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At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Mark Green’

Green For Mayor

Friday, November 30th, 2001

The Jewish Press endorses Mark Green for Mayor of the City of New York. Of the two candidates, Mr. Green is clearly the one to lead our rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of the devastating events of September 11. He is also unquestionably the one to heal the terrible racial tension unleashed by the very sad Democratic primary.

Mike Bloomberg offers himself as the paradigmatic, no-nonsense CEO who can get his arms around the New York City colossus and make it work. He essentially argues that he has built a business from scratch and has created more than eight thousand jobs. While this would properly place him at the very top of most any list for Businessman of the Decade, the Mayoralty of the City of New York is a very different thing. The vast, entrenched New York City governmental bureaucracy presents a far more complicated challenge than a work force subject to a CEO's power to hire and fire. Nor are the skills making for success in pursuing the financial bottom line necessarily transferable to the meeting of the variegated needs of eight million New Yorkers. And while Mr. Bloomberg would certainly bring much to the table in terms of organizing the rebuilding effort, he has not persuaded us that he has an appreciation of New York beyond its bricks and mortar. In short, Mike Bloomberg has scant experience with the governmental process, and it seems a somewhat presumptuous message that this is his greatest qualification.

Mark Green has been on the political scene for more than twenty years, most recently as Public Advocate since 1993. Prior to that, as an activist attorney and community advocate he participated first hand in the governmental process through the courts and Congress, many times forcing the executive branch in Washington to take certain action. Of particular interest was his work in getting the Carter administration to release an estimated quarter of a million pages of secret documents disclosing the names of the American companies that participated in the Arab boycott of Israel from 1965 until late 1977. To be sure, we have not always agreed with Mark Green's immediate goals, but there can be no denying that he has developed an expertise in identifying which governmental buttons are to be pushed to get things done.

We are also very concerned with the way Mr. Bloomberg has tried to harness the race issue to his campaign. It was truly unfortunate that a public personality of the calibre of Fernando Ferrer allowed his primary campaign message to degenerate into an overt appeal along the “them v. us” lines. And when the Bronx Borough President was catapulted to the top of the Democratic heap by the endorsement of Al Sharpton with the consequent huge political debt thereby incurred, matters were made even worse. But even more alarming is the Bloomberg campaign's Alice-In-Wonderland effort to portray Green's challenge to the Ferrer/ Sharpton patent racism as racial pandering!

Further, although it is not well known, Bloomberg is running not only on the Republican line, but also on the line of the Independence Party, the party of Leonora Fulani, the onetime Presidential candidate who once criticized black leaders for “pandering to Jews.” Fulani and other party stalwarts continue to play significant roles in Bloomberg's election effort.

And there is also the matter of Bloomberg's reaction to the outrageous Amsterdam News editorial endorsing him. “Not the words I would use,” he said. But here is part of what Amsterdam News Publisher Bill Tatum had to say in the editorial:

Mark Green…became the Democratic nominee for mayor by stealing the primary election from Fernando Ferrer and then denying that this is what had been planned and executed by his Jewish mafia from Borough Park and other heavily populated Jewish areas in the city, especially where the Orthodox sect predominates.

Does “Not the words I would use” really do it? We think not.

Bloomberg also fosters an odd sense of unease ? almost that one does not really know him or what he stands for. He has campaigned as the Republican candidate and as a political conservative. Yet, the other day he declared at a political event, to Governor Pataki's visible dismay, that he was really a “liberal” in his thinking. Indeed, until the current political season, Bloomberg was a registered Democrat and contributed substantial sums to liberal causes. It is surely not for nothing that he is being shunned by a significant part of the Republican Party leadership. And, significantly, Bloomberg has made a public point of his severely limiting his financial support for religious causes.

Mark Green has attracted the support of a broad spectrum in the Jewish community, and it is apparent that several members of our community are among his valued advisors. It is quite clear to us that the needs of our community will be more likely to get a hearing on a level playing field in a Green administration than in one headed by Mr. Bloomberg.

