the Campaign Trail

In the months leading up to the citywide primary and general elections, the Times Newsweekly/Ridgewood Times will feature in this column press releases and statements sent by the campaigns of the candidates on the ballot.

The statements in this column do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Times Newsweekly/Ridgewood Times or its staff. Mud-slinging statements which include personal attacks on candidates are omitted.

Borough President’s Race Avella Blasts Mayor For Hiring Biz Friends

Senator Tony Avella criticized Mayor Bloomberg and his administration for their emails, released to the public yesterday, that sought support from celebrities for former Department of Education Chancellor Cathie Black.

When Cathie Black was first appointed in November 2010, Avella was the first public official in the State to request that the Commissioner of New York State Education Department deny Black the waiver necessary for someone to be appointed as Chancellor without having had educational experience.

Avella stated, “These emails show the great lengths that Mayor Bloomberg and his administration are willing to go in order to have his business friends and members of his social circle as part of his administration. These officials, while having deep business ties, often have no government experience or even real world experience in the agency they are supposed to lead. Cathie Black, whose lack of educational experience was well documented, is the perfect example. While there was no doubt that she is a qualified business professional, she was totally unqualified to lead the largest school system in the country.”

“The failure of the Cathie Black era was yet another example of the Mayor failing our school system by attempting to run it as a business,” concluded Avella.

City Council District 30 Race Caruana Critical Of Water Hike

City Council District 30 candidate submitted this op-ed for publication on the Times Newsweekly:

Last week, I attended the [Department of Environmental Protections’s] (DEP) public hearing on water rate increases with the Water Board and DEP Commissioner Carter Strickland.

“Unfortunately, the DEP announced they’re going to raise water rates for years to come. One of the primary causes of water rate increases is unfunded mandates handed down by the state and federal government to the DEP. These mandates caused the DEP to borrow money it didn’t have to fund expensive projects the city otherwise would not be engaged in. Over 40 percent of the DEP’s budget is now consumed by debt-services, basically paying interest back on the money owed.

“Politicians should be telling us this plain truth, instead of pretending to be surprised year after year.

“To alleviate some of the financial pain for New Yorkers, here are a few ideas that can be realistically accomplished and will at least begin a process that can lead to reduced water rates:

– “Publish in an easy-to-read format the mandates handed down by the state and federal government. We should hold politicians and state agencies accountable. If we knew where the mandates were coming from, we could bring public pressure to modify and rollback mandates, which caused the DEP to borrow so much money.

– “Publish projected water rate increases for the next few years so families can plan for the increases ahead of time. Make no mistake-the DEP is planning to raise water rates for the indefinite future. As citizens we should demand multi-year projections since the DEP knows for certain that water rates will increase.

– “After the election, the new Mayor and new City Councilmembers need to force city agencies to coordinate their activities in an effort to reduce cost of living in New York City.

“New York City residents should not be paying more money for the same product year after year. However, it’s not too late. If elected to the City Council, I will work with the Mayor and the City Council to push back against unwanted mandates and cut costs at the DEP. Together we can hold the line on water rates and help reduce the cost of living in New York City.”

Crowley Opposes Higher Water Rates

City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, who is running for re-election, submitted this statement to the Water Board:

“I write to express my opposition to the proposed 5.6 percent increase in New York City’s water rates. Increasing water rates is wholly unnecessary, and I call on the board to scrap this foolish plan immediately. The typical single family home already pays close to $900 a year in water rates, and total revenues are more than enough for the operating costs of New York City’s water system.

“Each year, the Department of Environmental Protection has managed to increase revenues on the backs of our working families. There are countless residents, businesses and property owners that do not pay into the water system and depend on the services of the DEP. However, the burden of funding the operating and capital costs falls largely on the backs of homeowners.

“These last few years, the cost of living, especially for homeowners, has been increasingly difficult. Every extra dollar residents have to give to the city matters. You might say it’s only five or six dollars more per month, but that’s critical money out of families’ budgets that can’t be saved or spent on the local economy.

“You must find a better way to fund your operations. Rhe City cannot continue to nickel and dime middle class families out of New York.”

For more information on voting or to obtain a voting registration application, contact the New York City Board of Elections at 1-212-VOTENYC or visit www.vote.nyc.ny.us.

Press representatives of candidates may send their information to this paper by fax to 1-718-456-0120 or e-mail to info@times newsweekly.com. All releases are subject to editing.

More from Around New York