Wayne Barrett: Time for Something New

Categories: Wayne Barrett

Ed Koch and I were inaugurated on the same day in 1978. He became mayor and I became his weekly tormentor.

I had written a few pieces for the Voice before I took over the Runnin' Scared column that January, going back as far as 1973.

But I was now inheriting a column that Mary Nichols, the Voice's editor-in-chief, had made famous, and that had been written by greats like Jack Newfield, Ken Auletta, and Joe Conason. A country kid out of Lynchburg, Virginia, where I'd founded the Teenage Republicans, I was suddenly occupying the first two pages of New York's counter-cultural crier.

Since then, I have written, by my own inexact calculation, more column inches than anyone in the history of the Voice. These will be my last.

I am 65 and a half now, and it is time for something new.

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Andrew Cuomo Sexy? Steve Rattner Begs to Differ

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Steve Rattner, raw hunk
Steve Rattner, the super financier just charged in an Andrew Cuomo civil suit with fraudulently bilking the state's pension fund, has obtained a written promise from People magazine that he will appear in next year's issue of the sexiest men.

Liz Sporkin, executive editor of People, told the Voice that his omission this year was a mathematical fluke.

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Joe Scarborough's Political Contributions Revealed by Voice in 2008: What Took So Long for the Suspension?

Categories: Wayne Barrett

Decades ago, when I was new to the pages of the Voice and when my work actually appeared on pages, I was visited at the office by state investigators.

They had in their hands a campaign filing by Al Vann, then a young and ballsy assemblyman from the heart of Bed Stuy. I was astonished to see my name on the filing and the name of my colleague Jack Newfield. We were listed as having made modest donations to Vann's committee, and to this day, I have no idea why the State Board of Elections thought that was grounds to interrogate us.

Keith Olbermann was a rookie sportscaster at the time on old WNEW radio in New York, and Joe Scarborough was coaching high school football in his hometown of Pensacola, Florida.

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Eric Schneiderman Will Inherit One Case from Andrew Cuomo That Should Haunt Him

Categories: Wayne Barrett

Eric Schneiderman
Eric Schneiderman will inherit one case from Andrew Cuomo that may come to haunt the new attorney general.

The AG who owes his election to the New York Times will soon take over the case against Steve Rattner, the lifelong friend and financial adviser of Times owner Arthur Sulzberger. Sulzberger just hosted a book party to celebrate the release of "Overhaul," Rattner's tale of the rescue of the auto industry that he spearheaded at President Obama's behest.

And that's just the visible angst.

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Cathie Black Waiting for Approval From an Office That Has Said 'No' Before

Cathie Black: can she get a waiver?
Richard Mills, the same state education commissioner who gave Joel Klein a waiver to become chancellor in 2002, denied another waiver application in 2003.

The reasons cited in that 9-page denial letter will no doubt impact the decision now facing Mills' successor, David Steiner, who will soon decide whether Hearst heavyweight Cathie Black has the qualifications to lead the city school system.

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David Paterson Post Mortems Begin in Earnest

The day after the election, the Times ran a comparative chart of the personal preferences of the outgoing and incoming governors. Asked how he relaxed at the Governor's Mansion in Albany, David Paterson said: "Reading in the family room."

A few days earlier, Joe Fisch, the state's inspector general, issued his report on the fixing of the state's largest contract ever, the Aqueduct racino franchise, and pointed out how little his three-decade friend Paterson actually reads, or is read to. Peter Kiernan, Paterson's counsel, talked to Paterson about the award of the $3 billion, 30-year contract by phone for 30 minutes -- a minute a year -- while the governor was driving to Poughkeepsie.

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Tom DiNapoli's Appointment Logs: He's Just Too Nice a Guy

Categories: Wayne Barrett

Tom DiNapoli is too nice a guy.

The state comptroller apparently can't say no to anyone who wants to meet with him, though he has a mixed record when it comes to delivering what his bellringers want.

I've been reading half a foot of DiNapoli's appointment schedules from 2007 to now and I wouldn't want to sit in his chair for one of his typical days. It's not grueling. It's galling.

DiNapoli has, for example, rarely missed a Vito Lopez event, doing four between July 22 and August 25 of this year alone, even as scandals around the Brooklyn assemblyman and Democratic county leader were beginning to explode. And DiNapoli doesn't do a drive-by; he's listed for a combined eight hours at just three of the Lopez events, with no departure time noted on the fourth.

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Harry Wilson Gets Backing By Our Media Overlords (Updated)

Categories: Wayne Barrett

All three New York City newspaper owners have endorsed GOP comptroller candidate Harry Wilson, who is also backed by our mogul mayor.

The real Gang of Four hasn't caballed like this since the term limits extension of 2008 and the re-election of Bloomberg in 2009. Like term limits, this insider power play might have worthy consequences, because Wilson is clearly the class act of the GOP ticket. But he might also be a class war act, just like the defiant override of two publicly approved term-limit referendums was a couple of years ago.

The quartet of elite endorsements looks like another example of our media overlords knowing so much better than we do what's good for the common folk.

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How Does Carl Paladino Get the 'Tea Party' Tag After Teabagging the Tea Partiers?

Sometimes it's really tough to figure out what's news in New York. Everywhere in America, and on every national cable channel, it's Tea Party talk all the time.

Carl Paladino runs for governor as if he's a Tea Partier and knocks off the ballot the only candidate to actually file petitions as the nominee of some version of the Tea Party and nobody thinks it's news.

Who knows who's a legitimate Tea Partier?

There's no question that the party Paladino just wiped out -- in a court decision affirmed unanimously late yesterday by the appellate division in Albany -- is some zany byproduct of Independence Party leaders in Westchester and Long Island, one of whom is a big strip bar owner.

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Roger Stone, Kristin Davis Can't Get Their Sex Scandals Straight

Categories: Wayne Barrett

Sexy Roger
Since sex is the big story of the gubernatorial campaign, thanks to Carl Paladino and Roger Stone, Page Six items take on a life larger than usual.

A two-inch story published there today revolves around prostitute Irma Nici and casts so wide a net it evokes all the bizarre hijinks of the governor's race, while simultaneously reigniting the CNN/Fox war.

Nici is the latest public playchild of Paladino strategist Stone. She was paid $50,000 to tell In Touch magazine that she'd had sex with David Beckham, who is suing her and the magazine over the story. Kristin Davis, the former madam who is Stone's other candidate for governor (threesomes are his minimum in politics and the sack), has emerged as Nici's strongest backer.

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