Endorsements

Friday, November 23rd, 2001

Next week we will be sharing with our readers a full list of our recommended candidates for the November 6 elections. In that connection, we interviewed Mayoral candidates Mark Green and Michael Bloomberg. Both came across as intelligent and committed and each offered a vision for New York City. Details of the Green/Bloomberg interviews and our conclusions next week.

Here are some of our endorsements:

Judiciary

For Supreme Court in Brooklyn we support Judge Howard Ruditzky. In his term as a judge on the Civil Court, Judge Ruditzky has earned a reputation for fairness and knowledge of the law. He comes highly recommended by community leaders.

Judge Martin Ritholtz is our choice for Supreme Court in Queens. As a Judge on the Civil Court, he has impressed us with his legal expertise and judicial demeanor. An accomplished student of the Talmud, he is a noted lecturer on the interplay between secular and religious law.

Eric Vitalliano is our choice for the Staten Island Civil Court. As a longtime New York State Assemblyman, he was always sensitive to the special needs of our community.

New York City Council

We endorse Michael C. Nelson for re-election in the 48th Council District (D-Flatbush, Midwood, Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach). Since his election a little over two years ago, Councilman Nelson has quickly emerged as a forceful advocate on behalf of our community. He has fought for increased funding for many of our vital organizations and has worked with all levels of the police department and community patrols. He has been in the forefront in the battle against bias crimes, graffiti and noise pollution.

Ulster County Treasurer

We support the re-election of Lew Kirschner as Ulster County Treasurer. During his tenure, he has introduced many innovations that have streamlined the operation of his office and has been responsible for impressive increases in returns on county investments. He has a long record of sensitivity for the needs of our community.

Ramapo Town Supervisor

For Ramapo Town Supervisor, we support Kathy Ellsworth, currently serving as Mayor of Montebello. She has the enthusiastic support of the leading Rabbis and others we customarily look to in the Rockland County Jewish community and has also managed to attract strong bi-partisan support for her candidacy.

Ramapo Town Councilman

Harry Reiss is our choice for Ramapo Town Councilman. We have endorsed him in the past and he has distinguished himself since his election as councilman in 1994. An Orthodox Jew, he has worked hard to foster governmental accommodation of the special Sabbath and holiday needs of our community. He has played an important part in Holocaust sensitivity efforts in the area.

Jewish Press Endorsements In The Thursday, October 11 Democratic Primary Runoff Election

Saturday, November 10th, 2001

We note parenthetically the role of New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in ensuring that the tragic need for a postponement of the primary elections and subsequent runoffs did not result in any voting on Jewish holidays. That the Democratic primary runoff was scheduled for October 11, a Thursday, rather than Tuesday, October 9, and offering alternate accommodations for those observing Succoth that day, is, in large measure, a tribute to his input as one of the three top decision-makers in Albany.

Mayor

Mark Green

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. As we said last week, we urge those of our readers who are registered Democrats to vote for Mr. Green.

Of the two, Mark Green plainly seems more likely to build on the achievements 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 of his positions on the issues. And he invariably displays a refreshing openness when presented with new ideas.

We have long respected “Freddie” Ferrer for his support of the Jewish community in the Bronx even when there was no political benefit in it for him. The “Jewish vote” in the Bronx was never all that critical to his local electoral races. And he could be counted upon to lend his voice in support of the State of Israel. But, as we have noted in this space, we were appalled by the turn his mayoralty campaign took early on. He went to great lengths to offer himself as the champion of the “other New York,” which most of us correctly took as not signalling the inclusion of the Jewish community. Mr. Ferrer is of Puerto Rican descent, and we found it very troubling that he would directly appeal to voters on that basis. Further, in the last congressional elections, Mr. Ferrer went along with the effort to unseat the incumbent Eliot Engel as the Democratic candidate, in favor of a Black candidate. In retrospect, this emerges as having been the first salvo in the effort to forge the Black-Hispanic coalition which has stood Mr. Ferrer in such good stead in this election.

