The New York Connection

Friday, May 27, 2005


Same Old Polls

Via Political Wire:


In the Democratic New York City mayoral primary race -- 16 weeks before the vote -- Fernando Ferrer leads C. Virginia Fields, according to a new SurveyUSA poll. Ferrer gets 30%, Fields 23% with Gifford Miller in third place with 12% and Anthony Weiner fourth with 10%.


When you look at the specifics of the poll, you see that the whites are split, blacks flow to Fields, Hispanics to Ferrer, and Miller and Weiner have no clear base. It is interesting that Weiner draws a much less diverse group of supporters than Miller; it's probably because he's delivered fewer pothole fixes.

Overall, this is not great news. What I see in these numbers is that whites are mostly not paying attention, enough of them having decided to give their support to Bloomberg. Actually it's not so much that people are going to vote for Bloomberg, but that there's no conversation around who they can choose from.

No candidate has set the room on fire. Like that's news.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Media Whore Schumer Caves

Chuck Schumer voted to end debate and send Priscilla Owens to the floor of the Senate.

Go fuck yourself, Senator Media Whore.


NYC's Foreign Policy

The Lion and the Donkey, the awesome blog by Columbia University Democrats, points to anger on the part of both Jews and Muslims at Laura Bush on her trip to Israel.

Those Bushes, they forge alliances wherever they go.

Uniters, not dividers.

Monday, May 23, 2005


Nuclear Deal

This deal is horrifying. Frist and Bush got most of what they wanted, and it's been admitted that the nuclear option is constitutional. And the Republicans reserve the right to use the nuclear option whenever they want.

Dems lose again.

UPDATE: Bottom line from a Redstate commenter:

"This might (probably) close the door on Saad and Myers (the smearing of them is disgusting), but as those 2 are thrown to the wolves in this deal, let's not lose sight of getting 5 constructionalist appellate judges through and paves the way for Associate Justice Brown (she can't be 'extraordinary' anymore)."


The Problem with Billionaire Mayorality

Look, I'm not one to say that Mike Bloomberg is acting immorally when he gives hundreds of millions of his money to groups that help him politically. It might actually surprise you to hear that I think he's a philanthropist who feels he's doing the right thing for the city, and that by and large, the charities he gives to would in many cases get the money regardless of whether he were mayor. I think Bloomberg is a principled guy.

But that's not really the point. He may be principled, or he may not be, but he certainly is unaccountable. When your personal wealth can in the short-term make up for city budget cuts, that's a problem because the long-term effects of what you're doing are masked. Private property is critical for our democracy precisely because it insulates individuals from political pressure, and requires them to take responsibility for the services that they want. What Bloomberg is doing is part of the whole Republican saga of taking more and more power for a smaller and smaller group of people.

He may or may not be a reasonable guy. And he may be a good listener, though I have my doubts. The point though is that the system is no longer forcing him to be either a reasonable guy or a good listener. He no longer must behave as if he must be responsive to the city's constituents. He may choose to anyway, but that's his choice, and whether a mayor works in the best interest of the city should not be up to the mayor's private whims simply because that person has amassed a large personal forture.


Absolute Power in New York City... Nothing to See Here

Lovely.

All incumbents dispense favors. But Mr. Bloomberg's personal wealth has made him a modern-day Medici - a role that, some critics say, can also stifle dissent from institutions that have quietly absorbed city budget cuts because they worry that what the mayor gives he can also stop giving.

"It's an unusual picture: a mayor whose generosity we sincerely appreciate as a person, countered by cuts," said Tom Finkelpearl, executive director of the Queens Museum of Art, which received $100,000 last year through Mr. Bloomberg's ostensibly anonymous gift to the Carnegie Corporation of New York. "There's no question there's a different dynamic."

Saturday, May 21, 2005


The Diabolical Charm Factor

Bill Weld is a funny guy. He tells good stories. Remembers names. The man doesn’t blink when listening to morons blather at cocktail parties. He’ll touch your arm, laugh at your jokes, hold your door. In short, he’s a good flirt. He’s actually a super-charming, personable “nice guy.” He had to use these talents to work with heavily Democratic Beacon Hill.

