Sunday, October 31, 2010

It's Election Day. Here Are My Endorsements

Anyone who blogs for business reasons will tell you: "DON'T Get Political on your business blog." So much for my listening to common sense. I see a lawyer's job in part to help lead his community. That includes supporting candidates for office; not just anyone who runs on a particular party line, but candidates they know will make a positive difference in the lives of the people they try to help every day. I am more than aware (sometimes I think I am alone in this) that no one party has a lock on good ideas or good people. I endorse "bipartisanly" not because it is "good business politics" but because it is good government and I like to think exhibits leadership.

A proviso: I consider myself libertarian. Small "l". Which means I am not actively a member of the party, but I agree with much of what they stand for.

Libertarians are usually said to be fiscal conservatives and social liberals. To be libertarian, (small "l") I think you have to favor small federal government and very little government intrusion into private decisions.

With that said here are my picks and some analysis.

Warren Redlich. He is the Libertarian. It is a minor party but Warren is anything but a minor brain. He seems to be the only candidate who understands you cannot cut taxes without cutting many MANY unnecessary and duplicative programs.
Look Cuomo is a great guy (really he is, I've known Andy politically since we were both kids. He is a tough/bully kind of politician but he also is very family oriented and has a good heart. He wants to make correct decisions, I just don't think he always knows what those might be.) Paladino is someone I'd like to like. He is a successful businessman, loves his family and is famously loyal to those he is surrounded by, but he is either a bigot or stupid at times. Until he learns to say what he means the first time he says it, there will always be a question in my mind as to which is which. Mutual friends of ours swear to me he is just a "regular guy". Maybe, but maybe you need to be more to be the highest elected state official in NY.
As for those who think that this is a wasted vote, so is voting for Paladino, however if Redlich gets enough votes (50K) the Libertarian Party gets a line in the next four elections. That will give it the power to get like minded people elected both to the statehouse and in local elections. Sure some people will be fringe candidates (so is Paladino if you think about some of the things he has said) but many will have new ideas that may work far better than the same old thing. VOTE REDLICH.
Attorney General:
Tough call. Politically, Eric Schniederman and I probably agree on a lot of social issues including death penalty, drugs and the proper emphasis of a state Atty' General's Office. Dan Donovan however is a good prosecutor and knows how to run an office. He worked under Guy Molinari, and is considered a Republican moderate. Schneiderman on the other hand knows Albany and has been an enemy of the corruption that runs the capital. He will be a watchdog over Wall Street, but I don't think he has the makeup of either of the previous two AGs (Spitzer or Cuomo.)
I will vote for Donovan and hope I was right.

I have known Tom DiNapoli for 30 years. I like him personally. I am sure that Tom's heart is in the right place. He has been a good administrator but he isn't a comptroller. The Republican candidate Wilson is a tool of Wall Street.
I am voting for the Libertarian who understands Wall Street but also has the qualifications to be a Comptroller and who is just populist enough to understand he is a guardian of the Public fisc. I cast my vote for Carl E. Person. Take a look at his website. He has some interesting ideas. As with Redlich for Governor I know that not enough people will vote for Carl to elect him, but if he were to get 50K votes, it would send a strong message that the electorate wants a state government that gives greater power and less "pass down" legislation to local county and town governments.

I am not touching the US Senate or Congressional campaigns. Mostly because the Republicans decided not to show up. There are really no choices here. I don't support Schumer and I have no idea who Gillibrand is going to become. She is better than I thought she would be, but then again I didn't initially expect anything from her anyway. I will vote for Libertarian party candidates mostly as a show of dissatisfaction with the lack of a real choice.

Now locally (On Long Island) we have a bunch of Judicial elections. I am going to focus on Supreme Court and Family court.

I'd like to begin with the Supreme Court.
The most qualified candidates are without a doubt Daniel Palmeri and Andrew Crecca. I have appeared before both. They are outstanding trial judges. Palmeri is brilliant. PERIOD. Crecca has a great feel for the courtroom and for the issues. I think he has great ability to be the kind of judge who gets things done expeditiously both of these candidates are sitting judges and both are Republicans.

