Former NYC Mayor, Ed Koch says “Throw the bums out,” and he’s exposing the bums, politely called enemies, on his website, NY Uprising. The bums are candidates and incumbents who are not for Reform of Albany State Government.
The concept of the website is simple and straightforward. Albany needs reform. It has districting, budget, and ethics problems. Either a politician is for Reform or he or she is not. If officials are for Reform, they are listed as “heroes.” If they are not for Reform, they are listed as “enemies.” The list is public for all voters to view on the website, NY Uprising.
Talk is too cheap, nowadays, and it is not enough for pols to merely say they are for Reform. They must sign three Reform pledges: Ethics Pledge, Re-Districting Pledge, and the Pledge for Responsible Budgeting. Once pols seal their pledges with their John or Jane Hancock, they appear as “Heroes” on the website. If they do not sign the pledges, they go on the dreaded “Enemies” list for all the world to see.
Koch is joined by several others in his endeavor to reform Albany including Citizens Union Director Dick Dadey and former New York City Parks Commissioner and New York Civic Director Henry Stern. And NYUprising has a group of prominent New Yorkers serving as trustees who are all former city and state officials including Herman Badillo, Rudy Giuliani and Mario Cuomo.
I’m impressed by Koch’s effort because it connects politicians and politics to everyday people in a very direct and easily understandable way. The website also has the potential to hold officials accountable in the future for it is clearly transparent. They signed their pledges, out there in the open, for all the world to see.
Another feature I find effective about NY Uprising is that it is interactive. Voters click the link “Track Your Candidates.” Then, they type in their address and zip code. A list of candidates appears that denotes “Yes” they signed or “No” they did not sign the Reform pledges. Then, voters can click on the candidates names to contact them via email, Facebook, tweet, or telephone to thank them for signing or to warn them to “watch out.” Voters can easily make their sentiments about Reform clear to the candidates. Not all candidates have all forms of contact, but they each have some way to be reached.
Candidates for all offices are listed: Assembly District, State Senate, US House, Governor, Attorney General and Comptroller. Seldom do we see a medium that gives voters such a clear view of where a candidate stands on an issue.
As I am for reform, NY Uprising is helpful to me for it shows me who I do not want to vote for, the “enemy.” Unfortunately, it is only partially helpful in helping me decide who will get my votes. For instance, the candidates for Governor: Cuomo, Lazio, Paladino, and Levy all signed pledges as did all of the candidates for Attorney General.
What matters most about NY Uprising‘s pledges is whether or not the candidates who get into office keep them. Koch’s website is a good first step, but New Yorkers need the whole dance.