Entries from September 2009 ↓

Our Opponent is Apathy

In about six weeks New York City residents will go to the polls to select a new mayor. They have a choice between an eight-year incumbent, the billionaire businessman, former registered Democrat now registered Republican but running as an Independent, Michael Bloomberg, and the current city Comptroller and Democratic Party nominee Bill Thompson.

Despite the fact that city residents voted for term limits and twice voted down efforts to overturn that law, Bloomberg and certain members of the City Council who stood to directly benefit from a change, connived to enact legislation extending their own right to serve, and that of the mayor, to a third term.

To some, this breach of democracy has made the upcoming election seem like a done deal or perhaps more aptly, a stacked deck. They look at the nearly $100 million of out of pocket campaign financing Bloomberg is spending and assume that no one can possibly stop him. That familiar sense of hopelessness and inner frustration that Americans felt during the eight years George W. Bush spent in the White House, now grips New Yorkers. It is unhappiness mixed with a large dose of ambivalence over what seems to be a near certain outcome.

But New Yorkers have faced adversity before and overcome, and they can again this time too. We’ve got to realize that the power to correct this situation is entirely in our own hands.

Bloomberg is clearly scared of the Thompson challenge, otherwise why would he spend so much money on television ads and glossy brochures mailed to city residents? (I personally shred mine, then put the shreddings in an envelope addressed to his campaign headquarters, without a stamp attached.)

His ads are taking on a particularly nasty tinge, attempting to defend his own questionable record as ultimate authority over the city’s school system by attacking Thompson’s record when he was school board president.

In a touch of irony, the same week Bloomberg unveiled these ads, an independent study by the Annenberg Institute at Brown University shows that NYC public school graduates are woefully unprepared for college. The Bloomberg approach to primary and secondary education is to focus so much on test scores that very little actual learning takes place. This is in contrast the ten point plan laid out last week by Bill Thompson, where he stressed the need for a real educator in charge of the system, smaller class sizes, more accountability and parental involvement.

Educators like the Thompson plan.

So the challenge for voters is to ignore the snowstorm of an expensive advertising campaign and look at the truth. When people ask themselves, “Am I better off now than I was 8 years ago?” their own reality should tell them that 8 years of Bloomberg is enough. Quite enough.

Registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans in this city 5-1. If Democrats simply show up and vote for Bill Thompson, there will be real change in the Mayor’s office. But if people stay home and do nothing, we’ll have four more years of a mayor who wants to run this city as his private company, making decisions that affect our lives without ever asking for our input.

Our opponent is apathy. Doing nothing is not acceptable.

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Tuesday, September 29 is the runoff election for New York City Public Advocate and Comptroller. I’ll be voting for Bill de Blasio and John Liu, respectively, and think you should too.

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Up in Albany, where Mayoral challenger Corey Ellis lost the Democratic primary while getting 44 percent of the vote, the campaign may not be over. Ellis has the Working Families Party line and can run again in November. He gave four term incumbent Mayor Jerry Jennings his toughest competition to date, and has sent a fundraising appeal to his supporters to gauge which way to go.

Primary Reason to Vote

New York State residents will go to the polls Tuesday to vote in a Democratic party primary election that in many cases will make a general election in November a moot point.

Here in New York City, voters will determine the general election challenger for Mayor, but in this heavily-Democratic city, all but settle the races for Public Advocate, Comptroller, most city council seats and Borough Presidents offices. Manhattan residents also get to decide who will replace District Attorney Robert Morganthau, who is retiring at age 90.

While turnout is not expected to be high, competition for the seats has been fierce, particularly in recent weeks, with television commercials in the Public Advocate race turning particularly nasty.

I have a vested interested in the primary race for Mayor, and give my endorsements to these others who I feel can also best serve New York City.

Endorsements:

Bill Thompson for Mayor
NY Times endorsement

Bill de Blasio for Public Advocate
NY Times endorsement

John Liu for Comptroller
List of endorsements

Richard Aborn for Manhattan District Attorney
List of endorsements

Voter Resources

WNBC Video Voter Guide
NYC Poll Site Locator

Upstate, in Albany, another Democratic stronghold were I lived for 11 years, voters have a chance to pick a new mayor and turn out a 16 year incumbent. City Councilman Corey Ellis who has been backed by the Working Families Party, if elected would become that city’s first African American mayor. He has my support.

Corey Ellis for Mayor of Albany
Metroland endorsement

Voter Resources

Albany County Board of Elections

A Valiant Effort

Tuesday, September 1 was special election day in California’s 10th Congressional District and while Democratic hopeful Anthony Woods garnered considerable national attention in his quest to fill the seat vacated by former Congresswoman and now Obama Administration appointee, Ellen Tauscher, voters had other ideas.

In a very crowded field of 14 candidates, Woods finished a very respectable fourth, with 8% of the vote. The Democratic winner, California Lt. Governor John Garamendi had 26 percent and will now face a general election challenge from Republican and minor party candidates November 3.

Despite the loss, Woods brought attention to an otherwise unnoteworthy election, because had he won, the Iraq War veteran and Harvard graduate would have been the nation’s first Black openly gay member of Congress. While he has not discussed the possibility of running for future office, he did promise supporters that he would continue to be a voice for the causes in which he believes.