2005-09-02 / Editorial/Opinion

The Wave Endorses …

This year’s primary elections are scheduled for Tuesday, September 13. We urge all those who are eligible to do so to vote for their favorite candidates. While it is unusual for The Wave to endorse candidates in primary elections, we have done so when we felt compelled to speak about the candidates and the issues in the various races prior to the general election in November. The major seat up for grabs this year, of course, is the mayoralty of New York City. There is no Republican primary for Mayor this year due to Michael Bloomberg’s successful challenge of Tom Ognibene’s signatures. As is usual, all of the action is on the Democratic side of the ballot, where there are six challengers: Christopher Brodeur, Fernando (Freddie) Ferrer, C. Virginia Fields, Gifford Miller, Arthur Piccolo and Anthony Weiner.

For Mayor, Congressman Anthony Weiner: We can discount Brodeur and Piccolo without further comment because neither has mounted a credible campaign. We believe that the election of either Fields or Ferrer, both old-line Democratic functionaries, would bring the city back to the bad-old-days of Ed Koch (who somehow has gone from ultra-Liberal to Republican) and David Dinkins. That leaves us with Miller and Weiner. Of the two, we like Anthony Weiner for his creative solutions to the major funding and societal problems that face the city. Miller seems to be nothing more than a Manhattan-focused young man on the make and his actions during the election campaign have only served to increase that feeling. Weiner, on the other hand, is the “Energizer Bunny,” always on the go, always trying to ameliorate the impact of “Manhattan-based thinking” on the outer boroughs such as Queens. Has he always brought home the bacon for Rockaway? Not by a long shot, but he has always been in there swinging against the federal bureaucracy and, on the whole, has served Rockaway well.

For Public Advocate, Betsy Gotbaum: It is tough choosing somebody for a seat that should not exist in the first place, but we have to remember that the Public Advocate is important, if only because he or she takes the post of mayor should the mayor be incapacitated. There are six candidates for the slot, but only two matter: the incumbent, Betsy Gotbaum and ex-ACLU head Norman Siegel. We shudder to think that Siegel could become mayor, even for a short period of time. We first met him during a demonstration on the Cross Bay Bridge some years back. He joined the protest wearing a bright yellow armband that said, “Official Observer, ACLU.” When we asked him why he was there, he said that it was to protect the marchers from police violence. Please! While Gotbaum has not done much with the job, we like her by default. Siegel would be a disaster both as Public Advocate and as an interim mayor.

For City Council in the 31st District, James Sanders, Jr. After long deliberation, we have decided to endorse James Sanders, Jr. in the Democratic primary. That was not an easy decision for The Wave’s Editorial Board. Sanders is under attack, even from his own party, for missing meetings, failure to file important reports with the Campaign Finance Board and failure to take his constituents seriously. For those reasons, the Queens Democratic Party recently too their endorsement from Sanders and gave it instead to Hooks. We have known Sanders for many years, however, and he has always struck us as a honorable man. As the chair of the council’s Economic Development Committee, Sanders has done many things for the Far Rockaway community, albeit many of them behind the scenes. It is our belief that Sanders deserves another term even though it is hard for us to understand why he has not complied with many of the city’s rules for political candidates. David Hooks is also an honorable man. He served with distinction on the Community School Board and the new Community Education Council with distinction and has worked hard for his community. Sanders has a record to follow that may not be stellar, but does not deserve removal. Hooks has no record of office to consider except for his work on the school board, where he was one of nine. To add to that, the Hooks campaign has been a negative one, charging Sanders with improprieties without delineating his own plans for the community should he be elected. That being the case, we have decided to endorse Sanders for reelection.

There are a number of local races for Republican County Committee seats but we have long demurred from getting involved in purely party politics and we will make no choices in those elections. To add to that fact, there are a number of people who are involved with The Wave running for office, columnists Stu Mirsky and Beverly Baxter, for example.

No matter who you decide to vote for, we urge you to vote. Democracy demands an informed electorate and that is you. Go out on Tuesday, September 13 and do your duty.

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