A Bensonhurst councilman on Nov. 14 introduced a bill to eliminate the watchdog position of public advocate, weeks ahead of a special election to fill the seat that the current officeholder, Letitia “Tish” James, will vacate to become the state’s next attorney general (“Bklyn pol pushing to axe Public Advocate office,” by Kevin Duggan, online Nov. 14).
Councilman Kalman Yeger’s (D–Bensonhurst) legislation proposes letting voters decide via a future ballot referendum on whether to keep the office of public advocate. Yeger — the colleague of several Kings County pols who’ve already launched bids to replace James — reportedly proposed the bill because he’d rather see the taxpayer dollars that now fund the office, which the city created in 1993, spent elsewhere.
Some readers agreed, while others felt strongly otherwise:
This is a great idea. Our mayor and the councilmembers should advocate for the public. We don’t need a separate position for it.
If not that, we should select the public advocate by getting rid of the mayoral primary, and making the public advocate whomever gets the second-most votes in the mayoral race.Mike from Williamsburg
I support this initiative. The office of Public Advocate is useless in fact and redundant in purpose.John from Bay Ridge
Let’s axe as many city offices as possible to reduce government waste of taxpayer money. More importantly, it is for the citizens to decide what and how much government to have, rather than government deciding for the citizens.
Citizens need to take control of government, rather than the other way around. Remember always that it works for us!Sam from Brooklyn
I believe this office was created to protect and aid our residents. Don’t be so quick to agree to terminate a position without knowing all the details, and I doubt that people do.
Politicians are anxious to look good in our eyes by saving money, but when we need someone in that position to do the job they were appointed to do, the elimination of that position doesn’t always serve us for the better.Bunny from Brooklyn
Spend money on replacing the position, and call it ombudsperson.
Frank from Furter
If this call to eliminate the public advocate and the work of the office is based on money issues, why don’t we reduce the pay of councilmembers too? Charles from Bklyn
Definitely get rid of this political place holder. DeBlasio created the famous “Worst Landlords” list, but the list seemed just as long under Letitia James, just as ceremonial as the position.
Does the public advocate have any actual power? Now that the public approved the creation of the new, useless Department of Civic Engagement, why don’t we swap out the useless public advocate office for that, and at least keep the government in check by one superfluous agency?
Josh from Park Slope
Let’s abolish Yeger’s position and spend the money saved on important things, like bike and bus lanes, that he rails against.Moe from Bk
Public advocate or the office of ombudsman is needed in big cities, because councilmembers often don’t answer e-mails from constituents in the community.
For example, the lack of lighting in Seth Low Park in Councilman Kalman Yeger’s Bensonhurst district.
MJ from Bay Ridge
Why don’t we axe the councilmembers instead? The public advocate should have stronger power. Someone should keep the government in check. Too many times the councilmembers come up with these off-the-wall laws. And most of the time these are not voted upon by the people of New York City.
Remember our “wonderful” Mayor Bloomberg, who bought his third term? The public advocate should have had the power to stop his third term, which was against the city’s charter of two terms.
I have a great idea, why don’t the councilmembers vote themselves another raise like they did in the past?
Jeff from Brooklyn
I don’t know what could possibly make someone (like Jeff, above) think that all elected officials except one are “the government,” but this one other elected official, who has no power, keeps the government in check.
If you want the government to do different things, elect different mayors, councilmembers, and governors.Mike from Williamsburg
Mike, if you read my entire comment, it also states that the public advocate should have more power. What different things are you talking about?
How about a mayor who “bought” his third term (which was illegal because of term limits) from Council, or a councilmember picking his own replacement instead of having the public voting him into office?Jeff from Brooklyn
Nix red and blue
To the Editor,
Having just observed the mess that was the midterm elections, I have begun to agree with letter-writer Mike Harrington (“Mixed reactions to Golden’s refusal to concede,” Bay News Letters to the Editor, Nov. 16), that all political parties should be abolished and every candidate for public office should be elected on the basis of his or her fitness to do the job, his or her views and ideals, and his or her past history, not by which political party they belong to, nor how much money they can raise.
Since this is not about to happen anytime soon, I believe that the electoral college must be abolished as soon as possible so that the President of the United States can be elected by popular vote and not by red and blue states.
Our current president did not win the popular vote and is being controlled to a large extent by big-money interests, including the NRA, and as a result, violence and bigotry in this country has increased.
