18, No. 21
Nov. 3 - 16, 2005
New York City voters could be forgiven for thinking that
Mayor Bloomberg’s opponents in next week’s election are John Corzine and
Doug Forrester, who are, of course, running for Senate in New Jersey.
The three wealthy candidates are so ubiquitous on TV with their
multi-million-dollar ad campaigns that the relatively meager ad buy of
Bloomberg’s real opponent, Fernando Ferrer, is barely noticeable.
If Bloomberg is so confident in his own record, why does he feel the
need to bombard us with ads?
But Ferrer bears responsibility for the eclipse of his message, too. He
has simply not taken advantage of free media. On an average day, we get
about 10 press releases e-mailed to us from the Bloomberg campaign, not
to mention the mayor’s office. But we get zip from Ferrer. We asked to
be put on the press list and for the next couple of days received one or
two releases, but then nada. Ferrer has appeared in his home borough. He
spoke at Bronx Community College, which is in our coverage area, but we
didn’t hear about it until after it happened.
Other Bronx media outlets say they also haven’t heard from the
candidate. The Ferrer camp wouldn’t even designate a spokesman to appear
in a surrogate’s debate on Gary Axelbank’s BRONXNET talk show on Monday.
So, four times a day, all this week, Ninfa Segarra will get a chance to
make her case for the mayor as the show is repeated.
Ferrer’s handlers, who talk like they’ve already won, even when they’re
behind almost 30 points in the polls, seem to be operating according to
a mysterious calculus.
In a New York Observer article, Ferrer consultant and former Bronx
Democratic boss Roberto Ramirez said: “Freddy’s candidacy for mayor will
change the world. It will never be the same. The consequences of this
campaign will live long beyond 2005.”
The Bloomberg spending spree is unseemly and we worry that the city’s
progressive campaign finance system will be made obsolete by wealthy
candidates who opt out of it altogether. It seems inevitable that fewer
candidates will choose to tie a hand behind their back while rich
political opponents get to whack them with everything in their bank
Still, we’re disappointed that Ferrer, a scrappy Bronxite who saw this
borough through some of its toughest times over a solid 14-year tenure,
laid his stickball bat down long before the game was over.
Faith in Loew’s
The scene at Loew’s Paradise Theatre on Saturday night wasn’t
just impressive because one of the borough’s most treasured landmarks
It was that it reopened in such style. Rather than gut the Paradise for
a gigantic carpet emporium (only the exterior is landmarked, so that was
not out of the question), developer Gerald Lieblich painstakingly
restored the former movie palace to its former grandeur.
The Paradise even has a state-of-the-art kitchen and a lobby restaurant
run by a celebrity chef.
The new Paradise will mainly be a concert hall, rather than a movie
theater. Some will lament that, but it will still be a cultural venue,
and Lieblich deserves tremendous credit for having faith in such an
ambitious commercial venture. We hope that Bronxites will affirm
Lieblich’s vote of confidence at the box office.
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