Monday, April 20, 2009

Council Crack-up Continues

The battle lines are being drawn as Democrats on the City Council and their allies continue some vicious infighting. The latest salvo came at last week's meeting of district leaders, with former Mayoral candidate Jim Conroy taking aim at At-Large Councilman John Brown.

Conroy is said to have announced to district leaders that he will not be supporting Brown's re-election this fall, adding even more turbulence into the Democrat's very troubled council candidate situation.

What may have prompted Conroy's ire toward Brown? Could it be because Brown supported legislation to complete a move of City Hall into the Verizon building on Sixth Avenue, over Conroy's objections? Or is Conroy seeking to block Brown's move to become Council president? Or, is Big Jim looking to run for At-Large Council himself?

The Council Democrats seem to be splintering in different directions, after having maybe the worst 15 months of any City Council in Collar City history. Brown and Council President Clem Campana are on a collision course over who gets to be council president, and Third District Councilman Pete Ryan is said to be very desperate to get away from the wreckage and lack of accomplishment and may not be seeking re-election. Former Councilman Keith Rogers is running after bypassing county Democrat boss Tom Wade and only getting the blessing from City Chairman Frank LaPosta. In the meantime, Rogers is running on a platform to reduce the size of the Council, one of the initiatives opposed by Brown, who worked to defeat the cost-saving move during last fall's referendum vote. And there is the candidacy by irrepressible downtown restaurant owner Mike LoPorto, who generates more headlines than incumbent Democrat council members.

Fifteen months of failure leads to fractures and council Democrats are splintering in more directions than you can count. The one winner in this confusion is popular City Chair LaPosta, whose power and influence seems to be growing by the day. LaPosta's clout was seen in the Rogers announcement, and other Democrat candidates are said to be seeking LaPosta's support for this fall.