Here’s a look at opinion content published today, Thursday, Oct. 21:
Andrea Stewart-Cousins: Endorsement
In the race for the 35th state Senate district seat, we endorse incumbent Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a Yonkers Democrat who has already served two terms in Albany and previously worked as a Westchester County Legislator. Her Republican opponent is Liam McLaughlin, a former member of the Yonkers City Council. We write:
… Voters ended GOP control of the Senate in 2008, putting Democrats in charge for the first time in nearly 45 years. Stewart-Cousins became chair of the Senate’s Local Government Committee, in which role she introduced and passed legislation better enabling municipal consolidations and sharing of services between governmental units. The measure gives local voters perhaps their best chance at streamlining municipal government.
Stewart-Cousins can take credit for a bill that allows municipalities to seek cooperative health plans for employees, share highway and personnel services, and to enjoy greater flexibility in purchasing contracts. On the reform front, Stewart-Cousins has supported measures to improve transparency in the Senate, among them the recent decision to webcast floor sessions and hearings. She voted twice to enact a property-tax cap — it would not apply to Yonkers and the other big-city school districts. She said she would support similar measures in the next session. …
Robert Castelli: Endorsement
Last winter, Republican Robert Castelli was elected to fill the 89th Assembly district seat left vacant by Adam Bradley, the Democrat who won White Plains mayoralty. Castelli is running Nov. 2 to complete the term and we recommend voters return him to Albany. His challenger, Tom Roach, the Democratic president of the White Plains Common Council is a formidable foe, but we believe Castelli is owed his due. We write:
… In this race, Castelli — a member of the minority party in the Democratic-controlled Assembly — can point to his support for a property tax cap; so-called circuit-breaker legislation tying a property owner’s tax liability to her income; and a proposed cap on state spending. Castelli also backs structural reforms of Albany, including independent, bipartisan redistricting, a toughened ethics law and more disclosure of lawmakers’ business interests .
Castelli has a challenging political line to walk. During our interview with the candidates, he criticized Roach and the Common Council, which took a tough line on negotiations with the fire and police unions — after former Mayor Joseph Delfino negotiated overly generous new contracts with both. Castelli, who is backed by a long list of public-safety unions, complained about the city’s public safety layoffs — putting workers on the “bread line.” The truth is, a tax cap will force municipalities and schools to shed workers. There is no sugarcoating that reality, given salary and pension commitments. But maybe Castelli knows better; he said budgets can be balanced without layoffs. …
Annie Rabbitt: Endorsement
Republican Annie Rabbitt, an incumbent, gets our nod in the 97th Assembly district race. Challenged by Democratic Orange County Legislator Myra Kemnitz, Rabbitt deserves re-election, we conclude. We write:
… Rabbitt employs simple math and common sense to calculate the impact of added fees and taxes Albany employs to balance the budget. The higher the tax burden, the more likely businesses — along with their employers and employees — will flee the state. Unfortunately, she said, “in the New York state Assembly, we are doing a great job to make it happen.” …
Jimmy McMillan: Reisman
Phil Reisman assesses Monday’s gubernatorial debate and catches up with the event’s star, Jimmy McMillan, candidate of the Rent is Too Damn High Party. Reisman writes:
The New York gubernatorial event the other night was called a farce, a clown show.
It certainly was not a debate — unless you believe that 30-second strings of disconnected sound bites, one-liners, incomplete thoughts and incoherent ramblings constitute an adequate way to judge those who would presume to lead this financially crippled state.
No, this wasn’t a debate. It was an autopsy, and it laid bare the cynicism and dysfunctionality that has been killing New York by degrees.
Ask yourself this: Other than the rent is too damn high, what did you learn? …
Virginia Thomas: Cartoon
Matt Davies comments on the culture wars of the 1990s through the prism of Virginia Thomas, wife of Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Clarence Thomas, who asked Anita Hill for an apology.