13 June 2005

Brodeur for something-or-other (BR)

Frequent New York Press contributor Christopher X. Brodeur has announced his candidacy for mayor. Brodeur sought the same office on the Green ticket in 2001 (did you know? I sure didn't). This year he's wisened up and has thrown his hat into the Democratic primary.

His platform and ideas can be found at mayorbrodeur.org. Since I'm probably the only person in the city keeping marginal tabs on the mayoratorial race, I'll hold y'alls hand while we examine Brodeur's ideas for the city.

You know what's sad? When you agree with basically every aspect of a candidate's agenda but you're too embarrassed by the method of presentation to support them. I'm not sure for how long Brodeur has been mulling a run at Gracie Mansion this year, but his platform reads suspiciously like the one I posted about a month ago, detailing the tenets of my abortive run for mayor. Abolish the MTA, hold politicians accountable not only for fiscal waste but public disingenuousness, scrap the West Side stadium, looks good -- rebuild the twin towers, eh, I thought they were ugly when they were up, and since no one wants to rent office space a thousand feet above the most notorious graveyard in New York City, a nice memorial with some gardens and statues would be a much nicer tribute, though I agree with his proposal to seize the property from Larry Silverstein via eminent domain (if City Hall can kick old ladies and low-income families out of their homes to build an arena for the Nets, they should use it to screw a rich guy every now and again).

But a good portion of Brodeur's plan for the city is built on quicksand. Witness this silly little bit:

Have you ever called someone’s cellphone only to find it’s temporarily disconnected because they missed a bill? When I’m mayor, this will NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN.

ALL homes and businesses will have a phone jack that will automatically be on always. Everyone will get FREE service and never see a bill again. (If you need more phone lines, you may have to pay for it.) Ditto electricity: all homes and businesses will get a certain amount of electricity free. If they go over that amount (because they waste electricity or they need a lot more than the average person, they’ll have to pay an extra fee to the govt.)


Oh cool, Chris, you gonna send city workers over to wipe my ass after I evacuate my dinner, too? There are already city-financed subsidies toward electricity and phone service for lower-class New Yorkers, completely socialized telecom and electricity only adds another, different layer to the bureaucracy Brodeur claims to despise.

Mayor Brodeur would also levy huge penalties on "lies" in print and visual media in the city. How? What's the burden for proving that a media outlet is untruthful? And where's the guarantee that a "truth in media" statute wouldn't become just another tool for going after people with politically unpopular opinions? There's none; there's no possible way to even write a safeguard into this law, and it seems unenforceable on its face. The only way something like this could work is under the authority of an autocratic executive with sole discretion in determining "truth," and I don't like that idea any more than another subway fare hike. Besides, with his admitted antipathy toward every rag in the city from the Times to the Voice, I don't expect Brodeur would be any more fair in the adminstration of a policy like this than, say, Mike Bloomberg or Fernando Ferrer.

A good candidate could condense and polish these ideas into a socialist/progressive "Democrat" campaign and garner a lot of support in New York, but Brodeur isn't a good candidate. He's an hysterical firebrand whose webpage reads like a 15-year-old's AOL member site (I'm surprised to be saying this because I like his editorial columns). Epithets, hyperbole, unkeepable promises and all-capitalized words and sentences abound, he's fond of referring to all New York City politicians with composite names like "Rudy Dinkins-Bloomberg," and people are sick of ideologues of all stripes. Especially angry ones. Except in the immediate aftermath of some public tragedy like September 11 or the Diallo shooting, no one in this city will get riled up about political issues, especially wonky stuff like misappropriation of tax money.

We don't want or need a "leader" in this city, we need an effective and honest administrator. Brodeur does himself in by attacking outright any press that could possibly boost him, which is why you've probably never heard of him. It's a nice idea, Chris, but you're the wrong man for the job.

This New Yorker is sticking to his muted support of C. Virginia Fields for Mayor.


Blogger Craig said...

Yeah, I read CXB's site and thought "hmmm, so our choice is between Corrupt and Typical or Honest but Completely Insane"

6/14/2005 8:49 AM  
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