As for the other two spots, I urge you to vote for two Democrats (no I am not trying to be equal. I know these folks and they are worthy of the job.) The first is a sitting District Court Judge Robert Spergel
Judge Spergel has a good way of cutting through the garbage that is litigation. He needs to be careful of his urge to "get it right" and rule according to law. (He used to be a policeman, "Street Justice" may work on the street but in a court of law, law works best.) Outside of that however, he has a good "gut" understanding of when a side is taking an unfair advantage of others. He is aware of how to move a calendar and he seems unafraid to make hard and unpopular decisions. He does that expeditiously. It is important to move Supreme Court calendars quickly. Justice delayed is justice denied. Supreme Court calendars move at the speed of a glacier. Having a judge who can decide tough calls and do it quickly is a good thing.

The last vote is for my colleague William "Bill" Devore. Bill has had a storied career both in and outside of the Suffolk District Attorney's office. He is a reasonable person who understands the issues that occur in people's lives. He is a good lawyer and will have the guts to make the tough call in a timely manner. He has compassion yet he is a strong lawyer who will be unafraid to decide to do the right thing as opposed to the popular thing.

Here are four good candidates who all will serve us well. This is not to take away anything from the other candidates who all bring different qualities to the bench. The biggest issue is that the four judges I selected all are gutsy lawyers who do not appear to be beholden to anyone and who can do the job (or are doing the job) well. They each know the importance of moving a calendar and do so while maintaining a high level of legal acumen. Crecca and Spergel work in high-stress busy "specialty courts" (Crecca works Domestic Violence Court in Suffolk which mixes civil family and criminal court in one courtroom and Spergel is the judge in the DWI Trial Court in Nassau County, the busiest Criminal Trial Court by volume on Long Island.)

There is only one great choice for Nassau County Family Court. Merik (Rick) Aaron. Rick is a former HS Teacher. Went to Law School. He is bright and he is compassionate. He has the perfect disposition to work with juvenile delinquents and dysfunctional people (After all he worked for me for his last year of Law School!) Now for those of you who will claim some type of nepotism, I say that is just not true. I know Rick, and I have seen his work. He is THE CHOICE for Nassau Family Court.

Finally for State Assembly, I am supporting Charles Lavine a Democrat in the NY State Assembly's Thirteenth (13) AD. He has done a great job. He sits on the codes committee and he has been very effective in Albany.
I am also supporting Michael Montasano in his race in NY's Fifteenth (15)AD. Mike understands the issues that effect everyday folk. He is one of us. He is a former police officer and lawyer. He is gutsy. He challenged the Nassau County Forfeiture law and won!! Mike is a good assemblyman who will serve his constituency well.

I like Tom McDevitt in the Seventeenth (17)AD. A fine young man who is becoming more and more of a force in Albany for his district. Tom is active in his practice of law and he has been active in the Nassau County Bar Association. HE is up on the issues and provides a spirited loyal opposition to the Democrat controlled Assembly.

In the State Senate, I am supporting the Republican ticket right down the line. Why? Because a Democrat Senate has wreaked havoc on Long Island. Democrats have taken the STAR exemptions away which helped a lot of people stay in their homes in a bad economy. We pay a MTA Tax even if we never ride a rail or cross a bridge. In other words, losing in the Third Senatorial District broke up the Long Island Republican Senate block. The new guy Democrat Brian Foley wasted no time paying back his political benefactors at a great cost to Long Island. Sorry. I really don't like how Albany works. There is too much power in the leadership of each house and Governor, and the system rewards the corrupt and the stupid (can anyone say Brian McLauglin and Anthony Seminerio?)usually at the expense of Long Island and the North Country. A solid Republican Senatorial block, until Albany becomes a place where rank and file members have more power, gives Long Island the only chance it has for a fair shake.

Well let the commenting begin. I am sure I ticked off many of you and even a few friends who I'd like to support but can't in fairness to the principles I have politically and or because the other candidate is just in my humble opinion a better candidate. Agree or disagree you can help have the final say if you vote on Tuesday.
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