Edward Cox is by all accounts as great a guy. He’s one of those multi-national oil industry corporate lawyers who volunteers with enough charitable institutions so that buried under the feel-good extracurriculars, his actual occupation gets short shrift in his bio. He is Chair of the New York State Council of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and is a member of the executive committees of the New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund and the National Stroke Association. And then, squeezed into the last paragraph, one learns he also just happens to sell Middle East oil and buy Argentina’s oil fields.

In a perfect world a politician’s charm should be in direct proportion to their level of empathy for the least among us. Instead, these nice guys are Republicans and it’s diabolical.

Gandhi would have been as lovable as Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant’s love child sprinkled with the coolness of Brad Pitt. And conversely, Josef Stalin would have looked like one of the Hutts. Only an enormous drooling slug could have instituted the pogroms, Siberian death camps and genocides that killed 20 million Russians over a 30 year reign of terror.

No doubt they’re nice. If these really sweet, charming people get into office they’ll receive talking points and get brow beaten into backing policies dreamed up by men who should look like deformed monsters.

Thursday, May 19, 2005


When Bloomberg Fails, You Are Governed by Donald Trump

From Steve Gilliard:

There's always the temptation to write Donald Trump off as an asclown with a big mouth.

But that would be wrong. I have never been much of a Trump fan, but he can capture the zeitsgeist of the city. When he ranted about he wronglyfully convicted Central Park Jogger attackers, he was representing a lot of the city. While his record on race is nothing to brag about, Trump may be on to something besides his ego here.

Mayor Bloomberg has invested almost no effort in the WTC reconstruction. Almost all of his energies have been directed towards the West Side and the boondoggle called a stadium. The governor has been more interested in running for President than getting his major project off the ground. And make no mistake, his governorship will be judged by the WTC reconstruction. His weak, almost invisible, leadership has caused the project to stall. And Bloomberg's almost spiteful disinterest hasn't helped matters much either.

Trump is stepping in because there is no real leadership. As Michael Goodwin in this Sunday's Daily News said it "we need a Robert Moses." Well, we don't need an out of touch autocrat, who hated blacks and the city, but we need a strong leader who will make this a primary focus of his administration. It is simply outrageous that Bloomberg can talk about a stadium, two if you count the Atlantic Avenue Nets project, while there is a massive hole where two of the world's largest buildings use to be. Talk of anything else is offensive and irritating.

But Bloomberg wants the Olympics, a legal nightmare waiting to happen, and seems to pay only lip service to Ground Zero and the buildings there.

One thing Trump is right about, no one likes the new design. They don't hate it, but it's just there, chosen by politicians and left to flounder.

So in steps Trump, not so much to push a design or get PR, but to force movement. Which, sad to say, is needed. The Twin Towers got more attention in the last few days than the last six months.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Oxymoron

I recently overheard that members of the gay community may start "Gays Against Weiner."

I mean, with a name like Anthony's, we can occasionally be juvenile, right?

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


I don't get it

How can Democrats in New York whine about George Bush... wine about how he is EVIL... wine about how he "lied about the war"... or "stole the election"... and then go merrily like lemmings to vote for Mike Bloomberg?


Listening is cheap

From The Jaker:

The NY Daily News reports that Mayor Bloomberg has already spent $10m on his re-election campaign, "including $267 on tropical fish, $210 for Mets tickets and $255 on a nifty clock that counts down to Election Day".

As I said before, I think there's something wrong with a candidate spending so much of his own money to get elected ($73m in 2001, a record outside of Presidential elections). It has the feel of subverting the will of the people for personal gain, believing that you know better than the people. And I think Bloomberg is clearly in that territory (hence I support Gifford Miller for Mayor).


I would add one other point. When you spend this type of money you're doing it to broadcast, not listen.


Just ask Neil Giacobbi

Parks aren't the most important issue in this year's elections. They matter, but this race will be decided by our schools, the Stadium, whether this City will be Blue or Red...and yet, Mayor Bloomberg is ducking issues on the softball questions of whether our parks deserve more funding.

Just ask Neil Giacobbi.

Who is he? That's what The Metropolist asks. Because Neil, evidently, is the first wave of defense for Candidate Bloomberg against the public's efforts to ask him questions.

Bloomberg doesn't allow emails to be sent to his campaign. You have to fill out a form. That discourages comments...not surprising from a Mayor who has discouraged commentary from the public, the press and his own education advisors.

