Fort Wadsworth is situated on a bluff, which affords spectacular panoramic views of the city and of the harbor. It is currently open for visitors under the care of the National Park Service. But the scenic 'icing on the cake' is the awe inspiring arching span of the bridge which flies the 1.5 mile distance over the water to Brooklyn. The Staten Island bridge anchorage is adjacent to the site of the conference. At one time, this bridge held the title of "longest suspended span" in the world, and I think it still holds the title for all of America.
Senator Schumer provided a "standard endorsement text" in his remarks. He recalled first getting elected to Congress during the Reagan years when the Dems had been in power for what the country was beginning to perceive as "too long" and how now the tables had turned.
He was able to buck the Reagan tide by using an issue (that this reporter doesn't completely agree with, or believes is as 'black and white as Chuck made it) that he thought worked for him: campaigning against the ACLU which, according to his remarks, were willing to let a thousand criminals go free to protect their "principles". I didn't like this because it sounded too similar to Fossella's "the constitution is not a suicide pact" message.
But then he finished with criticism of Republican economic policy (nothing about Iraq, I noticed) and then introduced the three candidates he was specifically endorsing: Steve Harrison for Congress, Matt Titone for State Senate, and Janelle Hyer-Spencer for assembly.
It was then the candidates' turn for speeches. Harrison was first to speak, and it was like another world. One of Steve's issues in the campaign is 100% screening of all cargo entering the harbor for security purposes (Vito has voted agaist this). He framed the issue brilliantly. Turning towards Brooklyn he indicated Ft. Hamilton across the water (I paraphrase):
"Do you see that fort across the water, and do you see the fort where we are standing now? These two forts offered 100% security against any foreign attempt to attack New York. Our 19th century leaders were wise enough to see the importance of this. I offer the same leadership now with my 100% screening proposal"
Then Harrison moved on to Iraq and the Republican failure on that count. He promised to work towards ending it, bringing the troops home, and earning the respect of the international community, which the Bush administration has squandered.
The two other featured candidates spoke briefly on some local issues, but Harrison's remarks certainly were the centerpiece of the press conference.
Two questions were posed by reporters. Tom Wrobleski of the Staten Island Advance (I couldn't hear the question clearly - but from Schumer's answer:) seemed to ask about about the local Dems chances in the race. Schumer replied with remarks about the wave for change in the country.
Then a second reporter, whom I cannot identify, asked Schumer this:
Why hasn't the DCCC given Steve Harrison more money?
Schumer ducked it with something like: "I don't really deal with the DCCC." . But I overheard Schumer tell Steve privately at the podium: "When I get back, I'll call... (undiscernable)" One can only speculate and hope what that might have meant.
Thought you NY-13 watchers might like a little news on today's event before it hits the press on the morrow.
Fight the good fight!
Take a cruise to Staten Island and help deliver the mail we can't afford to send!
Call Al at Staten Island HQ (718) 720-8683!
Do what's necessary!