Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Last Hoohah. . .

. . .Election Day Picks and Pans

Pretty much a no-brainer for anyone with brains. Of course, that leaves out 90% of the electorate, judging from past performance.

Here's our thoughts. You know what you have to do!

The Inevitables
Really no contest in these races, in a year when the NY GOP borrowed a page (no, that wasn't a Mark Foley dig) from the Dems across the aisle and ran nobody and anybody, just to have names on the ticket.

For Governor: Eliot Spitzer
For United States Senate: Hillary Rodham Clinton

The Best Bet
For Attorney General: Were prosecutorial prowess the benchmark for electing New York's next Attorney General, the edge, and our endorsement, would have to go to former Westchester County District Attorney, Jeanine Pirro. Her inability to walk and talk at the same time aside, and a campaign trail littered with foibbles, pratfalls, and hubby droppings notwithstanding, Ms. Pirro has a proud prosecutorial record to stand on, and a "tough on crime" stance that trumps Andrew Cuomo's any day of the week.

That said, the Attorney General's spot is more about public advocacy on behalf of the people of New York State, and, on that score, Andrew Cuomo, former HUD Secretary and son of past Governor Mario Cuomo, has Pirro beat by a wide margin.

Cuomo is politically sharp, having literally grown up in NY politics, enjoys national stature, and has the wherewithal to go out in public and make a strong case for New York, all while Jeanine Pirro is still looking for page 9 of her acceptance speech. Pirro was a fine prosecutor. Cuomo will make the better Attorney General, and he gets our endorsement.

The Variables
Comptroller: Alan Hevesi was a shoe-in, at least before the Driving Miss Daisy scandal broke, bringing into question both ethics and his clear-headedness in overseeing the myriad financial happenings of a multitude of levels of State, County and Local government.

Hevesi goofed in using a State car and driver to chauffeur his ailing wife, a mistake which the Comptroller admitted was "a beaut," and has made restitution to the tune of $84,000. He is now under siege, Governor Pataki looking into possible impeachment proceedings in the State Senate, where the Republicans are chomping at the bit, and some of his colleagues ("with friends like these") urging Hevesi to resign, which would allow the full Legislature (where the Dems outnumber the GOP) to appoint a new Comptroller.

Were Hevesi's opponent, J. Christopher Callaghan, the former Saratoga County Treasurer, anything but a featherweight (his last-minute shift from bow-ties to straight ties notwithstanding), and Hevesi's distinguished 35-year record of public service (including his stint as Comptroller of the State and the City of New York for which he receives nothing but high marks) not one of integrity and accomplishment, we might be inclined to go with Callaghan or, at the very least, to sit this one out.

The taking of taxpayer monies for private use, whether by way of car and driver, or under more legitimate color, through legislative member item grants to private institutions, doesn't sit well with us. The former, a matter of errant judgment under what must certainly be extremely emotional circumstances. The latter a product of permitting State government to be hijacked by three men in a room.

To say that "it happens all the time" -- as in the misuse of State property, whether motor vehicles taking family members to and fro, or government employees assuming campaign duties on the public dime -- does not excuse the act. Still, Mr. Hevesi's swift mea culpa, coupled with his otherwise unblemished record (as in a lifetime of service for the public good), permit us to say that Alan Hevesi deserves better than the boot as an end to a brilliant career in the public eye.

No, we don't like the fact that Mr. Hevesi, among others who have held multiple government positions, collects 2 public pensions, and will collect a third after his tenure as Comptroller. The law that permits such double or triple dipping should be changed. Still, for now, it is the law, and to lambast Hevesi for taking money to which he is lawfully entitled as he runs for another term of office is specious, at best. [Conversely, for Hevesi to say, in his campaign ads, that Callaghan will raise taxes, where the Comptroller has no such power, is not exactly on the up and up, but, judging from the campaign fodder flying through the airwaves, it appears to be par for the course.]

Unlike some of Hevesi's proteges, we don't believe in turning our backs on our friends, and certainly not in kicking them when they're down. [We say the same "shame on you" to Dems who abandoned Joe Lieberman in Connecticut. We believe Joe is wrong on Iraq (duh!) and way off base in sticking up for Bush (even Republicans are running away from the prez at breakneck speed), but he's been right for the people of Connecticut, more often than not, and its nice to see a somewhat independent thinker who works toward bipartisan compromise for a change, rather than the usual partisan bipolarization.]

Long before the Senate gets to take a shot at him, the State Comptroller will be tried, next Tuesday, in the court of public opinion. We wish him well. More than this, we support Alan Hevesi's bid for re-election.

They Also Run
For House of Representatives --
1st District: Tim Bishop
2nd District: Steve Israel
3rd District: Dave Mejias [READ, The New York Times Endorses Dave Mejias...]
4th District: Carolyn McCarthy
5th District: Gary Ackerman

All right. We didn't endorse a single Republican for Statewide office or for Congress. We can hear our detractors now -- "That @#!&%$! Community Alliance blog. Too damn liberal for Long Island."

Well, maybe so. But progress through the ages has been made by liberal thinkers who invariably move forward, and not by those who spew and embrace conservative dogma, that which keeps us firmly mired in place, or worse still, threatens to throw us back to the dark ages (which, come to think of it, were'nt so bad compared to the "enlightenment" that flows out of the Bush administration).

We'd like to think that our endorsements are based chiefly on "the best person for the job." Looking at the field in the respective races, and the records of the incumbents, we believe that we've done just that.

Anyway, tomorrow is another day. Our picks in State Senate and Assembly races will be in the offing. Stay tuned. . .
- - -
Election Day is Tuesday, November 7th!

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