Speaker. BronxTalk is hosted by Gary Axelbank on Monday nights at 9:00pm on BronxNet’s channel 67 and Fios 33. It’s also streamed live at bronxnet.org.