Editorial: Stringer clear choice for comptroller

Borough President Scott Stringer, pictured with Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh and Council Member Dan Garodnick, marching in the Peter Stuyvesant Little League Parade in April  Photo by Sabina Mollot

Borough President Scott Stringer, pictured with Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh and Council Member Dan Garodnick, marching in the Peter Stuyvesant Little League Parade in April
Photo by Sabina Mollot

Since his late entry into the race for city comptroller, former Governor Eliot Spitzer has garnered the lion’s share of the press out of the two candidates, though his rival, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, has also proven to be no slouch in that department.
Naturally, much of the headlines have focused on the hooker scandal that ended Spitzer’s career as governor rather than debates over whether Stringer or Spitzer is better equipped for the job of keeping an eye on the city’s books. It is worth noting though, that the media’s (and readers’ and viewers’) fascination with Spitzer’s past is hardly unfair, given it involved illegal activities. His attempt to re-enter the world of politics constantly brings to mind the debate of whether or not lawmakers who break the law should be forgiven and given a second chance. Ultimately, on Primary Day, September 10, the people will decide if they do.
However, we hope that New Yorkers make it clear that they don’t want to hire a hypocrite. Especially since there is another candidate, who (so far at least) has proven himself to be a law abiding citizen and, in his function as borough president, has become very much in the know about what New Yorkers’ needs are, and therefore where their tax dollars need to be spent and where they don’t.
On the one hand, Stringer, like, Spitzer, is no CPA, so their respective goals of becoming comptroller don’t seem like obvious job choices for either of them, but in politics, sometimes it’s just about entering the race in which the odds of winning seem higher. And this particular race at one point appeared to be a shoo-in for Stringer. The current standoff, however, with Spitzer’s name recognition and real estate money and Stringer’s own impressive war chest and celebrity endorsements, show that both of these guys mean business.
Still, we believe that of the two, Stringer is simply the better man for the job and he has our endorsement.
While normally, no one from this newspaper would even be focusing on the race for comptroller, the fact is that due to Spitzer’s salacious past, this race, like the one for mayor (in part due to the campaign of former Congressman and serial sexter Anthony Weiner), has attracted citywide interest.
But there may some distinct local interest as well. Residents of the Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village community may recall that Stringer, long before he ran for comptroller (ending that particular dream for Dan Garodnick) has been a supporter of residents here. He wrote an amicus brief for the tenants in the “Roberts v. Tishman Speyer” lawsuit and has seldom missing a meeting held by the Tenants Association.
He also, along with Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, has dreamt up the East River Blueway plan, which will revitalize the riverfront from the Brooklyn Bridge to East 38th Street, making the East Side of Manhattan more prepared for the next natural disaster while also giving area residents something they’ve never had before ― access to the water, complete with kayaks and beaches.
Stringer’s other projects in the past year alone have included unveiling the “Veggie Van,” a mobile greenmarket for underserved communities, releasing a report detailing the concerns of NYCHA residents about safety in their homes and releasing another report revealing deplorable conditions at local animal shelters.

It’s official: Garodnick out of comptroller race

Borough President Scott Stringer and Council Member Dan Garodnick at a Stuyvesant Town press conference in 2009

By Sabina Mollot

On Wednesday afternoon, Council Member Dan Garodnick officially dropped out of the race for city comptroller, a little over a week after Borough President Scott Stringer said he would be throwing his own hat in the ring.

Political insiders are saying they didn’t see the move by Stringer, who’d previously been running for mayor, as a surprise, and initially Garodnick said he’d continue to run. However, he changed his tune this week when he decided to throw his support behind Stringer and instead run for a third term in the Council.

“The challenges (facing the city) are significant,” Garodnick said shortly before his official announcement, “and I didn’t want to distract from those issues with a contentious campaign for comptroller against a friend.”

According to Garodnick, when he decided to run for the position, it was because he thought the city was in need of “independent leadership,” but now, “with Scott we have that opportunity,” he said. At that time, Comptroller John Liu, who is running for mayor, was caught in a scandal relating to his campaign employees and improper fundraising.

Getting reelected shouldn’t prove too tough for the popular Democrat, and Mark Thompson, a Stuyvesant Town resident who’d previously announced he was running to fill Garodnick’s seat, said on Wednesday that his own campaign has been put on hold.

“It’s Dan, so I’m okay with it,” said Thompson, who said he’ll just try again for the 4th Council District seat in another four years.  “Dan Garodnick has been great in the City Council and I support his run for reelection,” he added.

Stringer has so far managed to raise more in his campaign war chest than Garodnick, and has been campaigning longer. Garodnick amassed about $1.25 million at the time of his last filing in July. He said he has raised more since then though and hasn’t changed plans, made prior to his announcement, to hold another fundraising event on Saturday morning at Percy’s Tavern.

Garodnick also commented on unfinished business in his district he’d like to work on in the Council, such as the “continuing challenges in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper and Waterside.”

There and in other areas, he noted, “There are land use challenges like flooding of our infrastructure. We’ve got the East Side rezoning that’s coming up. These are some top priorities.”

In published reports on Tuesday about his then-rumored dropping out of the comptroller race, it was mentioned that Garodnick was eyeing the Council’s speaker position.

However, in response, Garodnick said that while, “I’ve read that too, I haven’t looked at it.”

That position is now occupied by mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn, who many believe to be the frontrunner, especially now, according to a recent New York Post report.

A spokesperson for Stringer’s campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment by Town & Village’s press time.