Vote Batson

State-level New York politics usually isn’t very interesting. Decades of redistricting have essentially locked in a system where the Democrats control the assembly and the Republicans control the Senate. Most seats are safe, and most voters don’t pay much attention except when the rent control laws come up for renewal every few years. The net result is a system in which the governor, the speaker of the house, and the president of the senate get together in a smoke-filled room1 and decide what they’re going to do. Then the sheep in the two houses go along with the deal their leaders have endorsed. If they don’t, they’ll be cut out of various perks and committee assignments, which is the only thing they get out of their office since they don’t have any real power.

One of the things this triumvirate has lately decided (with the active collusion of the New York City mayor, the Brooklyn Borough president, and other officials) is that Brooklyn is going to have a basketball stadium paid for by taxpayer dollars, along with a humongous residential complex, whether we want it or not. Any homeowner who refuses to sell out will have their home stolen by eminent domain. After all, people can’t be allowed to stand in the way of the NBA and their desire to move the Nets across the river to the more lucrative new York market.

The Atlantic Yards Projects sits in the middle of the 11th Congressional District, the 57th Assembly District, and the 18th Senatorial District; and within the district where it’s planned opposition is high. Sadly a lot of the decisions about it are being made in Albany or Manhattan without any realistic public participation. I’m not optimistic about our chances to stop it; but if we’re to have any hope we need someone who’s going to stand up in Albany and oppose it, even if it means he doesn’t get a nice committee assignment or Sheldon Silver won’t take his calls. Bill Batson is our best hope to do that. On September 12th, I urge you to vote for Bill Batson for Assembly.

1 Well, at least it used to be a smoke filled room. These days, it’s probably a non-smoking building and they have wine and cheese instead.

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