To make matters worse, when Mr. Green was well ahead in the polls and Mr. Ferrer, Alan Hevesi and Peter Vallone were collectively bringing up the rear, Mr. Ferrer 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 a 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 patently racially divisive campaign, makes his candidacy untenable to us. Again, we hasten to underscore that it is not the Sharpton endorsement per se that troubles us. It is the political reality that Freddie Ferrer owes so much to Al Sharpton.

As to his stance on the issues, Mr. Ferrer seems to act as if the Giuliani revolution never happened. Unfortunately, in sum, we believe that should he become Mayor, much of the celebrated rebirth of our City would be reversed.

Public Advocate

Betsy Gotbaum

Betsy Gotbaum is our choice for Public Advocate. She is an experienced City Hall hand, having served in various capacities in New York City government. Ms. Gotbaum seems well versed in how the City works and can be counted on to know which buttons to push in order to fulfill her role as our ombudsman. We are confident that she is highly qualified and motivated to investigate complaints against government and take up the cudgels where appropriate to make sure that there is a level playing field between us and our government.

Ms. Gotbaum's opponent, Norman Siegel, despite his flair for the dramatic and notorious penchant for publicity, is really quite thoughtful and personable. Unfortunately, he has a view of the Public Advocate's office that is an outgrowth of his long career running the New York Civil Liberties Union. To be sure, many of the arguments he advanced for that group over the years were anathema to us. But our concern with his candidacy is not so much that he championed this or that position ? and we are convinced of his basic sincerity. What concerns us is that he has viscerally and programmatically looked to the courts to conform public policy to his view of the public weal. He inevitably evokes visions of the paradigmatic confrontation between decisions by duly elected officials and pronouncements by essentially unrepresentative judges.

Mark Green Our Choice In The Thursday, October 11th Democratic Mayoralty Runoff

Saturday, November 3rd, 2001

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.

Mort Zuckerman, Are You Listening?

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2001

Several days ago, in the course of talking about the New York mayoral race, Daily News columnist E.R. Shipp noted the flap last year over Hillary Clinton's being endorsed by a Muslim group and the hullabaloo surrounding a Hamas group's endorsement of Mark Green. Ms. Shipp then went on to observe:

Why, pray tell, does one give a hoot about Israel and Palestine when one is trying to become New York City's Mayor? Why, pray tell, does one care about which side is the more terrorist, the Israelis or the Palestinians? Why pray tell, does this have anything to do with whether my garbage is picked up, the cops are shooting my neighbors or empty buildings are transformed into spaces that my friends and I might want to live in?…I couldn't care less whether the Muslims who want Green for mayor because he can perhaps deliver city services also hate Israel. That's between them and Israel….

In truth, we here at The Jewish Press have often remarked about how aspirants for local political office pander to certain voter groups about issues they can do nothing about. Most recently, we addressed this point in connection with the tuition voucher issue. And we are not all that sure that a candidate should automatically be excoriated because of an unsolicited endorsement.

But as an organ of the Jewish community, we take offense at the way Ms. Shipp made her point. Ms. Shipp is African-American and we have no doubt about what she would say if a candidate for New York City office would be endorsed by, say, the White Power Party or the Ku Klux Klan or whatever party David Duke heads up. Nor would she be so dismissive about the government of South Africa as she was about Israel.

Giving “a hoot about Israel and Palestine”? …”Which side is the more terrorist, the Israelis or Palestinians”? … “Whether the Muslims who want Green for mayor … also hate Israel … that's between them and Israel”? This is the way a serious columnist writes?

There may be some question about what a candidate should or should not do about an endorsement. But one thing is certain. Ms. Shipp's piece revealed a lot more about her than about Mrs. Clinton and Mark Green.

Mort Zuckerman, publisher of the New York Daily News, is the recently elected Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Despite our firm belief in journalistic freedom, we believe this gross example of journalistic license must be addressed.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/mort-zuckerman-are-you-listening/2001/08/22/

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