Citizens Union Chief Rips Yassky

A column in this week’s Village Voice deconstructs the David Yassky vs John Liu  Democratic run-off race for comptroller.  In it, Citizens Union honcho Dick Dadey sounds off about Yassky’s flip-flop on term limits:

Village Voice: “He didn’t have any hesitation,” said Dadey. “He indicated to me he would not support overturning the term-limits law without a voter referendum.”

Dadey checked in with Yassky again during a formal visit to City Hall once Bloomberg openly called for the change. “I went up to him and said, ‘David, you’re going to oppose this, right?’ And he said, ‘Of course I am.’ He said it in no uncertain terms. So I marked him down as a ‘Yes’ for our side.”

A few days later, Dadey heard that Yassky was saying something different. “I called him, and he said that he had not yet really made up his mind. I was in disbelief. He said he had not yet come to a final position on the issue and asked that I no longer list him as a ‘Yes,’ but as ‘Undecided.’ I told him, ‘Well, from my point of view, you have changed your mind because you told me on two separate occasions that you were going to oppose this.’ He said, ‘Well, it’s complicated because I am opposed to term limits generally, but I would not like to see this go through.’ ”

The call lasted some 15 fairly heated minutes, says Dadey. “I felt he was backing away from a commitment he had made to me earlier. He was all over the map.”

No matter what your particular stance is on term-limits, Yassky or exactly what “good government” is or should be,  isn’t Citizens Union non-partisan?

By its own description, Citizens Union is:

Citizens Union of the City of New York is an independent, non-partisan civic organization dedicated to promoting good government and political reform in the city and state of New York. For more than a century, Citizens Union has served as a watchdog for the public interest and an advocate for the common good. Founded in 1897 to fight the corruption of Tammany Hall, Citizens Union currently works to ensure fair elections, clean campaigns, and open, effective government that is accountable to the citizens of New York. We do so by informing the policy debate and influencing the policy outcomes that affect the lives of all New Yorkers.

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  • T.K. Small

    Arguably Dadey’s opposition to Yassky is in response to Yassky changing his mind and flip-flopping on term limits extension. There was plenty of time to hold a proper referendum and Yassky actively participated in the affront to the democratic process. Getting answers and holding politicians accountable is consistent with the Citizen Union mission. Persistent-yes, partisan/stalking – no.

  • 1voter

    Yassky has no center. He has flip-flopped on numerous issues–the Brooklyn Law School dorm, Dock Street DUMBO, etc.–and doesn’t even seem able to figure out the position that is in his own best interest, let alone the public’s. But I’ve seen Councilman Liu in action too, and he is at least as pathetic in his own way.

    I cannot decide what to do on Tuesday. I could vote for Yassky because he is far and away the smarter of the two candidates (and then pray he figures out how to do his job). Or, I can sit out the run-off–either Mark Green or Bill de Blasio are fine with me as the next Public Advocate–and get an extra half hour of sleep.

  • the banned

    Yassky far and away smarter? Excuse me? I would strongly disagree. At least Liu had the good sense to stand up for his constituents and oppose East River polls. He stood up to the billionaire mayor and told him to stuff it. It was a courageous thing to do. Yassky was hiding under his receptionist’s desk.

  • Phil

    Regarding Liu and Yassky…there is a lot of evidence that Liu’s campaign is being funded/influenced by organizations that work on behalf of the Chinese Government: please see these links:

    I was in Flushing Queens in May of 2008. The Chinese Consulate had organized mob violence against Falun Gong practitioners. The police had to send in officers from all over NYC for weeks. Liu laughed at the Falun Gong practitioners who went to his office for help. (Flushing is in his district.) However, he gave the attackers a hero’s welcome. Another NYC councilman, Tony Avella, stepped in to help the practitioners.

  • 1voter

    banned, since I wrote, Yassky “doesn’t even seem able to figure out the position that is in his own best interest, let alone the public’s,” I think you agree with me, not disagree.

    You misunderstood. Smarter as in sheer intellectual capacity, not smarter as in having common sense, or even enough sense to pander.

  • Jerry

    The idea that the Chinese government is actively attempting to influence the outcome of a New York City Council race is ridiculous (incidentally, another incarnation of this campaign propaganda I heard fingered the North Koreans as the evil masterminds behind this plot…).

    I cast 4 votes on the 15th, 3 in favor of candidates I supported, 1 very adamantly against David Yassky. I look forward to doing the same tomorrow, and would encourage others to get out and do the same.

  • the banned

    yassky is a weathervane that points towards the direction of money. he did not even know enough to oppose bridge tolls to manhattan even though he represents brooklyn. the guy is hopeless. his secretary is smart but she’s not running, he is.

  • nabeguy

    Last time I checked, Liu and Yassky we running for the comptroller seat, not the City Council. As to the idea that the Chinese government would use any puppet at their disposal to discredit the Falun Gong doesn’t seem that farfetched to me in light of their past attempts to quash this group. It might only be a local election, but that doesn’t mean that people on the other side of the globe aren’t watching.

  • the banned

    Homer, if you un-ban me, I will change my moniker.
    Why in the world do you hold my comments? It is like something out of Cuba or North Korea. Honestly you need all the comments you can get on your blog. It is pretty anemic and I can mix it up with nabeguy and the other party-liners who have the correct views. Do you ban a lot of other posters is that why so few comments?

  • Homer Fink

    Because you’re adorable when you complain, banned. We’ll check our spam filter and make sure that your manifestoes see the light of day.