Decision 2010: Our Political Picks

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Governor: Andrew Cuomo

With the amount of dissatisfaction and disappointment that many have expressed toward New York State government, it’s clear we need a governor who has a strong vision for the office and who can take control of a Legislature that has caused embarrassment on a national level. The choice for voters is between Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, and the Republication businessman from Buffalo, Carl Paladino. We wholeheartedly endorse Cuomo for governor.

Paladino has little to offer and has run a campaign filled with bigotry and bluster. While we recognize the strain of populism that has appealed to those disgruntled with government and the way politicians have been behaving, we do not want our state governed by anyone who has so little respect for his fellow citizens.
But this is not simply a Cuomo-by-default decision. As attorney general, Cuomo has a strong record as the state’s chief lawyer, investigating the pay-to-play scandal that led former Comptroller Alan Hevesi to plead guilty.
His blueprint for ethics reform includes a section that would legislate that lawmakers would have to disclose their earnings from outside jobs, something we think should also happen. While we are wary of family “dynasties” in all levels of politics, we feel Andrew Cuomo has shown a clear path and ambition in politics separate from his father’s, while also learning from his time working with him.
We do, however, hope that Andrew Cuomo stops playing it safe when it comes to his stated principles, coming out strong in favor of marriage equality (something that nearly all New York City politicians agree it is time for) and other progressive legislation. Getting any of his reforms passed with an obstinate Legislature will not be easy. But we feel Cuomo can make good on his promises to restore trust and create transparency in government.

Attorney General: Eric Schneiderman

The next New York attorney general has big shoes to fill. Eliot Spitzer and Andrew Cuomo were both crusaders who were able to balance complex issues of national importance as well as move the reform ball forward. The next attorney general must have the experience to be able to tap dance his way through the minefield of Albany corruption as well as find new ways of protecting consumers. That’s why we endorse Eric Schneiderman, a state senator from the Upper West Side, as our next attorney general.
While our state government has increasingly started resembling a Saturday Night Live skit, Schneiderman has been one of the few bright stars at the state level. He’s a smart, effective, reform-minded legislator who has stood up to his party when required, as well as crafted important legislation that promotes equal justice under law, such as ending the draconian Rockefeller drug laws.
Cleaning up Albany has become something of the mantra of this election. But Schneiderman has actually done it by convening a bipartisan panel to expel fellow Democrat Hiram Monserrate after he was convicted of assault against his girlfriend. In addition, he has spent many years standing up against Republican senators that have blocked his progressive reform-minded legislation.
We are confident that his background and experience plus core philosophy of equal justice will ensure that the interests of all New Yorkers are heard. He has a broad agenda that protects consumers, prevents the pollution of the environment and fights discrimination.
Mr. Schneiderman’s opponent, Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan, has a record that he can be proud of. As the Staten Island DA, he has amassed a high conviction rate for dangerous felons; he has also served respectably under Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau. Donovan has a competent, nuts-and-bolts plan for the attorney general position. What he doesn’t have is the sweeping vision needed to implement the changes as well as the reform-minded vision of Eric Schneiderman.

Comptroller: Harry Wilson

Officially, the state comptroller is responsible for the nearly $130 billion pension fund, auditing agencies and releasing economic reports. But former State Comptroller Alan Hevesi’s recent guilty plea in a pay-to-play scandal put a spotlight on the sleepy, unglamorous office. Now, New Yorkers need a state comptroller that is pragmatic, vigorous and innovative. We endorse Republican Harry Wilson for state comptroller.
The current comptroller, Democrat Tom DiNapoli, has implemented necessary reforms and protected the pension fund since he was appointed to the seat in 2007.
But Wilson, the Republican candidate, is a Harvard-educated investor with an extensive and unique background in the public and private sectors.
His resume includes Goldman Sachs, Blackstone Capital and, most, recently Silver Point Capital. He was the only Republican on President Barack Obama’s auto-industry task force, where he led the successful restructuring of General Motors.
Wilson has the investment and managerial background needed to make the comptroller’s job integral to fixing New York’s economy. He is a moderate Republican who has a proven record of bipartisanship and pragmatism. Much like his work saving General Motors, we believe Wilson would work well with unions, rather than conveniently blaming them for all of the state’s fiscal problems. He believes in a low-tax burden for business rather than spending tax dollars on corporate welfare.
After Hevesi’s resignation, the State Legislature tapped DiNapoli, an Assembly member from Long Island, to become the new comptroller. While DiNapoli had no prior investment experience, he has the vision to continue being an able comptroller. He also instituted important ethics reforms in the office, from banning pay-to-play practices and placement agents from the investment fund.
But Wilson has the vision, skills and temperament to be an excellent comptroller. Though he is a Republican, this is one of the few races where Upper West Side voters can cast a ballot for the GOP without voting for a conservative ideologue.

State Legislature

The Upper West Side has quality, progressive legislators in Congress and in Albany. The Republican alternative in these races are either nonexistent or not a credible choice. We endorse State senators Bill Perkins, Tom Duane and Assembly members Linda Rosenthal, Daniel O’Donnell for re-election. In the open State Senate seat that covers parts of the Upper West Side, all of Northern Manhattan and parts of the Bronx, we endorse Adriano Espaillat.
In the House, Jerrold Nadler and Charles Rangel deserve re-election to their seats.

Ballot Measures:

Earlier this year, Mayor Michael Bloomberg called a commission to study and recommend changes to the city charter. This Nov. 2, voters in New York City must approve the changes at the ballot.
The questions are printed on the back of the ballot, on the other side of the candidate list. If approved, the changes would bring back two-term limits for city officials and make running for office easier. Voters should vote “yes” on these two questions.
Upper West Siders should vote “yes” on the question that would limit the next mayor, public advocate, comptroller, borough presidents and Council members to two, consecutive four-year terms. Voters established these limits through two ballot initiatives in the 1990s. But when Bloomberg wanted to run for a third term last year, the Council passed a law that overturned the two referendums.
Bringing the term limits law back to two terms would respect the voters that chose two terms for local elected officials. Most importantly, the new law would also block the City Council from again changing the term limit law through legislation.
The second question contains seven parts that, in part, will help more candidates get on the ballot. Voters should say “yes” to the question, which would approve all seven changes to the charter. These changes would lower the onerous ballot laws that inhibit competitive elections and insurgent candidates running for office.

The changes include:
• Greater disclosure of campaign spending from independent groups.
• Cutting the number of petitions needed to get on the ballot in half for each elected office.
• Increasing the fine for violating the city’s Conflicts of Interest law to $25,000 from $10,000.
• Consolidating the number of “administrative tribunals,” where people charged with violating a law or regulation can contest the charge.
• Creating a commission of appointees from the mayor and City Council to review the necessity of Charter and Administrative codes that require agency reports.
• Adding government-operated transportation and waste-management facilities in the annual map of the city’s property used to site new city facilities.

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