2009-09-23 / Political Page

President Made The Right Move In Trying To Dump Paterson

As we see it, President Barack Obama's efforts to convince Governor David Paterson not to run for election next year was the proper political decision in view of the governor's consistently poor performance in polls over a period of time.

The president's frankness and honest efforts and implications that state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo should be the man to run for governor in Paterson's place also make up the right move for the Democratic Party.

There should be no equivocation on these moves if the Democrats are to remain in power in New York state and that is why the president should be commended for his openness in dealing with such a sensitive subject.

In fact, Obama could be said to have been forced into making the move, given the facts the Democrats have been faced with in recent months.

As Paterson's popularity has plunged steadily over a period of months, the Republicans have moved with alacrity to firm up their position and be ready to make their best effort if the opportunity presents itself.

Although factions in the Democratic Party have made it known that in their collective judgment Paterson should step aside and let Cuomo be the candidate, Paterson has refused to accept the reality of the situation and give up what is surely a lost cause for him.

The president's frankness and honest efforts and implications that state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo should be the man to run for governor in Paterson's place also make up the right move for the Democratic Party. The president's frankness and honest efforts and implications that state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo should be the man to run for governor in Paterson's place also make up the right move for the Democratic Party. At the same time, the Republicans have cleaned house at the statewide level, elected a new state chairman and are wasting no time trying to line up the strongest possible candidates for governor and New York Senator. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Governor George Pataki would make a menacing ticket against Paterson and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

Despite this, Paterson has shown no signs of moving out, but Obama and his advisers have seen how real the GOP threat is. Moving quickly, the president made it known they wanted no challengers to Gillibrand and they stopped several would-be Gillibrand opponents in their tracks.

It should have come as no surprise that the president's next move would be to get Paterson to come around to his point of view. Paterson is still reluctant to give up the fight despite a series of developments earlier this week. But once these forces are set in motion, there'll be no turning back. Fundraising sources will abruptly dry up for Paterson and he'll find it harder and harder to deal with Washington.

Wisely, Obama made his move with little time to spare. Next year's political calendar will be upon us before we know it. Both parties are aware of this, too. For the Democrats, everything is now in place for Cuomo to top the ticket with Gillibrand already established as the Senate candidate. Most Democrats of any importance see eye to eye with Obama. It should be apparent to Paterson he's lost this fight and should try to salvage something for himself and bow out gracefully.

For the Republicans, Giuliani has been dawdling long enough and should make a decision soon.

GOOD TIMES FOR MARK

WEPRIN: The transformation of Mark Weprin from Assemblymember to Councilmember was just about completed last Tuesday as Weprin easily won the 23rd Council District primary last Tuesday and is assured of election because he has no opposition in November.

A few days later, he learned that Governor David Paterson had signed into law his bill to create a $3 million biotech tax credit for New York City.

Weprin had collaborated with Council Speaker Christine Quinn on the bill, which will encourage small biotech companies to bring jobs, innovation and new technology to New York City.

"The tax credit will spur growth in an exciting new industry that has tremendous potential," Weprin, who chairs the Small Business Committee, said.

Weprin's career as an Albany legislator has stretched over more than a decade. He decided to take the council seat when his brother, David opted out of running for another term and ran for city comptroller instead. David Weprin lost that race last Tuesday.

CROWLEY HAILS HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH: Hispanic Heritage Month 2009 is set to run from September 15 to October 15 and Congressmember Joseph Crowley (D- Queens/The Bronx) feels there should be special pride in celebrating it this year.

"We helped to raise the first Latina U.S. Supreme Court Justice, our own Judge Sonia Sotomayor," he noted. "Her swearing-in just a few weeks ago was a tremendous moment for New York and the nation and we should continue to celebrate this achievement throughout the year."

GENNARO: EMPTY TRASH BINS DAILY: Noting that "one unfortunate constant in New York City is the blight of overflowing litter baskets", City Councilmember James Gennaro (D- Fresh Meadows) has introduced a bill which mandates the Sanitation Department to empty streetside baskets at least once a day.

Despite getting an additional $4 million for Queens trash collections, Gennaro said Sanitation has reduced the service. He was joined in his call for more service by state Senator Toby Stavisky, and Assemblymembers Mark Weprin and Rory Lancman.

BILL TARGETS DRUNK DRIVERS: The state senate has passed a bill requiring anyone convicted of DWI to blow into a device which, if it shows a driver is drunk, will prevent a car from starting. Offenders would have to pay to have an ignition interlock device installed. There are sufficient votes to pass the bill in the Assembly, senate sources said.

BETTER NABE GRANTS AVAILABLE: The Citizens Committee for New York City is offering grants from $500 to $3,000 to grassroots community groups in economically under-resourced neighborhoods to foster community improvements, Assemblymember Audrey Pheffer announced. The grants are available for local volunteer community groups and public school-based student groups working to improve the quality of life in neighborhoods and schools across the city, Pheffer (D- Ozone Park) said.

The deadline for 2009 fall grants is September 30. For spring 2010 grants, it's next March 14. To contact the committee, call 212-989-0909 or visit www.citizensnyc.org/grants.

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