Monday, November 1, 2010

Global Review Endorsements: New York Local

Following up on Saturday's endorsements in high-profile New York state races, here are endorsements in Rochester's elections, and principals for voting in legislative and court races throughout New York.
  • County Court: Global Review does not believe that judges should be elected. They ought to be insulated from public opinion because judicial decisions are narrow by nature. A ruling that is unfair to one person may be very popular generally. But judges are elected in New York, and to abstain in all races is to give the power of their appointment simply to other voters. Thus, a rule of thumb is to vote for incumbents when possible, and to abstain on open races unless there are pressing reasons to select one over another. In Monroe County, only one incumbent is running - Kelly C. Wolford (D). Global Review endorses Judge Wolford, and refers readers to the D&C's excellent endorsement page for a more opinionated take.
  • New York Senate: The sitting senators belong to the most dysfunctional deliberative body in America. Since all of the Senators supported their respective parties in the embarrassing standoff last year, instead of seeking compromise, all of them deserve to be fired. A randomly selected group of New Yorkers couldn't do a worse job if they tried. Vote agains the incumbant, and in favor of his Republican or Democratic challenger in every race. The D&C agrees with me on all counts except Robach (R) v. Wilt (D), in which it refuses to endorse either one.
  • New York Assembly: The Assembly is little better, and is under the heavy thumb of Shel Silver. Even in one-party rule they have failed to balance budgets - often failing even to pass budgets - and failed to change the culture of politics-uber-alles that prevails in Albany. Worse still, all but 12 New York Assemblyman come from uncompetitive districts, and Democratic Speaker Sheldon Silver refuses to give up the power to draw these uncompetitive lines. Global Review endorses Republicans across the board. Until Democrats agree to basic reforms, like allowing Assembly members to bring legislation to a vote, ousting Silver is the #1 priority. The D&C agrees with this prioritazation, although it is less categorical in its endorsements.
What has this exercise in endorsement taught us? All politics is national (or, at least, statewide). The most important vote a U.S. Rep casts is for Speaker of the House; the most important vote an Assembly member casts is for or against Silver. The main issues facing the legislature dwarf the small-caliber local conflicts or expertise of the candidates, who will spend most of their careers saying "aye" or "nay" to the central leadership.

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