Here’s a look at opinion content published today, Tuesday, Oct. 19:
Jeff Klein: Endorsement
In the race for the 34th state Senate district seat, we recommend voters re-elect incumbent Jeff Klein, a Bronx Democrat. Klein is challenged by Frank Vernuccio Jr., another Bronx resident running on the Republican and Conservative lines. We write:
… In the thick of [the 2009 state Senate coup] was Democrat Jeff Klein, whose district covers parts of Westchester and the Bronx. Klein, a member of the Senate since 2004 and the Assembly for 10 years prior, however, was not the problem; he was part of the solution — why we recommend his re-election Nov. 2, in a race that pits him against fellow Bronx resident Frank Vernuccio Jr., a Republican and Conservative.
During the coup, Klein, a Senate leader, was among the lawmakers who advocated bipartisan power-sharing so the people’s work would continue. When the coup ended, Klein continued to work toward more bipartisanship. Last fall, he co-chaired and formed with Sen. Thomas Morahan, R-New City, the Hudson Valley Delegation. Among their joint plans of attack: addressing service shortfalls under the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Why is such a coalition relevant? Because some of Albany’s dysfunction has more to do with geography (upstate vs. downstate) and policy disagreement than with party or functionality. On some matters, our interests do not align with city lawmakers. It pays, then, to amplify the unique voice of the Lower Hudson Valley. Klein has done that, including in school funding, the property tax cap, the MTA and government efficiency. …
Sandy Galef: Endorsement
Sandy Galef, D-Ossining, is running for a 10th term as the Assembly member for the 90th district. She earns our endorsement for her tireless work on reform. Her opponent, William Gouldman, has his work cut out for him in challenging her, we conclude. We write:
… Gouldman, a Putnam Valley businessman who operates a restaurant in Manhattan, is running on the Republican and Conservative lines. His campaign is focused on reducing the tax burden and making New York friendlier to business. Democrat Galef, endorsed here for a 10th term, has been on that job for years — even when her advocacy for measures such as a tax cap have cost her support from unions, including the teachers union, a reliable backer of Democrats.
The Democratic-controlled Assemby has yet to take up legislation capping how much local taxes can rise each year; a majority of the Assembly’s Democratic conference opposes such a measure. Galef, however, said she remains optimistic that the Assembly, Senate and new governor — Andrew Cuomo, barring some unforeseen upheaval at the polls Nov. 2 — will agree on a plan for tax relief. The Senate has already approved cap legislation with a 4 percent ceiling. …
Kenneth Zebrowski: Endorsement
Frank Sparaco, a Republican Rockland County legislator running against Kenneth Zebrowski, a Democrat, for the 94th state Assembly district seat, has attempted to paint his opponent as a party hack. Voters should reject that caricature and select Zebrowski. We write:
… On his own, Zebrowski has been able to shoot holes in Sparaco’s pro-forma potshots against a sitting legislator. For example, Sparaco repeats the statistic that Zebrowski votes with the powerful and controversial Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, “and the New York City Democrats” 98.6 percent of the time. Zebrowski said those statistics are skewed because most of the votes by the Assembly are authorization bills for local government that pass unanimously. Zebrowski said his percentage of shared votes with Republican Minority Leader Brian Kolb is “in the high 80s.”
Zebrowski aggressively supported a tax cap for school budgets, even when Assembly Speaker Silver stood firmly against it. “Some people say it’s a blunt instrument; perhaps we need a blunt instrument,” Zebrowski told the Editorial Board. The Democrat also believes more measures, like a circuit-breaker formula that takes a homeowner’s income into account, are needed to tame property taxes.
Zebrowski was the only state officeholder to speak out against a $1.6 million Restore New York grant to build a controversial chicken processing plant in New Square; many other state officials supported the project. …
Campaign finance: Cartoon
Matt Davies comments on the creation of 501(c)(4) political-action committees and the influence of big donors in this election cycle.
Cablevision v. Fox: Reisman
Phil Reisman assesses the drama surrounding the disagreement between Cablevision and News Corporation over airing Fox television programming. He writes:
… The money dispute between Cablevision and News Corp. that led to the Fox 5 and My9 void is laughable because the two media behemoths want viewers to choose sides, as if there is a good guy and a bad guy in this bloodsucking fiasco. Both sides are near, if not outright, monopolists, who have deftly skirted federal anti-trust laws in order to corner huge pieces of the local media marketplace. ….