Monday, August 24, 2015


Incumbent James P. Hoffa and challenger Tim Sylvester have joyfully reported the impressive results of their petition drives to be accredited as candidates for the Teamsters presidency in 2016.
Hoffa reported 135,000 signatures--more than twice Sylvester’s 63,000.
However, we need to delve into the numbers. Hoffa’s incumbency gives him access to hundreds of local officials--many hungry to please him with hopes of being added to the international union’s payroll and being viewed favorably in conflicts with other locals, other unions and employers.
In the 2011 presidential election, Hoffa won a dismal 137,172 votes, just 2,172 more than the list of signatures he recently submitted on his petitions.
There is a political adage that to win an election, you have to run either unopposed or scared and hard.
In the 2011 election, Hoffa’s opposition was so divided and ineffective that he was just about unopposed.
So, the 135,000 signatures he collected either means that is about the max of his support or he is really running hard this time around planning to pressure his Teamster underlings to turn out the vote--or else face the prospect of being stripped of their extra salaries and perks.
Tim Sylvester, who heads New York Teamsters Local 804, promises to be a formidable candidate. His supporters in Teamsters United and Teamsters for a Democratic Union managed to tally 63,000 signatures on his petitions--or more than twice as many as needed for certification.
Sylvester has been on the campaign trail--mostly on weekends--since January and will pick up the pace as the election approaches. He is running hard to find enough votes among the 90 per cent of the 1,400,000 Teamsters rank and file who didn’t vote for Hoffa in 2011.
Accreditation gives a candidate the opportunity to promote himself in the Teamsters magazine as well as the names and address of all Teamsters members. Formal nomination still needs to be won at next year's Teamsters Convention.
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A suggestion: my novel, THE TRUCKERS, has been described as a fun read. It is serious and tragic too. Try it free on KindleSmashwordsBarnes and Noble, or Apple.

Sunday, August 23, 2015


Al Mixon, chairman of the Teamsters National Black Caucus, has jumped into the 2016 race for the presidency of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
The candidacy of Mixon, who is secretary-treasurer of Cleveland Local 507, transforms the election into a three-way contest. His opponents: incumbent Teamsters general president James P. Hoffa and Tim Sylvester, president of New York Teamsters Local 804, home of the late Teamsters General President Ron Carey.
The revelation that Mixon has launched a petition drive to be accredited as a presidential candidate came not from an announcement by Mixon, but from the Teamsters United Facebook page. Teamsters United and Teamsters for a Democratic Union are backing Sylvester.
Mixon currently is an international vice president, elected in 2011 on the Hoffa slate. I have no idea why Mixon has split with Hoffa. Sylvester said on his website: “Long-time allies, Mixon and Hoffa broke with each other this Spring.” Not a very informative comment.
The next few days will reveal whether Sylvester's petition drive to be certified as a presidential candidate has been successful. A minimum of 30,794 signatures are needed to be certified. Sylvester supporters are aiming for 50,000.
At this point, Al Mixon is only a name in the game with no indication of whether he will launch a full-fledged slate or will run alone. I don’t know how potent the Teamsters National  Black Caucus is and whether or not it gives Mixon a significant political base for the 2016 election.
The first test of his candidacy will be his petition drive for accreditation.
Accreditation gives a candidate the opportunity to print campaign ads in the Teamster magazine and  a list of the entire Teamster membership for mailings and other forms of access.
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A suggestion: my novel, THE TRUCKERS, has been described as a fun read. It is serious and tragic too. Try it free on KindleSmashwordsBarnes and Noble, or Apple.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

THE PENCIL ARTIST, A novel-writing goal fulfilled

In the year 2000, for some unknown reason, I set a goal of publishing eight novels before the age of 81. I will be 81 on Aug. 19, 2015 and am happy to say that my eighth novel, THE PENCIL ARTIST is now available as an e-book and paperback.
After graduating from college, Billy Harrigan, the protagonist of THE PENCIL ARTIST, became a short order cook while pursuing his dream of achieving recognition as an artist.
Decades have passed with Billy rarely selling a drawing and still standing at the grill of a Manhattan diner. The turning point in his life begins with Ann Stone purchasing a set of Billy’s landscapes for her Hamptons beach house. Teddy Stone, Ann’s aging billionaire husband, suspects she is having a dalliance with this insignificant artist--and sets out to destroy Billy. Teddy discovers he isn’t as powerful as he imagined and while the pencil artist might be helpless alone his plight attracts a bevy of allies through social media to his cause.
THE PENCIL ARTIST is available as an e-book on Smashwords, Kindle, and Barnes and Noble; as a paperback on Amazon.
If you read it and like it, please review it.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Thoughts on Singled Out by Julie Lawford

In Julie Crawford’s novel, ‘Singled Out’, a bevy of British singles spend a holiday in search of love, sex, escape and adventure. The novel delivers all to a crowd of horney women, willing men including a coward, a minor hero, an a now-familiar preditor. The central character, I wouldn’t call her the protagonist, is self-righteous and guilt-ridden, with a tendency to dominate and investigate those around her. She is a wonderfully different snoop.
I always look for themes or truths in a serious novels, and this is a serious novel. What does ‘Singled Out’ tell us: Love can blossom when you least expect it; the righteous are seldom welcome and not always right; and that you reap what you sow. Note: change the orders of the letters in reap to get clear understanding of that message in the novel.
‘Singled Out’ is well worth reading.

A suggestion:My novel, THE PENCIL ARTIST, is now available as a free download on, Smashwords and Barnes and Noble.
Try it, enjoy it, and if you are in the mood, review it.