Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Advocate
Richard Blassberg

The Cabal Is Dead; Long Live Westchester’s Real Democrats

Not withstanding whatever shenanigans Davis’ operatives, Reggie La-Fayette, Lisa Copeland, Serapher Conn-Halevi, and John and Jane Does One through perhaps Twenty, may have attempted to pull off - à la the 2004 State Senate Race in the Thirty-Fifth District - between last Tuesday night and the appearance of this issue of The Guardian, Clinton Young has defeated three-term incumbent Mayor of Mount Vernon Ernie Davis.

That fact, coupled with Paul Feiner’s 67% victory over Suzanne Berger, is giving County Executive, for now, Andy Spano, and his puppeteer Larry Schwartz, acid indigestion, and, rightly so.

Andy and Larry are certainly not alone in their discomfort; there are several other members of the Cabal wondering about their future. Actually, there is nothing to be wondering about; the Cabal is dead! To confirm that
conclusion one must identify the membership and their individual roles. And, one must recognize that there has not been a legitimate two-party political system in Westchester for many years.

Each of the present principal members of the Cabal have played a very distinct part in its corruption and control of the electoral process in Westchester. Jeanine Pirro, when she was District Attorney, was clearly the central figure, as only she could control with the power to indict and prosecute. Now, ironically, she is very likely the subject of an indictment herself, a federal indictment, sealed for many months, as the United States Attorney’s Office continues to gather evidence against her, and against those with whom she did business. While she was DA she shared her covert power with Larry Schwartz, who now sits on the Throne of Evil alone, as he recently exclaimed to a horrified elderly couple, “I’m the most powerful man in Westchester.”

On the other hand, his boss, in name only, County Executive Andy Spano, has been the “public face” of the Cabal particularly since Pirro’s departure. Amongst the other members, Reggie LaFayette, Chairman of the
Westchester Democratic Committee, and simultaneously the vastly overpaid Democratic Election Commissioner, has been what used to be known in the Mob as a “Button Man,” literally executing the unlawful election frauds schemed up by Larry Schwartz, whether they involved race fixing, or election ballot tampering, or out and out election fraud.

Of course, there’s Giulio Cavallo, and Zehy Jereis, political gutter snipes whose bread and butter activities have been mostly covert, selling endorsements from the Independence and Republican Parties, respectively. The
common denominator, better yet, the common benefactor, and controller, of these two election fraudsters, is former State Senator Nick Spano, whose endorsement of Phil Amicone in exchange for $1.3 million in no-show patronage jobs for some thirty of his political hacks at Yonkers City Hall is but one of several unlawful activities engaged in by the Yonkers Mayor.

Of course, when Amicone comes back to earth he will realize that his victory over Vinny Restiano, in the Republican Primary, was hollow, and certainly will not translate into four more years when he faces Dennis Robertson in November. He will realize that despite his having the financial and political support of Larry and Andy, the Greenburgh and Mount Vernon primary results portend little, if any, positive impact on his re-election bid.

The trouble is the gig is up; the Cabal is dead. Rank and file Democrats have finally begun to recognize the sham and the manipulation flowing from the ninth floor of the County Office Building. Those in Greenburgh recognized the self-serving motives behind Larry’s and Andy’s support of Suzanne Berger, their finagling of State Assemblymen George Latimer and Adam Bradley, two Democrats with no particular beef against Paul Feiner,
to come out in support of Berger.

Funny how one becomes obligated to the Devil when one accepts money and other campaign support from him; a kind of Godfather Obligation, that, thankfully, constituents are beginning to see through and discount.

Who, after all, were Bradley and Latimer to be telling Greenburgh residents that they ought to be turning their backs on Paul Feiner? And why would the voters of Mount Vernon listen to the likes of David Paterson or Eliot
Engel, real outsiders coming into their besieged city, telling them to vote for Ernie Davis, a man under federal investigation, about to be indicted, just because Larry, Andy, and the Cabal wanted to keep their operative in
power?

Yes, the People, not only in Mount Vernon and Greenburgh, but all over Westchester, have opened their eyes. Not even massive amounts of money - Ernie Davis spent ten times what Clinton Young spent - no, not even money will fool them anymore. Naturally, the political bosses have had their way for so long that they find it difficult to accept the new reality.

They have fixed so many races, monkeyed around with voting machines, and gotten access to ballots for the purpose of rigging election outcomes so many times over the last ten years that it’s going to take a few federal indictments and convictions to fully convince them that the Cabal is history.

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