Mirsky To Challenge Pheffer For Assembly Seat
e went looking for a six foot, two inch Irishman who'd play well in a number of ourcommunities. What we found instead," Rockaway Republican Club president Tom Lynch said at a recent meeting of the organization, "was a five foot, two inch, bald Jewish guy with a beard who could have been a leprechaun in another life. God works in mysterious ways!"
Lynch went on to introduce the Rockaway Republicans' candidate for this year's Assembly race, Stuart W. Mirsky, a recently retired Assistant Commissioner for Operations at the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene.
Mirsky is also Vice President of the Rockaway Republicans, a novelist and columnist for The Wave.
"Stu Mirsky," saidLynch, "has agreed to toss his hat into the ring this November in order to give local voters a choice between business as usual and sendinga serious legislator to Albany, someone who cares about making laws and keeping government fiscally responsible."
Lynch noted thatMirskyhas promised to runa "different kind of campaign" and added, "While Mayor Bloomberg recently spent over eighty million dollars to secure his re-election, Stu has promised to spend at least eight hundred dollars. . . and not a penny more! Stu willmake his case on principles and ideals, not on dollars and cents," said Lynch, "to prove you don't have to be a millionaire to make democracy work."
Invitedto the podium, Mirskybriefly outlined his own reasons for deciding to enter a race most see as unwinnable for any local Republican candidate.
"We can't leave people without a choice in the voting booth this November," he said. "It's against everything we stand for and contrary to why we formed the Rockaway Republicans. When incumbents routinely run unopposed on the peninsula, or anywhere, it's like we're back in the old Soviet Union . . . orpresent day Teheran."
Warming to the subject, Mirsky laid outhis platform ofrestoring fiscal discipline to state government, opposing special perks for legislators, ensuring open distribution of legislators' discretionary monies (otherwise known as "slush funds"), and supporting Governor Weld's call for a state constitutional conventionto re-structure the way the state does its business. Noting that he has nothing personal against his opponent and even thinks well of her, he reminded theaudience that she has been in office since 1987 and seems to have "more job security than a civil service worker. And that's saying something."
Likening Assemblywoman Pheffer to his own mother, Mirsky said he'd even run against his mom if she'd been in the same job for that long, suggesting he'd tell her "it'stime to step aside and take a well earned rest in Florida." The incumbent Assemblywoman, Mirsky suggested, "is no longera serious legislator. Shevotes the party line to tax and spend us into oblivion. A nice lady," he added, "and certainly well liked and well known in the 23rd AD. But, that's not why we send people to Albany. We elect legislators to legislate and Audrey has not been serious in that department for as long as I can remember."
Mirsky went on to charge that his prospective opponent is part of the current dysfunctional Albany system where "legislators have run amok, spending our dollars, incurring more and more debt for us and our kids, and allowing government to metastasize until its got its tentacles into everything. Big government means lots of red tape," he warned, "along with high taxes, and this is what's killing the state's overall economy even though we don't feel it yet downstate. But if things keep going like this," Mirsky suggested, "we'll be feeling it soon enough. You can't borrow and spend at the rate our state legislature doesand not have to pay the piper eventually."
Mirsky ended by asking forsupport from his fellow Rockaway Republicans and the Ozone Park club, pledging to bea candidatethey canbe proud of. "And if, God willing, I win," he smiled, glancing upward significantly,“I'll be the best darn Assembly person ever elected from the 23rd AD."
Afterwards, 23rd AD Republican District Leader Ed O'Hare came up to the podium and read a letter he and co-leader Terry Ariola had sent to Queens County GOP Chair Serph Maltese last weekurging the County organization to join them in backing Mirsky's fledgling candidacy. O'Hare and Mirsky, who had been on opposite sides of a bitter fight for control of the district only a year ago, shook hands warmly andstood for a friendly photo op.
"You gotta do photo ops, it's politics and I'm pledged to do this on the cheap," said Mirsky afterwards. "But Ed and I have been on good terms since right afterhe trounced us in the leadership race.We don't hold grudges. We work together and move on."
The Wave will suspend both Mirsky's column, "The Rockaway Irregular," and Pheffer's Column, "Spotlight on Consumer Affairs," as a matter of fairness for the remainder of the campaign.