Four years ago, Bill Thompson came within inches of being only the second African-American in history to be elected mayor of this city. He was outspent by Mayor Michael Bloomberg by over a 10-1 ratio, yet he nearly won what many people expected to be a landslide race. He did this by focusing on the issues, the things that matter to everyday New Yorkers. And today, as he is running again for the mayoralty, we are reminded of what he has done for New York as president of the Department of Education, as City Comptroller and as a New Yorker, born and raised.
Thompson brings experience, maturity and thoughtfulness to this race. He understands the issues that plague our community like no other who is running at this time. He understands what it means to be a Black man in New York and what it means to raise Black children in a place that is not always friendly. As a politician, he knows that being Black is not a reason to vote for him, but he also knows that as a politician, he can’t “be afraid to be Black,” because if he is afraid to stand for what is right in the community, he ultimately stands for nothing.
While some have questioned his stance on stop-and-frisk, he is clear that his position has never changed. As it was then, it is now. Stop-and-frisk is a tool used by police departments to fight crime. Under the Bloomberg-Ray Kelly era, it has become a policy that has been abused, and as a result, it has victimized our community. While he is not against using stop-and-frisk as a tool, he believes that when quotas are set and policies enacted around it, it makes for very bad policing and wreaks havoc on police-community relations.
Because of his superior experience, deep understanding of the issues and lifelong commitment to New York City, we endorse Bill Thompson for mayor.
P.S. On the topic of Anthony Weiner, we at the Amsterdam News believe that in the best interest of this city and all of our communties that Weiner remove himself from this race and let the voters and the media focus on the issues at hand and not the personal failures of one candidate.
Scott Stringer had a cakewalk for the job of city comptroller until just a few short weeks ago when former Gov. Eliot Spitzer decided to throw his hat in the race. Quickly, Stringer became the underdog, with Spitzer’s name recognition alone bringing him to the lead.
But this race is so much more than name recognition. In addition to the fact that Spitzer engaged in activities that are more than questionable, we also know that he does not know how to play well with others. The unions hate him. Wall Street hates him. He says that fosters independence, but when you are working with pension funds and having to deal with 56 trustees, independence does not count for much. You can’t get anything done when a whole bunch of people abhor you. Spitzer is self-aggrandizing and a self-serving latecomer only interested in public service to the extent to which he is able to put salve on his personal wounds, and possibly use a victory as a stepping stone to another political plateau.
Stringer, on the other hand, presents a meaningful contrast to the former governor in almost every way. He is genuine, thoughtful and humble. He knows what the job means and how it translates to the lives of all New Yorkers.
Stringer is a New Yorker who has dedicated his life to public service. He was never in it to get rich, nor in it to get famous. He came into the public sector because he wanted to make life better for New Yorkers. He knows how the office of comptroller works; he knows the power that he can wield, and he knows that with the proper attention, he can save the city money, which will translate into the availability of funds for the services that New Yorkers need most.
He is not in the race to reclaim his name. He is in this race for all of us. He wants New York to be a better, stronger, more fiscally healthy city, where we know that the pensions of our hard-working municipal employees are safe. For all these reasons and more, we endorse Scott Stringer for comptroller.
The job of public advocate is probably one of the most important posts in the city, yet one of the least understood and funded. The office of the public advocate has a budget of less than $2 million a year, but it is charged with being the ombudsman for New York to the city, its services and agencies.
When things don’t work, citizens are supposed to get help from the public advocate. And that is why we need someone who knows how to fight. In this race, we have five candidates, three women and two men. Two candidates stand out in the field: Leticia “Tish” James and Reshma Saujani.
James is a scrappy Brooklyn fighter. She came up in the political arena almost by accident. She never expected to run for public office but was thrown into a race after the murder of Council Member James Davis. She ran on the Working Families Party and won. She has been a voice for the underdog and has fought the good fight in the City Council. One thing for sure is that James does not take “no” for an answer.
