For whom I’m pulling the lever – literally – on Tuesday (part 1)



This coming Tuesday is Primary Day. I’m hopeful it will mark the end of Bill Thompson’s campaign literature flooding my mailbox, and the climax of low-hanging Weiner jokes.

New York State has closed primaries, so you have to pledge your allegiance to a party in advance. If you’re not a registered Democrat, you usually miss out on the action: city-wide general elections often serve as little more than a formality (except for the top slot, for whatever reason).

I tried to get a preview of my ballot on the Board of Elections website. Alas: ”Due to the use of Lever Voting Machines, no sample ballots will be available for this election.” Rats! I might be going blind into a race for Assistant Stenographer or Borough Dogcatcher.

But it’s just the primary, so I can correct any mistakes in November. Not to mention I’m excited to hear that resounding CLICK when the analog device registers my selections – perhaps the last time it will grace my ears.

OK, let’s ditch the nostalgia and get to the important stuff: three candidates who will get my vote in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, and why.

For Council District 39
For Brooklyn District Attorney
For Comptroller

For Council District 39: Brad Lander

The race I’m most excited about isn’t a race at all. Brad Lander is running unopposed for a second term in City Council.

And for good reason: Mr. Lander is one of the most popular – and respected – council members in the city. He passed most of his waking hours after Sandy ensuring Brooklynites had places to sleep, fought a successful battle with Mayor Bloomberg over installing oversight for the NYPD, and spent time in jail protesting the Long Island College Hospital closure – the day after being honored by President Obama for his work on participatory budgeting.

Not to mention he was a tireless proponent of safe streets long before that sort of thing was cool.

If I were a betting man, I’d put good money on Mr. Lander’s election as Public Advocate in 2021, and as Mayor in 2025.

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For District Attorney: Ken Thompson

After 24 years as Brooklyn District Attorney, Charles “Joe” Hynes has worn out his welcome. Beyond his well-documented questionable connections with disgraced Democratic boss Vito Lopez, Mr. Hynes should be shown the door for his inappropriate deference to the ultra-Orthodox community on child-abuse cases. He should also be held responsible for his failure to press charges against the cell-phone-blabbing cop who killed Felix Coss as he crossed a Williamsburg street in July.

Mr. Thompson has experience with a variety of high-profile cases both in private practice and as a federal prosecutor. His work with civil-rights abuses will give him a solid perspective on many issues of race in our borough, particularly stop-and-frisk; more generally, judging from his endorsements, he appears to be an upright citizen (in addition to an excellent lawyer).

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For Comptroller: Scott Stringer

I don’t have a problem with Eliot Spitzer‘s personal failings. This puts me in the minority, though, so I have to question his motivations. He entered a race for a post several notches below his previous station – one that happens to play to his branding as a fighter against Wall Street – and did so just four days before the deadline. To amass the required 3,750 signatures to get on the ballot, he reportedly offered volunteers $800 per day of his own money. I guess that post-resignation show on CNN paid handsomely.

It feels like he’s trying to grab a slot under our noses, so that in a few years when he runs for a much-higher office, he can point to a record of good behavior. But he’s been out of the political picture for nearly five years, with nothing to show for it.

Mr. Stringer, on the other hand, has been a reliable public servant for two decades. Although he’s had some trouble finding a backbone on several safe-streets issues, he has also pushed for novel ideas for transportation, including improvements to the East Side Greenway and the Triboro Rx rail connection (which Christine Quinn recently used as a basis for a poorly-conceived Select Bus Service route).

Mr. Stringer is vanilla, but that seems a great quality for the person overseeing the city’s finances.

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How about you? I’d love to hear your thoughts! And stay tuned for my picks for Public Advocate and Mayor.

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