Sunday, September 8, 2013

NYC Primary Election - Liu For Mayor And More


For my other endorsements in the Democratic Primary election, click here - Scott Stringer, Letitia James, Ken Thompson, Ede Fox, Stephen Pierson.

There are many reasons to vote for John Liu in the Mayoral Primary Election:  Here are five.

1.  John Liu has been an excellent Comptroller and is highly qualified for the Mayoral position.  

His accomplishments and the dollars saved are numerous - some $4 billion!  His stewardship of the pensions has been excellent.  His courage in standing up to Mayor Bloomberg has been enduring and sensible.  Frankly, no one out there questions these things.  Yet, somehow, they don't count for much.  John Liu has a solid track record of performing well in office and that needs to be remembered.  Reward John Liu with your vote.

2.  John Liu is the real and original "progressive" in this Mayoral election.  On any significant issue, John Liu's approach has been comprehensive and empowering.  

Others have tagged along (e.g. - "stop and frisk" and education), but John has been the progressive from day one -- and before.  Again, he gets no media credit or coverage.  Reward John Liu with your vote.

3.  John Liu has not accepted a dime of contribution funds from anyone doing business with the City of New York.  

You hear about the alleged "scandals," but did you know this?  It is unheard of for a Comptroller, in particular, to be so particular -- but John Liu is and has been.  Contrast this discipline with the sloppiness of other candidates, Bill de Blasio included, regarding their donors.  Reward John Liu with your vote.

We cannot ignore or dance around the devastating arrests and convictions that took place over the last year regarding allegations that individuals within the Liu campaign were engaging in illegal fundraising practices.  Two people were arrested and there was a trial.  The trial ended in convictions on much lesser charges than the Federal government was hoping for.  Why?  Because one defendant was a young person who made the mistake of promising a reimbursement to a male friend of a small contribution.  The other defendant was brought in as part of a larger "sting" operation that, fortunately, had a limited impact.  In my opinion, John should have been a bit less loyal to some staff or, better yet, someone at a high level on the campaign staff should have been loyal enough to step forward and accept responsibility for problems "on their watch."  This would have helped.

I believe that John has learned a painful lesson -- one that may actually cost him the Mayoralty.  But, after months of surveillance, and a tough, detailed investigation, John Liu AND his campaign made it through with minimal actual damage -- if one looks at the situation objectively.  Do we believe that ANY of the other campaigns would not have flaws revealed if they experienced such scrutiny?  And when it came to staff misbehavior, de Blasio's campaign had its share of bad eggs -- and they made the papers -- though none had real financial issues.  Let us not forget that even Michael Bloomberg had a high-level campaign operative rip-off the Bloomberg campaign for many dollars.  It's simply not fair to hold a candidate responsible for every campaign employee's activities.

4.  John Liu is the victim of a gross and anti-Democratic abuse of power by the New York City Campaign Finance Board.  

The CFB, whose Board members include three people who raised money for Christine Quinn, denied ALL matching funds to the Liu campaign and thousands of New York donors to the Liu campaign.  The CFB decision was based upon flimsy and often irrelevant evidence, violations of the CFB's own procedures, as well as broad generalizations that were inappropriate, insulting and bordered on racist.  (For example:  Did you know that public housing residents are assumed to be so poor that they cannot afford to make political contributions like you and me?  Last time I looked, public sector workers and unionized workers making decent salaries live in public housing -- some families for generations.)   Take a stand for democracy and decency by voting for John Liu.

5.  John Liu has become a primary example of how our media control our elections.  

When there was alleged scandal, every paper had John Liu in the headlines.  (Yet, Liu was never charged or even suspected of wrongdoing  and two individuals were convicted of crimes that were no reflection on the campaign as a whole.)  When white and some Black voters were aware of Liu's name, pollsters were comfortable with their numbers.  Yet, somehow Asian voters have been consistently undercounted -- along with other groups who no longer rely on telephone landlines.  Based on flawed polls, Liu has received less and less attention and the polls have become less and less accurate.  Take a stand against media domination of our elections and vote for John Liu.

I believe that the future of New York City is tied to leadership that has a strong track record, leadership that brings people together, leadership that forges innovative and progressive approaches to our challenges, leadership that empowers the less powerful and mobilizes those alienated from civic and political participation, and leadership that works really hard to make these things happen.  That's why my candidate for Mayor is John Liu.  I hope you will join me in voting for John Liu on September 10th.

To volunteer for John Liu, go to

But, Chris, what about the other Democratic candidates?

My brief notes on the opposition are as follows.

