As should be immediately apparent to even our most casual readers, we here at Daily Intel are first and foremost concerned with one thing the fostering of a vibrant democratic process rooted in a well-informed populace. And with a mayoral election fast approaching, we saw yet another opportunity to contribute to society. See, even if you're closely following the current campaign, you might not realize that Mayor Bloomberg and Comptroller Bill Thompson will be but two of eight options available on voters' ballots on November 3. It's true after gathering the required 7,500 signatures, six other third-party and independent candidates have made it onto the ballot. Some are veterans of campaigns past, some new to the political stage. All have a vision for this city visions that have gone largely without attention because they don't originate from one of the two major political parties. So we asked each of those candidates to tell us about their platforms why they're running, and why they deserve our votes.
Stephen Christopher, Conservative Party
What's your most attractive campaign promise?: By dealing vigorously with waste, and duplication and overlap of duties by different departments, I will shrink the size of government and cut property, sales, and income taxes. Since most large cities don’t have them, it would be my purpose to totally eliminate individual city income taxes.
Describe a typical Christopher voter: He/she believes that we have too much government, and that rather than “doing more with less,” there are many things that government shouldn’t be doing at all. Many are probably, though not necessarily, pro-life and pro–traditional-family.
What's your biggest gripe with Mayor Bloomberg?: He talks about favoring the middle class, but he has repeatedly raised fees and taxes. His actions haven’t matched his words.
Now say something nice about Mayor Bloomberg: I really do like 311. As one who remembers the old “system” (chaos), this isn’t insignificant.
What's your motivation for running in a race that, let's face it, you probably won't win: Hey, one can always hope for a “mouse-that-roared” moment! (Google the play or movie.) I want to spread the message that smaller, leaner, and cheaper government is better than what we have at present.
Joseph Dobrian, Libertarian Party
What's your most attractive campaign promise?: To deregulate private behavior. When I’m mayor, I am not going to spend one thin dime or lift one finger to enforce laws that seek to regulate private behavior, unless that behavior involves the initiation of force or fraud.
Describe a typical Dobrian voter: A typical Dobrian voter is somebody who believes in the principle of self-ownership — the idea that you own yourself, that no matter how the government is chosen, it has no rights or claims on you that the private citizen does not have.
What's your biggest gripe with Mayor Bloomberg?: That he seeks to punish any lifestyle choice that is displeasing to him and his little bobos on the City Council. It’s getting to the point now where everything that’s not specifically permitted is forbidden, and everything that’s not specifically forbidden is compulsory. He’s imposed punitive taxes and malicious code violations, and there will be more of these if he’s re-elected.
Now say something nice about Mayor Bloomberg: I have nothing nice to say about Mayor Bloomberg.
What's your motivation for running in a race that, let's face it, you probably won't win: Somebody has to stand up to a bully even if you know you’re going to get your butt kicked.
Dan Fein, Socialist Workers Party
What's your most attractive campaign promise?: The ruling class is launching a frontal assault on basic living conditions of working people … The working class needs to answer this war on our class by organizing a revolutionary struggle to take power out of the hands of the capitalist rulers, so that we can begin the fight to reorganize the economy and all social relations in the interests of workers and farmers. The 50-year record of the Cuban Revolution shows this is possible.
Describe a typical Fein voter: A worker or a student who wants to change the world. Someone who is against racism, who supports a woman's right to choose abortion, who supports unconditional legalization of all undocumented workers, who is for guaranteed lifetime health care for all.
What's your biggest gripe with Mayor Bloomberg?: Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Republican Party, like William Thompson and the Democratic Party, represent the interests of the wealthy capitalist rulers and their crisis-ridden system.
Now say something nice about Mayor Bloomberg: [no answer provided]
What's your motivation for running in a race that, let's face it, you probably won't win: The Socialist Workers Party candidates are the working-class alternative in this election. If we were not running, working people would have no voice in this election calling for: immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan; federally funded crash public-works program to put millions to work at union scale to build schools, hospitals, roads, and public transportation; guaranteed unemployment compensation at union scale for all workers until they find a job.
Jimmy McMillan, Rent Is Too Damn High Party
What's your most attractive campaign promise?: Reduction in rent, and going after the landlords who boosted the rent prices after the attack of the World Trade Center, and the landlords who have violations that raised the rent and ignored the law that they should have abided by. And I’m going after them, that is my campaign promise. The rent will be reduced, no question about that.
