Latimer for Westchester County Executive
A Whitney Global Media Editorial of the Air: WVOX & WVIP
by William O’Shaughnessy, President
broadcast November 2, 2017
Our colleagues at Gannett’s Journal News, Westchester’s important daily newspaper, have found in favor of George Latimer to be our next county executive.
Their editorial endorsement is a well-constructed and exquisitely reasoned treatise on both candidates in the contentious and nasty county race.
The paper argues that with all his mistakes and flaws – and they are considerable – Senator Latimer, the Democrat, is much to be preferred over the incumbent Rob Astorino, the Republican, who also has the endorsement of the Conservative Party. As you know, if you’ve been reading the public press and listening to WVOX … the Astorino machine has hit George Latimer with everything but the proverbial kitchen sink. Some of it justified.
Our take, however, on Senator Latimer is that he is one of the hardest-working and most dedicated public servants we’ve encountered in over 50 years as your local station. Only Greenburgh’s peripatetic Paul Feiner can match Mr. Latimer for being everywhere apparent and constantly at the People’s Business, 24/7.
At the risk of being Biblical, Latimer reminds us often of Saint Paul in the Bible who, it is said, advised converts to the early Christian faith “What doth it matter if everyone else is fine … and you are not alright …?” Paul’s instruction was clearly a message to ancient Latimer-types who are driven to do good for all the other people, their neighbors … but often neglect themselves. Which brings us to the present day George Latimer. It is obvious he needs to spend some time tending to himself. In other words, Senator George needs to, every once in a while, take some time out from doing the mitzvahs and kindnesses of his public life to tend to his own damn household (no pun intended).
Much has been made of Latimer’s transportation problems. It’s no excuse … but he doesn’t have drivers and bodyguards to convey him here and there as Astorino commands in abundance, (after vowing to cut back on “security” read “perks.”)
Gannett is right. Latimer is a rumpled, but hard-working and altogether dedicated fellow.
Having been a former chairman of the County Board, and, in every telling and account, a very good one, he knows the levers and potential of County government. And when we speak of superior county board chairmen … the great and estimable Herman Geist is in that class with Latimer and so too was Andy O’Rourke and New Rochelle’s brilliant Stephen Tenore.
In this mean-spirited race, Mr. Latimer is also up against an ultra-conservative billionaire, and his daughter’s purse, who are reported to have put $1 million bucks on the line to re-elect Mr. Astorino and defeat the Democrat.
It’s no secret abroad in the land that Rob Astorino wants to be governor and his heart and soul is clearly in another run for Albany.
We don’t always agree with the local Gannett elders. But in this important race, we are in 100% agreement with The Journal News and their thoughtful editorial. George Latimer is much to be preferred as our next county executive.
Rob Astorino, in his best moments, is a nice, agreeable and affable fellow and we were proud to endorse him over our own New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson, the stunningly brilliant and precocious, but tone-deaf Mayor of New Rochelle who is ultra-fluent in the jargon and municipal-speak of government rules and regs, but you wouldn’t want to ask him for a favor for your brother-in-law or a neighbor who is hurting. You may recall, we “endorsed” Noam for the US Congress in the last county exec’s race because that’s where Bramson has his sights set, still to this day.
On the occasion of the last county executive contest, we opted for Astorino. He has many good qualities. And very much to his credit is his relationship with the Plunketts. The estimable William Plunkett is an advisor as he is to many. And his brother Kevin is Rob’s hard-working Deputy County Executive. He also found something for the highly regarded former Supreme Court Justice Daniel Angiolillo when the Cuomo Office cut him loose after a distinguished career on the Appellate bench. He’s also been loyal, many think to a fault, to his former colleagues at the dearly departed White Plains radio station before it gave up the ghost and mantle of a community station.
He also enjoys, as we do, the friendship of Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Cardinal Archbishop of New York. But, make no mistake, Senator Latimer is the better choice in this race.
Nobody quite knows where Astorino is on Playland, Westchester Parks or the County Airport.
It really is a question of priorities, instincts and inclination. While Rob Astorino spends a lot of time “auditioning” for New York City radio stations, here every morning without fail for the past 30-something years, has been the voice of George Latimer calling attention to community meetings and local events. It tells you something.
Incidentally, we’ve also learned just this week that Mr. Astorino’s campaign quietly slipped over $21-thousand dollars to WOR for “advertising” which means that somebody at least knows the meaning of the Latin phrase “Quid Pro Quo.”
During the 50-plus years of our stewardship, WVOX has usually found our way to the side of gifted and able local Republican candidates: the incomparable Nelson Rockefeller, Malcolm Wilson, Andy O’Rourke, Edwin Gilbert Michaelian, Anthony J. Colavita, Alvin Richard Ruskin, et al … while saving our enthusiasm on the State and National scene for Jack and Robert Kennedy, Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Mario Matthew Cuomo of sainted memory and his dynamic son and heir Andrew Mark Cuomo, the “Energizer Governor.”
We’ve clearly favored Republicans on the local scene close to home. But in this critical county election of 2017, we confidently endorse the Democrat: Senator George Latimer for County Executive.
We believe he’ll make a great one with his accessibility, stamina, willingness to listen to ordinary people and a very good and generous heart.
Plus, when it comes to government and governance: he’s damn smart.
We suggest he begin to apply those smarts to his personal life and the minutiae of everyday living that we all have to deal with.
This is an Editorial of the Air. This is Bill O’Shaughnessy.