Tag Archives: David Patterson

Rochester’s Mayoral Race: Why do Strong Personality Types Make Us Crazy?

There are two major parties in Rochester: the Democrats and the Republicans. No other party has won a mayor’s race here that I know of. At least, not in my lifetime. And really, its just the Democratic Party if we’re being honest. Republicans don’t seem to have run very good candidates and they’ve failed pretty miserably.

So, when into the confusion left in the wake of Mayor Duffy walks former Mayor Johnson, the outcome should be simple: split the party, even if he gets the nomination, and the Republican wins. Hell, there might even be a shot for an entirely different party to win. But that’s probably not going to happen: with Mayor Johnson’s strong personality and connection to his constituency, he’s very likely going to win.

And that just makes me wonder about personality types in politics in general, how they affect the voters and how they affect the opposition parties. And by “strong personality,” I don’t mean “good candidate” or “good at the job given,” though we can fairly say Mayor Johnson was both of those. I mean that whether we’re talking about Bush vs. Clinton, Bush vs. Gore, Bush vs. Kerry, Lazio vs. Spitzer or I am sure many other examples, it seems like not only does the electorate respond favorably to a personality that leaves them with a strong opinion – even a negative one – but the opposition party always seems to react to that personality, ending up with sort of a Bizzaro Candidate that leaves the voters flat.

In the case of the opposition party, I think maybe they feel the need to run a candidate who answers the questions Type A Candidate raises. If Type A spends too much, Candidate B talks about fiscal responsibility. If Type A has rough sex with hookers, Candidate B has to raise a moral flag. That is, of course, in reference to Spitzer, who didn’t run for reelection. But the Republican candidate Paladino was I think more of a response to Spitzer than to Patterson.

What about the electorate? Political parties make decisions based on political tactics, even if they’re losing ones. But what drives us to vote for someone we distrust over someone who, I presume, seems a little flat? Bill Clinton’s sexual appetite was already pretty established by 1992 and we didn’t care. It was still an issue – though the Lewinsky thing hadn’t broken yet – in 1996 and we still didn’t care. His poll numbers remained relatively high even after the scandal, while his personal approval rating dipped.

I’d be very interested in hearing your thoughts on this. Is it just calculation? Was it really just the economy (“stupid”) that buoyed Clinton, or something else?

Rosemary Rivera on Patterson’s New Budget

Please take a moment to say hello to the newest member of the DFE blogging community, Rosemary Rivera. Rosemary is a long time advocate for education parity and health care issues in our community. I met her a few years ago when she was working for Metro Justice on educational issues and I was exploring Clean Money, Clean Elections. I’ve finally talked her into blogging on the site, so this is a big thrill for me.

Her first piece does a pretty good job of laying out the challenges facing Rochester and New York State as they relate to the currently proposed Patterson budget which taxes everything under the sun. She points out that in a world of crappy options for New York, taxing soda and movies is probably not the best option. There’s some great numbers breakdowns in there as well.

Get Out Your Dancing Shoes

Jon Greenbaum posts this morning on the party millionaires have been having on Wall Street and the “shared sacrifices” Governor Patterson now expects the rest of us to swallow:

Governor Paterson is confronted with a $15 billion deficit and is talking about shared sacrifice. He is asking us to tighten our belts, proposing $2.5 billion in cuts from our children’s classrooms (on top of reneging on a court ordered increase of $1.9 billion in education funding the Governor is proposing and additional $700 million in education cuts).

But not everybody will feel the burden of these budget cuts in the same way. The cuts will have a disproportionate impact on upstate residents with low incomes and people of color. But aside from a symbolic gesture of taxing things like furs and jets, the Governor is not proposing that the wealthiest New Yorkers step up to pay their fair share.

I’m still having a hard time understanding why people keep calling Patterson a progressive. No progressive in his right mind would insist on VAT taxes – which are inherently regressive, hitting lower incomes harder – instead of what is logical: an income tax policy more in line with the rest of the country.

Patterson Bows to Pressure, Goes Regressive

I guess I don’t understand how the idea of an income tax hike is so onerous to a supposedly progressive politician that he chooses the path of regressive use taxes as a means to avoid one.

I don’t have much else to say on the matter except to point out for those who don’t know what a regressive tax is that a $45 charge on renewing your license plates is going to be a much bigger chunk out of the budget of a guy making $20k than it is out of a guy making 200k.

Granted, we didn’t really elect the guy and the guy we did elect was too busy getting rough sex out of hookers to bother governing. But I guess I would have expected better.

Someone Else’s Money

Governors and Mayors of various cities and states across the U.S. are testifying before Congress on the need or lack thereof for a stimulus package to help aid the struggling governments.  In particular, our own Governor Patterson is testifying along with Republican governor Sanford of North Carolina.  I couldn’t help noticing this:

The New York governor reiterated statements he made Tuesday: that his state faces a $47 billion deficit by 2012 because of overspending, the Wall Street meltdown and the recession. He repeated his projection that 160,000 New Yorkers will lose their jobs as a result of the recent downturn.

. . . .

Rangel and other committee members grilled Sanford for opposing a federal stimulus package, saying that the economy needs a federal cash injection. But Sanford said that states and municipalities should take responsibility for their own financial affairs, making budget cuts instead of relying on federal support.

“Its always easier to spend somebody else’s money,” said Sanford.

Ah, indeed.  Someone else’s money.  So, here’s a question: how much federal tax money – originating from New York on Wall Street – was used to clean up how many hurricanes in North Carolina?  Just asking.

Is There IDA Change in the Wind?

Jon Greenbaum, intrepid blogger for DFE and organizer for Metro Justice, checks in with a discussion of the reform prospects for Industrial Development Agencies this year.  I certainly hope he’s right that reform might be possible this year.  Trouble is: politicians have a very, very hard time letting go of their cash cows, and unregulated free tax write-offs for companies that build their businesses locally are a big, fat-old cash cow.

Spitz Quitz

Eliot Spitzer is going to be making an announcement at 11:30am this morning, in just a few scant minutes.  13WHAM.com will be streaming the video live, so those of you at work, now is the time to goof off for the good of our state.  Also, Evan Dawson follows up on the blog with reaction from Joe Morelle.  Joe wants (as I think we all do) a statement from our new governor, David Patterson, post haste.