Pigs, Candidates, Guns & Things That Don’t Fly
By MICHAEL SCHENKLER
Mayor Mike’s Legacy
For the most part, I’ve been a Mike Bloomberg fan. He has brought to government an independence from party politics as usual that is fresh and clean – emphasis on the clean. That does not mean he is not without baggage or fault. That does not mean I haven’t disagreed with him.
Specifically, in my opinion, the term limit override decision was his most egregious error. It also, from a legacy point of view, hurt significantly. He shouldn’t have done it and third terms are always a negative in popularity polls. He’ll still go down as one of the greats and although his “nannyesque” persona bothers the heck out of me, I admire his devotion to improving the health of our city. However, I don’t like him inside my refrigerator when I close the door – and does the light really go out then?
Seriously, agree, disagree, or debate the issues, Mike Bloomberg looks out for his city and its people. But he goes further than that. He is a national figure – and no, I no longer expect him to be a candidate on the national stage – and he and his foundation (read wealth) will continue to be able to set and influence the national agenda.
While anti-smoking, anti-transfats, anti-sugar and other health initiatives are sure to distinguish Mayor Mike from the rest, I believe his biggest contribution to our nation and our society will likely be his anti-gun (or pro gun control) crusade.
I applaud him for calling out both presidential candidates for their failure to take a position after each of the latest armed, crazy massacres.
It is my hope for the future of our nation that when 2013 becomes 2014, former Mayor Mike Bloomberg and his foundation and network are dedicated to being the voice of reason responding to the NRA and the right-wing, that somehow believe the Second Amendment gives license to each of us to keep assault weapons under our beds.
The Second Amendment to the constitution reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
It can be interpreted in many ways. It is Mike Bloomberg’s voice which I hope will be heard by the 50 states, the Congress of the United States, the courts of our land when regulating guns nationwide and respecting (or changing) our constitution.
I can think of no greater contribution one could make for our collective futures.
I hope that will be Mike Bloomberg’s true legacy.
Sure, the 2013 Mayoral race has gotten lots of press, but I have really not focused on it. I have some friends and some acquaintances among the present group of six candidates: Former Comptroller Bill Thompson, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Manhattan Beep Scott Stringer, Comptroller John Liu and fellow publisher Manhattan Media’s Tom Allon.
To date, none of the six has caught fire. As a matter of fact, none of the six Dems have ignighted enough interest to convince us that a little more than a year out, someone else can come along and claim the crown – from either party.
The Republicans flirted with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and now my old friend Gristides and Red Apple Holding Corp billionaire John Castimetedis is toying with a G.O.P. run.
On the Dem side, this column among many others has suggested the former Congressman Anthony Weiner may be able to come back from his sex Twitter scandal and regain his frontrunner status he had before sexting. And then there is Alec Baldwin, the Long Island born and raised, “30 Rock” star, at times bad boy of the New York entertainment scene who has been flirting with politics as long as he’s been flirting with women. But alas, neither are candidates – at the moment.
The biggest challenge for someone new to jump into the race is the constantly-decreasing amount of time to raise enough money to “max-out” with matching funds and be competitive financially.
Weiner has already raised and banked enough to max-out and Baldwin travels in the right circles to fund a campaign quickly.
Could someone else come along and jump in the race and be competitive?
If they could self-fund like Mike Bloomberg, certainly, there’s plenty of time. If they have to raise the money, you can expect them to declare their intent before Barack Obama is reelected President.
And if I were a betting man, I’d say there was at least a 25 percent chance of the next Mayor of New York not being on the list of declared candidates mentioned in the first paragraph of this item.
I’m not betting, but I am looking outside the box.
This Little Piggy
This past weekend, quite eloquently, the NY Post made a point with its lead, “Bacon is back,” in a story titled: “NY State Senate funding $31M in pet projects despite pledge to end pork-barrel spending.”
“Pols are quietly pigging out on $31 million worth of new pet projects — despite a 2010 pledge that pork-barrel spending was done for good, the Post has learned,” it went on to explain.
“On June 21, in the last minutes of the legislative session, the State Senate awarded cash to more than 130 projects through a $350 million capital-spending allowance created in 2008 that’s administered by the Dormitory Authority and Empire State Development Corp.”
And if your state senator is not in the papers complaining, on tv yelling, and writing scathing op-eds against the corrupt and corrupting hidden members items, the are part of the problem.
Incumbents – even the good ones – seem to quickly take the path of least resistance in Albany. They go along, to get along. Or worse, they go along to gorge themselves. Those who play ball with leadership are quickly rewarded with staff, committee assignments, lulus, stipends and member items of their own. And friend, as much as you like your electeds, they are part of a very big problem in Albany.
Andrew Cuomo has come along and his effectiveness has given the nation’s most dysfunctional legislature a bit of a better name. Your legislator, the legislature and its leadership and each and every member deserve no credit.
When the Post which quotes a legislative source saying, “It’s a classic Albany shell game,” can no longer break stories about $31 million in hidden “pet projects” or “member items” because those Senators who don’t approve stand up and shout, we will be on the way to fining Senators worth keeping and a sign of improvement in Albany.
Until then, the only answer is to throw all the bums out.
Queens Trib Cartoonist Search
Do You Cartoon?
Do you draw?
Do you think?
Are you clever?
For well over a decade, Dominick Nunziato has been creating the cartoons for this page and QConfidential (page 34). Dom has had other strange diversions in addition to his real job: a sports cartoonist, creating musical parody animations, a weekly rant, while being a wonderful father to two beautiful girls and a loving husband.
I guess it’s Dom’s old age that has pushed him into retirement but he’s giving up his crayons and computer ad making way for the next Queens cartoon talent.
Editorial cartoons are a time-honored way to inform and entertain a newspaper audience. Do you have what it takes?
Beginner or professional, send us your drawings – electronically at MSchenkler@Gmail.com.
We’re looking for fill-in cartoons until we find the next Dom and we’re looking for the next Dom. If you’re clever, talented, politically aware, Queens knowledgeable, follow the news and have two cartoons a week in you. Cartoons submitted become the property of the Queens Tribune and may be published in the paper and online. Dom got a small stipend; there could be one for you.