Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Dems Should Throw Hevesi Under the Bus

It may come as a shock to some people, but I am a rather reasonable person most of the time. While I have some wild and crazy ideas and I tend to lean far left on most issues, I consider myself to be very open-minded and I am not afraid to admit when I am wrong. That's why it should not surprise anyone when I say that, locally and statewide, Democrats should call for Alan Hevesi's resignation.

Let me preface that by saying that Hevesi has done a fine job as State Comptroller. He has greatly strengthened the State pension fund, which was certainly a challenge in the years following 9/11. He also strengthened local pension funds and exposed serious flaws in public authorities across New York State. He worked with Attorney General Spitzer to punish evil corporations that were robbing the public and he allocated funds to spur investment in the upstate economy. Certainly, based on those credentials, Alan Hevesi merits re-election. However, there is more to a man than the deeds that he does while in the public eye, and Hevesi's wrongdoings with State taxpayer dollars are simply unacceptable.

As much as I hate to admit it, the Republicans are 100% right about this. Mr. Hevesi's job was to protect the State against fraud and abuse, and yet he was committing those same violations on a daily basis. If he did indeed know that it was wrong to use a state employee to chauffeur his disabled wife around town (and how could he not know?), than this is not only unethical but borderline illegal. It is good to see that there are Democrats out there willing to take a strong stand against this type of behavior. Also encouraging is soon-to-be-Governor Spitzer's remarks that he is reconsidering his endorsement of Hevesi. But time is running short.

If Democrats are indeed the party of ethics and morals as we are claiming across the nation, than we must sacrifice a sure-thing election and ask him to step down. He has served us well as Comptroller and for that he can be saluted, but there is no good reason for Hevesi to continue on as Comptroller of New York State. He abused the power of his position and harmed all New Yorkers in the process. He violated our trust and insulted all of us. Other than his incredibly pretentious-sounding name, I know scant little about J. Christopher Callaghan, Hevesi's Republican opponent. But he is an upstater and he is Irish, so how bad can he be?

UPDATE: After watching last night's debate between Hevesi and Callaghan, I am not sure that I will be able to cast a vote in this race. It was quite evident that Hevesi is the better candidate, but the fact remains that he compromised his credibility by his dumb actions. Callaghan did not impress me as someone worthy of holding statewide office. He looked more like a high school science teacher than one of the most powerful officials in the state. There are other candidates in this race, and being of a liberal mindset, I should recommend that you consider voting for Brooklynite Julia Willebrand of the Green Party. But she really does not have the credentials or relevant experience necessary for this position. The other viable option is Libertarian John J. Cain, a former Zoning and Planning Board member from Rockland County with experience in worker's compensation issues.