Recent headlines proclaimed Gov. David Patterson said New York state is on the brink of bankruptcy and 100,000 New Yorkers signed a petition opposing the mandatory purchase requirement of new car license plates in 2010, whether needed or not.
This is only the tip of the iceberg of a dysfunctional Albany, where elected officials remain silent as Rome burns. In my recent City Council campaign in the 23rd District, I brought these issues to the attention of voters before they began reading about them in newspapers. To make matters worse, after the state Legislature voted to require the purchase of new plates, it increased their cost by 67 percent. This was done in a year in which most folks are facing the worst economic challenge in a lifetime.
When the budget called out for real reform, we got one with a 10 percent increase in spending paid for by a slew of taxes and nuisance fees that have made it tough for average families to make ends meet.
It is time for voters to wake up and begin to make choices about who they elect to represent them. We need candidates who will not be afraid to speak out and challenge the leadership of their party. After Councilman-elect Mark Weprin is sworn into office in January, the governor will call for a special election to replace him in the 24th Assembly District.
I ask voters to think before casting their votes in the special election that will most likely take place in February. Candidates like me will never shy away from challenging party leaders and will never be part of the politics-as-usual crowd.
For that reason, it is unlikely the county Democratic organization would give me its designation, even though I am a life-long Democrat and have received the highest vote percentage in Queens of any candidate who ran against an incumbent in the recent Council elections. But getting along and toeing the line is what party leaders prefer in their candidates.
Unfortunately, that is the recipe that got us to where we are today. The time to bring an end to a dysfunctional Albany and politics-as-usual is in your hands. How you use that vote will determine if we succeed or not.
Glen Oaks Village