Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Election 2009: Endorsements

Oh, gee whizbangers, is there an election coming up? Well, I always make endorsements in the most important races in any election, including off-year contests, so I might as well swallow and get them out of the way.
The problem with making endorsements this year is that the choices are mostly dismal. Far from being a year of hope and change, 2009 has been a year in which we've been trying to dig ourselves out of the mess we were left with George Bush The Younger, and the candidates for public office - most especially the gubernatorial campaigns in New Jersey and Virginia - seem underwhelming and not so much up to the job. Obama can only do so much at the national level. At the state level, it seems we in New Jersey and Virginia both need an experienced Yoda to pull our craft out of the muck but have to choose between a group of minimally experienced Luke Skywalkers who are just beginning to understand the Force.
So, with apologies to the master George Lucas, here are my endorsements:
For Governor of New Jersey: This blog endorses Jon Corzine, the incumbent Democrat, for a second term. Corzine continues to support expanding health care options, especially for women, and he has a record of slowing the rate of increase in local property taxes. Chris Christie - who is not a ditto machine salesman - is pro-life, would cut state spending in some of our (I'm from New Jersey, remember) most essential services, and his tax plan makes no sense. Plus, he seems to be too friendly to big business. Corzine's best asset is that he's mitigated the systematic problems that have affected this state since Corzine was still a Wall Street executive and not even in politics, so, like Obama, he has to deal with a mess that's been around for too long. Christie shows no understanding of the mess.
For Governor of Virginia: This blog endorses R. Creigh Deeds, the Democratic candidate, over Republican Bob McDonnell. Deeds, consistently behind in the polls, isn't likely to win, but he deserves my recommendation. While the economic and educational policies both candidates espouse are similar, Deeds gets my vote (or would, if I lived in Virginia) for several reasons. His transportation proposals, for example, would create a bipartisan commission to produce a comprehensive transportation plan for the state and raise money for it with taxes from Virginians. McDonnell, a tax increase opponent, wants to charge motorists tolls entering the state from North Carolina on Interstates 85 and 95, which is tantamount to paying an admission fee to get into Virginia. But these proposals are nothing compared to his energy policies; McDonnell would drill off the Virginia coast for oil and gas and support more coal production in addition to environmentally friendly energy sources, while Deeds would concentrate more exclusively on green energy.
But here are the biggest reasons I can't support McDonnell: He against renewing the order signed by outgoing Governor Tim Kaine banning discrimination against gays on the grounds that the order was illegal. He is also against a proposal to close a gun show loophole that allows firearms to infiltrate the streets in Northeastern cities. Deeds supports both.
For Mayor of New York City: This blog endorses independent Michael Bloomberg for a third term. Bill Thompson, the Democratic candidate and Bloomberg's biggest challenger, doesn't have a stellar record at education while the Bloomberg administration has helped push up grades and test scores. Also, New York City has been run more efficiently than any mayoral administration in recent memory, and it's produced obvious results. If Rudolph Giuliani cleaned up the city, Bloomberg has done a good job of keeping it clean, and without the fascism of his predecessor. The best reason to endorse him? He's cheap labor. He only makes a dollar a year as mayor. Bloomberg has been a very good bargain so far for the city at eight dollars.
On New Jersey Public Question #1: This blog endorses a "Yes" vote to acquire more open space. This endorsement is not based on costs, which are expected to be steep for this ballot initiative if it passes; it's based on common sense. New Jersey is already the most overbuilt state in the Union, and much of the development is spread out so much that it gobbles up more land than it should. In fact, a new senior housing complex is going up in Verona, New Jersey, in Essex County, where the population is actually decreasing. Why is Essex County, the only county in New Jersey without a state park, losing open space even as it's losing people? Because developers will build stuff we don't need just about anywhere. A "Yes" vote on this public question will save more land from those with an appetite for construction.
For West Caldwell, N.J. Town Council: This blog again endorses Robert Issetts, because a) he is a Democrat running to join an all-Republican council, and b) he's my neighbor. :-)
That's it for this election. Oh gosh, are the midterms coming up next year? See you then, in 2010.

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