Sal Albanese Will Not Become Mayor, But...

He will still take on campaign finance reform, gerrymandering, discretionary funds, and the Public Advocate’s office

The Brooklyn Paper
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The primary may be over, but Sal Albanese said his fight is far from done.

The former councilman from Bay Ridge came in last among Democratic hizzoner hopefuls on Sept. 10, but he said he’s still determined to fight the political machine — which he claims keeps grassroots candidates like himself, who refuse donations from developers and corporations, from rising.

“I’m convinced more than ever, that the system is broken and needs to be overhauled,” said Albanese. “When you’re an outsider, when you’re not indebted to lobbyists and special interests, it’s hard to get ahead.”

Albanese pointed out that even without corporate cash, he got donations from more than 1,000 donors and raised upwards of $180,000 — though that fell $70,000 short of the threshold to qualify for public matching funds. Debate organizers used his failure to secure public money as reason to exclude him from five different forums. The former candidate argued this made it even harder for him to reach the voters, despite unique and innovative policy proposals like a mayor-run transit system, a bail-out for Sandy-affected renters, and educational and wellness centers for kids three and under.

The former school teacher, attorney, and financial advisor said he is looking to start or join a good government group that would push new campaign finance laws granting matching funds to any candidate with 1,000 donors behind them. He said he would also like to fight for non-partisan elections — which would abolish the Republican and Democratic primaries and replace them with a single general election — and an end to the gerrymandering of council districts. And he wants to eliminate the discretionary funds the city gives councilmen to dole out to organizations of their choice.

One of the most important issues, Sal argued, is the abolition of the Public Advocate’s office — a position with little clearly-defined purpose or power, but which Bill DeBlasio and Mark Green used as a launching pad toward the Democratic nomination for mayor. Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Fort Greene) and state Senator Daniel Squadron (D–Carroll Gardens) are now locked in a run-off election to replace DeBlasio which will cost the city $20 million.

“You have to think, is that really worth it?” Albanese said.

Albanese noted that only 20 percent of voters bothered to go to the polls on primary day — which he argued is a sign of cynicism and disaffection among the overwhelming majority of the populace. The solution, he said, is to raise awareness and stir up opposition to special interests and self-serving electeds.

“Most people know the system is broken, but unfortunately don’t know how to fix it,” said Albanese. “The question is, how do we engage people, how do we get them to look at our political system, which is not a sexy thing?”

Albanese hasn’t decided whether to endorse anyone for mayor, and 62-year-old said he won’t be running for office again anytime soon, but he will keep fighting to get the public to look at the big issues.

“I’m a pretty healthy guy, thank God, and I’ve got a lot of energy,” Albanese said. “I’m not the sort of person who retires.”

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him
Updated 10:15 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Jason from Park Slope says:
Last place !!

It dosent matter if Sal's the type to retire.

The decision was made for him.
Sept. 20, 2013, 12:56 am
John from Bay Ridge says:
Sal's right about eliminating the Public Advocate position. It's a complete waste of money and accomplishes nothing more than providing a position funded by the taxpayers.
Sept. 20, 2013, 9:06 am
Trend Setter from Madison Avenue says:
Sal figured out the Public Advocate is a useless job.
That must be how he generated that grassroots of the 1% of his vote.
Sept. 20, 2013, 10:47 am
ty from pps says:
The Public Advocate position is useless... until it's not. (And there are many people in this city that know this first-hand.) Don't be whiny and myopic.
Sept. 20, 2013, 2:05 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Sal Albaneese never had much of a chance anyway. Even Weiner finished better than he did. Of course, he couldn't give a good enough reason to eliminate the public advocate's office, which is why he lost. Also, I think that trying to bring up placing tolls on the East River bridges or even try to bring back congestion pricing wasn't going well with him either, many registered motorists living in the city were tired of being nickeled and dimed, which is why they didn't want him either.
Sept. 20, 2013, 2:42 pm
Campesino from Dyker says:
Yeah. Him and Steve Harrison.
Sept. 20, 2013, 4:25 pm
jay from nyc says:
interesting guy, but seems a bit of a Don Quixote to me, if the city can't even stick with terms limits the machine is not going to let a plumb cake job for a party big wig to cool their heals in be cut out.Tammany is not really dead, just re-incorporated and changed their name
Sept. 20, 2013, 9:20 pm
Renee from Kensington says:
Why are we talking about a guy who got 3 votes?
Sept. 20, 2013, 9:44 pm
sal's wife from muchala says:
Pointless story. Great man. A hero.
Sept. 20, 2013, 10:39 pm
bklyn4life from bk says:
Sal was the first mayoral candidate to stand up to save LICH in January & throughout the fight. He was the first to call for a moratorium on all hospital closures until at least the impact & community needs could be assessed. And he was the only mayoral candidate out there for LICH until April when the rest of them finally started to notice that the press was out there with cameras. I'd like to vote again for Sal -- for Brooklyn BP.
Sept. 22, 2013, 1:09 pm
Joe from Oliver Street says:
Sal should have run for BP.

He could have parlayed his 1% into 2%
Sept. 22, 2013, 11:32 pm
Byron from Bay Ridge says:
Write in candidates got more votes.
Sept. 23, 2013, 11:34 pm

Comments closed.

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