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September 11, 2010

Atlantic Yards Report Saturday Morning Coverage of Local Races

Atlantic Yards Report

In the 57th, a District Leader debate that wasn't, and some signs of the times

Given the charged nature of the battle (as cited in The Local) between incumbent Olanike Alabi and challenger Renee Collymore for the position of Female District Leader in the 57th Assembly District, and given the announcement of the first debate for a District Leader position this season, I hauled over to the Humble Martial Arts Dojo on Fulton Street last night.

After all, some of these District Leader races are highly charged, but fought mainly with press releases and campaign fliers. Nobody debates.

It was not to be.

A handful of people showed up, a couple of them organizers from the Prospect Heights Action Coaltion (aka sisters Patti Hagan, who lives in Prospect Heights, and Schellie Hagan, who lives nearby in Clinton Hill) who know both candidates well; guest moderator Medhanie Estiphanos, a candidate for the 35th District Council seat last year; a couple of bloggers; a staffer for City Council Member Letitia James, and a couple of civilians.

Collymore came 15 minutes late. Olabi never arrived. (She told The Local her attorney advised her not to show and she had another engagement.

In 52nd District race, Owens mailer takes aim at both opponents

I was wondering how Chris Owens, running for Male District Leader in the 52nd Assembly District, would try to distinguish himself from not only the machine candidate, Stephen Williamson, but the other reform candidate, Jesse Strauss, who has the endorsement from one major political club (while Owens has more endorsements).

The answer: call Strauss the "Albany candidate." There's no proof, but maybe that's supposed to mean support from Assemblymember Joan Millman. (The rest of his fundraising has no obvious Albany connection.)

A more subtle critique--and one that should've been aired in a debate between the two--comes from Owens supporter David Michaelson, who writes that Owens said he wouldn't have run without the Lambda Independent Democrats' endorsement, while Strauss said he'd stay in.

Michaelson doesn't call Strauss an "Albany candidate," just a potential spoiler. The lesson, again, is that Instant Runoff Voting is needed, so voters can rank preferences. And that debates would help, so we don't have to rely on campaign advertising.

(Also, watch Room 8 blogger Gatemouth, aka Howard Graubard, and Strauss go at it.)

Posted by steve at September 11, 2010 8:58 AM