Since the midterm elections, I have become frightened about what may happen in 2020. I never believed that a president who spends most of his time tweeting derogatory remarks about people he dislikes and trying to keep starving immigrants from entering this country had a chance of being reelected, but now I am not so sure. With powerful groups like the NRA supporting him, he could garner enough votes in the so-called red states to win the electoral college again and another term.
Having seen hundreds of citizens standing in line for hours in the drenching rain in order to vote in the midterms, I know that we Americans really care about what is going on in our country, and we each deserve to have our votes counted equally regardless of what state we live in. I’m afraid that, if we don’t do something to improve our voting system now and get rid of the concept of red and blue states, we will end up, in 2020, with four more years of Donald Trump and the NRA, more violence, and much more deterioration of our environment and our planet. We must do something to improve our electoral system before 2020.Elaine Kirsch
Crime of sense
To the Editor,
Every week I read the police blotter in the Bay News, and I wonder if some of these people, who are victims, are from some alternative universe.
How stupid are they, to leave cars unlocked, and inside leave expensive handbags, bank books, checks, cash, computers, clothing, etc.? Even if the cars are locked, why would you leave those things inside?
Not to mention, women who leave handbags on a counter, the floor, a baby carriage, or anywhere else except in their hands.
How about the people who get a call from the “IRS” and are told they owe back taxes? They are told to get thousands of dollars in gift cards. I’ve lost count of how many times I have read, and heard, on the air, that the IRS does not call. Am I the only one who has heard those warnings?
Or, the woman who meets a couple, in a store, they offer her some deal, she gets in the car with them, and goes to a bank and gives them $3,200 or $3,300. How did they know what she had? She’s lucky she’s alive.
Or, this week, the thief who got into a truck through an unlocked passenger-side door and stole a plastic bag with $7,000 in it. Do the words “inside job” mean anything?
I could go on, but I’m sure you get the point. Barnum was right, there obviously is a sucker born every minute. Rowena Lachant
MTA management merry-go-round
To the Editor,
Hurry-Hurry-HURRY! Step right up and see the magnificent MTA Management merry-go-round. Now don’t be afraid, ladies and gentlemen, get closer to watch the upper managers swinging on and off and back on again with the greatest of ease!
Sounds silly, doesn’t it? But this seems to be normal operations in the upper echelons for more than the past 30 or so years. My fellow historian Larry Penner, and other transit historians I am familiar with, plainly see what problems the system faces and what is dearly needed to straighten things out.
The first thing is getting the politicians to cease their constant meddling in areas they know little about. Joe Lhota, it seems, after barely a few months back on the job, packed it in as Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman to head back to sectors that truly appreciate and embrace his knowledge and dedication to getting the job done. Now they’ve installed a life-long politician as interim chairman, and we all know how well that is going to work. Meanwhile, the new transit president, Byford, is probably watching the clock tick down to his ultimate return to mother England.
Stability is something that is sorely needed. We need to get back to hiring transportation professionals that will dedicate five-plus years of their expertise to really bring things back up to snuff. The last good ones like Kiley and Gunn, along with Reuter and Hoffmann, pulled things back from the brink and started these agencies running on the right track. This can only again be accomplished if the Govern-Mayor and the present presence infesting City Hall take a hands-off approach and let these managers do what they are hired to do — MANAGE!
Robert W. Lobenstein
Get Cuomo off air
To the editor,
Election Day has come and gone, and reminds me of “The Outer Limits” 1960s television show. With the end of ’round-the-clock commercials by politicians, political parties, unions, and pay-for-play special interest groups, we now return control of your television back to you until the next election cycle.
Now if only Gov. Cuomo would do the same. When will he direct the Empire State Development Corporation to stop running its wasteful “public service” advertisements? After eight years in office, Cuomo has had this quasi independent state agency spend several hundred million in taxpayers dollars to pay for these “feel-good” commercials. They were clearly designed to assist him in greasing the wheels of another term in office and raise his profile in preparation for a Presidential run in the Democratic Party 2020 Primary. These commercials periodically run in heavy rotation on many stations several times per hour day and night.
Diogenes is still waiting for State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins, State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, or a brave member of the State Legislature to come forward and challenge Emperor Cuomo to end this waste, fraud, and abuse of public monies.Larry Penner