Friday, September 08, 2006

Primary Colors

Here In New York, They're Orange And Blue

On Monday, our nation commemorates the 5th anniversary of the horrific events of September 11, 2001. We thought it appropriate, in what we consider a fitting memorial, to celebrate another date somewhat significant to American freedoms and liberties – September 12, 2006.

That’s Primary Day here in New York, and while this year’s elections have generated about as much excitement as Univision's fall line-up, there are choices out there, and decisions to be made – decisions that will likely impact on our future as Americans, as New Yorkers, and, yes, as Long Islanders.

The Race For Governor

Anyone who is playing with even half a deck has to know that, barring some unforeseen calamity, Eliot Spitzer has this one sewn up.

So, why is The Community Alliance endorsing Tom Suozzi, an underdog that only an underdog could love?

Well, that one is easy. Not only it is essential for our survival – as a State and as a region – to get Tom Suozzi’s message out there for the masses (and for the legislature) to debate and act upon [taxes, housing, education – all bantered about in the campaign like so many trial balloons, with few taking heed of our County Exec’s call to stop talking and start doing something], but moreover, Long Islanders must send a message – to Albany and around New York State – that WE matter.

“Hello? We’re out here, New York. Can you hear us?”

Trouble is, no one west of Tom Suozzi is paying anything more than lip service to Long Island, if that, evidenced glaringly by the fact that upstate school districts garner 60% or more in State Aid to education, while Long Island school districts languish with little more than 12% from Albany.

Need we say more?

Will Eliot Spitzer remember Long Island when his new abode is the Governor’s mansion? Maybe. But first, he’ll have to find Long Island. Seems that to the Attorney General, any place east of Central Park might just as well be in Manchuria. [What do you know? Mr. Spitzer is scheduled to visit Manchuria today. Alert the media.]

At least with Tom Souzzi, Long Island would have a chance. He's young. He's brash. [And after 12 years of the Pataki doldrums, we could use young and brash.] If nothing more, Long Island would have a voice in State government, something that has been missing for a long, long time, bemuddled efforts of our venerable legislative delegation notwithstanding.

A vote for Tom Suozzi on Tuesday, September 12th may not turn the Spitzer tide, but it would let Mr. Spitzer – and the rest of the Capitol crowd – know that Long Islanders (and their concerns) are to be reckoned with. [At the very least, it would let Albany know that Long Islanders actually vote, which itself would be a step in the right direction!]

In voting for Tom, we make Spitzer work for our votes in November, rather than taking the Long Island electorate for granted. [Not that Suozzi supporters would be inclined to vote for John Faso (trust us on that one), but an overwhelming show of support for Suozzi would certainly make Spitzer think twice before abandoning LI and its causes -- at least between September 12th and November 7th.]

A vote for Tom Suozzi would also be a great way for us Long Islanders to say “thank you, Tom.” Thank you for putting the issues -- our issues -- in play. Thank you for standing up for homeowners, our children, and a vision of New York that was seemingly left along the roadside long ago by most politicos who have entrenched themselves in State and local government. Thank you for staying in this race, Tom, and keeping the debate (which Spitzer conveniently avoided) alive (for all who would listen, anyway), when it would have been easier – and more politically expedient – to have quit the race, stayed at home, and let the tired and worn chips fall where they may.

A vote for our County Executive, Tom Suozzi, would also be a nice way to welcome Tom home. Sure, he’s been away from his post campaigning. Such is the bane of anyone seeking higher office for the greater good. Still, absent a miracle that pits Suozzi against Faso in the November 7th election, Tom has three more years to serve as County Exec. Three more years to continue to raise the standard, to churn the pot, and to keep Nassau moving ever forward toward prosperity. Three more years for the man who really can do it, not only because he did it, but because it is in our own self interest as Long Islanders to see that Tom succeeds.

Once back in Mineola, should the fates and the voters declare Tom Suozzi’s quest for Governor at an end, we should once again embrace Tom’s leadership, his vision, and the idea that Nassau County is not only back from the brink, but back in front of the pack where it belongs -- where we belong.

And with the Governor’s race presumably out of the way, Tom Suozzi should give serious consideration to recanting his pledge not to seek elective office after his term as Nassau County Executive comes to an end. [We also hope that whoever is behind the Suozzi blog will continue to post. Beyond its entertainment value and biting politics, there's an anything but subliminal message calling all New Yorkers to action. Blog on!]

We really do need Tom Suozzi in our future!
Attorney General

On the Democratic side, there are three candidates: Andrew M. Cuomo (son of former Governor Mario Cuomo), Mark Green (perennial candidate), and a political newcomer (of sorts), Sean Patrick Maloney (a former advisor to President Bill Clinton).

One thing we can say with certainty about both Mr. Cuomo (Secretary of HUD under former President Clinton) and Mr. Green (former NYC Ombudsman) -- "been there, done that!"

Both Cuomo and Green are old school. Not much to be expected in the way of reform here. In fact, it would pretty much be color by numbers with either Cuomo (who fashions himself as the latter day Spitzer cum Mario Cuomo -- you can almost see the morphing taking place) or Green (who has seemingly run for every public office in the State, save County Coroner).

This is not to say that Sean Patrick Maloney will be anything other than out of the mold, but at least he's a new face, and not one of the party "regulars." Besides, Maloney gets the uncontested nod, by the New York Post, no less, as one of the 25 Sexiest Men in New York. On that basis alone, in an election that will likely be dominated by Andrew Cuomo, The Community Alliance throws its support to Maloney in Tuesday's Primary.

United States Senate

In the Democratic Primary, incumbent Hillary Rodham Clinton faces an out of nowhere (and at this point, going nowhere) challenge from anti-war candidate, Jonathan Tasini.

Unlike his Democratic counterpart in Connecticut, Tasini has been able to make little, if any hay on the war issue, and really hasn't distinguished himself from Hillary Clinton on other issues of concern to New Yorkers.

You have to give the guy credit, though, for running in the first place, with the odds and the big bucks clearly stacked against him, and a major thumbs up for simply getting on the ballot, this in a State that makes vying for public office more difficult than winning the Olympic Decatholon.

Give Tasini the award for tenacity here. Our endorsement, however, goes to Clinton.

On the Republican side -- apparently vying for the position of "also ran" (as in, "your obit will note that you once challenged Hillary Clinton for her Senate seat") -- are Kathleen Troia "KT" McFarland (clearly, the face that launched the Cold War) and John Spencer (not late of West Wing fame).

McFarland served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs under President Ronald Reagan, and, frankly, hasn't done all that much in service to the people of New York since.

Spencer is the former Mayor of the City of Yonkers, and a heck of a lot easier on the eyes than McFarland.

Neither impresses us as U.S. Senate material, but between the two -- and considering McFarland's considerable "flake" factor -- we'll go with John Spencer to take on Clinton in November.
No other primaries to speak of here on Long Island, the players pretty much having decided who you will get to vote for in November. [Of course, there's always the "write-in" vote. . .]
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The greatest tribute we can pay to the heroes of 9/11 is to embrace freedom with every fiber of our being. Take up the cause of freedom – VOTE!

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