November 2008
Agenda for Action! Election Issue

NOVEMBER 2008 ELECTION ISSUE
Obama Yes!

Americans for Democratic Action believes that the choice for president this year could not be clearer.  Senator Barack Obama would move us forward together.  Senator John McCain would continue the failed, unprincipled and uncaring policies of the Bush administration.

Senator Obama offers assistance to working families hurt by the Bush recession.  Obama offers tax cuts for the middle class.  His health care plan would guarantee health insurance for all children and would make affordable health insurance available to all others.  He will restore America’s image abroad. 

Senator McCain is an unrepentant supporter of the war in Iraq.  He also supports the “trickle down” economics of President Bush and wants to privatize Social Security.  He opposes marriage rights for gay couples, equal pay for women and a woman’s right to choose.  He has promised to appoint Supreme Court Justices who will overturn Roe vs, Wade, Brown vs. Board of Education and other civil rights decisions.

Senator Obama has a lifetime ADA voting record of 95%.  Senator McCain’s lifetime ADA voting record is 13.4%.

ADA has mobilized thousands of Americans in 18 battleground states to understand the issues and to bring out the voters – the elderly, the young, union members, and women and men.  We must make our voices heard.  We must elect Barack Obama President.

Improving the NYS Legislature

Several years ago, the Brennan Center at the New York University Law School called the New York State Legislature “dysfunctional.”  They were right then.  They are right now!

Why?  There are a lot of reasons. One of the most significant is that for years the Democrats have controlled the Assembly and the Republicans have controlled the State Senate.  Most of the time they cannot agree on the agenda, much less the budget or other important bills like a meaningful minimum wage.  

This up-coming election can begin the process of change.  We have a Democratic Governor and an Assembly controlled by the Democrats.  And, we are just two votes away from taking control of the Senate.

NYC ADA has endorsed two City Council members – Joseph Addabbo Jr. who is running against incumbent Republican Senator Serphin Maltese in the 15th Senatorial District and James Gennaro running against Frank Padavan in the 11th District.

Maltese, 75, a 10 term incumbent, narrowly won the seat in 2005 in a district that is more than 2-1 Democratic.  Maltese says he has received more than $220,000 from the GOP. 

Addabbo,  a life long resident of Ozone Park, advocates a three point health care plan.  He serves on the City Council  Government Operations, Criminal Justice, Public Safety and Parks Committees.  He’s been endorsed by a host of unions – including the Amalgamated Transit, Communication Workers, Painters, Iron Workers, Musicians, Plumbers and RWDSU local unions. Non profit advocacy groups including the Empire State Pride Agenda, NAAL, Planned Parenthood and Stonewall Democratic Club have also endorsed him.

Padavan, 75, has been in the State Senate since 1972 and currently serves as Vice President Pro-Tempore of that body.  In 2004 he was appointed to co-chair the Task Force on Government Reform. He’s served as Chair of several other Committees and has been a popular elected official in his District.

Gennaro, 51, his Democratic opponent, is a geologist and former adjunct professor at Queens College.  Currently Chair of the Council’s Environmental Protection Committee, he also serves on the Public Safety and Sanitation Committees. Gennaro has fought Mayor Bloomberg’s increase in water rates, arguing that funds would go to the City’s General Fund without benefiting the City’s rate-paying water users. He’s also fought efforts to drill for natural gas in upstate areas which would contaminate the City’s water supply.

ENDORSED GENERAL ELECTION CANDIDATES – NOVEMBER 2008

 

Assembly

 

State Senate

District

 

District

 

 

 

 

 

22nd

Grace Meng
Ellen Young (WF)

3rd

 

Brian Foley
Cesar Trunzo (R)

 

 

11th

James Gennaro (D)
Frank Padavanz (R)*

40th

Inez Barron**
Ken Walayn

15th

 Joe Addabbo(D)
Serphin Maltese (R)*

64th

Sheldon Silver*
Daniel Maio

16th

Toby Ann Stavisky*
Robert Schwartz (R)

72nd

Adriano Espaillat*
William Burran

21st

Kevin Parker*
Glenn Nocera (R)

79th

 

Michael Benjamin*
Sigfredo Gonzalez

25th

Daniel Squadron
John G. Chromczak

 

 

28th

Liz Kruger*
Tim Brown

 

*Incumbent
Endorsed in bold

33rd

Ephraim Gonzalez*
William Sullivan

Congressional Endorsements

New York City has13 members in the House of Representatives.  Of these, 12 are Democrats and one, Vito Fossella (13CD), is a Republican.  Fossella has a lifetime ADA Voting Record of 10.5%.  This time around, Robert Stranieri is the Republican candidate in the District. The Democratic and Working Families Party candidate in the District is Michael McMahon, a member of the New York City Council.  The New York City ADA Board has endorsed McMahon and 10 Democratic incumbents based on their lifetime Voting Records. All candidates have opposition except Greg Meeks. Endorsed candidates are:

District    Endorsed Candidate    Lifetime ADA Voting Record

5th              Gary Ackerman                                    89.8%
6th              Gregory Meeks                                    89.0%
7th              Joseph Crowley                                   91.6%
8th              Jerrold Nadler                                       98.3%
9th              Anthony Wiener                                    95.5%
12th            Nydia Velazquez                                    96.3%
13th            Michael McMahon                                 --------
14th            Carolyn Maloney                                    94.0%
15th            Charles Rangel                                       94.25%
16th            Jose Serrano                                          94.0%
17th            Eliot Engel                                                93.17%

 

Term Limits
A Third Term for Mayor Bloomberg? No!

New York City ADA opposed passage of term limits which limited the tenure of the Mayor, Borough Presidents and City Council members to two terms in the 1993 referendum.  We supported repeal of term limits in the 1996 referendum.  We were in the minority both times.  Still, we oppose term limits.

We believed then, and we believe now, that voters should not be deprived of the opportunity to support the candidate they prefer.  But the people of New York City have spoken twice in referenda.  It may be legal for the City Council to change the term limits from two terms to three as Mayor Bloomberg and a number of City Council members who are nearing the end of their second term suggest.  It may be legal – but it won’t be right.

After September 11th Rudy Giuliani campaigned to have term limits overturned.

Mayor Giuliani maintained that in that crisis a third term for him was necessary. Now, Michael Bloomberg also maintains that in this international fiscal crisis a third term for him as Mayor is necessary.

New York City Americans for Democratic Action urges the City Council to reject the proposed legislation which would permit a third term for the Mayor and Council members.  We also urge the Council members to support a referendum on this issue.

School Governance

New York City ADA on October 15, 2008 testified before the New York State Senate Democratic Task Force on School Governance about the 2009 expiration of the NYC Education and Reform Accountability Act. 

Although we supported Mayoral retention of control over the public schools, we proposed “basic changes in the system’s operations – both in substance and style.” We rejected the current system’s organization as “a business led by a non-educator without class room teaching experience who does not understand that students are not inputs and that teaching and learning are not commodities.”  We also opposed the “emphasis on standardized tests and the exclusion of parents and community from the decision-making process.”  We proposed that “reauthorization legislation require that the Chancellor be an educator rather than a lawyer or business person” and that there be “statutory provision for effective parent and community involvement”.

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