Since my return to blogging you may have noticed a particular emphasis on politics. I admit, I’m political observer and activist, basically a political junkie. Right now we are in the midst of a hot campaign season and frankly that interests me more even than the standings of my pathetic New York Mets right now. I am actively involved in or simply paying attention to several races around New York City as well as other parts of the country, so from time to time will post updates.
The race I care most about is the one for New York City Mayor. Democratic challenger Bill Thompson has picked up key endorsements this week, from Congressman Jose Serrano and the city’s largest municipal workers union, District Council 37, who supported incumbent Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the last elecction. While reports of a less than stellar fundraising month may have given some people pause, those in the know understand that building the grassroots support is the most vital strategy right now, which will pay off as the campaign moves closer to November.
The billionaire mayor’s money will always buy him more television ads and direct mail brochures. But Thompson has a growing and energized base of real live human supporters, prepared to do the neighborhood leafleting, fundraising and visibility events, and the get out the vote efforts.
Downtown in City Council District 3, Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, incumbent Council Speaker Christine Quinn seeks re-election as a result of her deal with Bloomberg to engineer a City Council vote to extend term limits (against the wishes of the citizens of New York). At a candidates forum this week, she faced sharp criticism from her challengers.
Contenders Maria Passannante-Derr and Yetta Kurland ripped Quinn not just for her role in the term limits vote, but in not forcefully opposing a 2005 Bloomberg-backed lawsuit that successfully appealed a state court decision allowing same-sex marriage.
“This election is about an arrogant incumbent that has sold out our community for a right-wing Republican mayor,” Passannante-Derr charged.
Back upstate, in my old stomping grounds of Albany, Democratic Mayoral challengers, City Councilman Corey Ellis and four-term incumbent Jerry Jennings held competing press conferences this week on the same subject, what to do about the city’s growing number of abandoned and vacant properties, and they articulated two distinctly different approaches.
The Huffington Post this week called the Albany mayor’s race one to watch.