With Albany facing tumultuous times ahead with its economy, residents of the 59th Assembly District will need someone who can surf through this political tsunami.
That person, in our opinion, is Alan Maisel, who is seeking his second term in office this year.
On September 9, voters in the 59th – which covers a huge swath of property from Plumb Beach to Canarsie and includes Bergen Beach, Mill Basin, Mill Island and Marine Park to boot – will be asked to choose between Maisel and Harvey “HR” Clarke, an adjunct professor who has focused most of his attention in Canarsie, which only represents about a fifth of the district.
Even before getting elected to the Assembly during a special election in February 2006 and then during a full election that September, Maisel knew the ins and outs of Albany politics as former Assemblyman Frank Seddio’s chief of staff. He had also held important positions both in Albany and as a staffer for Congressman turned U.S. Senator Charles Schumer.
Through it all, Maisel was also active in both his local community board and community school board.
Yet his many years in Albany haven’t made him an “old guard” politician either.
He is constantly trying to find new ways to help his constituents and most recently helped spearhead a bold new plan to create a landlord tenant court for property owners that are in danger of reneging on their mortgage if their one lodger doesn’t come up with the monthly rent.
It’s an experiment and the results are not yet in, but the fact that he tried it proves that Maisel refuses to fall in step with the “politics as usual” beat many Albany politicians dance to these days.
In contrast, Clarke has gone to a few scattered community meetings – mostly in Canarsie – and has cobbled together a tepid campaign for Assembly which, again, is focused primarily in Canarsie.
When asked, Clarke freely admits that he doesn’t have enough money to campaign in the other neighborhoods that make up the 59th Assembly District.
But, Harvey, all you really need to campaign is the time, a few photocopies outlining your plans and accomplishments, a MetroCard and a pair of comfortable shoes, don’t you?
Grassroots campaigns have started with less.
While we are impressed by Clarke’s demeanor – which has calmed somewhat since he was booted off the ballot back in 2006 — as well as some of his plans for the future, we think he needs more experience in community activism and obviously more tenacity if he wants to run for office in the future.
Maisel has already proved that he has all of these qualities and then some.
That is why we give our endorsement to Alan Maisel.