NYC news, Politics and government

My ballot, 2012 — Part 2

Continuing the My Ballot project. Previous editions:

As in prior years, I’m doing this mostly for my own benefit, as I hate to enter a polling place with no idea in advance about the less-publicized races. This year, though, I’m also doing it for Julian; I want him to learn what it takes to research elections, issues, and candidates, and I want to model that behavior for him on a regular basis. Of course, this year he won’t have any idea what’s going on, but if I establish a habit of doing this research, it’ll be engrained by the time he’s old enough to pay attention.

The sample ballot for my district is now online. Many jurisdictions offer this service, so it’s worth taking some time to find out whether yours does, so that you can review the ballot prior to voting. So, for example, in all my earlier research, I failed to notice that we were electing a Civil Court judge, so reviewing my ballot was important.

Main races this year are the national ones: president (of course), Senate, and House of Representatives. We do have state races this year, for State Senate and Assembly. NYC City Council and NYC mayoral elections are off-year elections; they’ll occur next year, 2013. NYS gubernatorial election is the following year, 2014.

Names are listed in the order they appear on the ballot.

Also, NYS has electoral fusion laws, that allow minor parties to cross-endorse candidates on other party tickets, so where multiple parties have endorsed a single candidate, I’ve also listed the minor parties.

(The idea behind fusion is that if you’re sympathetic with, say, the Conservative party platform, but you don’t want to “waste” a vote on a third-party candidate, you can still vote for Romney. Generally speaking, the Working Families Party nod usually goes for the Democratic candidate and the Conservative for the Republican, but that’s not always the case. Furthermore, on the state and local level, a minor-party endorsement has been known to influence policy.)

President:

Here’s a funny piece of trivia about this race: one candidate — Peta Lindsay — is only 28 years old, and therefore legally unqualified to be president.

U.S. Senate:

Representative in Congress, District 9 (parts of Brooklyn; was part of a redistricting effort after the 2010 Census; includes parts of Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Gerritsen Beach, Mill Basin, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, and Sheepshead Bay.):

  • Yvette Clark (Democratic/Working Families; incumbent, but in the pre-redistricting 11th District, which covered most of the geographical area of the new 9th)
  • Daniel Cavanagh (Republican/Conservative)
  • Vivia Morgan (Green)

State Senate, District 17:

We live in what’s considered a Super-Jewish district, consisting of Orthodox populations in Midwood and Boro Park. Even the Democrat in this race is far more conservative, politically and socially, than I’m comfortable with.  Note, too, that the Conservative Party cross-endorsed the Democrat here, not the Republican.

Politics in New York City and State is never a dull topic.

Member of Assembly, District 44:

Our Assembly race, on the other hand, looks refreshingly secular.

Judges of the Civil Court — County

Supreme Court Justice, District 2 (Kings County)

You’ll see something funny here. Chambers, Kamins, and Miller all carry endorsements from three parties. In New York State, Justice elections are a joke. The candidates are chosen by the two major parties, who then cross-endorse each others’ candidates.

  • Cheryl E. Chambers (Democratic/Republican/Conservative)
  • Barry M. Kamins (Democratic/Republican/Conservative)
  • William Miller (Democratic/Republican/Conservative)
  • Arshad Majid (Working Families)
  • William A. Gerard (Working Families)
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Politics and government

My Ballot, 2012 — Part 1

Years ago, in this blog, I started a project in which I researched which candidates would show up on my ballot in a pending election. I think it’s time to get back into this — namely, because now I have a son, and I want him to eventually be able to sort through his election options and make informed decisions. I especially hate entering a voting booth and seeing names I’ve never heard of, running for seats I didn’t know were up for grabs. It’s easy to form an opinion on Obama/Romney. What about [         /         ]?

The first time I did this was 2004. I did it again in 2005, 2006, and 2008, but not since. It’s a good time now to commit myself to doing this for every election.

I currently live in the following New York political districts:

Election: 028
Assembly: 44
Congress: 09
Council: 44
Civil Court: 06
Senatorial: 17

The first thing going is a primary, on September 13. I’ve applied to register to vote, but I don’t think I’ll be registered in time. No matter. The only election at stake in this primary, in my district, is for State Senate, for district 17.

District 17 is interesting. David Storobin is a Republican running for the seat. He was elected in a special election, March 20, 2012, to fill the District 27 seat, vacated when the Democrat Carl Kruger resigned. Kruger was investigated by the FBI and charged with corruption. Meanwhile, the State of New York redistricted, following the 2010 census. So Storobin is now running in District 17, not 27.

