While it’s understandable that the minds of voters this coming Election Day are on the race for president, there are also a couple of local races to think about, in the case of the Stuyvesant Town/Gramercy/Kips Bay area, for Congress and for New York State Assembly.
Following publishing interviews with the opponents of two longterm incumbents, the editorial staff of Town & Village has come to the following decisions for endorsements:
Maloney’s opponent, Robert Ardini, has argued that our nation’s founding fathers never intended for elected officials to remain in one office for as long as the incumbent has, which is 23 years. While he makes a legitimate argument about how tough it is for someone to break in to the world of politics against someone who’s so well-known, we do not believe this is the only reason Maloney has consistently clobbered her opponents over the years.
It’s true, of course, that in the heavily Democratic borough of Manhattan, a Democrat is always going to have the advantage, as is the individual with more name recognition. However, an official’s experience is not something that goes unnoticed by voters and it shouldn’t be dismissed as a bad thing. Despite hitting brick walls in Washington thanks to partisan gridlock, Maloney has continued to remain responsive to the concerns of voters, both large and small. She has remained true to her platform of championing women’s rights from equal pay at work to the never-ending battle of protecting a woman’s right to choose. In her district, she pushes funding for mass transit infrastructural projects (good for commuters and good for job creation) and has remained on top of the looming L-pocalypse, a major concern of constituents. Additionally, the congresswoman, an Upper East Sider, has remained a dependable advocate for tenants.
We do give credit to Ardini, who has run a classy campaign focusing on his own agenda, rather than bashing his opponent’s character as so many of Maloney’s prior challengers have been wont to do. Ardini’s top goal is reducing the national debt by not overspending while Maloney can be a bit of a cheerleader about how the economy is improving. True perhaps, but we think there’s still a long way to go before politicians should go around bragging
At any rate, we believe Maloney’s experience and her continued passion for public service make her the stronger candidate, and we endorse her effort for reelection.
For State Assembly in the 74th District, a veteran community activist, Republican Frank Scala, is running against a ten-year member of the legislature, Brian Kavanagh.
When Scala’s not running his small business, a barbershop, the Sicily-native can be found at meetings of the 13th Precinct Community Council, of which he is the president, and meetings of the Albano Republican Club, which he deserves credit for reviving over a decade ago after a period of inactivity.
Additionally, his platform differs from most Republicans in that he believes in protections for tenants. He is also for protecting quality of life in the district and imposing tougher penalties on anyone who commits a crime against a senior.
The problem? Well… certainly nothing with any of that, but on the other hand, there is no problem with Kavanagh’s job performance.
Like at the federal level, Democrats in Albany have gridlock kill most of their efforts, in particular any legislation that’s tenant friendly.
Kavanagh has pushed for bills to make major capital improvement rent increases temporary and lock in tenants’ preferential rents for the duration of their leases, thereby ending the bait-and switch steep hikes that are often the result of preferential rents. But those bills have died on arrival in the Republican controlled State Senate. An effort to close the LLC Loophole, which Kavanagh is also active in pushing for, has also gone nowhere for the same reason.
However, Kavanagh has still managed to secure some change, a big one being raising the maximum income levels for the rent freeze programs for seniors and the disabled to $50,000. Prior to that both were much lower at around $29,000. Like with Maloney, we see no reason not to support Kavanagh’s effort to continue to do his job. Both he and his local Senate colleague Brad Hoylman are pushing for reform in Albany, which following last year’s bribery/kickback scandals perpetrated by the leaders of both houses, is clearly sorely needed. It’s difficult to say how much, if any, success they will have with the future balance of party power unclear — Hoylman believes state Democrats will be riding Hillary Clinton’s pantsuit tails, but we’ll see. That said, despite the current power dynamic, Kavanagh has remained committed to the issues his constituents care about, so we say why not wish him luck in continuing to try to drain that cesspool upstate? We endorse his effort for re-election.
Correction: An earlier version of this endorsement stated Hoylman is running uncontested. He actually has an opponent running as an Independent, Rabbi Stephen Roberts.