Monday, November 2, 2009

Someone For Mayor

Tomorrow is election day in New York City and about two weeks ago the idea occurred to me to run a mayoral endorsement on the blog today. The only problem is that now, two weeks later, I don't really know who I would like to be mayor. I honestly haven't made up my mind yet even though I will have voted 24 hours from now. This is a tough one.

My biggest issue, as you might be able to guess, is education. I think that's the biggest challenge facing the city and the one that the mayor has real authority to work on. So that's my litmus test. Even with a pretty narrow scope, I'm still terribly conflicted.

On the one hand, I disagree with a lot of the things that Mayor Bloomberg has done over the last eight years. I also object to his needlessly negative and often dishonest campaign approach. However, he has been focused on education, which is more than can be said about most leaders in this country. He's allocated tons of money to the schools and has tried a series of reforms to correct a system that clearly wasn't working. Whether these new reforms are the answer is, of course, a matter of heated debate, but at least he's trying something.

I often see Thompson as running against the Mayor's education policies. The bulk of Thompson's education platform is pretty much a direct response to things the Mayor has done poorly (not involving parents, too much test prep, etc). What's not clear is what Thompson's affirmative agenda is going to look like. It's one thing to say that you'll involve parents in meaningful ways and that you'll educate the "whole child", but what does that actually mean at the end of the day? And what's the guarantee that it will get done? After all, the Bloomberg/Klein system keeps saying that they're going to do a better job involving parents too.

I've also been remarkably unimpressed with the entire Thompson campaign. I mean, I get that the other guy has $15 billion to potentially spend, but that doesn't mean you should just roll over and die. Let's just say that I'm not impressed with his managerial skills on this front.

So the choice boils down to a guy I know I often disagree with, but that I know is taking big action on the issue I care about and a guy who says he'll do everything differently and better, but that I don't know will actually be able to accomplish anything. Like I said, this is a tough one and time is ticking.

Remember to vote tomorrow.

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