When does a small-government conservative Republican with a strong libertarian, laissez faire approach to business, want to impose a new mandate on the private sector?
When he can’t get gas to fill up his sweet white Jag, that’s when!
At least that’s the case, at least on the surface, with City Councilman Dan Halloran, who just ran a campaign for Congress at least as conservative when it comes to business as the one run by Mitt Romney for president.
Halloran supports mandating that gas stations in the city all have backup generators, so in case of blackouts like the ones Hurricane Sandy just caused, there won’t be another gas crisis to follow. It’s an idea floated by Mayor Bloomberg, whom Halloran often mocks for his tendencies toward nanny statism.
Not this time. Halloran says an electric generator mandate “seems a no-brainer.” Keeping the fuel flowing would help not just the public but also the gas station owners, he asserted on Monday.
“As I said weeks ago, we can’t afford another gas shortage like this again,” the Whitestone Republican said in a prepared statement. “So many residents needed gas to fuel their own generators at home. We saw the economic and social effect of not being able to pump gas, and we can’t let people worry about getting to work, buying food or powering their homes the next time the power lines go down.”
Asked how the business-friendly councilman reconciles a generator mandate with his general approach to the private sector, his spokesman pointed out that gas stations are already highly regulated because they are “both a necessary and potentially hazardous business.”
And, he added, Halloran wouldn’t just force the cost of buying and maintaining generators on gas station owners without giving them something in return. Tax breaks are one possibility he’s interested in exploring.
Whatever the answer, Halloran wants to get the discussion going. He can’t afford another gas crisis any more than the rest of us. That Jaguar sedan of his sure looks and rides nice, but he’s lucky if he’s getting 20 miles a gallon.
The potential Democratic field for mayor thinned again this week when Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer announced that he’ll be running for city comptroller instead.
Stringer hadn’t been seen as a likely winner in the Democratic field, which includes de facto frontrunner Christine Quinn, the City Council speaker, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Comptroller John Liu and former Comptroller Bill Thompson, who made a surprisingly decent showing against the all-powerful Oz, Mayor Bloomberg, the last time around, despite a vast relative deficiency in resources of every kind.
Stringer probably has a much better chance running for comptroller. His only known opponent there so far is Manhattan Councilman Dan Garodnick. Brooklyn Councilman Dominic Recchia is also expected to join the fray.
Stringer’s already got the support of Thompson and Liu; and the United Federation of Teachers, while stopping short of an actual endorsement, quickly offered a very positive statement on his candidacy, as reported in the Daily News.
Adolfo Carrion, a former city councilman and Bronx borough president, this week became the second Democrat to look at that party’s crowded field for mayor and decide he’d be better off running as a Republican. Carrion was to meet with GOP leaders in the city this week to discuss a possible run, according to DNAinfo.com.
He’ll be joining Tom Allon, a community newspaper publisher in Manhattan, who announced last month that he’d be switching from Democrat to Republican to seek the mayoralty.
Poor city Republicans. Those who are left were having grand fantasies about Police Commissioner Ray Kelly running for the top seat in town under their party banner, and then there was a brief rumor, quickly shot down, that former GOP mayor Rudy Giuliani would jump back in the game. Not happening. So far the best they can hope for are ex-Democrats who don’t seem to have switched parties based on philosophy so much as simple political calculation. But it’s early yet.