The other candidate of note is Saujani. Like James, she is also a lawyer. Like James, she also has tried to make a difference in the lives of others, but for her, it has been through the use of technology and the entrepreneurial spirit. Saujani founded an organization called Girls Who Code, which teaches young women the skills needed to compete in the ever-evolving tech marketplace. She is a fierce force for education and could be a great public advocate, but it is our feeling that this is not the job best suited for her. We believe that there are other places where she will be able to leave her mark that will serve this city and perhaps the greater community better. She has something with Girls Who Code, and we believe she needs to continue to follow that path.
As for James, this job was made for her. Public advocate is her calling. She has always fought the good fight, and with the position of public advocate, she will be able to do it not just for the constituents of her current district, but also for all those in the city of New York. She is a fighter and a good one at that. And that is why we endorse Tish James for public advocate.
MANHATTAN BOROUGH PRESIDENT
The bench for Manhattan borough president is deep, but most of the candidates are the usual run-of-the-mill politicians. Most of them have been in the game for decades and have controlled their little piece of the pie for a long time. They are business as usual and have enriched the city with their hard work and dedication, but they have not risen above that mark to go onto the next level of serving more than just their council district.
That being said, there is one candidate who does not fit that description, and that is Julie Menin.
Menin is different. She really has no reason to go into politics. She was the chair of Community Board 1 after Sept. 11 and became entrenched in the rebuilding at ground zero. She became a fighter for lower Manhattan, and as she learned and grew, she has become a fighter for all New Yorkers.
Menin has a different kind of fight in her. It is one of planning and thoughtfulness. She came to us not just with ideas and things that needed to be done, but with a plan on how to get there. She wants a master plan for New York that she believes would set us in the right direction for years to come. This plan would be one created by the office of the borough president, using the expertise that lies right inside the walls of 1 Centre St., instead of spending millions on outside consultants.
Menin has a vision, and we believe that her vision will make Manhattan a better borough; therefore, we endorse Julie Menin for Manhattan Borough President.
BRONX BOROUGH PRESIDENT
Who would not want to follow Ruben Diaz almost anywhere he wants to lead? That was the sentiment from some of the editorial board when it came to incumbent Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
Diaz has faithfully served the Bronx for several years and has done so with pride and distinction. He has worked tirelessly to change the stereotype and show that the Bronx is more than what we see on TV from decades past. He wants to shift the vision of the Bronx from the bleak past that plagues our minds to the vibrant communities that attract visitors from far and near. He wants to bring recognition to not only the new Yankee Stadium, the Bronx Zoo and the Botanical Gardens, but to Arthur Avenue and the fine dining options the Bronx has, as well as the wonderful cultural institutions and expressive arts community to which it plays host, while at the same time creating more jobs and housing to facilitate the ever-changing and growing borough.
He is putting the Bronx back on the map for all the right reasons, and that is why we endorse Ruben Diaz Jr. for Bronx borough president.
QUEENS BOROUGH PRESIDENT
A week or so ago, our endorsement for Queens borough president might have been different. But after the exit of Leroy Comrie, our choice is clear.
Queens needs a fighter who believes in the rights of all her citizens—one who believes that the diversity of the borough is an asset, not a flaw. Someone who sees Queens as a mecca for immigrants to come and make a life for themselves and their families, while embracing those who have lived in Queens for generation after generation. Melinda Katz is that candidate, and that is why we are endorsing her for Queens borough president.
BROOKLYN DISTRICT ATTORNEY
The sitting Brooklyn district attorney has held sway over the borough for over two decades. It is under his watch that countless police have not been indicted; young men of color have been needlessly put through the criminal justice system; and entire communities have been disenfranchised by the lack of regard by the leading law enforcement arm of the borough that has routinely criminalized our communities. There needs to be someone who understands that justice does not depend on the position you hold or the color of your skin. That justice should be the same for everyone, and everyone deserves a chance. Ken Thompson has that understanding.
The son of a policewoman, Thompson has been a federal prosecutor who helped get violent gangs off the street and get justice for Abner Louima. He helped the Brooklyn Congressional Delegation, along with Sen. Chuck Schumer, to get the Department of Justice to re-open the Emmett Till case.
Raised in the projects and a product of the public school system, Thompson has committed himself to equality and justice. He will be an advocate and a force for change in the Brooklyn justice system. Therefore, we endorse Ken Thompson for Brooklyn district attorney.