For comptroller, David Yassky

The Brooklyn Paper
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Four city councilmembers are running for the Democratic nomination for comptroller: Melinda Katz, John Liu and David Weprin of Queens and David Yassky of Brooklyn Heights.

All four have been effective councilmembers, offering creative legislative solutions to New York City’s problems.

But the position of comptroller is one that requires a different set of skills, most notably, a willingness to analyze a situation with fresh, independent eyes.

For this reason, we endorse David Yassky for his party’s nomination for comptroller.

Make no mistake — all four candidates are qualified for the job. Weprin, as head of the finance committee of the Council, certainly understands where some of the city’s budgetary bodies are buried. And Liu is an aggressive, likable legislator with talent and magnetism to spare. Had he not recently been caught in a minor fib last month about his supposed child labor in a sweatshop, you could have added impeccable honesty to that list of qualifications.

Katz is also talented — but her greatest talent has been in raising big bucks from the real-estate industry. That neutralizes any claim of independence.

We’ve backed Yassky in his other races, including a failed campaign for Congress two years ago, citing his creative ideas such as hybrid cabs or allowing New Yorkers to bring their bikes up to their offices. He also pushed to mandate below-market-rate units in the Bloomberg administra­tion’s otherwise all-luxury rezoning of the Williamsburg waterfront in 2005 — a rezoning that remains a model today.

Earlier in the campaign, he unveiled a Web site — — which tracks how the city’s expenditures are spent. Opponents dismissed it as a campaign trick, but to us, it’s a valuable tool — and evidence that Yassky intends to run an open, transparent comptroller’s office.

Like his opponents, Yassky promises to root out waste and inefficiency. But Yassky also promises to restore to prominence one of the comptroller’s most under-used tools: the right to review and nullify city contracts if they do not create enough local jobs or are doled out improperly.

Perhaps Yassky’s greatest qualification for the office is the very thing that has failed him as a legislator: while he’s gifted at the art of compromise, give and take and getting a bill done, he’s inept at the glad-handing and retail campaigning that make some politicians, like Borough President Markowitz, for example, so popular.

He’s also shown some inability to take a real stand at true gut-check moments, like his bizarre flip-flop on term limits last year.

Being comptroller — the dry, bean counter of the city — will free Yassky from the mundane pursuit of popularity or his desire to seek the politically expedient nuance, and allow him to focus his intellect and considerable skills on the job. Go to his Web site — — and you won’t find mere platitudes about the change he seeks, but page after page of well-thought-out position papers with astounding details and knowledge.

The comptroller job is all about digging through the paperwork and hammering away outside the limelight. This is where David Yassky excels. He’s earned the Democratic nomination.

Updated 5:14 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Mark from Carroll Gardens says:
There's a reason why Yassky's office in downtown Brooklyn is called the International House of Waffles! He's not examining every side of an issue when he waffles back and forth; he's consulting with every politician or influence peddler to find out what they want him to do. He doesn't compromise, he caves. Ask his constituents in Greenpoint-Williamsburg what they think of him. Ask the folks in Prospect Heights what they think of his new and ridiculous assertions that he's against the Atlantic Yards project. Constituent sell out after sell out.
His term limits BS is classic Yassky, but only the latest in a string. He will never be free from "...his desire to seek the politically expedient nuance," it's exactly who he is! And exactly why he should be MILES away from the city's checkbook!
And what are his financial qualifications for being chief bean counter? Or overseeing a staff of hundreds? If it's a boring operation, why does this "high minded big picture" guy want to do it? Because it's a powerful stepping stone! Only he's totally unqualified for the position.
Sept. 4, 2009, 10:54 am
Shawna says:
"Go to his Web site — — and you won’t find mere platitudes about the change he seeks, but page after page of well-thought-out position papers with astounding details and knowledge."

You're not kidding!
Sept. 4, 2009, 10:56 am
Howard M. from Park Slope says:
I like Yassky. However, his flip flop on term limits still really ticks me off. I can't vote him him (or Bloomberg) for that reason.
Sept. 8, 2009, 1:31 pm
Queen of the Click from Bay Ridge says:

I couldn't figure out how the Brooklyn Paper would endorse David assky. Then I realized the paper was purchased by Rupert Murdoch this Spring. Ed Weintrob, the former owner of the paper knew the problems that the people in Downtown Brooklyn faced as the city tried to eminent domain the area. Weintrob watched and wrote about what a disgrace it was that HOME OWNERS had to fight the city to keep their own property. This was David Yassky's area and he sided with the developers, rather than the people. Grandmothers were forced to stand alone and fight the city for property they owned. In 2008, Yassky's opinion changed when he realized he was going to run for comptroller.

NYC voted against extending term limits years ago. We have term limits so that people don't abuse political power. Bloomberg wanted to extend term limits for himself. We didn't extend term limits for Rudy Guiliani who did a terrific job, why would we extend for Bloomberg. Yassky's office said he was voting against term limits, when the time came, Yassky voted for term limits. The following day he issued an e-mail saying, "oopps sorry, I thought this was a good idea."

Yassky is Brooklyn's flip flop. He is voting with whoever is persuading him best. He isn't with the people, he's with big business and developers.

I have never voted against someone from my borough because I believe Brooklyn is the best. I did a lot of research and I'm voting for John Liu. John Liu is qualified because he's an actuary who has a clean record. His borough is satisfied with the work that he has done. I believe he will do the best job for us.
Sept. 14, 2009, 12:27 am

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