"Debate" between Council Speaker Candidates

<p>[l:http://www.citizensunion.org|Citizens Union] and a bunch of other goo-go groups hosted what was supposed to be a civic discussion or debate between the seven declared candidates for city council speaker. IN NYC the council is a body of 51 members who each represent about 150k voters (could be more, could be less based upon the immigrant/citizen split), and the speaker is elected by his or her peers. Since term limits kicked in we have had one council speaker, Giff Miller, and the next speaker will only be around for one term unless term limits are changed (which all seven declared candidates would at least look into doing).</p>
<p>What was really dissapointing about this event was that for the most part it became a policy debate with 60 second sound bite answers from the participants who generally agreed on everything. What I really wanted to see, and what i imagine other members of the council would have wanted was to see some indication of why any candidate would have been better than any ohter at LEADING the council. And I am talking about some indication beyond platitudes about lessons learned as a child growing up in NY, or committment to public service.</p>
<p>The council consists of 51 elected officials, 48 are democrats. Rather than 15 minutes of short answers from each participant, i woud have rather heard 2 or 3 statements about how the candidate would bring together the council and lead the body in a fair and effective way so as to better serve the people of NY and provide a legislative counterweight to the strong executive system we have that gives so much power to the mayor.</p>
<p>The only candidates to really come close to providing indications of how they would lead were Bill de Blasio and Christine Quinn.</p>
<p>I'll probably go into more detail about the substance and stances on issues in a later post (i took notes for the first half) but i will mention one or two things of note here: During a "lightning round" of yes/no questions all 7 candidates answerd "No" with no further comment to the question of whether they would support non-citizen voting. My heart sunk for Ron Hayduk (who was in the room) who has worked for years [l:http://www.immigrantvoting.org/material/about.html|writing about the subject] and is a personal friend.</p>
<p>Also interesting was the way candidates named specific council members in their answers. It seemed to me like they were telegraphing their supporters to others in the audience. But i could be wrong.</p>

Discover more from Gregory Heller

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading