New York City’s Democratic voters will probably pick the city’s next C.F.O. and ombudsman in a run-off election on Tuesday, Sept. 29. Since no candidate in the four-way primary races for comptroller and public advocate reached the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid a run-off, the top two vote-getters are now facing off. And because registered Democrats outnumber Republicans in this city by such a large margin, whoever gets the majority in this upcoming contest will likely emerge victorious in the November general election as well.
Before the primary, we weighed in on both these contests; we still stand by those choices and reiterate them here to readers, who we hope will go to the polls on Sept. 29 to cast their vote in these important races.
The comptroller can be seen as C.F.O. of the city, responsible for making sure that budgets are tight and inefficiencies are pinpointed. But we also need more than a bean-counting bureaucrat. That’s why we feel New Yorkers should vote for Brooklyn Council Member David Yassky as the city’s next comptroller.
Yassky showed independence by being the only candidate to endorse legislation that will create a new level of pension benefits for future retirees, with the goal of reducing taxpayer costs. He understands the need to have a diverse portfolio that will protect the pensioners and taxpayers when the economy suffers. (Full disclosure: Yassky’s campaign rents separate office space from this newspaper’s parent company, Manhattan Media.)
His opponent, Queens Council Member John Liu, will surely bring the same tenacity to the comptroller’s duties as he does to Council committee hearings, but we’re concerned he’ll be too focused on using the office as a bully pulpit. Yassky is a well-rounded candidate who can balance experience with leadership, and we endorse him in the run-off for comptroller.
Brooklyn Council Member Bill de Blasio has the most far-reaching vision for the public advocate’s office, and the most detailed plans for executing that vision on a shoestring budget. De Blasio plans to leverage the public advocate’s meager resources by working with organizations like Transportation Alternatives and the Brennan Center for Justice, at New York University Law School. Through the office’s appointee to the City Planning Commission, he pledges to be an aggressive watchdog on development.
There are, however, a few reservations about his candidacy. If elected, he’ll be tasked with policing the large swath of elected officials and unions that have endorsed his bid for office; we hope this doesn’t make him too cozy to be an effective independent check on city government. And we feel that de Blasio should be more proactive in addressing the questionable services provided to his campaign by the Working Families Party and its for-profit company, Data Field Services.
Mark Green, his opponent, did a commendable job as New York’s first public advocate. But he seems too focused on the past to enact a forward-looking agenda. De Blasio strikes us as the candidate most ready to hit the ground running in January, and we endorse him in the run-off for public advocate.
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