Saturday, June 29, 2013

Village Voice's Damage Control for NY Gay Pol Corey Johnson

(Barney Frank listens to Johnson ask a question. Credit: Towleroad.)

He didn't have a good week, new and old media wise. From a Village Voice blog post yesterday written by John Surico, titled "The Misunderstood Candidacy of Corey Johnson":

[O]ne Democratic candidate named Corey Johnson is in the running as (New York City's District 3 Councilmember Christine Quinn's) replacement. But he faces many of the same attacks on Quinn's mayoral campaign, some of which are mired in too-easy-to-leapfrog judgments.

Laying on sympathy before we get to any specifics, because Johnson has allegedly been attacked this week. I would say his thin record of accomplishments has been challenged, his omitting and then replacing a job with a real estate corporation from his resume noted by City Hall Watch's Seth Barron, and the Queens Politics blog's Adam Lombardi reported Johnson was not a registered lobbyist.

Good thing Barron and Lombardi weren't waiting for the Voice to poke around Johnson's resume and lobbyist records.

[Johnson was appointed in 2005 to and through election by his peers became] the chairman of Community Board 4, the local citizen group in Quinn's constituency. Using that experience, he joined GFI Development Corporation as its director of government and community affairs in 2008--a position that would naturally attract attention from opponents.

Sounds to me that Johnson used his CB4 position and network contacts to hire himself out to that corporation and should be scrutinized by rivals and voters, a key constituency left omitted by Surico.

So, like Quinn, Johnson has benefitted (sic) from real estate wealth, which his campaign has received $8,400, in total, from; several of his donors are even veterans from the speaker's past and current campaigns, like Mario Palumbo of Millennium Partners and the development crew behind the Brooklyn Naval Yard.

Interesting to see that $8,400 figure very probably came from my post examining real estate donations to Johnson and Surico conveniently fails to mention my research. The central point about Johnson has received four-figure real estate donations hadn't come up till my post appeared and undercuts the Voice's contention that there's been too-easy leapfrog judgments. I'm just following the money.

According to sources who spoke to the Voice, Johnson never registered [thanks for the link. -MP] with City Hall as a lobbyist for GFI as required by law. But that's because, in his position, he was not responsible for those efforts on behalf of the corporation--a misconception from which the aforementioned judgments originate.

Huh? His job title was director of government affairs and he wasn't responsible for GFI's efforts with City government. Really? Who are the anonymous Voice sources and why can't they be named? Might be good for the Voice to check with the Lobbying Bureau of the City Clerk and see what they have to say. Also, if he wasn't fully in charge of all GFI government affairs, Johnson still could have spent consider time and effort communicating and lobbying City officials and agencies.

At GFI, his job was simply PR for the public, to make sure the Corporation didn't look like the bad guy to tenants by mending ties between Big Development and the little man.  

Says who? More anonymous Voice sourcing.

I chose the treatment of Corey Johnson's candidacy for a reason. His situation highlights an all-too-common theme of election seasons: laziness, plain and simple. The most catchy clip jobs are fueled by accusatory dialect, a ton of misdirected pathos and, as a result, SEO [search engine optimization] bait. It's a replacement of logic that detracts the voter from the reality of the situation, stretching facts and leaving truths few and far between.

Yes, the laziness of publications like the Voice to not scrutinize Johnson's donors and his track record of alleged accomplishment and not simply list where he's been employed, and raise questions about his ethics as a high-profile GFI government and PR guy.

There's been no replacement of logic, which Surico and the Voice imply they are now using to bring forward a better examination of Johnson's candidacy. All they have done is provide a large dose of damage control for him.

No comments: