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Media should pay attention to politics, not sexual transgressions

August 16, 2013

By Tom Allon

It’s hard enough braving the wilting summer heat and standing at subway stations each morning shaking hands and passing out fliers. Then there are the endless public events and candidate forums that occupy every waking moment — when you’re not on the phone with potential donors pleading for money.

But perhaps the greatest ignominy heaped on the good citizens of New York running for public office in 2013 is that they are all being virtually ignored while the traveling Anthony Weiner circus and the occasional Eliot Spitzer caravan suck all the oxygen out of the political season.

There are two other important and competitive races going on: city public advocate and Manhattan borough president.

The public advocate is technically the second-highest office in the city and is akin to the vice president’s role in the federal government. If the mayor dies or is incapacitated, the public advocate ascends mayoralty.

As the first vice president, John Adams, famously said, “Today, I am nothing. Tomorrow, I may be everything.” Same is true of the public advocate, an otherwise toothless job with little staff.

But some people, such as Mark Green and Bill de Blasio, have used the office in the past to be a thorn in the mayor’s side and as a jumping-off point to launch a later campaign for mayor.

This year, four relatively unknown people are vying for this office: City Councilwoman Tish James (D-Brooklyn), state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D-Brooklyn) and two non-elected candidates, Reshma Saujani and Cathy Guererro.

Their debates and public policy ideas have largely been ignored by the mainstream media. All four are thoughtful and intelligent people who want to be one of the three top citywide officials in 2014, and it behooves us to start paying close attention.

One of them could, through succession or future elections, become mayor. No public advocate has yet moved up the ladder in city government, but that could change if de Blasio wins in November.

In the borough president’s race, there is a fascinating mix of geographically diverse candidates: Councilman Robert Jackson (D-Manhattan), Lower Manhattan’s former community board Chairwoman Julie Menin and Councilwomen Gale Brewer (D-Manhattan) and Jessica Lappin (D-Manhattan). Read more in the Times Ledger.

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