There is a Primary on Tuesday September 14th, and frankly I could understand if you did not want to take the time to figure out who deserves your vote. I hate clichés like, “the lesser of two evils,” but in this state’s politics it is a hard one to avoid. Although, sometimes even calling these folks evil is giving them too much credit. While I am a lefty, I have discovered that in this City, just going with the person who sounds the most liberal can cause you to vote for some real SOBs.
The good news is that there are not a lot of races.
Like most other cartoon characters and puppets, I live in Brooklyn, but I will be focusing on the state-wide races (there are no real local races in Brooklyn-with a few exceptions listed below). Moreover, since extensive market research indicates that only one Republican reads this website, I will only be talking about the Democratic contests. Sorry Mr. Republican, I am not sure if you would want my advice anyway.
There are two congressional primaries of note outside of Brooklyn. If you live in Upper Manhattan, or anywhere else in the 15th Congressional District, the incumbent, Charlie Rangel, has a large field of primary challengers, the most prominent one being Adam Clayton Powell IV. Rangel has been in Congress for 40 years and gotten himself in some real ethics trouble, as you may know. However, Powell is no prince either. If “Driving While Impaired” is a sub heading on your wikipedia page, you have, no pun intended, taken wrong turn somewhere in your life. The whole thing is a giant mess and I am glad I do not live there. It is simply impossible for me to endorse one of the major candidates.
If you live in the 14th District, which is mostly Manhattan’s East Side, Astoria, parts of Long Island City, etc, I do have an endorsement. This may not seem cool, but vote for incumbent Carolyn Maloney. Now, the woman running against her, Reshma Saujani, is 34 (Maloney is 64) and likes computers or something. I am sure Saujani is really smart and looks like the girl you had a crush on in college (or the girl you either admired or said nasty things about behind her back), but she is Wall Street’s candidate, and being pretty dishonest about Maloney. Maloney has done good work for a long time, and looks ready to keep doing good work. She deserves another term. I do not think Saujani thinks she can win, but is just trying to get a decent vote total to set herself up for something else. She doesn’t deserve your vote.
Congress (14th District)
Congress (15th District)
Governor (Democratic Party)
Andrew Cuomo has it Locked up
District Leader (Brooklyn)
(where to vote, confirm your registration, etc):
On the Democratic side, there is no primary contest. Andrew Cuomo has it locked up. Cuomo’s done some good work as Attorney General, but has also been involved in more than his share of questionable stuff. Take a look. However, the two Republicans who are trying to run against him are competing to see who can be more disgusting. I think Carl Paladino is definitely in the lead. I dislike Assembly Speaker Silver as much as the next oxygen breathing being, but Hitler’s main problem was not corruption: it was killing millions of people. Lazio, however, is also in the game: and Lazio has his serious ethics issues. It seems he flushed billions in pension money down the toilet and grabbed some nice fees for himself along the way. In summary, while he and Paladino are working hard to out Muslim bate each other on the world’s scariest community center, the Democrats will have no vote on September 14th, so it will be Cuomo v one of the other guys in November. We will come back to that.
This is an actual primary, where you can actually cast a vote, and it actually matters. AG is an important job, and someone who knows how to use it can do a lot of good. There are also five candidates and it is a hot mess. The candidates are:
I’m voting for Dinallo, but it is more by process of elimination than anything else. First off, Brodsky and Schnierderman are members of the State Legislature. Brodsky is a Westchester Assemblyman. He gets some good press and makes a lot of good liberal noises, but he votes for Sheldon Silver for Assembly Speaker, a man who, despite making his own good liberal noise,s keeps a strangle hold on this state (and he recently came out against the community center downtown). Every time Silver has done one of his hatchet jobs that hurts us all, the supposed Crusader Brodsky hasn’t said a word. Albany is a huge mess, and that matters. Have you noticed how bad subway service is getting (for example)? Silver bears a lot of the responsibility for that and many other things, and Brodsky has done nothing of consequence to fix it. He does not deserve a promotion.
