Two years ago Robert Ardini, a marketing executive, was running a campaign against Carolyn Maloney for her long-held seat in Congress. The Republican political outsider ultimately only got 16.08 percent of the vote, but said he learned a number of lessons from the race, which he has since outlined in a new book called Running for Congress in Trump’s Backyard.
Ardini, formerly a Manhattanite who now lives in Long Island City, spoke with Town & Village about the book, which was semi-self-published through CreateSpace. This means while the book faced editorial scrutiny from the South Carolina-based publisher, Ardini still held most of the control. He also said he wanted to do the promotion for the book himself, which he’s just begun.
He said he wrote the book for the following reasons.
The number one issue in our country is the amount of our national debt, as candidate Robert Ardini has written in your paper. The current low interest rates have hidden this problem from the people.
Usually, when there is a major increase in the amount of the national debt, there is also a major increase in the total interest cost of that debt. This increased interest cost pushes other expenditures out the federal budget, which hurts our economy and our quality of life.
The latest data readily available (through 2014 on Wikipedia) shows how lower interest rates have enabled the Obama Administration to escape this usual penalty for issuing more debt. For fiscal 2007, our national debt was $9 trillion, and the interest cost of that debt was $430 billion. In the next seven years (through 2014), our national debt nearly doubled to $17.8 trillion. During this period of sharply rising debt, interest rates declined. The debt nearly doubled, but the interest cost only increased 0.2 percent (from $430 billion to $430.8 billion). This was possible, because the average interest cost of the national debt fell from 4.77 percent in 2007 to 2.42 percent in 2014.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and State Senator Brad Hoylman talk to voters outside Stuyvesant Town during the June congressional primary. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
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.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney speaks at last Tuesday’s candidate night event hosted by the 17th Precinct Community Council. Other speakers included Robert Ardini (right), Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh and his opponent Frank Scala. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Local politicians and political hopefuls gathered at the Sutton Place Synagogue last Tuesday evening to discuss their platforms at an event for local candidates hosted by the 17th Precinct Community Council. Democratic incumbents Brian Kavanagh, who represents the 74th Assembly District, and Carolyn Maloney, the U.S. Representative for New York’s 12th congressional district, made appearances at the event, along with their Republican challengers, Stuyvesant Town resident Frank Scala and Long Island City resident Robert Ardini, respectively.
Scala, who’s the president of the Vincent Albano Republican Club, is also the owner of a barber shop on Fifth Avenue. Ardini is a former marketing executive who is currently focusing full-time on the race.
When it was his turn at the podium, Ardini brought up the nearly quarter-century long stronghold Maloney has in the district.
“It doesn’t seem like intention of founders for politicians to serve indefinitely,” he said, arguing that there should be term limits. “Congresswoman Maloney, you are a national treasure but it’s time to give someone else a chance.”
Maloney, on the other hand, had a different perspective.
“We do have term limits in our country,” she said “They’re called elections. If you don’t like the job someone is doing, vote for someone else. I’m proud of my record and have ideas of more to do.”
Ardini noted that another issue he’s concerned with is the national debt and he said he felt that current politicians aren’t doing enough to address the issue but Maloney argued that Democrats have been able to deal with the deficit effectively.
“I’m concerned about national debt too but when Bill Clinton was president, we balanced the budget and had a surplus that was (later) spent on wars,” she said. “We were shedding 800,000 jobs a month but with hard work, we have grown our way out of that. Our economy, although not as good as we’d like, is leading the world even though we suffered that terrible financial crisis.”
While addressing a question about community policing, Assembly candidate Frank Scala said he felt stop and frisk was necessary, but only in specific circumstances.
“When the temperature outside is 95 and you see a guy with a big hood and glasses and he seems suspicious, that would be a case for stop and frisk,” he said. “If the guy is running that means something is wrong.”
Kavanagh, on the other hand, said that he thought the policy is unnecessary as well as unconstitutional, and that it didn’t have a noticeable impact in the reduction of crime throughout the city.
“The NYPD has been able to continue reduction of crime despite not using stop and frisk,” he said. “The policy made it difficult for police to work with communities and it doesn’t lead to good relationships.”
Scala, who is also president of the 13th Precinct Community Council, has had a close relationship with the NYPD and praised the work they do, specifically those at his local precinct.
“Police do a good job. Some police abuse the uniform but most of the time I believe they do a good job and should continue to do whatever they’re doing,” he said.
He added, however, that he felt local Democratic politicians have done less well by the community throughout the years.
“When Roy Goodman was our senator, Stuy Town and Peter Cooper were best places you could live but we’ve had nothing but problems since Democrats took over,” he said, then apologizing to his opponent for the slight.
While at the meeting, a Maloney supporter named Paige Judge shared that she is against term limits.
“You only learn about things in government by doing it,” she argued. “I wish you would forget about term limits. You’re going to lose a lot of good people that way.”
The following is an open letter to Michael Paul Carey, executive director, Office of Citywide Event Coordination & Management at the Office of the Mayor, from the president of the Tilden Democratic Club.
Dear Mr. Carey,
I write to you on behalf of the Samuel J. Tilden Democratic Club and other concerned citizens of New York City concerning the proposed changes in the street fair rules. It is our view that these proposed changes will only serve to restrict New Yorkers’ access to all of the many benefits the street fairs provide.
The Samuel J. Tilden Democratic Club has taken a booth at the Third Avenue Fair for over 25 years. As a result of our participation, we raised approximately $300,000, which was donated to very worthy community groups which included senior programs, libraries, shelter programs, homeless programs, hospital clothing rooms, art and literacy programs, cancer programs, music programs and programs for the disabled youth and adults among others.
The residents of Community Board Six are direct recipients of our street fair driven donations. Over 90 percent of the licensed street vendors live in New York City. New York City residents directly benefit by being vendors and consumers at the fair.
Robert Ardini said he’s moderate on social issues, conservative on fiscal ones. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
In November, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney will be facing off against a Republican challenger named Robert Ardini, a former marketing executive and a resident of Long Island City.
Ardini, who spoke with Town & Village about his campaign last week, said he decided to run last fall mainly because he doesn’t feel enough is being done to reduce national debt, paving the way for an economic crisis, but also, he added, “I don’t believe our founding fathers intended for anyone to run for 23 consecutive years.”
However, since Ardini knows that in order to even have a shot at beating the popular incumbent (who recently clobbered her primary opponent with nearly 90 percent of the vote), he’s already begun the process of trying to appeal to Democrats.
The 55-year-old is positioning himself as a candidate who’s fiscally conservative but socially moderate. His top priority is reducing the national debt, followed by ending the gridlock in Washington, but, he noted, he’s also for a woman’s right to choose and supports gay marriage (so long as that union is called something else).
Recently, he had postcards made up with the tagline “A moderate Republican even a Democrat can like,” requesting that Republicans in the district mail it to a Democrat friend.