Forward NY-10!

When campaigning, I talk to lots of people on the streets.  Some like my opponent, Jerrold Nadler, and some don’t.  I don’t disagree with many of the things people like. Jerry has been right on a number of issues, such as abortion rights, immigrant rights, decriminalization, and lower military spending.  These are issues which as his successor I’d continue to support.  On the latter two, I’d go beyond: we need to legalize not only marijuana, but psychedelics (which show promise for treating things like PTSD), and sex work.  We need to roll back overpolicing, stop throwing people in jail for minor offenses, and expunge the records of those convicted of them.  Prison should be reserved for people who are actually threats to society.  We also need to end our involvement in overseas conflicts such as Afghanistan and Syria, where, realistically we have very little chance of improving things.  

Out of his depth on Technology and Economics

While Jerry’s positions on social issues are fine, his expertise in tech and economic issues is woefully lacking. The tech antitrust report he’s so ebullient about got these comments from MIT:

  • the long-awaited tech antitrust report that the US Congress released on October 6 presents a remarkably flimsy case for action against the nation’s most innovative and competitive companies.
  • many of the “problems” it identifies are merely complaints from companies that have been outcompeted
  • Disappointingly, the much-ballyhooed document is riddled with factual errors.

Jerry doesn’t understand tech.  I doubt he ever will.  If we let him reign in tech, we might see the dissolution of some of our most successful companies, with dire effects on both their employees and consumers. 

Jerry has also shown himself to be hostile to economic development, particularly when it comes to real estate development.  Despite saying zoning needs to be updated, he favors antiquated zoning laws over the 200 Amsterdam project, whose top 20 ALREADY BUILT floors he tried to decapitate.  Despite a favorable ruling by a judge in his circle, the project has thankfully gone forward.

Even less excusable is his opposition to the Industry City, a project which would have created tens of thousands of jobs — the perfect salve to a New York City battered by pandemic.  Due to opposition from a coterie of politicians including Jerry, it has been cancelled.  This wasn’t a project with taxpayer giveaways like the Amazon project.  It was a privately financed project which would have helped New York recover.  No longer.

Money for Free

In contrast to his hostility to enterprise, Jerry seems perfectly happy to throw money at government agencies — no questions asked.  He’s fine with PPP even if it has gone to connected firms rather than those who really need it.  He’s happy to throw money at the MTA despite a complete lack of accountability.  I agree the MTA may need funds given the magnitude of the pandemic.  But we need a reform plan first.  The MTA needs to stop doling out $415K in overtime to individual LIRR employees whose retirements we then need to fund at bloated levels for decades to come.  As other subway systems go fully automated, we need to stop giving in to union demands that we need at least, not one, but TWO operators per train. Construction per mile shouldn’t cost multiples of world levels. And we need to rein in profligate managers, contractors, and unions who divert money to themselves while service remains abysmal. This behavior was unacceptable before Covid.  Now it is existential.  Does Jerry care? I doubt it.

The Post Office is another example.  No matter how much you love the Post Office, in fact the more you love the Post Office, the more you should support its ability to adapt to a changing world.  What is the biggest obstacle to change?  micro-managing congressmen like Nadler, who insist the Post Office stay the institution it was before the Internet.  This guarantees an institution that will become increasingly irrelevant, and unlike to garner the support it does today.  Which is a death sentence.  Give it the power to reinvent itself first — then see what funding it needs.

In Sum

Jerry has done some good things over his 28 years in Congress.  Some think he deserves this election based on that.  But pandemics are not the time to give victory laps to increasing out of touch incumbents.  We need legislators who will remove barriers to development, not put them up. We need legislators who demand that in times of constrained budgets, public agencies spend their money as efficiently as possible so services don’t suffer. We need legislators willing to champion ideas like basic income, instead of the haphazard panoply of supports we currently have, so people are really protected, both in normal times and during pandemics. I ask for your support this November 3rd so I can fight for these things.

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