The King's Been Crowned
This week's editorial was supposed to be an endorsement for one of the candidates in the special election on Tuesday, March 28, for the state senate seat in the 10th Senatorial District (which includes all of Rockaway). The problem is the king has already been crowned, that is, the choice has been made for us already. We have concerns with the process, the politics and the backroom deals that have led to this coronation. For us to give an endorsement would be to endorse the process--something we won't do.
Malcolm Smith is the man who's been crowned. An aide to former Congressman Floyd Flake and a real estate developer in Far Rockaway, Smith is running on four lines--Democratic, Republican, Conservative and Working Families. You might say, "That's great--everyone loves this guy." Too bad that's not how politics works. It's more like Flake (who is a Democrat but has close ties to Republicans) pushed for this deal.
The problem with this deal to give Malcolm all the lines is that it has directly taken the power of the vote away from us--the voters. Democratic District Leaders Lew Simon, Geraldine Chapey and other politicians have already referred to Smith as senator-elect. Hey people! What about the vote on Tuesday? I guess we, the voters, don’t count. Is that what you're saying?
Also on the ballot is Andrew Jenkins under the Liberal Party line. Jenkins was a former state senator who was involved in a money-laundering scheme. Definitely a no-no.
Gerard Borriello is running with the support of the Right to Life Party. Borriello, a Republican activist and committeeman, was denied the Republican line because of the deals with Smith. Borriello is a nice guy, but he is weak on issues important to the peninsula.
The only alternative to Smith for many voters was Cynthia Jenkins (no relationship to Andrew), a former Democratic assemblywoman from southeast Queens who has been known to buck the "establishment" on more than one occasion. Jenkins was on top of the issues, but a technicality knocked her off the Community First line and Smith and his organization challenged the validity to her nomination to the Independence Party. Therefore, Jenkins will not be on the ballot on Tuesday, but told The Wave "I'll be back." She plans to run in the primary against Smith in September.
Don't get us wrong--it's not that we don't like Smith. Smith is sharp and ambitious. He has a businessman's mind and has a good grasp of issues and concerns of the Rockaways. He readily admits, "You're absolutely right, I have been chosen," but believes this to be positive. Smith suggests that the multiple endorsements will help him accomplish things when he gets to Albany, such as his plan to bring Governor Pataki to Rockaway. We hope he's right…