Describe a typical McMillan voter: The voter who can’t afford breakfast, lunch, and dinner. When they open their refrigerator, when they open their wallet, there’s nothing there….Something that the typical McMillan voter would understand is that their children have no place to live in this city. There is no future here for them. If we can’t pay the rent today, they cannot pay it tomorrow.
What's your biggest gripe with Mayor Bloomberg?: None. He didn’t vote himself into office ….I have no beef with him. I wish him well, I wish him luck, congratulations to him for becoming a rich man and his personal business. Congratulations for him for using the techniques of Bernie Madoff to persuade the people to vote for him.
Now say something nice about Mayor Bloomberg: Michael Bloomberg is a good-looking man, like I said, and I told him that, in his face. Nice-looking man, just like me. Self-preservation is the key to life.
What's your motivation for running in a race that, let's face it, you probably won't win: I don’t look at it like that. I had a reporter who asked me that the other day, he said, “McMillan, you can’t win.” I said, “Well, why are you doing a story on me, you’re not going to be a good reporter.” So you have to think positive about yourself …. Jimmy McMillan feels that he is going to be the next mayor of the city of New York, and his approach is that he is going to be the next mayor of the city of New York. You’re talking to the next mayor of the city of New York, and his name is Jimmy McMillan.
Photo: Getty Images
Reverend Billy Talen, Green Party
What's your most attractive campaign promise?: Revoking the required cabaret licenses. Opening up all pleasure sites — whether they be saloons or community centers or parks around the city — to dancing and shouting.
Describe a typical Talen voter: We’ve always stood for the First Amendment, the freedoms of speech and press and worship and peaceable gathering and protest, the five freedoms guaranteed us in the Constitution. And when you love the First Amendment, you love your own sensual and intellectual possibilities. So there’s a state of impending excitement in the ideal Reverend Billy voter.
What's your biggest gripe with Mayor Bloomberg?: Corruption. Democracy is a messy, human, funky, not controllable, and fascinating way of life. And if you dislike democracy as much as he does, you use 100 million dollars to defeat democracy. Instead of permitting democracy to go forward, he bombards us with $30 million in advertising, imagery of him, apparently enjoying the benefits of democracy in his windbreaker, walking around the neighborhood. So there’s a painful irony there: his ads seem to represent democracy but at the same time they subvert it. And that’s corruption.
Now say something nice about Mayor Bloomberg: He’s alive and he has a chance to retire and live a good life in Bermuda.
What's your motivation for running in a race that, let's face it, you probably won't win: When you’re going right back to neighborhoods, going right back to the democracy itself, going back to the basics upon which our community was founded, there’s always a chance that that can catch fire. Because we have that memory in us. People fought and died for these freedoms. New Yorkers are walking around with these memories in us of what democracy is. There’s always a chance, and I’m dedicating the last six weeks to striking that fire.
Frances Villar, Party for Socialism and Liberation
What's your most attractive campaign promise?: The only promise I make is to do everything I can to help poor and working-class New Yorkers build a movement against the bankers, billionaires, and big landlords that are using this economic crisis to squeeze us more than ever. All our campaign planks — making Wall Street pay, stopping police brutality, declaring New York City eviction- and foreclosure-free, and making CUNY free again — depend on our ability to build a fighting movement.
Describe a typical Villar voter: The typical Villar voter is a someone who is fed up with the billionaires calling all the shots and the rest of us suffering because of it. Someone who is proud to be a union member, a former Black Panther, an immigrant student, or anyone who has had to fight for everything they have achieved, and is looking for a way to put the city’s poor and working people first. I'm an Afro-Dominican working mother from the Bronx and this message has resonated most strongly in communities like mine.
What's your biggest gripe with Mayor Bloomberg?: In the most severe economic crisis this city has seen in decades, billionaire Bloomberg has the audacity to claim to represent millions of New Yorkers who work for a living or who can’t find a job. The fact that he can spend millions to buy a third term is a sure sign that we need a new kind of politics. His personal fortune increased $5 billion last year while the unemployment rate doubled, and yet he has the arrogance to call on the rest of us to "tighten our belts."
Now say something nice about Mayor Bloomberg: I have nothing nice to say about the class that oppresses us. It’s nothing personal, though.
What's your motivation for running in a race that, let's face it, you probably won't win: I’m working hard to build the movement for the society that we deserve, where poor and working people are in control and our interests come first — that’s socialism. I want to give people confidence that we do indeed have the power to change society. I am trying to provide an alternative for those who are tired of waiting for Democrats to deliver and want a new kind of politics in this city.