My ballot, 2012 — Part 2

Continuing the My Ballot project. Previous editions:

As in prior years, I’m doing this mostly for my own benefit, as I hate to enter a polling place with no idea in advance about the less-publicized races. This year, though, I’m also doing it for Julian; I want him to learn what it takes to research elections, issues, and candidates, and I want to model that behavior for him on a regular basis. Of course, this year he won’t have any idea what’s going on, but if I establish a habit of doing this research, it’ll be engrained by the time he’s old enough to pay attention.

The sample ballot for my district is now online. Many jurisdictions offer this service, so it’s worth taking some time to find out whether yours does, so that you can review the ballot prior to voting. So, for example, in all my earlier research, I failed to notice that we were electing a Civil Court judge, so reviewing my ballot was important.

Main races this year are the national ones: president (of course), Senate, and House of Representatives. We do have state races this year, for State Senate and Assembly. NYC City Council and NYC mayoral elections are off-year elections; they’ll occur next year, 2013. NYS gubernatorial election is the following year, 2014.

Names are listed in the order they appear on the ballot.

Also, NYS has electoral fusion laws, that allow minor parties to cross-endorse candidates on other party tickets, so where multiple parties have endorsed a single candidate, I’ve also listed the minor parties.

(The idea behind fusion is that if you’re sympathetic with, say, the Conservative party platform, but you don’t want to “waste” a vote on a third-party candidate, you can still vote for Romney. Generally speaking, the Working Families Party nod usually goes for the Democratic candidate and the Conservative for the Republican, but that’s not always the case. Furthermore, on the state and local level, a minor-party endorsement has been known to influence policy.)


Here’s a funny piece of trivia about this race: one candidate — Peta Lindsay — is only 28 years old, and therefore legally unqualified to be president.

U.S. Senate:

Representative in Congress, District 9 (parts of Brooklyn; was part of a redistricting effort after the 2010 Census; includes parts of Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Gerritsen Beach, Mill Basin, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, and Sheepshead Bay.):

  • Yvette Clark (Democratic/Working Families; incumbent, but in the pre-redistricting 11th District, which covered most of the geographical area of the new 9th)
  • Daniel Cavanagh (Republican/Conservative)
  • Vivia Morgan (Green)

State Senate, District 17:

We live in what’s considered a Super-Jewish district, consisting of Orthodox populations in Midwood and Boro Park. Even the Democrat in this race is far more conservative, politically and socially, than I’m comfortable with.  Note, too, that the Conservative Party cross-endorsed the Democrat here, not the Republican.

Politics in New York City and State is never a dull topic.

Member of Assembly, District 44:

Our Assembly race, on the other hand, looks refreshingly secular.

Judges of the Civil Court — County

Supreme Court Justice, District 2 (Kings County)

You’ll see something funny here. Chambers, Kamins, and Miller all carry endorsements from three parties. In New York State, Justice elections are a joke. The candidates are chosen by the two major parties, who then cross-endorse each others’ candidates.

  • Cheryl E. Chambers (Democratic/Republican/Conservative)
  • Barry M. Kamins (Democratic/Republican/Conservative)
  • William Miller (Democratic/Republican/Conservative)
  • Arshad Majid (Working Families)
  • William A. Gerard (Working Families)

What a creep

A Westchester man has pleaded guilty in love-triangle slay from 1982.

This creep went to a Kansas Bible college, where he befriended a secretary and her husband. Scumbag and victim played racketball together and attended the same church. Scumbag then began a flirtation with the secretary, bonked her (some reports say he did, some say he didn’t; he’s a lowlife piece of crap, so he probably did), and then conspired with her to off her husband. And when I say “off,” I mean he attacked the husband so viciously with a crowbar, that the victim’s skull was crushed and one of his eyeballs popped out of his head.

Then this pillar of society and the crazy cheating wife blamed it all on black men. Niiiiiiiiiiiiice. Wow, Bible-school boy, that’s exactly what Jesus would have done!

These Coen-film wannabes wised up and realized that if they went their separate ways, the cops might not suspect them. So they split. She married a dentist in Ohio and had kids. He went off to freakin’ Harvard and got an MBA, and now he’s a multi-millionnaire living in a three-story, $1.3 million house in Pelham with his wife and kids.

So, he bangs a guy’s wife, kills the guy, flees the state, starts a new life, makes millions of dollars, and basically gets away with it for nearly a quarter century. When he does get caught, he cops a plea and could be out in five years to enjoy his millions. And what does this great good citizen tell the Times?

“[W]ith sentencing approaching and with a desire to be granted parole at the earliest opportunity, there is no explanation that we can provide that doesn’t carry downside risk.”

Spoken like a true douchebag, Markie Mark. You make me wish there really were a place called Hell.

[Links: NYTimes, Kansas City Star, Olathe News]


It just isn’t fair. Fuck gets all the attention. Sure, it’s a versatile word, applicable to just about any human situation. But all sorts of people have written about fuck, and I want to discuss something different today.

On the corner of Broadway and Myrtle, in Bushwick, are three corner stores. As far as I can tell, their most important contribution to the local economy is in the supply of Colt and Corona to neighborhood gentlemen. As is usually the case, each of the three stores had a group of men out front, when I passed at 6:55 am.

