We the People: Street parties, political parties and government

The second Third Avenue Summer Stroll in 2013 was an unqualified success. Better weather coaxed larger crowds of Bay Ridgeites out to the avenue to enjoy the evening.

Parents and children had the thoroughfare to themselves and businesses enjoyed a needed boost on a traditionally slow Friday in July. You can enjoy the experience of a European style pedestrian plaza on August 9 and 16, too.

The MTA is planning enhancements to G and M train service that will help citizens of Greenpoint and Williamsburg. Meanwhile, South Brooklyn commuters faced with the R train tunnel closure are waiting for demonstrable and practical enhancements to bus, ferry and the remaining R service for the 14 months they are denied a direct route to downtown Manhattan.

Political mavens are wondering if multiple Republican candidates for mayor will further fray the binds of the Brooklyn Republican party. Political differences have driven a wedge between party boss Craig Eaton and the de facto leader of all New York City Republicans, Marty Golden.

GOP voters in the borough will have to choose between Joe Lhota and billionaire grocer John Catsimatidis. If Mr. Lhota cannot secure the GOP nomination, he may remain on the ballot as the Conservative candidate.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn GOP is factionalizing between Eaton and Golden. Will the Goldenistas prevail in the end or will the Eatonites hold the field? Time will tell.

At the same time, Anthony Weiner has managed to humiliate himself and his wife publicly again. Mr. Weiner — whose sexts and tweets of explicit messages and images forced him to resign from Congress two years ago — apparently failed to stop the activity after his resignation.

In an unbelievable demonstration of narcissism, he believed it would be okay to keep contacting women with his prurient messages even after it forced his resignation. I am not a psychologist but four years of intensive talk therapy on a couch somewhere would be a much more appropriate activity than four years in City Hall for Mr. Weiner.

Whoever succeeds in the mayoral election faces vital decisions of how our great metropolis can spend its tax dollars. We need someone with a good head on his or her shoulders and who possesses the appropriate sense of urgency that boring fiscal issues deserve.

The city actuary acknowledged that New York City does not put away enough money to pay for the pensions promised to retiring city workers. In addition, the estimated unfunded liability for medical benefits promised to all public employee retirees in New York State is estimated to be $250 billion (New York City shares approximately 30 percent).

Unfunded liability means the non-pension benefits promised to retired workers have no money put away in order to pay for the promised benefits. Slowly, more and more money in current government budgets is being allotted to pension and medical benefits for public employees although there are fewer employees than there have been in the past.

The city of Detroit was fiscally crippled by these obligations and the fate of the bankruptcy of Detroit will be a lesson and a roadmap for every local government unless actions are taken and plans that work adopted. Will our next mayor be up to this challenge?

Mr. Bloomberg, for all his business acumen, was the worst offender when analyzing city budgets which continually expanded along with our unfunded liabilities as well. Mayoral candidate Christine Quinn marched in lockstep with her mentor, Mr. Bloomberg, through many budgets and never advocated long term fiscal planning.

We have vitally important decisions to make this November. We should start considering carefully the likely result if we are graced with Mayor Quinn or Mayor Weiner in 2014.

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