WHERE IS “NEW YORK ONE” WHEN YOU NEED THEM?
Over the past decade or so, the cable television station New York One (NY1) has emerged as a prominent source for local news in this city. They break many stories. They also highlight many pressing issues facing this city; plus they permanently keep their fingers on the pulse of New York’s politics: much more so than all the other news stations here. Political junkies in this city try not to miss Dominic Carter at 7pm on weekdays; it’s a political high most nights. The “Road to City Hall” program is definitely one of the best ways to find out about the citywide races for mayor, comptroller and public advocate. It is also informative as to races for borough president, district attorney and/or city council member.
Back in the day, NY1 used to stage televised debates amongst candidates for all the city races: from mayor, all the way down the ladder to city council member. This feature exposed many an impostor to potential voters. It was a great community service vehicle. On more than one occasion that feature allowed the public to see how totally unfit, unqualified or unprepared candidates were (for public office). On other occasions it allowed us the opportunity to view talented performers in their shining moments.
As time went by, this feature appeared less frequently. Nowadays we hardly see these debates presented; why?
Is it because NY1 now focuses only on the citywide races? Or is because they don’t see those races on the lower end of the totem pole as important?
Whatever the reason may have been, it is now time for NY1 to re-introduce more televised debates to the public. Voters need to know more about their local candidates. NY1 needs to feature the various council races that are being hotly contested in the outer boroughs. Manhattan isn’t the only important borough in this city.
Take the race I am now contesting for example. I have faced the voters twice in my political career, and both times it was hinted that my opponents deliberately refused to debate me: both times I lost/lol. And now in this race, I am being told (again) that my two opponents here (Mathieu Eugene and Leithland Tulloch) will not debate me either. I find this so unfair to the voters of Brooklyn’s 40th council district: if what I am being told is true that is.
There is only one way to find out the truth: let have a series of debates amongst the three candidates who filed petitions for this race. In less than seven weeks from today, voters will have to make a choice amongst us three (on Tuesday 15th September, 2009). That’s when the democrats in this city hold their primary elections. Mainstream media needs to help more in informing that choice.
How can we expect voters to arrive at the best choices, if we don’t provide them with all the tools needed to make those choices? It is already challenging enough for candidates to raise money in a recession, in order to get their bio and message(s) out to voters; there are many costs to all this. Mainstream media can help improve participation in the democratic process if they aid in exposing the candidates more. They need to help expose the candidates, their bios, ideas, views, resumes, organizational affiliations, community ties, platforms and vision(s). They need to interview these candidates publicly. They need to let the public view them beyond the fancy political literature that consultants create.
Colorful palm cards have cost us too much in NYC politics. Too often in the past, we voters (myself included) elected inept duds to public office, because of the fancy packaging within which they came. Packaging that more than once (or twice) fooled us.
If we are to improve the quality of membership in the New York City Council, then we need to grill applicants like we do a cheese sandwich. We need to go beyond skillful flyers, fancy mailings, pretty posters and the lovely door-hangers. We need to go deeper in terms of examining who the candidates really are. Too many of them (and/or their staffers) end up engaging in corrupt practices with our hard-earned tax dollars. Let’s try to stop this.
So today, I challenge my two opponents to a series of public debates. I also challenge NY1 to air at least one of them. If they refuse to show up, then NY1 should interview me solely. I don’t think this is too much to ask; do you?
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