Why won't he just set up an info email address? I don't know. Why don't we ask Neil Giacobbi.

Monday, May 16, 2005


Daily Gotham Launches

The Daily Gotham launches. Lots of bloggy goodness over there.

Friday, May 13, 2005


Manly Slantpoint

Manly NYC conservative blogger Slantpoint insists on challenging the masculinity of us anonymous bloggers.

And matched up against Slantpoint...



Oh oh Slantpoint! Show us your muscles!


Win one for the Giffer

The young men who would be Mayor still like being young men, it would seem.

Gifford Miller and Anthony Weiner both stopped by Drinking Liberally at its original Hell's Kitchen last night, after short talks at the McManus Mayoral forum.

The Metropolist covers the night, pointing out that Miller and Weiner fit in at a place known for cheap beer and hot dogs.

But the bigger story is that Giff was a hit.

Weiner held on through a few jeers to give a good speech; but Gifford stayed nearly an hour, talking, drinking, eating, singing part of the Puerto Rican national anthem on request and being very, very human.

His endurance paid off: the Liberal Drinkers were impressed.

One maybe a little too impressed. A young woman who told Gifford his red tie made him look too much like a salesman pulled the Speaker a little too close as she studied his tie...she soon learned that he has a loving wife and two kids.

Thursday, May 12, 2005


UN and NYC

New York Denizen Peter Daou's UN Dispatch is on a lonely battle. Despite overwhelming support for the UN on the part of the American public (favorability/unfavorability rating is something 57%-14%), the organized opposition is quite strong. They are a curious mix of isolationists and aggressive empire-builders who despise any institution with the power to dissent from the increasingly imperial course that we're on.

New Yorkers should care, if only because the UN just gave a middle finger to us by not moving to the former World Trade Center site, instead choosing Brooklyn. If we want to continue as the world's capital, with all the economic and cultural benefits that accrue from attracting the world's best in art, finance, technology, culture, etc, we might want to start helping out lonely fighters like Peter.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Rasiej Turns His Fire on Dem Insiders

Well he's got the talk down.

But after watching everyone - from major Senate and Congressional party leaders all the way down to local council members - smile, act as if they're listening but then fail to act on ANY of the advice or change their behavior, only follow up by asking for a check with at least three zeros on it, I've decided to stop aiding the ongoing dysfunction of the Democratic party.

A few weeks ago, I attended a state Democratic Party dinner, and was appalled to watch DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe honored for - guess what? For raising millions from high donors for the national party. Why is this the benchmark for being honored? What about winning the Presidency or winning - NOT losing - Senate and Congressional seats, which is what happened on our Chairman's most recent watch?


Gifford Miller, Singer

The Metropolist has a great post on the political power of song. Apparently, a great NYC machine politico never made a speech because he could always sing an ethically appropriate song instead. Singing can make you look superstoopid on TV, but it's actually great at political events. That's probably why it's declined among candidates in the TV age.

Alas.


Bloomberg Ahead, But There's a Surprise

From the NY Daily News:

The Quinnipiac University Poll released Wednesday showed Bloomberg leading Ferrer 47 to 38 percent. The mayor was six points behind Ferrer, a Democrat, in Quinnipiac's last poll released March 30.

Bloomberg led Fields 43 to 38 percent, and was ahead of Miller 42 to 35 percent, the poll found. He led Weiner 44 to 32 percent.

Among Democratic primary voters, Fields continued to gain ground against Ferrer, whose numbers have tumbled steadily since his statement in March that the 1999 shooting of Amadou Diallo was not a crime. In the latest poll, 27 percent of primary voters said they backed Ferrer, versus 23 percent for Fields.

So Bloomberg is leading, no surprise on that. But I was surprised by his soft reelect numbers.
Bloomberg's approval rating stood at 47 percent, about the same as the 46 percent rating he received March 30.

Slightly less than half of respondents, 47 percent, said Bloomberg cared about "the needs and problems of people like you," slightly higher than the March figure of 41 percent. The mayor has long struggled to come across as sympathetic to the concerns of ordinary New Yorkers.

Bloomberg is ahead and seems inevitable. But the numbers show he's very beatable. I expect this race to tighten - Mayor Mike is not making friends among firefighters, for instance, and every one of these slights is a nick and cut.

