The race for NYC Pubilc Advocate

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While everyone is focused on NYC Mayor Bloomberg s successor, little attention has been paid to who will succeed NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.  To date, Noah Gotbaum (son of former Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum and well known municipal labor union leader Victor Gotbaum); Cathy Guerriero (teacher); Brooklyn NYC Councilmember Letitia James; Brooklyn/Manhattan State Senator Daniel Squadron and Reshma Saujani (former employee of Public Advocate Bill de Blasio) have declared their interest.  There are no potential Republican candidates.

Brooklyn Democratic Assemblymember Jules Polenetsky was the last serious GOP candidate for NYC Public Advocate when running with former Mayor Rudy Giuliani in 1997. The last Republican NYC Council President Sanford Garelick won in 1969. The last Republican Comptroller was Joseph D. McGoldrick who served from 1938 to 1945.

The lines are clearly blurred between the day jobs of both NYC Councilmember James and State Senator Squadron and the new job they both seek.  James and Squadron have been engaged in a non stop series of press conferences, news releases, issuance of various reports, letters to the editor, guest columns in newspapers and publicity stunts for years. All of this was at taxpayers’ expense to raise their respective name identification with voters and grease the wheels for the 2013 Democratic Party primary for Public Advocate. Don’t forget visiting as many local and county Democratic Party clubhouses in all five boroughs.

Any public opinion poll can tell you that the average citizen believes taxpayers would be better off if the useless Office of Public Advocate was abolished.  It has only provided temporary employment for past Public Advocates Mark Green, Betsy Gotbaum and most recently current occupant, Bill de Blasio.  All three used this office as a stepping stone to run for Mayor.  Ms. Gotbaums Mayoral candidacy existed only in her dreams.  She was unable to take the first real step and qualify for Democratic Party primary ballot status in 2009.

Contrast James and Squadron with their other opponents, Gotbaum, Guierriero and Saujani. All three are free to run full time for the Public Advocate.  James and Squadron are suppose to be at their day jobs representing the constituents who elected them by showing up for committee meetings and voting during legislative sessions be it at City Hall or Albany.  You have to ask how many committee meetings, full legislative bodies and votes both James and Squadron may have missed as they are AWOL campaigning for Public Advocate around town.

NYC will have a $70 billion budget in fiscal year 2014 with over 200,000 employees. This is greater than most states and many nations.  Have any of these five candidates  built a business, created jobs, met a payroll, balanced a multi-billion dollar budget or managed any significant agencies with large numbers of employees?

James and Squadron should come out of the closet and officially declare their respective  candidacy for Public Advocate.  They should avoid the appearance of any conflict of interest by resigning the current office they hold today.  Both James and Squadron  should end the charade and be honest enough to run full time for Public Advocate on their own time and dime just like the other candidates. Allow citizens a special election to elect a replacement who can represent constituents full time.  Hard working municipal and state civil servants work full time. They can’t campaign part time during the day like James and Squadron. They would have to either take a leave of absence or quit their day job.

Perhaps one of the potential six 2013 Republican mayoral candidates including Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) boss Joe Lhota, businessman John Catsimatidis, nonprofit Executive Director George McDonald along with Democrats — former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion and Queens State Senator Malcolm Smith or Rev. A.G. Bernard will put their ego aside and provide voters with a choice in the General Election.  One of the six could drop out of the mayoral race and instead run for Public Advocate.  Former GOP Mayoral candidate Manhattan Media  publisher Tom Allon might make a good candidate for Public Advocate. They could assist the Republicans in running a real diverse city and borough wide group of candidates for the first time in decades. This would also help the handful of GOP competitive NYC Council candidates in expanding their current four members to the old record of seven who served with former Mayor Giuliani during the 1990s.