A Close Call
The Wave sat out endorsing in the City Council race. Donovan Richards on the east end was a walk in the park. He won with more than 90 percent and an endorsement wouldn’t have meant a thing. The Eric Ulrich and Lew Simon race was another matter. We were at odds with Eric on a number of issues. He was in favor of casinos, The Wave is not. He was a big proponent of Stop and Frisk and The Wave believes it’s a very nuanced issue that demands sensitivity and understanding. You’re for Stop and Frisk? Just ask yourself if you’d be okay being stopped regularly or even better if you’d be okay with your teenage kids being frisked. Crime has plummeted and we’re scared to death the de Blasio era will signal a return to the bad old days but it’s not as simple as Stop and Frisk. A lot of the same people who love Stop and Frisk want government out of their lives. Ok, well, the police are the extension of our government so let’s keep that in mind. Eric was not a supporter of reactivating the Rockaway Branch line (supporting the ferry doesn’t win favor; that’s a nobrainer). Those three issues right there made us hesitate. Of course, plenty of people here vouch for his direct help on issues. He has been a good advocate in the fight against Biggert-Waters and on Building Department and City Planning issues.
On election night, he was quoted by the Queens Courier as saying he had “kicked Lew Simon’s ass.” Well, not exactly. The race between the two was closer than any other in the city. No incumbent faced such a challenge.
As for Lew, well, we always prefer candidates who live and breathe Rockaway. On that front, Lew has no equal. But, with Lew, there are always buts. He has a checkered work history with questionable credentials. His supporters say he is a fighter. And he’s got the bullhorn to prove it. But the other side of that coin is the Lew who is loud and abrasive and rarely thoughtful or respectful of the other side.
A City Councilman is a representative after all. The Wave was never comfortable promoting him to be representative of the people here.
We figure this editorial won’t make either of them happy. On the other hand, neither of them made us completely happy and we suppose that was the feeling out in the district and why it was close race. We were ambivalent right up until the end.
Still, hats off to both. And to their supporters. Eric has earned another term and we hope he’ll work hard in these exciting times. He can get to work on a legacy he’ll be proud of. As for Lew, he ran a great race and finished a strong second. He can hold his head up higher than ever.