Common Sense: The Dems

Listening to most of the Democratic candidates for mayor, I sometimes wonder if they lived in the city 20 years ago when crime was clearly out of control, the streets were dirty, there were no real reform plans to improve our failing schools, the economy was tanking and New York becoming today’s Detroit was a real possibility.

And if you think I am being overly dramatic, I ask you if you remember “benzi boxes and squeegee men.” Losing those two expressions as part of our normal daily vocabulary is a reflection of gigantic strides our city has made forward.

Our quality of life is generally better as compared to the not-so-distant past and needs to be protected. The crop of Democratic mayoral candidates has few new ideas. They seem mostly focused on picking apart policing, education and economic development policies and programs that have been shown to work.

Raising taxes and gutting the checks and balances on public assistance programs seem to be perfectly acceptable to most of the crop of Democrats. And two, namely John Liu and Bill De Blasio, are so far to the left that they could easily be running for office in Venezuela.

New York is a great city. It has earned moniker of “Capital of the World.” We need a mayor that can manage, lead and move forward a place that eight million call home and many tens of millions work within or visit each year. Sadly, the leading Democratic candidates have given real reason to be concerned that we will move backwards if any of them are elected.

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I rarely agree with The New York Times, but I think they were correct in criticizing a group of news outlets which sponsored a recent debate for excluding former Councilmember Sal Albanese. The criteria — which is based on public polling data from organizations that have been repeatedly shown to be well off the mark — is seriously flawed. And although I also rarely agree with Sal on issues, he has been bright spot in a field that is often no more than a late night comedy punch line.

The same goes for Erick Salgado. He has devoted countless hours to the race. He is the only conservative-oriented candidate in the Democratic field, which means he has some following. And he has raised a decent amount of money. He should have been included.

Instead of providing an impartial opportunity for Democrats to make informed choices, the debate organizers actually became a politically damaging and in effect partisan group that does a disservice to many undecided Democratic voters.

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I dropped by a recent meeting of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club chaired by Glenn Nocera. The club, founded around 1880, is one of the oldest ongoing political organizations in the nation.

That afternoon, the group’s major speaker was Republican-Conservative Assemblymember Steve McLaughlin, who hails from the Albany area.

Steve, a possible candidate for governor, is articulate and well-informed. He spoke on a variety of issues and then took about an hour’s worth of questions on just about any topic imaginable.

In particular, Steve made some excellent points regarding the state’s uneven economy with areas west of Albany remaining in a serious economic downturn and downstate benefiting more from New York City’s continued economic resurgence and not state policies which do more to hold things back.

The assembly member fully appreciates the uphill nature of any race against Andrew Cuomo. He is assessing his support and will make a decision after consulting with his family later in the year. Regardless of what he decides, he is a welcome addition to the statewide political discussions.

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