Eric T. Schneiderman is a State Senator from Upper Manhattan. He got the NY Times Endorsement and has done a few good things, as they say. But he has had his hands in the middle of the colossal cluster-fudge-cookie that has been the New York State Senate and has not done much to improve the place. I do not see that he deserves to be given a chance to not be effective in a more important office. Plus, he seems to have been the guilty party in a hit and run. No one was hurt, but as Eric Cantor would say, “Comon!”
Sean Coffey has never run anything like the state AG’s office, and he has his own pension fund ethics problems. Plus, he was endorsed by the New York Post, which is a good enough reason by itself to vote against him.
Kathleen Rice has accomplished a few things as Nassau County District Attorney. But, as the Times also said, the fact she did not vote until she was 37 years old is a problem. A bigger problem, in my opinion, is the fact that she has Vito Lopez (the sleazy Brooklyn Democratic Party boss discussed below) out working for her. Anyone who he is for, I am against. This may be guilt by association, but sometimes the association is so bad you just can't go there. More on Lopez below.
That leaves Eric Dinallo. The Daily News says he was an effective State Insurance Commissioner, he was part of important big victories when he was a Bureau Chief at the AG's office, and was an effective prosecutor of white collar crime in Manhattan DA’s office. This is exactly the kind of work he would need to do in the AG’s office. I’m not promising he will be a good AG, but he is the best choice.
I know, I know, what the hell is a district leader? It’s a position that has a hell of a lot more influence than you would imagine in deciding who the judges are, and who candidates are for a lot of other offices. And the fact that no one pays attention to it means that sleazy party people get to run a hell of a lot. This year in Brooklyn a lot of people are challenging the soldiers of the King of Sleaze, Brooklyn Democratic party Boss Vito Lopez. Errol Louis from the Daily News does a good breakdown of the races. If any of these races are on your ballot, vote for the newbie. The one exception is in the 52nd district (which goes roughly from Brooklyn Heights in the North to Park Slope and Gowanus in the South, with other North West Brooklyn communities included as well). There, two young pretty people, Hope Reichbach and Stephen Williamson are running against against the incumbents. Unfortunately, these two nice young pretty people are Vito Lopez Puppets. For Female District Leader, you should vote for Jo Anne Simon. For Male Leader there are two independent (non Vito) choices, Jesse Strauss or Chris Owens. It seems to me that Strauss is the better choice, but it is a close call. They may split the reform vote and let Williamson get in, and that would be too bad. The Atlantic Yards Report is much better informed on this then I am, so check it out if you want to know more. The post talks about a few other district leader races as wel.
Vito Lopez has steered millions in tax payer money into a non profit he controls and uses as his political base, political promotion and propaganda arm, and a place to give his girlfriend a cushy job. He also puts himself forward as the champion of affordable housing, yet he is only supportive if his own social service agency or other groups he controls or is allied with can control it (even if that means that less affordable housing built). Tom Robbins from the Village Voice does a good job outlining it all. According to the New York Times, if he does not control the development of affordable housing, he tries to kill it, even if it means hundreds of Brooklynites lose the chance to have a decent place to live. While he finally gave in on the New Domino plan for affordable housing, he tried hard to kill it. You may have heard the New Domino is an evil corporate plot, but the developer, CPC is one of the greatest developers of affordable housing in this City, and other than Lopez and his minions, most of the opposition seemed to have come from:
As the super charming gentleman or lady so intelligently pointed out below, I had a few errors in my discussion of the 52nd District Leader Race. I previously endorsed Alan Fleischman based on old articles I had read, even though he had since dropped out (sloppy- sorry about that). And for some reason I called Stephen Williamson Jason. Don't know how that happened. I am rabbit enough to admit when I am wrong. No matter how I am told, I actually do appreciate being told when I get something wrong.
And I now have a better description of the geography of the district. I had previously said "a lot of Park Slope" was in the district, which is true- but I left out other communities, which I hope is clearer now.
So that being said, be sure NOT to vote for STEPHEN Williamson. Don't know where I got Jason from.
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