By David Mark Greaves
A recent poll indicated that the majority of voter are still undecided in the NYC mayoral primary. This is understandable as all of the candidates tell you what they think you want to hear, and they all sound the same. To a person, they want affordable housing, health care for all, safe streets and a great education for the children. They all had loving parents or guardians who encouraged them with wonderful role modeling.
This is a race that should not be based on name recognition, ethnic, sexual or religious identities. What should be the deciding factor is how much has the candidate already been involved with and worked on issues facing the city. Using that metric as a guide, there are only three truly qualified candidates for the job, and with ranked choice voting you can pick all three and use your fourth and fifth choices for your tribal pick.
Here are the Our Time Press ranked-choice candidates.
Number one: Eric Adams. He already has intimate knowledge of what the diversified constituents of what would be the fourth largest city in the country want and need. He has been a beat cop who rose to the rank of captain. With policing have such an outsized day-to-day influence on the city, having a mayor who was a founder of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement who Care has to be another plus. As a former State Senator, he knows the workings of the politics in Albany. In education and health, he has installed computer labs, hydroponics, and healthy eating programs in schools. Note to our first choice: Do not campaign as though you are entitled to the job and do not attack your opponents. Those are turnoffs for both your base and independent voters.
Number two: Scott Stringer. As the current comptroller he knows the city’s finances better than anyone else in the race. This is particularly important with the financial stress the city is facing as we work our way through the coronavirus pandemic. As a former State Assemblyman and Manhattan Borough President, he has experience in a range of city issues second only to BP Adams.
Number three: Shaun Donovan. With his deep experience as a former Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multi-family Housing at HUD and as acting FHA Commissioner, Donovan has an understanding about the housing issues facing New York City and the bureaucracy around them that no one else in the race can touch.
That the polling suggests that Stringer and Donovan are
lumped in with the other candidates indicates that people have not yet focused on the race. When it comes to the hands-on experience of critical issues in New York, the other candidates may mean well, but are far out of their league. Campaigns based on good intentions, name recognition, and tribal identities are not good enough.
As powerful as candidates Donovan and Stringer are, they represent the kinds of skill sets that a Mayor Eric Adams would call upon to work with in the running of the city. Former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia and Maya Wiley, former counselor for Mayor de Blasio, director of the city’s Minority/Women Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) program and former head of the Civilian Complaint Control Board, would also be in that category.
This is not to suggest that other candidates do not have good ideas that could be implemented in any new administration. Andrew Yang’s People’s Bank of NYC has wonderful possibilities and fits in with Ray McGuire’s Comback Bank Initiative that would do the work the major banking institutions haven’t done.
Kathryn Garcia’s Climate Change initiatives are exciting and doable in an Adams administration. They include, moving to a fully renewable energy economy, maximizing offshore wind generation and distributed solar power, expanding the protected bike lane network by 250 miles, greening every school roof, electrifying 10,000 school buses and much, much more.
Dianne Morales wants to defund and decrease NYPD’s power by removing them from schools and traffic enforcement. This could be augmented by Adams’ insider’s knowledge of the desk jobs throughout the department that do not require a gun and body armor and that civilians can handle at much lower pay while at the same time putting officers on the street where they belong.
Our final suggestion here is not to buy the hype. Look at what they’ve done, not what they promise to do because talk is as cheap as an email blast. Former Mayor John Lindsey called being mayor of New York, “The second toughest job in America.” Pick the candidates who have had skin in the game and not someone who needs on-the-job training.
Having said all of that, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg is an example of someone coming from another industry who went on to become a three-term mayor. However, his entrepreneurial skills and experience in founding and building a multi-billion-dollar company left the city with the poor being poorer, and the rich being richer.
We need someone who knows the streets of the city, is human-centered and is ready to build from the bottom up. For us, Eric Adams is that candidate.