Monday, June 9, 2014

Bill de Blasio and New York City's Clintongate Scandal: A Tale of Three Phonies--Part 1

(A shorter version of this article originally appeared in the Winter 2013 issue of the Lower East Side underground/alternative newspaper, “The Shadow”)

“Mr. de Blasio becomes Mrs. Clinton's campaign manager during an uneasy period for her campaign…, Mrs. Clinton, who has never lived in New York, came to New York City to announce that she was indeed going to run for office...In Mr. de Blasio, Mrs. Clinton chose someone who…grew up in New York -- a point that was prominently mentioned in the single-page news release announcing the appointment…”

--the New York Times on Dec. 4, 1999

“…De Blasio is the leading candidate for mayor of New York,…poised to become the city’s second consecutive mayor with Massachusetts roots, succeeding Michael R. Bloomberg, a Medford native….De Blasio, 52, said growing up in Cambridge gave him a `very progressive grounding.’….De Blasio moved to Cambridge in 1966, when he was 5. His mother, Maria, was a public relations manager at Polaroid…De Blasio’s name then was Warren Wilhelm Jr….De Blasio rarely mentions his youth in Cambridge…His roots in the city are a potential sore spot…`I am very much a Red Sox fan,’ de Blasio said in the interview this month….”

--the Boston Globe on Sept. 30, 2013

“What does Bill de Blasio…have to do with Polaroidland?...The Boston Globe today revealed that his connection is sturdier than most: His mother, Maria Wilhelm, worked in Polaroid’s public-relations department for nearly twenty years. A quick search of newspaper databases reveals plenty of quotes (and a few `no comment’s) that she offered the press down through the years…I asked Donald Dery and Sam Yanes, each of whom ran Polaroid’s PR operation (Don until 1980, Sam thereafter), and they remember her well. (She died in 2007.) Sam offered this:`…Maria Wilhelm would just plow ahead, like a pro, working from 9 to 5, always on deadline, always on point.  Her main job was to place `Amazing Things Are Happening Here’ stories everywhere…When I was out of town, she looked after our financial and corporate communications concerns…’”

--from a Polaroidland blog post of Sept. 30, 2013

“…In 1970, a union tried to organize workers at the company. [Polaroid President and Chairman Edwin] Land regarded the attempt as an intrusion. The union organizing effort failed…”

--from Victor McElheny’s Insisting On The Impossible: The Life of Edwin Land in 1998

“Over 100 people rallied in front of Polaroid's main office building in Tech Square yesterday and demanded that the Cambridge-based corporation immediately terminate its activities in South Africa.

“Speakers at the rally, held to commemorate the 1960 Sharpeville massacre, continued to level their charge that Polaroid's ID-2 identification system is instrumental in the maintenance of apartheid…Chris Nteta, a black South African, noted that the United Nations Special Committee on Apartheid met earlier this month to discuss the firing of Polarold employees who had organized a boycott of Polaroid products to protest the company's continuing involvement in South Africa…Polaroid equipment…was responsible for 20 per cent of all pictures taken for passbooks in 1970, according to Polaroid statistics.

“Towards the close of the rally, Caroline Hunter, a member of the Polaroid Revolutionary Workers Movement who was fired by Polaroid for organizing a boycott of Polaroid products, issued a `People's Warrant’ against Edwin H. Land, president and chairman of the board of Polaroid, for `Mass Murder.’ Hunter then set fire to four Polaroid cameras to dramatize the protest….”

--the Harvard Crimson on Mar. 23, 1971

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