Ognibene Not 'Duped' By Global Warming
May 22nd, 2008
Sen. James Inhofe’s position that global warming is the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people” received sustained national attention. Sure, he was chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, which made the stance all that much more important.
But when a candidate in the special election to fill a City Council seat in Queens said he hasn’t been “duped” by global warming, it certainly didn’t go unnoticed by those who heard it. The comment was made by Thomas Ognibene at a candidates forum for the 30th district in Queens last night, which was organized by the Historic Districts Council and the League of Preservation Voters. It was the topic of conversation afterwards and the only line to get a laugh from the audience.
“There are scientists that are saying we are actually going through a period of global cooling,” Ognibene said. “Since it’s a political issue, I don’t think it has anything to do with this, and I’m certainly not duped by it, and I don’t care about global warming.”
He did pronounce support for many policies that would help reduce greenhouse gases nonetheless, such as energy efficiency, which he framed as an economic and infrastructure issue.
Still, that wasn’t enough to comfort some voters who attended the forum. Christopher Crowe, an employee at the New York University Bobst Library, said that the comment made Ognibene seem unreliable, and he worried what Ognibene thought about other issues, if he felt that way about global warming.
“If it’s present in the detail, it’s present in the whole,” Crowe said.
But the global warming comment wasn’t the only statement to be challenged.
Oginebene, a Republican, is running on a platform that his past experience in the City Council makes him more qualified than his competition. He once held the seat he is now running for again, and is even framing his campaign as a re-election campaign. The short period between now and the 2009 election, he says, means that the winner will need to start campaigning for reelection immediately, so they won’t have much time to learn.
“You’ll need someone who can get something done during that time,” he argued.
Mike Mascetti, a Democrat and co-president of the SciHighInitiative, an education non-profit, says that may be true, but adds, “Whoever wins this election, will win the next, and the one after, and probably be in office for a long time.” That, Mascetti opined, needs to be taken into account.
Mascetti was running for the seat up until the petitioning phase, when he dropped out due to lack of funds to hire an election lawyer. He has since endorsed Elizabeth Crowley, a fellow Democrat, who he says has a strong campaign and a focus on education.
Anthony Como, a Republican, also made some comments that others took issue with. He has been promoting his idea to impose criminal and civil fines on owners of properties that have been designated as historic but been allowed to fall apart, and he did so again last night. Problem is, those options already exist.
In 2005, a bill introduced by Councilmember Tony Avella was passed which gave the city the authority to impose civil fines on these owners. Simeon Bankoff, the executive director of the Historic Districts Council, notes that while the Landmarks Preservation Commission has that right to enter into criminal proceedings over neglect, those cases are difficult to win. “By making it into civil fines, you have an enforceable action,” he said.By Mike Muller on May 22, 2008, 11:26 am
In category: Electoral Politics, Environment, Governing | 5 Comments »