Local Politics - An update on the NYC Mayoral Race

I want to provide a brief survey of the various candidates running for Mayor of New York City in the upcoming election on November 2nd. The Democratic party just held its first major debate last Thursday and primaries are coming up in a little over a month’s time so now feels like an appropriate moment to get a lay of the land and run through the various Democratic candidates.[1]

Let me start off by stating that the past year has been little more an abject failure in local NYC politics and public administration. This city had a healthcare crisis where basic resources where horribly mismanaged and public officials stalled with panic while people lay dying. The city government urged everyone to stay inside and remain sedentary for nearly a year in a city already dealing with high obesity and poor health. City managers strangled the life out of our small businesses, 20% of which are estimated to be closed for good in my home borough of Brooklyn, while allowing “essential” chains and franchises to keep open. What the administration did was seemingly everything in its power to undercut the lifeblood of NYC – its people, its culture, and its small businesses – make no mistake people do not come here for Chipotle or Target or social isolation which they can get in Fishers, Indiana or Wilkes Barre, PA – these are not the things that make New York City special.

Given all this, I do not see how anyone can make the excuse to support a candidate even remotely tied to the political clusterfuck of the current city government. For that reason, I automatically disqualify Eric Adams, Kathryn Garcia, and Scott Stringer. In a city whose former mayor was openly bullied and taunted by NYPD officers and Police union heads – it is hard to believe that Adams who is a former cop and current Brooklyn borough president would do anything that could put him on the wrong side of the thin blue line. Kathryn Garcia was commissioner of the Department of Sanitation for 6 years ending in 2020 and Scott Stringer is in his 7th year as Comptroller. It is laughable to think in a city rightfully derided for its uncleanliness and the mismanagement of its budget and resources, that the two people who have spent the better half of a decade in charge of these areas feel they should steer the whole ship. The gall of all three of these individuals to throw their hat into the ring is revolting and insulting. For decades NYC politics has been besmirched by corruption and cronyism, where people gain by granting political favors over aiding in the well-being of their constituents and these three have spent their lives in this muck. Adams, Garcia, and Stringer believing they are entitled to run the city is both a slap in the face to every New Yorker and a promise of more of the same.

To run through the other candidates:

Maya Wiley is a former Civil Rights attorney who during her time to speak during the Democratic debate mentioned that one of the main actions of her administration would be dealing with “trauma” as a response to both our spike in crime and education reform. Her campaign website also lists “healing” as a way for us to create a “just and vibrant” school system. This sort of vacuous and performative sentimentalism is in my opinion a large part of why this city is rotting inside-out. Allowing politicians to get away with empty, coddling, and agreeable words that make everyone feel warm and fuzzy instead of taking actions. It’s why you have politicians using my tax dollars to spray #BlackLivesMatter on city streets while not prosecuting cops who run over and beat citizens.

Dianne Morales’ main plan to help small businesses and individuals experiencing financial hardship from either government fines and fees or economic woes is to give them more grants and checks - rather than simplifying or removing needless bureaucracy and allowing small businesses to open so people can actually make livings. One of the core tenants of Dianne’s campaign is “Dignity” where is the dignity of keeping individuals subjugated under the yoke of the city’s giant bureaucratic rats’ nest and at the same time trying to keep them quiet by giving them trivial handouts. Make no mistake it is nothing more than bread and circuses.

Andrew Yang – who looks oddly like Franklin the turtle – is a failed presidential nominee that figures he can settle for Mayor of a town he has “lived-in”[2] for 25 years but never actually voted in a local election for. His main points for helping bring NYC back to life – aside from a publicly run “people’s bank” that I am sure will work just as well as every other NYC government institution – is a scaled down version of his Universal Basic Income (UBI) idea that will give five-hundred thousand of the poorest New Yorkers a billion dollars a year – or put in more direct terms will give these individuals a whopping $167 a month. For what I believe these handouts represent please see my notes on Morales above. However, perhaps more remarkable is that in order to deal with the spike in crime, Yang wants to institute a snitch program with the NYPD where neighbors will give police a list of people likely to commit crimes. The suggestion of a city-wide, Minority Report-esque snitch program is that this city would benefit from the social overtones of a penal colony – where people look nervously over their shoulders hoping their own neighbors don’t rat them out. Snitch programs remove all dignity from an individual and absolve them of building community with their neighbors and instead turn everyone into opponents and mutual sniveling tattle-tales. I know we have become of a country of “see something say something” but we all deserve better.

Shaun Donovan is the former director of the OMB and HUD secretary under Obama. He is also being bankrolled by his father who skirted city fundraising rules and funded a PAC to assist his son. That is a pretty weak move in general but adds an extra zest to the overtone that some establishment politician feels that he can waltz in and use the same policies that haven’t worked for the past eight years under Mayor McCheese. Donovan also doesn’t really have eyebrows.

Ray McGuire – Is in my opinion the most agreeable of the candidates. He actually has a straightforward and fleshed-out plan for aiding small business and making home ownership affordable across income brackets in this city. His plan is detailed with exact action steps, most of which come primarily from reducing needless red tape and redundancy within the city government. If it sounds like I have found a favorite, you are right, but Raymond is far from perfect. For one he is a former corporate executive at Citibank and thus has a heavy second behemoth stench to him. I seriously worry that his institutional ties would lead him to continue the ritual sacrifice of New Yorkers to big business and larger institutions that has become the standard protocol of the mayor’s office. Ray also strangely looks like Franklin the Turtle in his own way and seems to bring an enthusiasm to potentially running the city that Eeyore has for playing with Pooh. Hopefully, someone hooks him up on the same amphetamines the handlers are pumping Joe Biden up with. But despite my worries his plan seems to be extremely small business focused and furthermore Jay-Z, Nas, and Diddy all endorsed him so I must give him the benefit of the doubt.

I don’t look across the field of candidates and gain an elated mood. In general, this election – like the national election – feels like we are choosing between a few burning bags of dogshit left on our property. Whichever candidate we feel is closest to things most important to us we will jump on top of – but the result will most likely leave us with a stinking, dirty feeling at the end. It is tough to see this city go through everything it has this past year; I only hope better days are on the horizon.

[1] I would list the republican candidates but this city has become such a performative partisan shitshow that I don’t want to waste your or my time.

[2] He has previously self-identified as bi-costal and spent large amounts of time in San Francisco