Erick Salgado -- Charismatic individual.  Progressive economic views but very conservative social policy views.  Unacceptable.

Sal Albanese -- Good man.  Talented.  Hero of past battles against dominant Council Speakers.  Not as progressive as some want to believe, however.  Has not developed a real support base.  Acceptable but not advisable.

Anthony Weiner -- Talented, clever, manipulative, immature, untrustworthy. Unacceptable.

Christine Quinn -- Talented, clever, manipulative, Bloomberg ally and enforcer before she wasn't, latecomer to many important issues for which she now takes credit, Council Speaker who did not choose to reform the Council's operations.  Has a strong core of supportive voters, but needs to expand that support. Moment of truth:  Went beyond passive support of the 3rd Term; arm-twisted it into reality.  Unacceptable.

Bill Thompson -- Experienced but not highly accomplished (particularly as Comptroller).  Talented but not particularly compelling -- a latecomer on many issues.  Not considered a "progressive" at all; very tied to New York City's 1%.  Has a natural base of voters -- but it is not a highly committed one as evidenced by the support within the communities of African descent for candidates other than Bill Thompson.   Acceptable, but not advisable.

Bill de Blasio --  If Bill reaches the run-off and John Liu does not, I will probably support Bill in the run-off.  He is the second "most progressive" Democratic candidate and he has run a very good campaign.  But, for me, he is a distant second.  Bill has been the prime beneficiary of John Liu's misfortunes -- particularly when it comes to television ads and "defining" himself as the "real progressive."  I would love to see a Liu/de Blasio run-off and see how the leading "progressive" candidates handle all the issues when there are only two candidates on the stage.

Furthermore, the de Blasio campaign and its relationship with Local 1199 SEIU have skillfully exploited the most recent misfortunes experienced by Brooklyn's hospitals.  And you know what?  They get points for good execution.  Has anyone asked, however, where the Public Advocate was over the past four years as the LICH and Interfaith problems festered and evolved to their present crisis state?

Why not vote for Bill now?  Why not go for 40% and no run-off?  Because Bill de Blasio has to be held accountable at some level for his support of Atlantic Yards and other questionable development projects, he has to answer for his objection to Superfund status for the Gowanus Canal, he has to answer his critics on "flip-flop" charges such as term limits and "stop and frisk", there are other issues that have emerged and require some public attention (it comes with the territory), and, frankly, Bill has to illustrate that he will be a good administrator and not merely a master campaigner and public relations success.  The Public Advocate's office is not the greatest training ground, and we have some difficult days ahead.

Interestingly enough, for example, we hear very little about Bill's work under President Clinton -- just that he worked under Andrew Cuomo in HUD.  Why not hear more?  Is it because the political realities of today are such that the big ideas of the 1990s are no longer feasible?  Or is it because the list of accomplishments is actually limited?  This is where a Comptroller has an advantage -- even a Comptroller for a shorter period of time.  There's a real track record to work with.

I also don't see any greater value in avoiding a Mayoral run-off when there is going to be one for the position of Public Advocate anyway.  There would be little cost saving -- though many more trees might be saved -- and, since Bill is likely to be in the run-off, he can start practicing his method of broadening his appeal to the 70% of New Yorkers who vote in General Elections but not in Primaries.  No, we should follow our instincts and hearts for this round and then evaluate the outcome. 

One person accused me of not supporting de Blasio simply because Bill was an architect of Yvette Clarke's triumph over me in the 2006 Congressional primary campaign.  I had to laugh.  This must also be the reason why I am not supporting Eliot Spitzer (who endorsed Carl Andrews), Bill Thompson (who supported Carl Andrews), and Anthony Weinter (Yvette Clarke).  Sorry, folks!  No such drama here.  The only two people I "blame" for my defeat are myself and David Yassky -- and I'm sure Yassky feels the same way!  

No, I actually like Bill de Blasio, I like his family and I believe that his heart is basically in the right place.  I just think that he loses his way from time to time due to political ambition and needs to be addressed honestly.  Bill knows that I don't pull punches with him because I have high expectations, not a grudge.

For progressive Democratic voters, however, John Liu is the best candidate in this Primary election.  If you are undecided or if your heart was with John Liu in the past, please go with your gut and vote for John Liu.  

If John makes the run-off, we should stick with him -- and he will have alot more support from others than he does now.  If John does not make the run-off, however, and Bill de Blasio is in that run-off, then we should consider standing with Bill -- knowing full well that he, like our President, will not be and cannot be let "off the hook."

To volunteer for John Liu, go to

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