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

STOP IT.

STOP IT.

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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