JUST A LITTLE SOMETHING VOTERS SHOULD THINK ABOUT: FOR THOSE BRAVE SOULS ON THE “ROAD TO CITY HALL”
It’s been exactly three months since I last submitted a column to my editors for publishing. This is the longest hiatus (by far) I have taken in the past 8 years writing on the blogs. Let’s just say that some of life’s challenges had me on the run for a moment; so I took a time-out. Let me acknowledge those of you who took the time to contact me just to enquire about my health and wellbeing. It’s nice to know that my columns are appreciated worldwide. So now I am back; and I will try to get in at least one column a week for you my fans and supporters: Peace and love.
Come November, we will elect a new mayor for this naked city. Right now the four top democrats running appear to be: city-council speaker Christine Quinn, ex-city-comptroller Bill Thompson, public advocate Bill DiBlasio, and the present comptroller John Liu. There are probably a few other lesser known folks trying to make the Dem primary, but for now I choose to not get into those names. Similarly, I have decided for now, not to delve into the names of the other candidates seeking the mayoralty via the Republican line; or via the lines of the Conservative and/or Independence political parties. I hope to eventually do an in-depth column on the race soon.
FYI: I am leaning towards endorsing Bill Thompson. I have been for a while; but “Mister Excitement” hasn’t clinched the deal with me as yet: and his meter has been running for more than four years now. Beyond that, I wish Anthony Weiner would jump in this race. Why? Because I am starting to worry that the City Council Speaker (Christine Quinn) could win; and I couldn’t vote for her even if I was paid big money for my vote. I remember writing a column calling for a “Stop-Quinn” movement at some point last year. I wasn’t kidding.
If Tony Weiner can strongly articulate a middle-class economic-vision for this city, he can definitely win this race; since I am sure he will be able to do it better than the other candidates. His sexual peccadilloes of times gone by, is not enough to disqualify him from holding this post; but alas: Tony never takes my advice. Remember I told him not to resign his congressional seat. He should have listened.
I know John Liu could run strong in many areas -once he gets past his media woes- and as such I can’t write him off. He appears to have a strong base of non-white voters: primarily in Asian-American communities. I suspect that Bill DiBlasio has been “dead candidate walking” ever since the story about his wife’s past sexual-peccadilloes came to light. My gut tells me that the “Essence” magazine story wasn’t accidental, but I could be wrong.
Anyway, there had been a few rumors circulating relative to city-wide runs; one of which came to fruition. The rumor that Scott Stringer was going to pull out from the mayoral race and go for city comptroller was circulating for quite a while before Stringer made the move official. Now I am hearing that DiBlasio will also pull out and run for Brooklyn Borough president instead of mayor. Right now there are two main runners in the boro-prez race: State Senator Eric Adams (who I am going to endorse) and city council member Dominic Recchia. DiBlasio would be a tough cookie if this rumor pans out, so I am hoping it doesn’t.
I am also hearing that Lettitia “Tish” James cannot raise the money to be competitive in the Public Advocate race, and as such she may just have to forego that ambitious proposition and settle for another term (final) in her seat, as the member from the 35th council manic district. There are many other solid reasons why you should keep your eyes on this seat (including the crowded race between five very interesting and highly qualified candidates); but the implications of this rumor alone, are awesome. With each passing day, this seat picks up new white voters. It will probably be a white-majority district in the 2021 redistricting cycle. I intend to soon do a comprehensive column on this year’s political races in Brooklyn, so look out for it.
Back to the mayoral race: I could never vote for Christine Quinn since she was one of the architects of the repugnant “term-limits” overturn city-council members perpetrated in 2008. After voters had instituted -via plebiscite- a limit of two terms on city electeds; Ms. Quinn had the audacity to overrule the people’s will via legislation: all because Mike Bloomberg arrogantly wanted three terms (at least) in office. Mike Bloomberg who erroneously and hubristically believes that his billions can buy him anything and/or anyone his heart desires; sure found a willing enabler in this lesbian icon.
Did anyone hear what she said recently? That she even suggested to Mayor Bloomers, he consider a fourth term. The implication here was that she would have again tampered with the voter’s third referendum via immoral legislation. Christine Quinn was willing to undermine the ideals of democracy yet again, all for her own personal ambition. How blasé!
One gets the feeling that it is all about securing the billionaire’s support (including financial) in order to one day succeed him. In my eyes, Christine Quinn is nothing short of disgusting now. I wish she would just go away. Twelve years is more than enough for her, Bloomberg and the whole lot in City Hall. This is just another reason why I strongly believe a twelve-year term-limit should be placed on all elected officials; at all three levels of government.