Here are my options:

Democratic Party

  1. Simcha Felder
  2. Abraham Tischler

Conservative Party

  1. David Storobin
  2. Write-in.

That’s it. The incumbent is a Republican, David Storobin, who’s also running on the Conservative ticket. (That’s the way things work in NYS; I haven’t quite figured it all out yet.) Working Families, Independence, or Green tickets.

I’m registered Democratic, which in NYS means that I can only vote in Democratic primaries. So assuming I get my card in time, I need to decide between Felder and Tischler. Neither of them have much information out on the Web, so I may sit this one out anyway.

The real noise is in November, of course.

UPDATE: Sifting through the list of independent parties who petitioned to have candidates on the November ballot, I see this:

SCP — School Choice
Abraham Tischler

TCN — Tax Cuts Now
Simcha Felder

Pretty easy to parse this out. School Choice Party’s website is here. Tax Cuts Now, meanwhile, is a new party line, and Felder’s its first candidate. These guys may be Democrats, but they seem relatively conservative to me. I don’t think it matters who wins this one.

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Outrage, Politics and government, RI news

Re-elect Gordon Fox

David Anderson, a Republican who’s running to defeat Gordon Fox (the incumbent Democrat in my House district), is not a candidate I would normally endorse, support, or vote for. He’s a conservative with a pro-life agenda, both of which are usually enough to turn me away.

(I respect the guy for responding to these questionnaires, and others, in a thoughtful, forthright, and open manner. Such transparency is altogether uncommon in today’s politics. As a voter with a blank slate in Rhode Island politics, I was hoping to find some reason to split my ticket this year. But I saw little on his web site that I could support.)

However, Mr. Anderson has lost any chance of earning my vote with an e-mail message he sent to fellow members of the GOP, in which he said (emphasis added):

For the past three Presidential elections, I have been able to take an active role in the campaigns, but this year is different.

I want to help John McCain, but my own candidacy requires that I stay here where I have a small chance of unseating the Democrat Majority Leader of the House of Representatives.

So my thoughts go to those of you who are near PA and might be able to spend a day or two in PA to help John McCain there.

I have never been so worried about a candidate’s experience, honesty, and intentions as I am about Mr. Obama. I think he might win, not based on his platform and record, but on the generosity of voters who think it is time to give a “minority guy a break.” It’s an affirmative action impulse taken too far.

Please pass this along to others as you see fit.

I would like to urge Mr. Anderson to spend some time driving through the district he hopes to represent. I want him to count up all the Obama lawn signs he sees and all the McCain lawn signs he sees. I know from my own experience of getting to know my neighborhood/district, I see far more Obama signs.

And I want Mr. Anderson to ask himself one important question: why does he want to represent a district that he thinks is as naive as this?

And I want Mr. Anderson to know that I am asking myself an important question: why should I vote for a man who thinks his hoped-for constituents are as naive as this?

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Politics and government, RI news

My Ballot, 2008

It’s been a couple of years since I’ve done this, and obviously I’ve never done it in R.I., but here’s the 2008 version of My Ballot. As in prior years, I’ve dug up the races on this year’s Election Day ballot, for my district. I’m doing this mostly for my own benefit, as I hate to enter a polling place with no idea in advance about the less-publicized races.

The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations has made this particularly easy for me this time; the Secretary of State’s office posts to its website a sample ballot for each district, so you know in advance what offices and ballot measures are up for the vote.

In a nutshell, there’s not much going on this election cycle. Besides the elephant in the room, senior senator Jack Reed is up for re-election, Patrick Kennedy is seeking another House term, and we have two elections for the state assembly. Rounding out the pack are two ballot measures.

So, here we go. Candidates are listed in the order in which they appear on the sample ballot. Candidate links go to Project Vote Smart; party links are to the official website of the political party.

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTORS FOR:

Barack Obama / Joe Biden (Democrat)
John McCain / Sarah Palin (Republican)
Bob Barr / Wayne A. Root (Libertarian)
Gloria La Riva / Robert Moses (Socialism & Liberation)
Ralph Nader / Matt Gonzalez (Independent; link is to Nader’s campaign site)
Chuck Baldwin / Darrell L. Castle (Constitution)
Cynthia McKinney / Rosa Clemente (Green)

SENATOR IN CONGRESS:

John F. Reed (Democrat; incumbent)
Robert G. Tingle (Republican)

REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS DISTRICT 1:

Patrick J. Kennedy (Democrat; incumbent)
Jonathan P. Scott (Republican)
Kenneth A. Capalbo (Independent)

SENATOR IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 3:

Rhoda E. Perry (Democrat; incumbent; running unopposed)

REPRESENTATIVE IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 4:

Gordon D. Fox (Democrat; incumbent)
David V. Anderson (Republican)

BALLOT MEASURES:

Question 1 is a transportation bond question that would allow the state to borrow money to fund transportation improvements in RI–$80 million for roads, highways, and bridges; $3.5 million for commuter rail; and $3.6 million for bus service.

