Close your eyes, breathe in deeply, now exhale slowly… That was easy, wasn’t it? Not for everyone…
The two contenders for the Democratic nomination for Mayor of New York City in the October 11th primary election runoff are Mark Green and Fernando Ferrer. We urge those of our readers who are registered Democrats to vote for Mr. Green.
Mark Green plainly seems to have undergone a political epiphany since the advent of the Giuliani years. He is a staunch advocate of continuing the Giuliani no-nonsense, anti-crime policies. He has also come to represent the attitude that throwing money at problems is not the key to solving the City's problems. Standards, personal responsibility and self-help seem to be central to virtually all his positions on the issues. And he invariably displays a refreshing exuberance about issues and inquisitiveness when presented with new ideas.
Although we applaud Mr. Ferrer for his keen understanding of Jewish issues and for speaking out in support of Israel during his tenure as Bronx Borough President, we were appalled by the turn his election effort took early in the campaign. He went to great lengths to offer himself as the champion of the “other New York,” which most of us correctly took as not including the Jewish community. Mr. Ferrer is of Puerto Rican descent, and while we would never have had a problem with him for being the choice of Latino voters out of ethnic pride ? he would be the first Puerto Rican Mayor ? we found it very troubling that he would directly appeal to voters on that basis.
To make matters worse, later in the campaign, when Mr. Green was well ahead in the polls and Mr. Ferrer, Alan Hevesi and Peter Vallone were collectively bringing up the rear, he was instantly catapulted to the top by the endorsement of Al Sharpton, with whom the Jewish community has had the most serious of problems. It is not hyperbole to state that Mr. Ferrer owes his place in the runoff ? and all that goes with it ? to Sharpton. And this, together with his earlier blatantly divisive campaign theme, makes his candidacy untenable to us. We hasten to underscore that it is not the Sharpton endorsement per se that troubles us. It is the political reality that you owe much to those who help put you in office. Moreover, it is rare that this sort of thing is so clear cut as it is in this case.
As to his stance on the issues, Mr. Ferrer seems to act as if the Giuliani revolution never happened. Typically, he talks mantra-like about “affordable housing” and increasing “educational opportunities.” These are indeed important concerns, but in the real world they are not matters of political will and political choice. They are just buzz words designed to lure the desperate with the illusory hope of change. Does Mr. Ferrer really want us to believe that previous mayors did not want affordable housing for all New Yorkers and quality education for the city's children? That Mr. Green does not want them? Freddie Ferrer has shown that he can bring much to the table. Unfortunately, in sum, we also believe that should he become mayor, much of the celebrated rebirth of our city would be reversed.
This will be a close election. Your vote will count. Make it a priority to vote on October 11.
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