If you have been getting my campaign material in the mail, I promise that this is my last sports metaphor, at least until the next campaign season. And aren’t you glad I haven’t re-posted the hula hoop video from a few years back and said, “I’ll jump through hoops for my constituents!”?
Unfortunately, this is the point at which, as in the last two elections, I have to show you my opponent’s last-ditch, desperate derogatory mailer for unpacking, or what we used to call critical analysis.
First, this was mailed to the home of my campaign manager. To efficiently use limited funds, a candidate usually targets a print/mail campaign to those who may likely vote for the candidate and just need that additional nudge and reminder to get out and vote. Unlimited mailing usually means unlimited funds. And where would such funding come from?
Let’s follow the money. As with my prior Republican opponents, you need look no further than the return address, which is the NYRSC in Albany, which is, you guessed it, the New York Republican State Committee. And remember how the NYSRC recently had a big fundraiser at a Briarcliff golf club headlined by two-time loser of the popular vote and twice-impeached Donald J. Trump, where his Proud Boys came by to cheer him. Also remember that the most recent NYSRC Chair joined the Trump Campaign. It’s pretty easy to connect the Radical Right dots.
On to the quote about the cost of housing in Westchester and its distortion by my opponent. To give it the correct context, of course I was speaking about high rents for tenants and the high prices for purchasing local homes, not about property taxes. The county portion of residents’ property taxes have actually gone down for the past two years and will be reduced again for 2022.
If my opponent really wants to do something about housing costs, he could, like me – and I am Chair of the Legislature’s Committee on Labor & Housing – advocate for Government to incentivise the construction of new units of all kinds and at all price points. You know, basic market economics: High prices on any product say to businesspeople, “Make more of this!” And Government certainly has a role to play in facilitating and broadening opportunities for a wide range of people to be able to live closer to their jobs in more sustainable communities. I’m proud that our County Government this year has invested $25 Million in 2021, and will invest $50 Million in 2022, in workforce and affordable housing. These apartment buildings are being built by experienced for-profit and not-for-profit real estate developers, and the funds flow from long-term bonds at extremely low interest rates.
And we haven’t stopped there. Among other things, over the past 3.5 years our Democratic County Executive and Democratic super-majority in the Legislature have found savings by renegotiating outside vendor contracts for buses, medical and food services in the jail, and insurance terms, and have brought a more aggressive, in-house litigation and settlement approach to personal injury lawsuits and other claims against the County.
After three years of my advocacy, we finally reduced staffing at the jail by about 3%, through attrition only, not lay-offs. This still doesn’t seem like enough since staffing levels are very close to what they were when the detainee population was over 200% higher than today.
As a member of the Budget & Appropriations Committee since first elected, I am always asking the probing questions of all departments. I had cautioned, and voted against, the County Board of Elections plan to purchase certain voting machines that I thought were about to become obsolete. Indeed, the vendor recently brought to market new hardware and software to fix security issues in the now-obsolete machines we bought. (At least those of us who raised a fuss got some savings by forcing down the quantity purchased.) On my initiative, the State Election Commission is now investigating certain other inefficiencies of the bloated County Board of Elections, and the State Department of Corrections is reviewing staffing levels at our jail.
My opponent offers distortions and empty talk. I offer real effort and results. The choice is yours. If you haven’t already voted early, I’m asking for your vote TOMORROW, TUESDAY NOVEMBER 2, 6:00 am to 9:00 pm at your regular voting place. Thank you! I look forward to continuing to serve you.
This year especially, every vote is a vote for democracy!