I understand, New Yorker, you are FURIOUS.
Republican, Democrat or Independent, the recent farce that took up a month of the State Senate’s time (at taxpayer’s expense, with a generous per diem) embarrassed you. It made the former Empire State a laughing stock. You resolved to do something at the polls. You vowed to do something about entrenched incumbents on both sides of the aisle. You want to see government for the sake of the governed, not the governing.
There is one problem: you can’t do anything about any of those guys until next year. What do you do now?
While none of the State Senate seats is up for election in 2009, the Albany New York Mayor’s seat is open this year. Albany is the poster child for entrenched incumbency. The Democratic party has controlled the Albany City Hall since 1924. Jerry Jennings, the current mayor and originally a “change candidate,” has been in office since 1993.
In the wake of a parking scandal and a 2008 Equalization Rate of 101.3% (essentially all the commercial and residential property in the city may have been unconstitutionally over-assessed that year), he is being challenged by a decent man, Corey Ellis, in the Democratic Primary.
However, if you want real change, you want to support Nathan Lebron, the Republican Candidate. An IT executive, who grew up in the Bronx in the 1970s and ’80s when the Bronx was burning, he holds a Masters from Harvard in Information Systems. He is a self-made man who wants to give something back to the City where he has lived for 20 years.
In a City known for entrenched incumbency, the legendary Erastus Corning was mayor for some 40 years, Mr. Lebron has pledged to serve no more than two terms. An IT executive, he wants to trade the Albany Machine for a System. He wants to drag Albany, kicking and screaming, into the Twenty-first century.
You read this and you think to your self, “This guy sounds good, but I live in Syracuse or Saratoga (or even out of state), what can I do?
The answer is simple. Go to the Lebron for Mayor Website (http://www.lebronforalbany.com/; http://archives.timesunion.com/mweb/wmsql.wm.request?oneimage&imageid=8000188) and read it. If you like his ideas, do the following:
1) talk to your friends about this important campaign;
2) write posts to blogs about this opportunity to begin real change; or
3) you can call into local and national talk radio about this campaign and the signal it gives for change in 2010.
By doing this, you give attention to a candidate trying to solve the problems exemplified by the State Senate debacle. You give this vital campaign exposure to media attention and exposure to potential voters, donors and supporters. You support a campaign that may be (in the terms of Mr. Lebron’s profession) the “beta test” for kind of accomplished citizen politician we want to elect to the State Senate; the Assembly; the State-wide Offices; and the Congressional Delegation in 2010.
In short, Republican, Democrat or Independent, by supporting this campaign, you can get in on the ground floor of a movement to make New York the Empire State (or at least functional) again. No matter where you stand politically, this is change you can believe in and should work towards.