Less than a month to go until the Democratic primary in this year’s election for New York governor! Can you feel the excitement?
Neither can I. Our president has sucked the air out of the room, grabbing all the headlines. This leaves Gov. Andrew Cuomo and challenger Cynthia Nixon, best known for her role of Miranda Hobbes in “Sex and the City,” to fight hard for the scraps before Sept. 13.
At least Nixon will. Up about 30 points in the polls, Cuomo has no desire to draw more attention to the Nixon challenge. Perhaps Nixon can spur momentum with a catchy campaign slogan. How about “Nixon’s the one”?
New Yorkers face serious issues, and it would be nice to know whether the contenders have any real solutions. So far, no good.
The NYC subway system has the worst on-time performance of any major rapid transit system in the world, according to The New York Times, and New Yorkers have reached their boiling point. With a mismanaged, bloated MTA budget, too much money goes to gaudy vanity projects, and too little to fixing core problems, such as antiquated signals that slow down the system.
The LIRR isn’t doing much better, reporting constant, maddening delays.
Cuomo recently made news with his insistence on spending millions of MTA dollars on installing gaudy blue-and-gold tiles inside the Queens Midtown and Brooklyn Battery tunnels instead of plain white. Will that turn our frown upside down as we whiz through?
At the same time, Nixon embarrassed herself by questioning New York’s Taylor Law, which gives public sector unions the right to collective bargaining but sets severe penalties for job walkouts. Strikes by transit workers and teachers have disrupted the lives of commuters, parents and children in the past. Does Nixon want to bring back those dismal days?
Meanwhile, homelessness has increased, and affordable housing remains scarce. But such issues rarely get the attention they deserve.
Perhaps the campaign will yet shine a spotlight on these problems, and the candidates will provide workable solutions. Let’s hope. But if they do, will we read about them in the media — or will it still be all Donald Trump, all the time?
Playwright Mike Vogel blogs at newyorkgritty.net.