The city is on the cusp of a huge transition. Whoever the next mayor is, he or she will not be Michael Bloomberg, for better and for worse.
There isn’t a single city union with a current contract. The mayor and City Council are locked in a battle over how to manage the Police Department and how exactly it should be fighting crime. The school system seems to be perpetually taking a step or two forward and a step or two back. In Queens, the community is riven over plans to build on land in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The question of development vs. preservation is as controversial as ever. And then there are the skyrocketing pension and healthcare costs that are eating up the budget to the detriment of every service the city should be providing.
But with all these issues and more on the table, and with one forum after another for the candidates running for every citywide office, what is it that dominates the news?
Anthony Weiner’s online peccadilloes. His ex-cybergal’s adult film debut. Eliot Spitzer’s refusal to say if he has a girlfriend. Kristin Davis’ alleged drug dealing, which could get her a lot more time than she served for dealing in prostitutes.
It’s high time this all came to a close. People should stop demanding that Weiner and Spitzer quit the races they’re in, for mayor and comptroller, respectively, because they’re simply not going to. Extreme longshot mayoral candidate George McDonald should stop bringing up Weiner’s issues every time they’re in the same room. It’s time to get back to the real issues voters have to consider when choosing their candidates.
No one would like that more than Weiner and Spitzer themselves, but that’s not the reason to do it — the reason is that getting serious is what’s best for New York.
Weiner and Spitzer are going to soldier on regardless, along with Comptroller John Liu, whose own mayoral campaign was pretty much squashed this week when the Campaign Finance Board decided against providing him with $3.5 million in matching funds for the race, due to a long list of irregularities in his fundraising.
With Liu facing near impossible hurdles and Weiner simply unelectable, New Yorkers should be asking ourselves who among the remaining candidates is best to lead the city, not whose scandals make for the best one-liners on late-night talk shows. Let’s get back to the issues.