Elections are tomorrow (Tuesday) and in New York there can often be a bewildering number of candidates and positions we’ve never even heard of. So I did some research (mostly at http://www.gothamgazette.com , an excellent, non-partisan, non-profit resource) and made my picks for all the posts and propositions on the ballot in my district (and a few in other New York districts). I offer this as a service for those of you who want information on the election. You may disagree with my picks and feel free to do your own research and come to your own conclusions. And also rememeber, you are allowed to bring a print-out of this information, or anything else you’d like, into the booth with you if you can’t remember all the names.
And without further ado:
Fernando Ferrer, Democrat
Clearly the better candidate, even though Bloomberg has ten times the money he does to run his campaign and is therefore in the lead. Bloomberg even decided to skip one of the debates, leaving only two the week before the election for any kind of direct conversation between the candidates and their ideas. Ferrer is said by most papers to have won both the debates, but is still behind in the polls.
Ferrer is pushing for doing more in the school system than just raising test scores; he’s for preserving rent control and other affordable housing measures that are currently in jeopardy; increasing the number of police officers in the city (Bloomberg cut the number); and not give gifts like taxpayer-money built stadiums to giant corporations.
Jim Lesczynski, Libertarian
It’s been years now and still no one seems to know what the Public Advocate is supposed to be doing. Or what she has done. Betsy Gotbaum has done little to change this, and, it seems, little of anything. Lesczynski is says that the first thing he’ll do if elected is fire everyone, abolish the position and resign, because the position of Public Advocate is a waste of taxpayers money and of everybody’s time. I couldn’t agree more.
Bill Thompson is running virtually unopposed.
Brooklyn Borough President
Marty Markowitz, Democrat
Markowitz is voting virtually unopposed as well, but that’s okay, because I don’t think anyone in the world loves Brooklyn more than Marty Markowitz. Go Marty!
Manhattan Borough President
Scott Stringer, Democrat
Stringer will win this one mostly because his real opponents were already beaten in the primary. Now all that are left are jokers like the guy from the Socialist party, and a Republican opponent who’s greatest accomplishment seems to be learning the origin of the term “Big Apple”.
Bronx Borough President
Another borough president with no serious challengers.
Queens Borough President
Helen Marshall, Democrat
When the head of the opposing party in your borough is quoted as saying, “We don’t really have any strong quarrel with the current borough president,” you know you’re doing alright.
Staten Island Borough President
John Luisi, Democrat
They’re trying to use city money to build a NASCAR stadium in Staten Island, which is the same bull they were pulling with the West Side Stadium. The incumbent Molinaro is in favor of. Luisi is not. Vote Luisi.
All city council members must run for reelection this year. This being too many city council races to go into depth on, I will only address the one that affects me. For information on your own district, go to
District 34 - Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Diana Reyna, Democrat
The only person who complained about Fire Engine Company 209 closing in Williamsburg, and someone who helped stop the closure of Engine 252. Born and raised in Bushwick, Reyna has worked to improve schools and senior care.
Robert Morgenthau and Charles Hynes are running virtually unopposed.
This is the one where everyone picks names at random, right? Well, no more! I’ve checked their backgrounds and the New York Bar recommendations (http://www.nycbar.org/PressRoom/PressRelease/2005_1031.htm) and here are my conclusions:
Supreme Court 1st Judicial District (vote for three)
Matthew V. Grieco
Lottie E. Wilkins
Brooklyn and Staten Island
Supreme Court 2nd Judicial District (vote for six)
Carolyn E. Demarest
Donald S. Kurtz
Anthony J. Lamberti
Esther M. Morgenstern
Supreme Court 11th Judicial District (vote for two)
Stephen A. Knopf
Charles J. Markey
Supreme Court 12th Judicial District (vote for two)
Proposition 1: Amending the state budget process
Currently the governor makes a budget and then submits it to state legislature, who have limited ability to amend it. This means Pataki can put whatever he wants into the budget and legislators pretty much have to take it or leave it. This is stupid. This proposition will allow legislators to have a hand in shaping the budget.
Proposition 2: Transportation Bond Act
This is the big one. You may have seen ads in favor of this on the subway. They say they’re going to build all sorts of stuff like the subway to JFK and the second avenue subway if you approve the bond act. What they don’t tell you is that they money will be borrowed from the state. You read that right, the Transportation Bond Act will BORROW $2.9 BILLION that taxpayers will then have to pay back. And why? Because the MTA doesn’t have enough money for its grandiose projects? But I thought there was such a surplus that they’re giving fare cuts this holiday as a gift to the riders? And what about all the back and forth where the MTA does have enough money, then it doesn’t have enough money and has to raise fares twice (TWICE!), and then it looks like they’re hopelessly corrupt and don’t want us to look at their books, and now they want us to approve them borrowing money that we’ll have to pay back?? What about this report from the city government in October of 2005 which was summed up by the Gotham Gazette as follows:
“The Metropolitan Transportation Authority could run a surplus of $928 million, the state comptroller’s office claims in this report. This is $95 million more than projected by the MTA, indicating recent tax and fee hikes were unnecessary.”
What the hell is going on?? Seriously, MTA, get your shit in order and then come back to us with a proposal that doesn’t get the city further in debt.
Proposition 3: Establishing an Ethics Code for Hearing Officers
Really just a way to give the mayor powers over the judges (by defining their code of ethics) and take power away from the city council. The code of ethics is just a way to have the mayor dictate the “ethical” behavior of the judges. Really to manufacture a way to give the mayor more powers over the judges (by defining their “code of ethics”) and take power away from the city council. A bad, stupid idea.
Proposition 4: Adding Financial Management Requirements to the City Charter
Certain financial management requirements — balanced budget, limiting debt, annual audit, etc — that were passed during the financial crisis in the seventies are expiring in 2008. This proposition will keep them from expiring, which is a good idea, because we need things like balanced budgets, less debt and auditing of a frequently bloated and corrupt city government.
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