(Tom Sgouros, a policy writer who blogs at RIFuture.org, has a piece there analyzing this bond measure.)

Question 2 is an open-spaces bond question, authorizing the state to borrow $2.5 million to purchase and preserve open lands and parks.

NOTES: The Rhode Island ballot lists, as La Riva’s running mate, one Robert Moses. The party’s website, however, says the running mate is Eugene Puryear. At 22 years old, Puryear would be disqualified by law from serving as Vice President, because he doesn’t meet the 35-year-old age threshold set out in the Constitution. Finally, a VP candidate even less qualified for the office than Sarah Palin.

Rhode Island, you may be amused to learn, has exactly two House districts. The first district is repped by Patrick J. Kennedy, and yes, Patrick is one of the Kennedys–Ted’s third child with his first wife, Joan Bennett Kennedy. This is the first election I’ll vote in, in which a member of the Kennedy family has been on my ballot. Ted’s presidential run was six years before I was old enough to vote.

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Politics and government

My ballot, 2006

As I’ve done the last two years, I dug up the major races on this year’s Election Day ballot, for my district. I’m doing this mostly for my own benefit, as I hate to enter a polling place with no idea in advance about the less-publicized races. Here are a few thoughts.

First, there don’t appear to be any ballot initiatives, unless I’m misreading the Board of Elections site.

Second, the governor’s race has two interesting candidates: avuncular author Malachy McCourt (brother to Frank) and Jimmy McMillan, of the Rent Is Too (Damn) High party. You gotta go out to that link, by the way, and listen to the musical accompaniment to the RTH website.

Third, the Socialist Workers party is running a sewing-maching operator in the comptroller’s race. Is it so terrible to say that’s no qualification at all?

Now for the candidates. All links below go to SmartVoter.org, unless otherwise noted. Also, a party key follows, in case you don’t know your SEP from your SWP.

GOVERNOR & LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR:

John Faso (Rep Con)
      & C. Scott Vanderhoef (Rep Con)
Eliot Spitzer (Dem Ind Wor)
      & David Paterson (Dem Ind Wor)
Malachy McCourt (Gre)
      & Alison Duncan (Gre)
John Clifton (Lbt)
      & Don Silberger (Lbt)
Maura DeLuca (SWP)
      & Ben O’Shaughnessy (SWP)
Jimmy McMillan (RTH)

STATE COMPTROLLER:

J. Christopher Callahan (Rep Con)
Alan Hevesi — incumbent (Dem Ind Wor)
Julia Willebrand (Gre)
John Cain (Lbt)
Willie Cotton (SWP)

ATTORNEY GENERAL:

Jeanine Pirro (Rep Ind Con)
Andrew Cuomo (Dem Wor)
Rachel Treichler (Gre)
Chris Garvey (Lbt)
Martin Koppel (SWP)

U.S. SENATORS:

John Spencer (Rep Con)
Hillary Rodham Clinton — incumbent (Dem Ind Wor)
Howie Hawkins (Gre)
Jeff Russell (Lbt)
Bill Van Auken (SEP)
Roger Calero (SWP)

U.S. CONGRESS
District 12:

Allan Romaguera (Rep Con)
Nydia Velazquez — incumbent (Dem Wor)

N.Y.S. SENATE
District 17:
Victor F. Guarino (Rep Con)
Martin Malave Dilan — incumbent (Dem Wor)

N.Y.S. ASSEMBLY
District 53:
Ameriar Feliciano (Rep Con)
Vito J. Lopez — incumbent (Dem Wor)

There are also a bunch of Supreme Court elections, but let’s be honest here. Who cares? I don’t think I should be voting for supreme-court judges in the first place since I’m hardly qualified to select them.

Key:

Rep Republican
Dem Democrat
Ind Independence
Con Conservative
Wor Working Families
SWP Socialist Workers
Lbt Libertarian
Gre Green
RTH Rent Is Too High
SEP Socialist Equality

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Politics and government

My ballot, 2005

As I did last year, I dug up the major races on this year’s Election Day ballot, for my district. I’m doing this mostly for my own benefit, as I hate to enter a polling place with no idea in advance about the less-publicized races. Here are a few thoughts.

