Monday, February 20, 2006

Shelly Who?

Thursday night, candidates running in the State Assembly special election on the Upper Westside faced each other at a forum at Goddard-Riverside. One audience member (why is everyone looking at me?) submitted the following question: “As a member of the Assembly, potentially, do you support the re-election of Sheldon Silver as Speaker? If so, why?” Or words to that effect. The crowd reacted with murmurs, suggesting this was an unfair question. However, if you believe Silver has been good for the City, it should be a snap to answer.

First to respond was Democrat Mike Lupinacci, who called Silver “an abomination,” and said “no,” to supporting Silver. (I actually enjoyed that answer, but it probably gave his campaign manager a heart attack). Second was Democrat Linda Rosenthal, who had previously made much of her work with the Democrat power structure, including Rep. Nadler, Borough Pres. Stringer, and Sen. Clinton. She said: “I don’t want to get personal. I’ve actually never really met the man.” She then offered some mild criticism of Silver, for not being as open as previous assembly leaders, but did not really address the question. The next candidate, Democrat Charles Simon, claimed to be too busy with his own campaign to think of such matters, and proceeded to change the subject. Finally, Republican Emily Csendes answered that as a Republican, she wouldn’t owe anything to Silver, and would not be supporting him.

So to recap, four candidates (three of which being Democrats), running in an overwhelmingly Democrat district, speaking before an audience that was more Democrat than Republican, were unable or unwilling to offer any positive justification for reelecting Silver as Speaker. I don’t understand why Republican candidates are reluctant to make support for the Silver regime more of an issue. Despite the other candidates’ lip-service, it was crystal clear Emily Csendes was the only candidate who would be willing and able to stand up for real reform in the Assembly. If you don’t live in her district, you can still send some green to the campaign here: