And I mean all of us, whether we think President Obama is wonderful or awful, no matter which side we're on w/r/t Syria, or any other national or international issue. I've wanted to write this piece for a while now, but have been too busy doing volunteer work for the outstanding Democrat I am about to introduce you to.
Her name is Letitia "Tish" James, and she is one of four people running in the Democratic primary for New York City Public Advocate. Please follow me down below the cheez doodle to learn more about Tish, this office, why I am supporting her, and why you should, too:
•The Public Advocate is a non-voting member of the New York City Council with the right to introduce and co-sponsor legislation.The office has existed in its present form only since 2002, when revision to the City Charter removed another responsibility, that of presiding over the City Council. Our
•The Public Advocate serves as an ombudsman for city government, providing oversight for city agencies, investigating citizens' complaints about city services and making proposals to address perceived shortcomings or failures of those services.
•The Public Advocate is also charged with appointing members to various boards and commissions, including one member of the New York City Planning Commission (very important in NYC, where the real-estate industry fills the same evolutionary niche that the big banks fill nationally, i.e., they come pretty close to running the place).
•The Public Advocate serves on the committee which selects the director of the Independent Budget Office.
• If the mayor becomes unable to serve, the Public Advocate is responsible for running the city government for a period of two months, during which time a special election will be arranged to choose a new mayor.
I have watched Councilmember James for the 10 years she has served in the City Council, and I feel she was born for this job. If you consider the PA’s responsibility to make sure that the government is working for the people of the city rather than against them, you could not choose a more suitable person, whether by qualifications or by personality. She is smart, honest, and knowledgeable, as well as being a warm and responsive person whose concern for her constituents is plainly genuine.
Prior to her election to the City Council, she served as Counsel and Chief of Staff to state assembly members, and later as the Assistant District Attorney in charge of the Brooklyn Regional Office under then-District Attorney Elliot Spitzer. But her best qualification is her determination and fervor in fighting for the ordinary people of the city against powerful, moneyed interests, especially real estate developers. She was a leader in the Atlantic Yards fight, and continues to make affordable housing one of her priorities, along with social justice, women’s rights, job development, environmental issues, and healthcare access. She is known and appreciated throughout the city's progressive community for her stalwart and unflinching work on all these issues.
She has an acute grasp of the scope of the office and what it can do for the people of New York, a realistic plan to get its budget restored, and a strong determination to use all its powers to their maximum possible effectiveness.
More about her, in her own words:
I’ve built a public service career on my passion to fight for New York’s middle-class and working families. Time and time again, I’ve stood up to powerful interests and made sure everyday New Yorkers, including those who advocate passionately for progressive causes, have a seat at the table. I’ve also repeatedly taken on unfair budget cuts and worked hard in pursuing economic security for workers.Tish has three opponents in the primary, two of whom I don't even consider qualified to hold the office. Polls show her in the lead, so why does she need your help?
Specifically, I was proud to lead the way on the passage of the Safe Housing Act, improving the lives of New York City tenants by ensuring that crucial repairs are made in apartment units. I have stood up to powerful developers and wealthy corporate interests by demanding that local communities get a fair shake as part of the Atlantic Yards development mega-project. And I successfully advocated for funding for first responders, legal services, and after-school programs.
My values and vision for the City are aligned with New York’s long standing Democratic traditions of advancing social and economic justice. I’ll bring the same passion for progressive policies to the Office of the Public Advocate that I’ve demonstrated in the City Council and throughout my career in public service.
You won't be surprised to hear that, given her refusal to play patty-cake with the local big-money boys, all her opponents are much better financed than she is. They have fancy mailers, color-coordinated stickers, T-shirts and TV ads featuring Chuck Schumer; Tish has me, and lots more people like me, all over the city. It speaks volumes about her quality as a candidate, and how well-liked she is in the community, that she has been able to establish herself as the frontrunner under these circumstances.
But if no candidate wins at least 40% of the vote Tuesday, there will be a runoff between the top two vote-getters in three weeks, on Tuesday, Oct.1. The backers of the third- and fourth-place candidates will get behind whoever finishes in second place, in an all-out attempt to prevent Tish winning. It will be a very low-turnout race (especially if there's no runoff for the mayoral nomination), so money will play a disproportionate role in publicity and GOTV.
I am working hard to help her win; I hope you'll help me help her. You can donate to her campaign here.
If there's a runoff, you all will be hearing a lot from me, because that's when she will really need your help.