Greer: OK, NYC voters. Start thinking about September
After an effort to move the mayoral primary up to June, the New York City Board of Elections finally made it official that the election would remain in September.
New York voters should use the extra time wisely.
The issues in this year's race -- education, housing, job growth, economic development, transportation, stop-and-frisk, police surveillance and levels of union support -- are more important than ever. New York has changed drastically in the past 12 years. Crime is down in some neighborhoods while police shootings seem common in others. Some residents are buying new homes and gentrifying neighborhoods, while others can barely pay the rent. New York is becoming a tale of two cities.
After the three-term reign of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, we need to get to know the points of view of the many candidates eager to replace him. Yet many New Yorkers don't even know their names.
Christine Quinn, the city council speaker who officially kicked off her candidacy on Sunday, has an edge in the polls right now. Other Democrats in the race are Sal Albanese, Bill de Blasio, John Liu and Bill Thompson.
Republicans throwing their hats in the ring are Tom Allon, John Catsimatidis, Joseph Lhota and George McDonald. Adolfo Carrion is running as the Independence Party candidate and trying to get the GOP's line, too.
Although it's been 20 years since a Democrat held the post, many pundits believe the party has a strong chance this year, as residents have grown increasingly tired of Bloomberg's fiscal and social policies. That means the primary could essentially decide the election.
The job of New York City mayor in many ways is a global one. The mayor essentially presides over Wall Street -- the financial epicenter of the country; he -- or she -- negotiates with some of the largest police, fire and civil service unions in the United States; the mayor must establish relationships with an extremely diverse group of citizens and organizations.
With so much at stake for the future of the city, it's imperative that voters make informed choices. The candidates are out there now. New Yorkers, start tuning in.
Christina M Greer is assistant professor of political science at Fordham University.