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Late Night FDL: In the Wake of the Storm

Remember Mr. Fossella, the gentleman in Staten Island with the multiple family problems?

As it turns out, he’s not the only Republican politician in Staten Island with issues.

The Staten Island GOP picked a gentleman named Powers as their nominee for Rep. Fossella’s seat (the Brooklyn GOP – Fossella’s district covers Staten Island and a section of Brooklyn – is apparently not convinced yet).

Republican leaders in Staten Island on Thursday night endorsed Francis H. Powers, a retired Wall Street executive, as their candidate for the Congressional seat being vacated by Representative Vito J. Fossella.

Mr. Powers, known within the party primarily for his fund-raising efforts for several Staten Island candidates, has not run for public office before.

He is a board member of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and in 2002, retired from the investment management firm Weiss, Peck & Greer, where he was a partner and managing director.

The decision to endorse Mr. Powers, who was Mr. Fossella’s finance chairman, came just hours after State Senator Andrew J. Lanza announced that he would not be a candidate for Congress. Mr. Lanza had been widely viewed as the party’s likely choice, with the best chance of retaining the seat for the Republicans.

According to many Republican officials, the hope was to have an elected official run for the seat. But one by one, those approached by the party decided not to run.

“We endorsed a dark-horse candidate,” said John S. Friscia, the Staten Island Republican Party chairman. “Frank is well-known to the Republican Party county committee, and he is a contributing member of the community, with a wealth of volunteer work.

Well, most folks weren’t too interested, but some folks were less excited than that

It could be father versus son in the race for Staten Island’s seat in the House of Representatives.

An already topsy-turvy political year grew even more so today when Francis M. Powers, the son of GOP designee Francis H. Powers, said he would seek the Libertarian Party line to run for the 13th Congressional District seat.

"This is not about my dad," said the younger Powers, 47, a master carpenter from Clifton who plays and sings with the Staten Island band Box of Crayons [note: lasciate ogni speranza. I am not kidding.] and runs an indie record label called Penny for the Guy Records. "I’m running against the Republican candidate."

Known as Fran, Powers is the eldest of five children from his father’s first marriage, which ended in divorce 30 years ago.

Fran Powers insisted his candidacy is not a "vendetta" against his father.

"I’m not going to say that my dad treated me bad when I was a kid," Fran Powers said. "I know his policies. I’m running against someone I know."

When asked about the timing of his entry into the race, Powers said, "Me being his son gives me a different platform than normal," a platform that Powers said he wouldn’t have against another candidate.

"We can’t have the Republicans take this seat again," he added. "A vote for my father is a vote for the straight Republican ticket."

"I’ve tried very hard for many years to help my son," the elder Powers said in a statement released by his campaign.

"Unfortunately, he’s rejected everyone’s help to live a healthy lifestyle. Regardless of whether he wants to run for Congress, I still stand ready to help him move his life in a positive direction."

The elder Powers did not comment beyond the statement, but a Republican source said that Powers was referring to his son’s "carefree" lifestyle in the music business.

The married father of two, Fran Powers said his campaign would focus on home port redevelopment, increased public transit, the borough’s overdevelopment problem, as well as toll and transit-fare hikes.

When asked how much responsibility his father, a Metropolitan Transportation Authority board member, should bear for those toll and fare hikes, Fran Powers said, "I don’t put it on the doorstep of my father."

When asked about the head scratching that might cause voters, Powers said, "If people can’t tell the difference between the Republican Party and the Libertarian Party, maybe they shouldn’t be voting."

Well, awkward.

Delightfully enough, the thought of a hometown libertarian candidate with the same name as the Republican candidate who was planning to campaign on the Republican candidate’s failure in, um, the only thing he’s actually accomplished as a public servant, wasn’t appealing to the New York Libertarians (bless them)

The Libertarian Party selected Susan Overeem on Monday night as the nominee for the Congressional seat being vacated by Representative Vito J. Fossella of Staten Island. She had nearly three times as many votes as the other Libertarian candidate, Francis M. Powers, the son of the Republican Party candidate, Francis H. Powers.

Ms. Overeem, who recently stepped down from her job as a receptionist for radio station WABC, received 17 votes from officials of the Manhattan chapter of the party. The Manhattan chapter selects candidates for offices throughout the city. Mr. Powers received six votes.

The decision is a relief to Republican officials who feared that a race between Francis Powers the elder and younger would be a distraction from the issues in the race. The Republicans have become nervous about keeping the Congressional seat that they have held for 28 years and that is the only one in New York City held by a Republican.

The elder Mr. Powers is a retired Wall Street executive and longtime fund-raiser for Republican candidates on Staten Island.

The younger Mr. Powers, who is known as Fran, is a carpenter who also plays mandolin, guitar and keyboards with the band he leads, Box of Crayons.

Jim Lesczynski, a spokesman for the Manhattan chapter of the Libertarian Party, said that the selection of Ms. Overeem had nothing to do with the prospect of a highly unusual campaign pitting son against father. Instead, he said, it was a reflection “of her depth of understanding of Libertarianism.”

He added: “Both candidates came in and made their presentation to the group and they were both impressive. But the general feeling was that Susan has the better grasp of what it meant to be a Libertarian.”

which is, apparently, _way_ edgier than a rock star from Staten Island

Libertarian Party members held their convention at the Ukrainian East Village Restaurant in Lower Manhattan.