In the primary, here are the numbers:
Among Democratic primary voters, Ferrer gets 27 percent, with 23 percent for Fields. This is down from a 40 – 14 percent Ferrer lead March 2 and a 36 – 21 percent Ferrer lead March 30.

Weiner and Miller have barely moved among Democratic voters, with 13 percent for Weiner and 11 percent for Miller.

The absolutes are meaningless, but the trends matter. And Weiner and Miller are competing for the same pool of votes, the white liberals who think Bloomberg is 'a good manager'. This explains the increasing tension between the two campaigns. They are structurally opposed, with Weiner having the upper hand and Miller afraid to pick a fight. Importantly, the Weiner/Miller white base are the same voters that in the general election will swing this race to Bloomberg, or against him.

I give the slight nod to Fields. What do you know about her?

UPDATE: The Jaker implies that Miller's religion (Protestant) makes the White Jewish liberals flow into Weiner's camp.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Updated Blogroll

Added a bunch of stuff to the blogroll, most notably:

http://www.bootbloomberg.com

The Lion and the Donkey is a pleasant site from Columbia U Dems.


Why Miller's Scared of Weiner

Gifford is ranking low in the polls for Democratic Mayoral hopefuls, but who pays attention to polls in May? Not Gifford Miller...but he does pay attention to Anthony Weiner.

The Speaker's staff is baffled that the progressive populists of 2004 would even consider the Congressman. Weiner voted for the war. He blasted Howard Dean. He's calling himself a moderate.

So why are former Deaniacs swooning?

Maybe it's the enegy thing. Weiner comes out all-guns blazing, neck veins popping, wisecracks cracking. Gifford, maybe more Dean in dialogue, is more demure in demeanor.

How can you tell people that you're the progressive candidate if you're not willing to shout it?

If you're worried that Weiner's at your back, Giff, do what anyone should do when pursued: shout, shout, shout.


Why the Embarrassing Bob Kerrey Didn't Run For Mayor

Bob Kerrey is being told to Shut Up:

"The school's board of trustees, upset at Kerrey's flirtation with running for mayor and his criticism of Mayor Bloomberg, sent out an e-mail last week stating that Kerrey must get the board's approval before he makes any political/policy statements in the future.


Kerrey is a political junkie with a penchant for embarrassing himself. After the 9/11 commission (he said at a speech I heard that the commission read blogs), he flirted for running for DNC Chair, and backed out, bashing Dean and progressives all the way. Now the same silliness is happening with the Mayoral election. The rumors are that he 'backed out' after realizing that there was no way he could get on the ballot and that he had no support.

If he wants to pontificate, Kerrey now must shut up and start an anonymous blog like the rest of us.


A Guy Dumping Coal



New York uses a lot of energy. A lot. It's something we don't really notice that often.

That's not to say that New York is inefficient. Dense cities are extremely efficient per capita; mass transit, apartment heating, fewer oil-intensive consumer purchases, etc. They also have the advantage of being electrically powered, not gas powered, which means that any fuel works to power them rather than just oil or natural gas.

Anyway, it's just something to keep in mind, that power matters here.


Zack Exley: Kick 'Em When They're Down

Wow.

I just watched Labor apply Karl Rove tactics to a platform that includes increases to social services, increases to foreign aid, Third World debt cancellation, a national minimum wage, and resistance to (rather than embracement of) angry Tory rhetoric on immigrants and asylum seekers. Coming from our 2004 elections, I can't tell you how bizarre it was to watch the take-no-prisoners ass-kicking party using their powers for good instead of evil.

Monday, May 09, 2005


Slantpoint

Slantpoint has a nice post on mock campaign sites.

I should say that this guy is a conservative, and grrr, but I like his blog. So it's going on the blogroll.

UPDATE: The New York Times has more on funny campaign sites.

Shorter NYT article: The internets is mean.


Joe Klein Holding Court on Hillary: "Please, please, another Clinton saga!"

Why is Joe Klein of Time Magazine considered an expert on anything? As far as I can tell, he happens to have a column in Time, and that's kind of it.

I was having a fascinating conversation with a Middle East expert about the intricacies of Israel's disengagement from Gaza when I noticed the fellow growing impatient. "Enough of this," he said. "What about Hillary?" Welcome to my life.


