Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hey Big Spender. . .

And You Thought We Didn't Need Campaign Finance Reform

With the general election a little over a month away, the money flows out of the campaign war chests like water down the Hudson River to the sea.

And may the biggest spender win!

Here's the tab for expenditures, to date, for the incumbents in the races for Town Supervisor in Oyster Bay, North Hempstead, and Hempstead, respectively:

John Venditto $50,194.47
John Kaiman $140,753.49
Kate Murray $199,685.89

And the winner is? As if you didn't know. [Only fitting that the biggest spender should find herself in America's biggest township, where there really isn't any challenge this year, to speak of. Hey, you think all those signs, placards, and mailings come cheap? Wait. We forgot. No campaign funds have been used for the mailing of those Murraygrams. That's your tax dollars at work!]

These are local races, mind you, where the opposition has been, at best, nominal, if not non-existent.

Even the money spent in the race for Nassau County Executive can be telling, where incumbent, Tom Suozzi has outspent challenger, Ed Mangano, by some $357,513.32 to $28,862.74, not to mention outraising his opponent (albeit in a race that is virtually no contest) to the tune of $1,127,358.50 to $78,759.10.

Okay. So there's nothing unlawful about amassing money in a campaign war chest, and then simply outspending your opponent (or, in the case of Michael Bloomberg in NYC (whose expenditures, through July, have been $36,645,273.82, outspending most developed nations in the world).

Maybe, just maybe, to level that playing field -- in the hope that the most qualified candidates (and not the biggest spenders) may win -- it just ought to be.

Time to take another look at campaign finance reform and the public financing of elections? You betcha!
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To Search the NYS Board of Elections Campaign Finance Disclosure database by candidate name, click HERE.

For a spreadsheet of 2009 campaign spending by the incumbents in the races for Town Supervisor in Nassau County, e-mail The Community Alliance at thecommunityalliance@yahoo.com.


  1. In the case of the candidate "challenging" Kate Murray, the operative term to describe her campaign would be non-existent, as has been indicated previously in this space. The database cited above seems to indicate that she has yet to spend a plug nickel in her run for supervisor. My own informal but nevertheless accurate "poster meter" - consisting of the number of Murray signs appearing in my neighborhood, or all over the local roads in my area on a windy day - has reached all-time levels, with not a sign (so to speak) suggesting that anybody might actually be running against her. Given how desperately Hempstead could use some new leadership, this is more than a little distressing. How about we start a draft Charles Wang movement? Ridiculous, I know, but so is the idea that voters are actually getting what they deserve: a legitimate campaign on the issues.

  2. Charles Wang is a great idea. A Michael Bloomberg type of candidate. He wouldn't have to answer to the Republican or Democratic machines, just do what's right. Does he live in the Town of Hempstead? If not, I know a few illegal basement apartments he could move into for the campaign.

  3. From Wickopedia:

    "...As of 2006, the executive director of the WFP is Dan Cantor. The party's Co-Chairs are Sam Williams, UAW Region 9 CAP director; Bertha Lewis, ACORN's executive director; and Bob Master of the Communications Workers of America. The WFP also has a powerful alliance with Dennis Rivera and Local 1199/SEIU (Service Employees International Union)....."

    Don't vote for anyone connected with the WFP.