The vote was 17-6 in Ms. Overeem’s favor, according to Islander Steve Isler, a former borough Independence Party chairman who attended the convention as an observer. He said two members voted for "none of the above."

"It wasn’t a surprise to me," Ms. Overeem said of the result. "I uphold the ideals of the Libertarian Party. I’m inflexible on them, almost, the ideas of limited government to protect the individual."

She said she in particular supports home-schooling and the right of parents to refuse immunizations for their children.

She said the fact that she’d been seeking the Libertarian endorsement in the race longer than Powers had likely factored into the party’s decision. Ms. Overeem last week left her job as a receptionist at WABC Radio.

Isler said both candidates gave speeches of between five and 10 minutes, followed by a short question-and-answer period, before the vote.

"Powers gave what appeared to be a well-received speech, so I was quite surprised by the lopsided vote," Isler said in an e-mail sent to the Advance. "My guess is that Overeem seemed more in line with the traditional party doctrine while Powers came at it from a more practical angle."

Because hell, if you want people who live on an island with no direct bridges to the city that most of them work in to vote for you, the last thing you want to talk about is the failure of the city to provide adequate transportation resources.

Meanwhile, the even edgier Mr. Fossella shouldered his way into attention once again

What does Rep. Vito Fossella have in common with O.J. Simpson, Patty Hearst and John Gotti?

The Staten Island GOP lawmaker has hired the same ex-NYPD gumshoes.

Private eyes James Harkins and John McNally are trying to keep Fossella out of jail on a misdemeanor drunken driving charge, the Daily News has learned.

Fossella confidants confirmed the pair are interviewing workers at Washington’s Logan Tavern, where bartenders said the congressman and a male pal were so drunk April 30 they got bounced.

Told of the big-city Mickey Spillane-types sniffing around his case, laid-back Alexandria Commonwealth’s Attorney Randolph Sengel chuckled.

"Great," deadpanned the veteran prosecutor, upon learning of the duo’s celebrity client list.

In Sengel’s 28 years as a prosecutor, rarely has he seen a DWI defendant hire private eyes. "That’s pretty unusual," he said yesterday.

Fossella may be treating his misdemeanor case like he has been accused of a major felony, but Sengel said he still plans to let his DWI specialist Jeffrey Burtka argue it alone at trial on June 27.

"I consider this a pretty straightforward case. I’m not going to assign a homicide prosecutor to it," Sengel quipped.

Harkins and McNally didn’t return calls Wednesday.

Besides questioning the reliability of the aging Intoxilyzer 5000 machine, which rated Fossella at more than twice Virginia’s legal blood-alcohol limit, the defense will also say the cops did more than usual to try to make the case because they knew he was a member of Congress.

Because really, suburban cops aren’t all that interested in kneewalking drunks behind the wheel in residential neighborhoods unless they’re reasonably certain they have enough juice to hurt the cops who arrest them.

Meanwhile, the House GOP wants Mr. Fossella’s campaign funds, which he can also use for legal fees. Good luck with that one.

For the weirdest local story, though, I’m afraid to say that you have to cross the aisle and take a look at Mr. Spitzer’s young friend Ms. Dupré, who apparently displayed her new tattoo for some paparrazi this weekend on the Jersey shore

The pictures reminded us that Ms. Dupré apparently has a tattoo below her belly button that reads “tutela valui,” which most people agreed seemed to be some form of Latin. The meaning of the phrase has been a matter of considerable blogospheric debate , much of it dating to March.

To get the Latin scholar perspective, City Room decided to call over to local universities’ classics departments. First we sent an e-mail message to New York University (since no one picked up the phone; although, the spring semester is over). At Columbia University, a telephone call was answered by Eric Ensley, a graduate student.

This City Room reporter explained that we needed a translation of a Latin phrase, and spelled out the words: T-U-T-E-L-A V-A-L-U-I

“Tutela?” Mr. Ensley said. “That’s weird.”

It’s not real Latin, is it? City Room asked.

“No, it’s not. Where are you pulling this from?”

It’s a tattoo.

We finally told Mr. Ensley, at Columbia, whose tattoo he was translating.

“Oh, God,” he said. “I guess on some weird level, if you wanted to translate it into some modern sense of the word, You could say, ‘I used protection.’”

Don’t you wish your media market was hot like mine?

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Middle-aged (thank god); married (oddly enough); native New Yorker; one (thoroughly magnificent, thanks) child, She Who Must Be Obeyed, aka HM (Her Majesty). But a mere lowly end-user by profession, and a former [pretty much everything, at least in somewhat limited first-world terms].

Extravagant (mostly organic) cook, slapdash (completely organic) gardener, brain space originally assigned to names and faces piled up with the overflow from the desperately overcrowded Old Movie and Broadway Trivia section, garage space which was originally assigned to a car piled up with boxes of books.

Dreadful housekeeper, indifferent dresser, takeout menu ninja and the proud owner of a major percentage of the partially finished crafts projects on the east coast of the continental United States.

The handsome gentleman in the picture is Hoa Hakananai'a. He joined the collection of the British Museum in 1868. His name, which is thought to mean "stolen or hidden friend," was given to him by his previous owners when he was collected.