Posted by: jonahlr | August 24, 2009

Return of the Public Advocate

Crain’s New York Business ran an article Sunday predicting that whoever wins the public advocate’s race, he will be a lot louder than the previous one.

After eight years in which benign Betsy Gotbaum quietly occupied the position, it will be filled by someone far more bellicose.

State Senator Eric Adams had the same thought:

“Each one of the guys running is not afraid to fight the next mayor, particularly if it’s Mike Bloomberg,” says state Sen. Eric Adams, a Brooklyn Democrat supporting Mr. Siegel. “You’re going to have a totally different public advocate. On every issue that people think is wrong, these guys are going to be on top of you.”

Yet, while all four candidates would be willing to take on the mayor, Crain’s made an important distinction between Siegel and the rest of the candidates.

Of the four Democrats running, only Mr. Siegel does not aspire to run for mayor, but he has fought the administration on civil rights issues, including the arrest of Republican Convention protesters in 2004.

And finally, a reminder of just how quiet the last public advocate was:

The contrast to Ms. Gotbaum will be stark. Ms. Gotbaum, who is not seeking re-election, has defended her low profile by saying, “I’m not a screamer and a yeller.” A WNYC reporter randomly asked 15 New Yorkers to name the incumbent; the closest anyone got was a man who said, “Something in her name is an R.”

If you’d like to read the full article, click on this link.


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