As I approached the stairs to the train, a fellow across the street yelled, “Yo!” A guy standing with one group then replied, “Yo!,” and darted in front of me, across the street, and through oncoming traffic to the other group. This set off a call-and-response, one group to the other, across the busy intersection: “Yo!,” said one man. “Yo!,” replied another. As I climbed the stairs and crossed the street on the overpass, I heard yo knocked about like a volleyball.

Fuck, I can get behind. When I hear it, no matter the context, I usually know what the fucking fuckety duckfucker means who says it. But yo? Other than “Hey,” I don’t know what the hell it means. I still don’t know what it was in that first yo that specifically said, “Luis! I need you over here immediately! Dodge that bus and get your ass over here!”

Chertoff tells straphangers, Just die already*

Michael Chertoff, director of Homeland Security, back-burnered, yesterday, the task of protecting mass transit from terrorist strikes, saying the onus falls on local government. Chertoff’s reasoning? A plane-as-weapon might kill 3,000 people, whereas a bombing in a subway car would kill “only” 30.

Now, while I recognize that government officials perform a complicated calculus when setting national priorities, and that sometimes that calculus seems cold and cynical, I still think Chertoff’s full of shit.

First of all, you send four suicide bombers into the public areas of Penn Station or Grand Central, and you’re gonna kill more than 30 people. But what he’s also failing to consider here is the economic impact that coordinated transit attacks would have on New York or Washington. I don’t know about D.C., but knocking the MTA, LIRR, NJ Transit, and MetroNorth offline for days after an attack would temporarily cripple the city.

Perhaps that would be okay if New York were just a wretched hive of scum and liberalism, but it’s the financial center of the nation, you idiots. How can that not be a federal priority?

Oh, but look here. Joe Lieberman seems to agree with me: “This has to be, in part, a national responsibility.” Really, Joe? Is that why you voted to reduce the share of security funding that goes to major cities, in favor of helping rural-state senators win pork for back home? You really think Sam Brownback will support your next loserific presidential bid?

*I know, I know. I’m pretending to be the Post this morning.

Subway etiquette

I propose a deal. If I’m so dumb or so desparate for a seat that I actually sit in front of a subway map, I’ll gladly move my big ol’ head over so that you can read the map, and I’ll avert my eyes so I’m not watching you read the map.

However, I do think that you should live up to your part of the social compact: Don’t just hover right in front of me when you finish, staring in the same general direction as the map. If you do hover and stare, I’ll think you’re continuing to read the map, and I’ll keep holding my head in a weird, uncomfortable angle so that I’m not in your way. And then, when I finally realize you’re not actually looking at the map, I’ll get irritated.

So, turn away from the map so I know you’re no longer looking. It’s only fair.

More Brooklyn “pioneers”

Following up on the pioneer watch, I just read one of the Times‘ pieces about the “new” Brooklyn, in which Jeff Vandam discusses the area not far from our place where hipsters have settled into loft apartments.

Vandam profiles Glen Bingham, who is (what else?) a singer in a rock band. Bingham tells Vandam: “I was like: ‘Right on! This is nothing! We can make it something!’ ” Then, later, Bingham says, “I guess we’re pioneers, but we’re not homesteaders, you know?…I didn’t move here to stay here and have it stay this way.”

At least Gideon Yago, talking to the appalling Toni Schlesinger, had the decency to say, “Oh, pioneers! Though I’m not sure I enjoy that term. There are people living here.” That’s what the other “pioneers” lack: a sense that there are people already here who might not want a Brooklyn Industries and a music scene.

But then here’s where I might be a hypocrite. When Vandam described the bar Kings County, I thought, “Maybe we should check that place out.” I’d love to see more hang-outs and restaurants in our area, but unlike Bingham and the other “pioneers,” I don’t want to completely change what’s here. We can have places here that we like without driving out all the places that are already here. Besides, does every street in Bushwick really need all the bars and galleries and boutiques that Williamsburg has?

More on the Queens high line

I first posted about this back in January, but the Times reported this week that the city is studying possible uses for the LIRR’s abandoned Rockaway branch.

The Regional Rail Working Group has been studying the matter and suggests refurbishing and reopening the line to train traffic. Advocates of this plan cite several advantages, two of which really stand out to me: First, it would cut the commute from the Rockaways to Manhattan in half, from one hour to half an hour. Second, if linked to the JFK AirTrain, it could provide a one-seat ride from Penn Station to JFK, at a fraction of the cost of Pataki’s proposed link from Lower Manhattan to JFK. (Pataki’s plan would cost 6 billion bucks and would probably entail digging a new tunnel under the East River, along with acquiring right-of-way. This plan would cost only 400 million and could use existing tunnels and right-of-way.)

The cynic in me still feels, though, that the JFK/Lower Manhattan link is the sugar designed to coat the real medicine: increased LIRR access between the Financial District and the Long Island suburbs. As Ray Sanchez pointed out in Newsday this week, NYC usually gets the short shrift in transit funding, compared with the suburbs.

[links: Times; RRWG; Newsday]