Thursday, September 4, 2014

Democratic Primary Endorsements!

If it's a year that ends in a number, we have democratic primaries (September 9th is our second one of 2014!).  One of these was easy.   The other was a harder choice, but a choice still must be made.

Governor/Lt. Governor:  Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu
This was the easy choice.  Governor Cuomo has had plenty of opportunity to embrace the leftward shift of the Democratic party and has not.  He is ultimately responsible for the SUNY's outrageous bad faith behavior and mismanagement of Long Island College Hospital.  We might still have a full hospital if we had a negotiating partner in Albany.  Unfortunately, Cuomo stood by while his appointees repeatedly acted in bad faith over the course of 2013 and 2014.  Cuomo has repeatedly raided dedicated transit funds to artificially depress marginal income tax rates.  He summarily stripped transit provisions from the Tappan Zee Bridge after years of work . . . and has attempted to raid environmental cleanup funds to help pay for it.  Cuomo single-handedly killed the millionaire's tax that would have provided reliable funding for universal pre-k . . . while embracing elements of the charter school "movement" that seek to undermine public education and destroy teacher's unions.  His decision not to hold special elections has left many Brooklynites without representation in Albany.

I'm willing to take a chance that two very, very smart professors can do better.  At the very least, Governor Cuomo needs a wake-up call from Democrats in NYC.  I'll be voting Teachout-Wu on Tuesday.

Assembly District 52:  Pete Sikora
This was the tougher choice, as we have two well-qualified candidates for the position, and I've known both candidates for at least six years.  I was as surprised as anyone when Joan Millman's retirement was announced just a few months ago, and I assumed I would support Jo Anne Simon, who announced her candidacy almost immediately.  But then another friend, Pete Sikora, announced his candidacy.  I decided to sit out the campaign as best I could for the summer, and I told both candidates that was my intention.

But there comes a time when you actually have to pull the lever, and that time is almost upon us.  I've been following the campaign, of course, and over time Pete has persuaded me that he is the best candidate for the job.  I first met Pete when we were both working to elect progressive candidates in 2008 and I was impressed by his energetic and engaging approach to voters.  I was even more impressed by Pete's creative efforts to persuade a recalcitrant Cuomo administration to keep our hospital open.  As it turns out, Cuomo and his SUNY people had no interest in working with anybody.  But a lot of people worked very hard to make him see the light, and Pete in particular played a central role in that effort.  Pete has an extensive history as an advocate for progressive causes and after a couple of good conversations on transportation and economic issues, I am convinced Pete is the best candidate for the job.  Pete Sikora is someone who will make waves in Albany, and  I will be casting my vote for him on Tuesday.

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