Chase, Cutting to the: The two things that matter most this year are the mayoral election and the transportation-bond act. I worry that so many City residents have gotten the message that Bloomberg is unbeatable, that they’ll stay home Tuesday and let the upstaters torpedo the Bond Act again. I do think this will be a landslide reelection win for Mike, and I’m dismayed the Democrats could do no better than Ferrer, but that’s no reason to lose financing for transit repairs and upgrades.

Aside from these ballot lines, a few other things are of some note.

Reyna: As are all her colleagues, Diana Reyna is reupping for City Council. I don’t know much about her, but she provided a little newsbit of interest last week:

“I am a proud Latina Democrat endorsing, supporting, and voting for our mayor, Mayor Mike Bloomberg.”

In your face, Ferrer!

Advocate, comptroller: The public advocate and the comptroller are both up this year. The public advocate is sort of an ombudsman (or rather, an ombudsperson, since the incumbent is a woman) between city government and the public. Although commentators expect Betsy Gotbaum to win this race, the most interesting thing is probably that subway-vigilante Bernie Goetz is running.

As for comptroller, the Republicans haven’t even fielded a candidate, and aside from Democrat Bill Thompson, others in the race include a Conservative, a Socialist, and a Libertarian. How many New Yorkers will trust a Socialist to watch the City’s books, do you think?

Brooklyn Beep: Hm, apparently there are three people besides Marty who want to be Brooklyn Borough President. Great, run for an almost-purely ceremonial position that we should probably eliminate anyway. Besides, Marty hands out Smile buttons at subway exits, and he got those cool “Leaving Brooklyn? Fuhgeddaboutit!” signs installed.

I hear that Marty refuses to even contemplate the hint of the existence of such a place as Los Angeles. Furthermore, I hear that Garrett Oliver hand-crafted Marty for the job, using German hops and heirloom barley.

Court justices: A slate of Supreme Court justices is up for election. I never know how to vote for this shit, so I usually just vote party line, although I just found the 2005 New York State Supreme Court Voter Guide, so that’s worth a looksee.

[Voter guide]

Prop. 1: Budget Amendment to the State Constitution

Would amend the state’s Constitution to change the process for enacting the state budget. The issue here is to provide a contingency plan if the state legislature fails to act on the governor’s appropriations bills prior to the new fiscal year.

Overall, a yawner. If I don’t understand a proposition or if I can’t figure out why I should care, I usually vote No.

Prop. 2: The Transportation Bond Act

Would fund new transit projects both in NYC and the state as a whole, to the tune of $1.45B for city projects and the same amount for upstaters. A similar bond act was voted down by upstate voters five years ago, mainly because it would have primarily funded NYC projects, and upstate voters saw no upside for themselves–even though two of NYC Transit’s biggest suppliers have upstate factories.

The 2005 act has provisions for upstate transportation projects as well, and better support from the political establishment, so there’s some hope that it will pass. Among the NYC prizes are new subway cars and buses, funding for Second Avenue Subway and East Side Access, and studies of the proposed Downtown-JFK link.

So this one’s big for the city. [More: Straphangers; MTA]

Solid Yes from me.

Prop. 3: Ethics Code for City Administrative Judges

Would establish a uniform code of professional conduct for administrative judges.

My vote: Whatever.

Prop. 4: Balanced Budget and Other City Fiscal Requirements

Would amend the city charter to require the City to prepare a balanced-budget each year and the mayor to submit a four-year financial plan; to impose additional conditions on short-term debt and annual audits of the City’s accounts.

I’ll probably vote for this.

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Politics and government

NYC to Dems: Better candidates, please

The Times has a report this morning about the mayoral campaigns of Bloomberg and two of his Democratic rivals, Council Speaker Gifford Miller and U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner.

What a joke the Democratic candidates are: Miller is, like, 30 or something, and he looks barely old enough to vote himself. Weiner has a good voting record in the House, but no one outside his own district knows him. Manhattan borough president C. Virginia Fields is just as obscure. The frontrunner, Fernando Ferrer, told a group of cops a couple of months ago that he didn’t think the shooting death of Amadou Diallo was a crime. Oops.

Further, they’re all talking more about their opponents (both the other Dems and Bloomberg) than about themselves.

But today’s Times article gives a great indication of why the Dems are in so much trouble this time:

Mr. Weiner and Mr. Miller made sure people knew who they were; an aide held a sign over Mr. Weiner’s head identifying him, and Mr. Miller marched behind a white banner with his name, as his two young children pranced about.

Marching behind a banner in a parade isn’t new; politicos and B-list celebs do it all the time. But walking with a speech balloon over your head? That’s just silly.

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