- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.Q6qPkwFC.dpuf Diaz Jr. Pulls for DiNapoli in Little Watched Race | Bronx News Networkbronx

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Diaz Jr. Pulls for DiNapoli in Little Watched Race

In today's election most Bronx Democrats are expected to canter to victory over largely symbolic Republican and Conservative opposition.  But nearer the top of the ticket there are at least two races - the state attorney general's and comptroller's - that could go either way.

For Dan Collins, a Huffington Post editor-at-large, the comptroller's race, which pits Democrat Thomas DiNapoli against Republican Harry Wilson, is the most interesting race on the ballot for those living in New York City - something he thought he would never conceivably say.

Last Tuesday, DiNapoli, the current comptroller who was appointed to the position in 2007 following Alan Hevesi's resignation, campaigned in the Bronx with Borough Preesident Ruben Diaz, Jr.  Tatiana Sanchez, a student at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, was on the scene and filed the following report.

By Tatiana Sanchez

At 7:30 a.m. last Tuesday, the bustle of a busy Bronx morning had a different sound to it. New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. greeted commuters at the Parkchester subway station, asking them to re-elect DiNapoli in the upcoming election.

They stood on the corner of Metropolitan and Westchester avenues and extended their hands to the hundreds of people who whizzed past. Volunteers and campaign workers handed out pamphlets bearing a picture of DiNapoli on one side and a slogan reading, “It’s your money. It’s my job to protect it.”

DiNapoli, a Nassau County native, who has been New York’s comptroller since February of 2007, hopes to be re-elected this year. But given the fact that DiNapoli is running for a low-profile position that often slips under voter radar, his biggest concern one week before the election was getting people interested in the race and motivated to vote.

Despite the power the office holds, most residents seem uninterested in and uninformed about the responsibilities of the New York comptroller. Concerns about larger, higher-profile races may keep New Yorkers from voting for DiNapoli, a Democrat, or his opponent, Harry Wilson, a Republican.

That’s where Diaz comes in.

“Good morning everyone. Say hello to Tom DiNapoli,” said Diaz, pointing out DiNapoli to the commuters.

Díaz and DiNapoli stood side by side in almost identical navy blue suits as they greeted the waves of commuters speeding past in jeans and business attire alike. Some smiled and shook the politicians’ hands. Others ignored them completely. There was also an occasional hug, and one man even offered the comptroller a crisp salute.

“People may be concentrated on other races, but it’s important to have a friend in the comptroller position,” said Díaz, who spoke to commuters both in English and Spanish.

Díaz, who previously worked with DiNapoli when they were both assemblymen, says DiNapoli is protecting New Yorkers’ dollars and has the power to invest funds in companies that are friendly to the Bronx.

One commuter, who gave her name as Juana, asked DiNapoli, “I want to know, what are you gonna do for my children as far as schools and busing?” Her question raised the issue of how much residents actually know about a comptroller’s responsibilities.

The New York comptroller is the state’s chief fiscal officer. He or she is charged with overseeing the New York State and Local Retirement System for public employees, reporting on state finances, auditing of public agencies and corporations, and handling the state’s assets and debts. According to the New York Office of the State Comptroller, the comptroller “has a scope of responsibility that is unparalleled in other state governments.”

DiNapoli, whose campaign refers to him as New York’s “fiscal watchdog,” is the state official responsible for protecting taxpayers and their money. As comptroller, he has uncovered $2.9 billion in wasteful government spending and has transformed New York’s pension fund, according to his campaign. His most recent efforts have included auditing the M.T.A., where he found that the agnecy has been running ineffectively on many fronts. One audit determined that the M.T.A. had not properly managed overtime costs, which increased 32 percent between 2005 and 2009.

But these concerns have taken the back burner as Election Day comes closer. Díaz said the two have knocked on doors, visited train stops, and sent out mailers throughout the course of DiNapoli’s campaign.

Eric Sumberg, DiNapoli’s director of communications, said they need to remind people to vote because it’s such a low-profile race.

“You go to where you know you need a lot of people to vote for you,” Sumberg said.

DiNapoli said the Bronx is an important borough because it has many active subway stops where they can reach a large amount of potential voters.

DiNapoli’s opponent, Republican Harry Wilson, a former Wall Street investor who served on President Obama's Auto Industry Task Force, mounted an aggressive media campaign and also decided to court voters by providing written documentation of what he would do.

Wilson has issued several white papers that explain how he would address particular state financial issues if elected. He has presented documents on the ethics of the position, state public pensions, and auditing.

“One thing that you need to get in New York, especially if you’re running as a Republican, you have to establish credibility,” said Bill O’Reilly, a spokesman for Wilson.

O’Reilly agrees that many voters are not interested in the New York comptroller’s race because they do not know about the specifics of the job. To some, it is simply a position with an obscure name and an even more obscure spelling.

An hour later the morning sun grew brighter and the rumble of the 6 train carried on. The only evidence of DiNapoli’s visit was the “DiNapoli 2010” campaign literature that littered the subway floors.

The literature was gone by Sunday as commuters drifted through the quiet station. Tony, 40, who declined to give his last name, feels the New York State comptroller should do a better job of educating people about his position.

“The people who hold that position are not putting enough emphasis on it in the first place,” said Tony, who recently re-located to the Bronx and works in the security business. “It needs to be popularized as much as people need to be aware of it. It’s a two-way street.”

Julia Willbrand of the Green Party, and John Gaetani of the Libertarian Party, are also candidates in the race.

1 comment:

  1. Shouldn't we have someone with financial experience (even better--a financial expert) as CFO of NY? Anything less is a compromise. Vote for Harry! He will fix NY, just like he fixed GM


Bronx News Network reserves the right to remove comments that include personal attacks, name calling, foul language, commercial advertisements, spam, or any language that might be considered threatening, libelous or inciting hate.

User comments are reviewed by BxNN staff and may be included or excluded at our discretion.

If what you have to say is unrelated to this particular post, please visit our readers' forum.