As for borough president…

Feb23 Gale Brewer

Gale Brewer

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer is seeking a second term against three unknown candidates and being the Democrat incumbent, we’re sure she’ll clobber them. However, the fact is that it doesn’t matter who wins this race since the position is useless. The purpose is to be a cheerleader for one’s borough, appointing members to community boards and, if one is ambitious, coming up with ideas that hopefully City Council members will pick up. 

 

Last year in T&V’s “Politics & Tidbits” column, former Assembly Steven Sanders called the office that borough presidents hold, as well as the office that evolved into the public advocate “throwbacks to an earlier age in the last century when they were relevant.” Now, he pointed out, “It has become mostly a springboard to run for mayor or comptroller, where the actual power resides. The current mayor and current comptroller are prime examples of that.”

We like Brewer and that she’s so passionate about Manhattan’s mom-and-pops. But her position kind of handcuffs her from doing anything about this worsening crisis. She recently conducted a study of vacant storefronts and the results were not exactly shocking: Retail blight is getting worse. Her office didn’t respond when we asked what the next steps were on acting on this knowledge, and we’re guessing this is because there aren’t any. Brewer, previously an effective City Council member, should run for another position where she can actually make a difference.

Nov2 Brian Waddell

Brian Waddell

 

Also on the ballot is Stuyvesant Town small business owner and community activist Frank Scala. A good man we respect but we don’t know how he’d magically affect real change with such limited power, either.

If you want to vote against wasting taxpayer money pick a candidate named Brian Waddell. This candidate, on the Reform and Libertarian lines, is running with the idea of eliminating the office completely on his first day if elected. In an amusing Q&A Waddell conducts with himself on his website, the candidate asks: “Is the rent too damn high? Yes, but there is nothing a borough president can do about it, so let’s get rid of them.”

We endorse this plan and this candidate.

Editorial: For Congress, T&V endorses Maloney

With the Congressional primary happening on Tuesday, June 28, East Side democrats will have the opportunity to vote for longtime incumbent Carolyn Maloney or political newcomer Peter Lindner.
In this race, Town & Village is endorsing Maloney and here are a few reasons.
Legislation-wise, despite the gridlock in Washington, Maloney has steadfastly called for the stronger gun control measures this country clearly needs. Not even a death threat phoned into her office two years ago after she called for gun owners to buy liability insurance was enough to make her fold on this important issue.
She has a record of aiming big on issues that affect everyday people, with passed legislation like the Credit Card Holders Bill of Rights, which protects consumers from certain types of ridiculous fees credit card companies had been charging, like retroactive rate increases on existing balances, to legislation that forces colleges to take more action and offer more transparency with regards to incidents of sexual violence on campus.
She’s also steadfastly been a champion of women’s rights, fighting for things from family leave to equal pay for equal work to making sure there’s adequate funding for rape kits. Just last week, Maloney introduced a bill to expand family and medical leave.
On homeland security, recently introduced legislation would end the ability of owners of limited liability companies to be able to hide behind anonymity, which, Maloney has learned, has led to opportunities to launder money for terror funding.
District-wise, she’s concerned with everyday problems like ensuring there’s quality mass transit options available, having stayed on top of the MTA regarding progress of the Second Avenue Subway construction and the looming construction in the L train tunnel. She also has a history of being a visible presence in the community for more local issues, including a number tenant vs. landlord conflicts in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village alone.
In short, on issues both large and small, we feel that throughout the years Maloney has proved herself as a fighter for the well-being of her district and the country.
As for her opponent, while we applaud efforts by underdog candidates who face off against well-ingrained opponents, we’re not sure Lindner’s ready for the job.
He openly has said he isn’t focused on any district related issues. Additionally, key issues for Lindner include using technology to make government agencies more user friendly, and, like his opponent, enacting stronger gun control measures. He also would legalize marijuana and prostitution. We don’t question his ideas, but we don’t believe these things are enough to build an entire political platform on, especially given his lack of experience in political work or activism.

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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.