consider this to be anything other than a victory speech…We changed
the whole notion of what the Public Advocate’s office could be…It
doesn’t matter what the percentages are, we created a real debate
about what the Public Advocate’s office could be and we raised a lot
of important ideas…In case you didn’t hear, today the New York Parks
Department announced that they will be giving free Wi-Fi in most of
the city’s parks today.
This is just a beginning, and I have a lot of people to thank. I am
really humbled that so many people got behind me just four months
ago…And I want to especially thank my staff…
I don’t believe that one politician can solve the problems of 8
million people, but I can certainly buy everyone here a drink…let’s
drink to our future, let’s drink to our city’s future, and let’s
drink to the future of idea!”
I realized as I was walking into my neighborhood polling station,
that my name is being repeated thousands of times throughout the
city in every single voting booth and provisional ballot, or paper
ballot, and that the sheer privilege of being offered as a
representative to the citizens of New York is incredibly humbling.
Pulling the lever in the voting booth itself and watching a small X
appear next to my name, reminded me of all the other times I pulled
voting booth levers before, except for one major difference–this
time I actually believe in the candidate.
(So much for being humble, my anonymous blog editor just said to
Seriously though, I realize now more than ever how singularly
important each and every vote actually is. Not because that one vote
could swing an election, although ever since Florida 2000, we know
it can. (Especially if it’s the vote of a Supreme Court Justice.)
But because there is no greater way that an individual can affirm
what it means to participate in a democracy.
I am sorry that our political process is still somewhat archaic and
doesn’t allow voters to, for example, leave a comment or a statement
along with their vote. Imagine if we could that. It seems a little
too simple that in our day and age, all we can do is thumbs-up or
thumbs-down, when we have so many ways of expressing our choices and
opinions in every other arena.
In the end, that’s actually why I chose to enter this race, to point
to a more connected and interactive democracy, that I know will
eventually happen. Hopefully, sooner rather than later.
If there’s one thing this election has done for the office of public
advocate, it’s made it public again. For the past four years, Betsy
Gotbaum has been out of sight, and out of the minds of New Yorkers.
But no longer.
As anyone following this race knows, ever since people started
asking for her public schedule, she has refused to let the public
see where she’s going to be. First her staff said her schedule was
on the web. Then they said it was available by email. Neither
statement was true. Now, on the basis of her statements in both
televised debates, it appears she’s become even more reclusive: she
doesn’t want anyone to know where she’s been.
Who knows what she thinks she’s hiding…I mean, we already know what
she’s accomplished…oh wait…no we don’t! What has she accomplished?
Where has she been?
Now, if you ask Betsy these types of questions she tends to get a
bit…well…defensive. She’s got a whole list of excuses, but there’s
one that’s gotten more attention than the others. And it’s not that
she doesn’t want to release her schedule because it would reveal
that she hasn’t actually been doing anything for the past four
years. It’s that she can’t release her public schedule because she
Never mind that Newsday , The Daily News , and The New York Times
have all reported that the alleged “stalker” is a former social
worker named Tom Weiss. But if her security detail tells her that
she can’t reveal her schedule the day of an event, surely she would
be willing to reveal her schedule from the past , right? When Andrew
asked her this, Betsy barked back, “I’m not talking about the
security issue and my schedule anymore.” Her absence as Public
Advocate has caught the attention of Newsday columnist, Sheryl
Under Gotbaum, the office has fallen off the radar screen … many of
her concerns seem trivial …and I sometimes get the feeling that
Gotbaum is grasping for any issues she can find.
“I’m not talking about it anymore.” Is this really the type of
answer we want from our public servants? .
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