Strictly Stasi
by Anthony Stasi
Aug 25, 2009 | 6799 views | 0 0 comments | 64 64 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The 32nd City Council district has incumbent Republican Eric Ulrich running for re-election. Ulrich won his special election when Joseph Addabbo, Jr. won his seat in the State Senate. Ulrich will face Frank Galluscio, civic leader and former teacher, on the Democratic end. This is a seat that can go either way, although it asks more of a Republican candidate than it does from a Democrat.

The registration is about 3:1 Democrats to Republicans, and so the Republican needs to get the attention of the voters in order for them to at least consider him. Al Stabile proved this point twice. He was more visible and held the district’s attention better than anyone in the two elections that he won. That ratio is worse for Republicans in other parts of the city.

Ulrich won his special election helped by the fact that there is slightly less emphasis on political parties and more emphasis on the individual in such contests. That was to Ulrich’s advantage. He doesn’t really have that going for him this time. But Ulrich is the incumbent, which means he has been visible in the district at events where people met him as “the councilman.” He is young and energetic, which is something the Republican Party does not always have the fortune of claiming.

Ulrich ran his winning campaign on his own. Most Republicans do not get the boost from their party like local Democrats often get from their camp. Ulrich ran his own campaign. He won. And now he has a more independent streak from which to work. But the party knows they cannot lose this seat – the symbolism of having a young councilman in this district is too much to lose. This is why you see Congressman Peter King, former congressional candidate Grant Lally, and others supporting Ulrich so strongly. He is hope for these people that a two-party system still exists.

Galluscio has the advantage of the party registration. He doesn’t have the “wow” factor of Ulrich, but he has been very active in local politics, and he is very likeable. Galluscio is also approachable, and that is a quality you want in a council member. But while those are great traits in a public servant, the debates will show us more about the grip each person has on issues – such as schools, property taxes, and the environment around Jamaica Bay. At this point, Ulrich still has the uphill climb, between the two – if only because of the registration factor. But it is a very close race.

Don’t Buy This Thing Called Altegrity

The change of administrations often results in new management in most city agencies – at least at the very top it does. As is tradition at the federal level, top-level commissioners and deputies offer their resignation, even if they wish to stay. It’s tradition. It means that the mayor will not have to fire anyone at the top. Instead, he will either accept or reject the resignation of each commissioner.

If Mayor Bloomberg is re-elected, he will decide who stays and who goes. Many of his programs have been successful, so there is reason for agency heads to think they might be welcome in a third term. Although the mayor has said that one of the things that makes him an important candidate as he vies for a third term is the very fact that he is willing to “bring new people in and shake things up.”

If Bill Thompson is elected mayor, the process is the same. He will review resignations and see who he keeps. These potential changes make you think about two men, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and former Police Commissioner, Bill Bratton.

As recently as two weeks ago, Bratton surprised his boss, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, with his plan to leave and join corporate America. Bratton can do whatever he wants. He successfully transformed the anemic Los Angeles Police Department in his seven years there. But let’s remember that being a commissioner is a management position. How people manage, the patterns in which they govern, is what we really care about.

Ray Kelly loves being police commissioner – which is why he was more than happy to return with Mayor Bloomberg in 2002. Bratton follows a familiar pattern of his with his resignation in Los Angeles. He left New York to take a job with a little-known security firm. Then he took the high profile gig in Los Angeles. Now he leaves his post in Los Angeles to take a position at Altegrity, a security firm based in Falls Church, Virginia. Why does this matter to us? If the signs are right Bratton is most likely planning to take something bigger. What’s in Falls Church, Virginia? There may be a bridge that leads to Washington, D.C.

Bratton, should he get appointed by the president to a post at maybe Homeland Security or Customs , could then leave his job at Altegrity and head to his next high-profile job. At Altegrity, he has a job that he can leave – and believe it – he will leave it. There are no T.V. cameras following Bratton at Altegrity, nor will there be parades for him or in-depth news articles about his innovative policing. Nobody at Altegrity – good people that they probably are - gets on the cover of Time magazine. Altegrity might be paying Bratton a fair amount of money, but he doesn’t care about that. It will be interesting to see where he lands next. There is every reason to think he will wash ashore with the federal government – but he didn’t mind living in New York. He just had issues with his boss.

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