When you’re helpless on the national level, consider making a difference on the local level.

Posted in Uncategorized by a1icey on November 1, 2012

People don’t know anything about their local candidates. Local government has a far greater impact on their daily lives (if not their daily news programming) and should be MORE important than the presidential elections. However, since every block in the city is part of six different political districts, there’s no easy way to learn about candidates and no one to discuss your candidates with. So I’m going to try a new method:


First, you have to find out your districts. On the left hand side of the board of elections website there is a form for your address ( or Once you type in your address you will get a list of districts, and a sample ballot. You can Google each of the districts to find out who is currently there, what the scope of the district is, and whether it has been recently redrawn. Except the civil court district, which has no website or further information online.  My results:

Political Districts

here’s what my ballot will look like:


President and Vice President of the United States

  • No comment.

United States Senators

  • Kirsten Gillibrand – Former lawyer who attended a rural all girls boarding school, she is not a career politician but it’s in her family background. Close ties with the Clintons and handpicked to replace Hillary. Has made some progress with transparency but not near Amash levels. Moderate with a utilitarian approach to political theory – but has an aggressive public health position. Deserves a few more years before any harsh criticism, especially since she is not a member of the engrained establishment. Though the names are often misleading, here is a chart of her votes:
  • Wendy Long – Lawyer, with a career that seems eerily similar to Gillibrand. She’s a white-pearls Republican and unlike Gillibrand has no female role models in politics. Seems deeply against stimulus spending (refuting Gillibrand’s description of her record) and is against green energy spending. Argues that Gillibrand does not think independently even though she is viewed as anti-establishment by many.  Claims she will return to principle every time in making votes but says very little, in the end, about how she plans to vote.
  • Colia Clark – The green candidate, who also ran in 2010. Described as a civil rights activist, and specifically references key problems she wants to address: our criminal justice system, wars overseas, and specific education projects. However, she advocates the cancellation of student loan debt, a deeply irrational point of view that creates a hole in her platform. She understands that in order to enact a public healthcare system, we will need to recognize/enact a right to healthcare expressly. She supports open primaries. If you can agree with a significant portion of her views, a vote for her is much more likely to influence members of major parties in office.
  • Chris Edes – The NYCLU candidate, a notoriously anti-libertarian branch of the ACLU. Like Clark, he lists extremely specific positions and issues as his platform. He’s against abuse of war powers, wants transparency from the government, and is in favor of privacy for individuals. He views current policies as a form of mass intimidation. He is against controlling the internet and is the only candidate who has a position on this issue, and by extension appears to want to limit the reach of intellectual property rights. Like Clark, it appears that a vote for Edes would be a good way to convince entrenched members of major parties that we take these issues seriously.
  • John Mangelli – Mangelli is a pro-law enforcement candidate with some libertarian characteristics.  Specifically, he will be transparent about his votes and espouses that he will read the bills before he votes on them (for more information on why this is an issue, learn about the Read the Bills Act). He’s got a lot of opinions but they form a less coherent platform than Clark’s or Edes’ (“No more borrowing on the backs of taxpayers…. We need to stop foreclosure.”)

Members of the House of Representatives

  • Carolyn B. Maloney – A career politician who is not originally from New york, she has held positions in many lower tiers of government, unlike Gillibrand or Long. She has about zero respect for big business and is happy to regulate from an entirely consumer-centric perspective. She seems to have lost touch with her base, voting in favor of farm subsidies which couldn’t be more in conflict with the interests of her urban electorate. She’s well respected for conservation efforts, which do nothing for her voters. She dedicated a lot of energy to giving Sandra Fluke an audience. She is the incumbent on this list that truly deserves a second thought. See her voting record here:
  • Christopher R. Wight – Wight is neither a lawyer nor a career politician, and has a background working for big finance. He is young and has only been in New York for 15 years. Wight has a detailed, sophisticated platform that hits all the moderate high points on healthcare and economic issues. Deceptively referred to as a Republican, perhaps his only “conservative” position is to be in favor of starting wars in the middle east. He has a better grasp on technical issues of finance than most candidates for public office, but his virulent warmongering is probably going to be a dealbreaker for most.
  • Consider writing in a candidate for this position.

State Senators

  • Liz Krueger – Krueger hits a lot of liberal high points with her platform and position on issues. However, she claims to be ready to get her hands dirty reforming our bureaucratic nightmare of a state government. She is the only candidate on the ballot that has founded a successful business (albeit a non-profit business). She’s not so partisan that she can’t see the benefits of movements like charter schools, public audits of the MTA, and returning control over housing regulations to New York City. In short, she portrays herself as a pragmatist with strong liberal ideals who appears to be working hard. However she seems to spend an awful lot of time getting embroiled in petty issues. Here’s her position on tax policy: and this is her votiing history:
  • David Paul Garland – It’s hard to tell what Garland’s platform is and how he is different from Liz Krueger, partly because local candidates show their worth through their actions much more than federal candidates. He does seem to be concerned with the level of regulation in the city but does not have a coherent plan to reduce regulations and their harmful effect on business. Maybe he’s more able to lift his head out of the muck of petty landlord-tenant feuds, but then again, anyone who lives on the East side in Manhattan knows that the miserable state of housing is a significant issue for them, and a bigger part of their budget than the inflated prices of local shops.

State Assembly

  • Dan Quart – He is brand new, and should be scrutinized because he was chosen in a special election last year. His commitment to air quality is an important issue for our neighborhood, which famously has the worst air quality in the city. He seems to be a part of the political establishment, and has been trying to get elected for a while. I am concerned that he doesn’t have a position on some of the “bleeding stump” library cutbacks. And what’s with all the union endorsement? Here is his very short voting record:
  • David B. Casavis – Not a real candidate… his website is defunct and his only personal profile online goes on about how he wants to eliminate borough presidents. He’s a college professor.
  • Consider writing in a candidate for this position.

Surrogate Judges, State Supreme Court Judges, Civil Court Judges

  • Uncontested.

One Response

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  1. antidirigiste said, on November 5, 2012 at 9:45 am

    Local incumbents will win regardless. The only possible chance to unseat them is in the primaries. BTW, Gillibrand voted against the Keystone Pipeline, against the repeal of ethanol subsidies, repeal of Obamacare, and against the Bush tax cutes. Maloney voted against the Fed audit, repeal of Obamacare, defunding of NPR, though she voted in favor of the Bush tax cut. Both voted with their parties over 90% of the time. These are the types of big issues that affect productive members of society daily.

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