What does the author of Primary Colors expect? He has made his life the elevation, bashing, and trashing of the Pop Culture Clintons, so why would he expect anyone to give two shits about what he thinks about the Middle East? He's an uber-insider who traffics in the irrelevancies of inside baseball, and now whines when he can't opine with adequate adulation from the crowd. But don't take my word for it. Here's Klein covering himself in gossip slime:

In airports, on checkout lines, at the doctor's office: "What about Hillary?" (Everywhere except in Washington, where everyone "knows" she's running.)


Everyone? Kind of reminds you of an old joke about a conversation between two Vanity Fair employees.

"There was a plane crash today. 233 people died."
"Anyone on it?"
"No."

But the Hillary supporters aren't particularly great, either. And it's all a big kabuki dance, too, the fight between the trashy Klein and the insider idiotic old corporate feminists.

"You mean she can't run just because her husband was President?" a Hillary supporter yelled at me. "That is the most incredibly sexist thing I've ever heard."


"Not women anymore": rape as a weapon in DR Congo kind of puts the whole thing in perspective.

Ugh.

(By the way, I doubt Klein hears about Hillary 'everywhere'. He just wants to so that he can sell another Primary Colors and be a personality expert circa 1990s, probably the most profitable career track for pundits. I've met this guy, and he's profoundly weird.)

Sunday, May 08, 2005


Ha Ha Alert

From the New York Times:

Every mainstream news organization has its own sets of ethics rules, but all of them agree broadly on what constitutes ethical journalism. Information should be verified before it is printed, and people who are involved in a story should be given a chance to air their viewpoints, especially if they are under attack. Reporters should avoid conflicts of interest, even significant appearances of conflicts, and disclose any significant ones. Often, a conflict means being disqualified to cover a story or a subject. When errors are discovered or pointed out by internal or external sources, they must be corrected. And there should be a clear wall between editorial content and advertising.


It's like someone stuck a 'kick me' sign on their back and they're like 'What? What? Why do people keep kicking me?'


Well Rasiej Sure Has Online Supporters

In my first post on Andrew , I wrote a little bit skeptically on his chances. Lo and behold, this blog gets its first comment from Michael Bassik (picture to the left):

I'm working for Andrew's campaign and am a true believer that if we can get his message out to New Yorkers across the city, we'll be able to shake the system from the bottom up and win on Election Day.


So I go over to his campaign's blog and find the following suggestion:

What about “endowing” every citizen with one street parking spot near his or her apartment or house, and then allowing free trade in these spots? this would allow those who do not own cars to reap benefits for their environmentally helpful position, while allowing those who do own cars to save the time in hunting for on-street parking.


Ack! Geeks are remaking New York!

Ok, this is a good idea, and I'm getting closer to supporting at least one candidate for a race other than Mayor.

Friday, May 06, 2005


Miller Momentum?

Giff just sold out his May 11 fundraiser.

(via the Jaker)


Kidding on the Square

Ben Smith pierces Bloomberg:

The number of political operatives in this town not employed by the Mayor continues to drop...


It's a joke. But in my last conversation with a savvy operative (let's call him 'M'), M brought up precisely this point. If you've got two kids, a house, and a lifestyle to support, Mike will pay you $300k/year for help, which is pretty hard to turn down.

Let's look at what this means. The basis of our government is people, not ideology. Good people in government and politics means a good system of government. Stupid incompetent people in government and politics means a stupid, incompetent system. The lesson of Mike Bloomberg is that the route to advancement in government and politics is to make a lot of money and buy your way in. Why in their right mind would anyone with any talent or ambition want to go into government, politics, or advocacy when there's simply no hope to effect change unless you have billions or inside connections backing you?

To put it another way, George Bush is out of touch with the country because he's never had to deal with real life, floating on his connections and insider status as the son of a President. He doesn't have to listen, and he's not going to. Though his governance style is very different, why are Bloomberg's politics any different? And if Democrats don't use positions like the Mayorality of New York to build a stable of powerful politicians, what hope is there for us?

Thursday, May 05, 2005


Bloomberg's Balanced Budget BS: Calm Before the Storm

Mayor Bloomberg is cutting taxes during a real estate bubble.

In 2004, according to the mayor's Office of Management and Budget, wage earnings in the city grew by 6.8 percent, the highest rate of increase since before the World Trade Center attacks.

