Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Hot Seat

I do not care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members.
-- Groucho Marx (1890 - 1977)

The major candidates have been making the rounds downtown and of the offices that are up for grabs, only the District one City Council seat is hot and about to get much hotter.
Alan Gerson is running again since term-limits were extended, allowing Bloomberg to again run for Mayor. More than a few people had difficulty trying to figure out why Mike did not simply hold another referendum considering the fact that he really had the support of many New Yorkers.

The politics of the decision to take the City Council route to approve his third term run may never be fully understood – given the fact that his very well paid campaign staff had to have known that this method of succeeding opened a chasm between the Mayor and the people, perhaps unnecessarily.
The real damage, however, was done to politicians who were supporters of the Bloomberg plan and which also benefited themselves. The Mayor will survive very well, thank you. That’s not necessarily true for those who supported the plan in the City Council against the wishes of many in the community.

This brings us to the City Council seat race, which Gerson currently holds. The main challengers to Gerson are Pete Gleason and Margaret Chin. Chin is an activist whose greatest support comes from the Chinatown community and Gleason’s strength is stronger with unions, firefighters, police as well as growing sections of Greenwich Village and SoHo.
What is significant is that Gerson only narrowly won the support of VRDC, his own Democratic Club on a second ballot. For a challenger, Gleason clearly has turned the tables on Gerson and the upcoming D.I.D. vote may be a significant indicator of which direction this race may go.
Chin needs to break out of the perception of provincialism and Gleason needs to raise a lot more cash. If these things occur, it may become a wide-open 3-way Council race.

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