As I said before: I hope to do another column on the mayoral race at a later date. The reason I am writing this column today is mainly because of a cable-television program that has been around for about a quarter century now. The program is entitled “The Road to City Hall”. A various times it was named “Inside City Hall”; and focused primarily on the political happenings and personalities of this naked city. It can be found on the “New York One” Cable Station, which I believe is a subsidiary of Time-Warner Cable. It is aired nightly at 7, with a repeat three hours later at 10. It is generally a “must-view” for serious political players in this state. The current host is a political friend of mine named Errol Louis. If you search my archives here on Room Eight New York politics (www.r8ny.com), you will find that seven years ago I wrote a column trying to recruit Errol for a congressional run in Brooklyn. I respect and admire him that much. I still wish he had done it.
Anyway, I was invited to appear on this show last week Thursday, and on the day of the taping I got into an auto accident wherein my car was rear-ended as I drove. I did make the show but I was in some pain and discomfort (neck, back, legs, knee pain etc); plus I was on pain-killers. I haven’t seen the tape of this program; but I felt as though I didn’t explain myself as fully as I would like. Thus I am using this column to make a point I feel I had a very public opportunity to make and missed.
The producer had told me the show would be about issues facing Brooklyn in this mayoral cycle. The host seemed to have had other ideas once taping started. It appeared as though he wanted to discuss two upcoming races in depth: Brooklyn DA and Brooklyn Boro Prez. In the DA’s race I have endorsed Abe George. He is a very attractive candidate for Brooklyn District Attorney. The incumbent DA (Charles Hynes) should retire immediately, since he has become a major embarrassment: I feel that sane Brooklynites must know this by now.
As I said before I am endorsing Eric Adams for Brooklyn Boro prez. Adams is one of only a handful of elected officials I do respect and admire. He is a very brave person who has demonstrated political and moral courage for decades. He should be strongly supported for this position.
Back to the show: there were four people on the panel (plus the host). This isn’t so good when the format calls for the taping (and editing) of two seven-minute segments; given the breaks for commercials. It’s somewhat difficult to fully express yourself in this crowd. In future I suggest that they go with a three-person panel.
One panel member suggested that there were two distinct and separate Brooklyns based on class and economics. I wanted to suggest that there were many Brooklyns based on race, class, economics, nationality, religion, and the like. I had hoped to point out that the black-vote state-wide is dwindling. Back in 1989 when David Dinkins was elected as the first Afro-mayor of NYC, the black vote was about thirty per cent of the city’s turnout. Today we are less than 23 per cent of the citywide registration rolls; and less than 18 per cent statewide.
New York has been losing blacks to migration for the past three decades at least. There are many reasons for this: the inferior quality of the public education system overall, crime, the high cost of living here, high taxes, racism, problems with affordable-housing, a challenging economic environment for economic opportunities for minorities, et cetera, et cetera. The point is this; the political power of blacks is being diluted with this prolific population loss. And as the Asian and Hispanic populations grow, their demands for inclusion and empowerment has to be respected. Thus it was a bit disheartening to see non-white electeds let Governor Cuomo off the hook, when he signed a reapportionment bill that was totally unjust: relative to increasing the chances for more minorities in elected office. Take a look at how the lines were drawn on Long Island; likewise upstate-New York, Brooklyn and Queens; and don’t even talk about “deviations”.
The main point I wanted to make is this: the time has come for a renter’s rebate to be encoded in both state and city tax laws. A recent survey of Brooklynites suggested that almost three in five who work for a living, pay more than half their income in rent. If property-owners can be allowed tax-breaks relative to their mortgage interest and some other related expenses, then it is only fair to do something to alleviate the burden on renters.
Way before I first ran for public office in 1998, I have been trying to recruit an elected official with the crass and common-sense to introduce this as legislation. I advised one mayoral candidate in 2005 to go for this and he did publicly announce it briefly at his coming out event. Unfortunately he withdrew from the race early enough to support another Dem: even after the New York Times had suggested it was an interesting idea he had introduced. The New York City Council flirted with the idea for a hot minute then dropped it like a bad stock purchase.
Long before Jimmy MacMillan and his one-issue political party, I have been suggesting that relief for NYC renters is an idea whose time has come. In these precarious economic times, think of the economic activity that will be generated from such a rebate. After all, the money will more than likely go towards purchasing other basic needs: like food and clothing. It will surely help improve the economies of both city and state.
The idea is really simple: if a working person pays more than a third of his or her income in rent, then he or she should be given a rebate based on the numbers or percentage(s) beyond one-third. So when you do your taxes around April 15th every year, you can probably get back some sort of rebate that would most likely be spent in ways that would only further stimulate the local economy.
I hope New Yorkers will join me in requesting that the present mayoral candidates adopt this plank in their respective platforms. You can call it: the “Hackshaw Plank”/LOL.
Stay tuned-in folks. ROCK IS BACK!