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COMMON SENSE: Jerry Kassar

VOTE

Election Day is just a few days away. In a campaign season often marked by distinct differences between candidates and political parties on issues, there is one thing on which they all can agree – the importance of coming out to vote.

I have personally witnessed many close elections in my time. These elections are won or lost by less than 200 votes with recounts taking many weeks. It is particularly troubling when you discover that the turnout in these races was below 40 or even 30 percent of enrolled voters. A few made a decision that affected many and only a few more could have changed the outcome.

Do vote next Tuesday. All elections are important, but some are more important than others. And that can certainly be said when you have the governor, all statewide offices, the entire state legislature and all seats within the House of Representatives up, which, of course, is this year.
If you have an older child or teenager and schedules can be arranged, try to bring him or her with you to experience the power of voting. It certainly brings a history or civics class into focus.

And, by the way, make sure after you vote for the candidates of your choice on the front of the ballot to turn it over and cast your vote on each of the three proposals that can be found on the back.

Do vote next Tuesday. As the League of Women Voters is fond of saying, “If you do not vote, you do not count!” I agree.
***
Speaking of those ballot proposals that can be found on the back of the ballot, I am making the following recommendations:

•YES on Proposal #1 – Reforms the manner in which New York State reapportions legislative districts;

•YES on Proposal #2– Allows legislation to be presented to the legislature electronically, saving taxpayers millions of dollars annually

•NO on Proposal #3 – A $2 billion bond act to buy technology for schools. The technology will be obsolete long before the bonds are repaid

***

I suppose Governor Cuomo and his handlers can pat themselves on the back and claim their ability successfully to prevent any and all attempts by Rob Astorino and a host of media organizations and good government groups to organize debates was a big victory.

I think anyone who did see the one and only debate would agree that the public was the real loser because Astorino had plenty to say both in terms of policy and criticisms of the Cuomo administration.

In 1982, local Bay Ridge Assemblymember Florence Sullivan was the Republican and Conservative Party candidate against Daniel Patrick Moynihan. They debated three times on television. She debated him on everything from Social Security, to the economy and foreign policy.

Each debate had a different theme. And each televised debate was an hour long. I was the campaign scheduler and played a role in setting up the debates with the late Tim Russert.
Imagine that Daniel Patrick Moynihan and his handlers, including Tim Russert, allowed themselves to schedule three televised debates with Florence Sullivan, but Governor Cuomo cannot schedule even two with the Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino. It just does not seem right.

By the way, I got to do the coin flip with Russert on a stage in the Capitol Complex in Albany on who got to speak first – Florence or Moynihan. And I won.

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