And since 1994, the average price of housing in the city has surged from $160,000 to $399,450, according to the budget office. Prices have more than doubled since 1998.


Come on, people. These types of increases are unsustainable, and if the city's budget is balanced now, when real estate prices or incomes stop rising at ridiculously inflated rates, it will fall into deficit. Let's not cut taxes when the roof is leaky.

I'm not being picky, either. Gifford Miller is right to say that if you have a choice between spending or tax cuts, you spend. The reason is simple; if you give cash back, people will spend it on consumer goods or put it into financial instruments (like US debt), neither of which helps increase the ability of New York to generate revenue. If you invest extra tax revene while the sun shines, you can create better subways, schools, health servces etc. All of these pay back immensely in the long run. Think about it this way. In a few years, with gas prices at $5/gallon (which works out to oil at $105/barrel as Goldman Sachs predicts), a cross-town cab will cost $40 and the pressure to cut subway maintenance will be intense. I guarantee you're going to wish you had done the work now to make sure that getting to work in a year or two is, well, workable.


Up Chuck Schumer

Chuck Schumer may or may not be a good guy, but he's not a good Democrat. One of the themes I'm going to return to on this blog are what I call 'Benedict' Democrats. These are people who for whatever reason find it useful to cooperate with Republicans for their own personal gain, all the while undercutting the growth of a larger movement. No one exemplifies this better than Schumer. It's not just that he supports Republicans:

New York's senior senator, a Democrat, defended Bloomberg's record fighting for the city's fair share of federal dollars - undercutting a central campaign theme among the Democrats seeking to boot Bloomberg, a Republican, from City Hall.

"I know the candidates don't like me to say this, but the facts are the facts," Schumer said, suggesting the city needs Republican leaders who can work on the inside.

"Whenever I call Michael Bloomberg and ask him to help in Washington, he has," Schumer said. "And even though I will support a Democratic candidate - there are a lot of things that I disagree with Mayor Bloomberg on - I am not going to take that away from him."


Chuck Schumer is lauded as a media genius, because he holds Sunday press conferences when no one else does. I've been in the meetings where people plan these events, and it's all about making sure that reporters show up. Will there be food? Is it too early for them? Will the place be convenient? The only question that does not come up is 'Do I have something to say?' Chuck Schumer rarely does, but he's always talking. And since he gets press coverage, he feels confident that this path of always looking good to the press and not really caring about principles is worthwhile.

The DSCC, of which Schumer is chair, is a great example. In the Pennsylvania contest to unseat Rick Santorum, Schumer picked pro-lifer Bob Casey as a challenger early, and has forced out everyone in the race except for Chuck Pennachio. The marketed idea behind this choice is that pro-life conservative Democrat Casey, who is well-known in the state because of his Dad, is the most likely victor over Santorum. But that's only the glossy sheen. The real point of picking Casey is that it's not a risky pick. If Casey loses, it doesn't ding Schumer at all; he'll just say Santorum was too strong. At least he was in control and raised a lot of money, losing Democratic consultants will bleat. But if Schumer lets a primary happen, then he'll look like he wasn't in control of the process (even though letting a primary happen is being in control of a process, just not of the outcome). The single best way of generating press coverage and interest in a race is a primary, but that's not important to someone like Schumer. He doesn't care. He just wants to not look bad.

The DINO strategy is one of the dumbest strategies in modern political history - it depresses your base, which is especially important in off-year elections. And it doesn't convince the middle because it makes you look unprincipled. Does anyone really think that a social conservative will vote for Casey over Santorum?

There's a larger issue at stake here. I frequently hear bitching about Democrats don't stand for anything or have no message, usually with a remark thrown in about Kerry and nuance. This is fundamentally an observation about governance, not politics. What standing for something means is having a sense of where you want the country to go, and supporting political change that moves the country in that direction. And message and organization comes from that. I guarantee you that Bloomberg and Casey represent a very different path for this country than the one you believe in.

Yet, when push comes to shove and we actually have a choice of who to put in power, Democrats - base Democrats, like you and me - run squealing into the arms of the tactical fear-mongers (like Schumer), which directly builds the lack of message inherent in our candidates.

