Good morning. Here’s a look at opinion content published Tuesday, Oct. 26 and today, Wednesday, Oct. 27:
Tuesday, Oct. 26
Gary Pretlow: Endorsement
We endorse Democratic incumbent Gary Pretlow, not without some reservations, in the race for the 87th state Assembly district seat. We write:
There’s something a bit infuriating in hearing longtime Assemblyman Gary Pretlow describe the Legislature that has been his political home these past 18 years. Pretlow dismisses the notion that the Legislature is the nation’s most dysfunctional, the label hung on it by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School several years ago. Pretlow said he asked the school to show him the supporting data. Many New Yorkers accept the grim label on faith alone. Pretlow, on the Democratic and Working Families lines, also defends Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, one of the legendary “three men in a room” who run Albany — the governor, the Assembly leader and the leader of the Senate. Contrary to popular belief, Pretlow said, Silver is merely an agent for the majority Democrats : They tell him what to do, not the other way around. Additionally, Pretlow notes that some logjams reflect policy differences that divide New York by geography — as in, upstate vs. downstate. We in the Lower Hudson Valley are often stuck in the middle of these disputes. …
… Pretlow’s primary election opponent, community activist Samuel Rivers, on the Republican, Independence and Conservative lines, does not have a realistic view, nor is he a worthy alternative for district voters.
Nita Lowey: Endorsement
In the 18th Congressional district race, we endorse Nita Lowey, the Democratic candidate and longtime incumbent. Lowey is challenged by Jim Russell, who holds the Republican ballot line but no longer enjoys his party’s support, and Cortes DeRussy, a candidate Westchester Republicans have put forward as a write-in. We write:
… Lowey, who lives in Harrison, is unapologetic about her support for the federal government’s interventions since the financial meltdown, which in turn led to the Great Recession. She defends the Bush administration’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, which she credits with helping to prevent an even bigger market collapse; a failing Wall Street would have cost jobs in our own backyard and on the Main Streets across the country. …
Matt Davies imagines 2010 voters as parachutists from a crashing plane in Tuesday’s cartoon.
Boards of Election: Reisman
Phil Reisman comments on the fact that Republican Doug Colety and Democrat Reggie LaFayette, Westchester’s election commissioners, also chair their local party operations. He writes:
They involve the Westchester County Board of Elections and their commissioners — Reginald LaFayette and Douglas Colety. As BOE commissioners, they manage an operation that oversees the county’s local elections. This includes maintaining voting machines, recording election tallies, keeping enrollment and campaign finance records and so on.
… Both men receive taxpayer-supported salaries of $155,000 a year — a level of pay that is on the high end for public officials in these parts.
Oh, yes, they each get a free take-home car, too.
What’s troubling is not so much the pay and perks — which are arguably quite generous — but that both commissioners wear a second hat. LaFayette is chairman of the county Democratic Party and Colety is the Republican chairman. Why is this troubling? Start with the obvious fact that it sets up the potential for conflicts of interest.
Now you’ve got two politically motivated power brokers who essentially pick the candidates and also get to count the votes. Handpicked by their respective parties and selected to the BOE by the county Board of Legislators, these guys were elected by no one, mainly serve the interests of a few and yet live off the public trough.
In effect, Westchester taxpayers are now subsidizing the two major parties. …
Wednesday, Oct. 27
Eric Schneiderman: Endorsement
In the race for state Attorney General, we endorse Eric Schneiderman, an Upper West Side Democrat who is a state Senate veteran. Schneiderman is running against Richmond County District Attorney Dan Donovan, a Republican. We write:
…. [Schneiderman] would bolster the resources of the attorney general’s network of regional offices across the state, placing public integrity officers in each to sort through waste and corruption in local governments, school districts and elsewhere. He has pledged to vigorously enforce the just-passed Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act, legislation he sponsored that targets waste, fraud and corruption in government.
Schneiderman has pledged to sue to prohibit hydraulic fracturing, a dangerous method of extracting natural gas embedded in New York’s Marcellus shale deposits; while upstate residents look to “fracking” as a jobs-creator, downstate residents worry about the extraction method’s toll on water supplies. Schneiderman opposes the relicensing of the Indian Point nuclear power plants. He notes that the plants provide 30 percent of the area’s energy supply, but does not say how the region would replace that energy, except to note that it is “critical” to reduce demand and develop alternative sources.
Schneiderman said he would form a coalition of state attorneys general along the Interstate 95 corridor to target illegal gun smuggling. …
Eliot Engel: Endorsement
We recommend voters in the 18th Congressional district cast their Nov. 2 ballots for Eliot Engel, the Democratic incumbent. Engel is challenged by Republican Anthony Mele and Conservative York Kleinhandler. We write:
… We endorse Engel, an 11-term incumbent, for his extensive constituent service — he keeps the bulk of his staff in New York, not Washington, precisely for that purpose; for his prowess in bringing home funds to New York; and for his well-reasoned support for legislation aimed at getting America back on track, from the economic stimulus bill to health-care reform. Moreover, opponent Mele is all but bereft of real-world ideas. For example, to promote job growth, he recommends — and we inquired twice about this — ending all employer payroll deductions, taxes that fund everything from Social Security and food inspections to indigent health care and national defense. That is a recipe for anarchy, not governance. …
Matt Davies comments on WikiLeaks’ further releases of documents related to American military conduct in the Iraq War.