The connections between the incentive Schumer plays to - building press for himself - and destroying progressivism, is something we need to work on. It's why we have Republican Governors in California, New York, Massachusetts, and a Republican Mayor crusing to reelection in New York City. It's a very very bad thing. And we need to start letting our elected officials know that we don't appreciate it.

Chuck Schumer is not going to start acting magnanimously, but if we can make it in his self-interest to stop fucking over Democrats, we can make a difference.

Let him know you don't appreciate his positive comments towards Mayor Bloomberg:

Send him an email here. Or call his office at 212-486-7803.


Missing the Middle

Here's a sketch of the skyline with the new Freedom tower in place:


A New Blogroll Addition: The Jaker

I just found this good blog, The Jaker, on NYC politics.

For a snippet of The Jaker's bloggy goodness, check out this post on why NYC Mayoral elections are so odd. He's a Giff supporter.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Andrew Rasiej: The Quixotic Candidate for Public Advocate

Andrew is running hard for Public Advocate.

What is with this office? I mean did everyone get bored with Mayor and decide that it's no fun to have a campaign for an office with actual responsibility? Also, what does the public advocate even do? Oh, look, some text in blockquotes to the rescue!

The office of Public Advocate is currently defined by the City’s official voting guide as follows: “The Public Advocate represents anyone who uses City services. As the City’s chief ombudsman, the Public Advocate investigates complaints about city agencies; reviews the responsiveness to the public and recommends improvements in programs and complaint handling procedures of City agencies; and helps to resolve problems individuals have with City agencies. The Public Advocate is elected to serve a term of four years.”


Or, in Mark Green-speak:

LOOK AT ME! I'M THE PUBLIC ADVOCATE! COME TO MY PRESS CONFERENCE! I WILL FIGHT FOR YOU AND ALSO YOU SHOULD QUOTE ME!


Ok, that's not so funny. But actually, and mostly theoretically, the public advocate is a great testing ground for lots of new technowizardry. Camera phones, blogs, online community combined with old fashioned organizing models, can really create a powerful sense of community to supplement and surpass the 311 success. Can Andrew pull it off? I don't think so. But I wish it were possible, because the office is actually pretty neat. Here's how Andrew sees the position:


Andrew said he views it as a great untapped opportunity – a truly unique platform that could be used in countless ways to reconnect New Yorkers to each other and their government, re-imagine the city’s possibilities, and ultimately recharge our democracy.


Sadly, New Yorkers don't care about this level of abstraction, except when heroic size war and peace like events are involved. Dean's message of inclusion worked, so did Bush's 'war on terror' metaphor. But the idea that a minor municipal office can 'recharge our democracy', well, perhaps he could begin with something more prosaic. Though I like it, even this is too high concept: 'The New York Times has a letters to the editor page. Shouldn't New York City have a letters to the mayor page?' Or maybe, 'We don't send all of our trash upstate. Some of it we keep right here, in city hall.'

I'm looking to see what Rasiej does. I don't think he'll win, but he is already forcing the current public advocate Betsey Gotbaum to do a slightly less crappy job. The rap on her - very nice, very ineffective, very plugged in. Someone not to fuck with. I get the sense - on good authority - that Andrew's making enemies. Not that many yet, but we'll see where this goes.


The Problem in a Nutshell

On Bloomberg and the Log Cabin Republicans:


Mike told the crowd that he knows the rap on him is that he used to be a Democrat, but that Giuliani was once a Democrat, and Reagan was once a Democrat.

"Badillo, weren't you one too?" he asked, and then called for a show of hands of lifelong Republicans, and found very few.


Shouldn't it be a problem to liberal New Yorkers that you've got the frontrunner in the mayoral election comparing himself proudly to Reagan?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


Two NYC Conversations

So Anthony Wiener is one of the flailing candidates running against Bloomberg for Mayor of New York City. Anyway, Wiener makes it a point that he drives a hybrid car. "How can I shake my fists at the Saudis and then hop in my SUV?"

Meanwhile, Bloomberg sort of has the liberal wealthy Jewish vote in place. Bloomberg is cozy with the Republican leadership, and has helped them in everything from fundraising to allowing New York to be their backdrop for destroying Kerry. While he's not a functionally bad city manager, he's bad for New York City because when Bush wants something from him, he's going to deliver.

A vote for Bloomberg is a vote for Bush. I know you don't really believe it, but you should. He's sold us out before, and he'll do it again.