Thursday, December 01, 2005

New York City's most successful mugger today

It's Fernando Ferrer, as reported in Tuesday's New York Post:

November 29, 2005 -- Fernando Ferrer is appealing to supporters to help erase a $700,000 campaign debt — and city taxpayers will be on the hook, too.

Ferrer yesterday sent out a new fund-raising letter urging potential contributors to ante up and reminding donors that his losing campaign is still eligible for public matching funds.

Under a little-known provision in the city's campaign-finance law, Ferrer can collect private contributions that will be augmented by taxpayer funds until Dec. 31 to cover campaign-related expenses.

In other words, taxpayers will be forced to fork over money because the Ferrer campaign couldn't live within its budget and ran up a massive debt at the end of the race.

Critics of the campaign-finance law blasted the practice.

"It's an absolute outrage that a candidate can run up debt and have the taxpayers bail him out," said state Conservative Party chairman Mike Long.

"He should raise the money from supporters — or be held accountable for the overspending. This is why the campaign-finance law should be scrapped."

In the fund-raising letter, Ferrer stressed that he'll get $6 in public matching funds for every $1 raised under $250. That means he'll receive $1,500 in taxpayer dollars for a $250 donation from people who live in the city.

"So, I ask your help again. Please consider a donation — remember, the 6-to-1 match is still in effect for donations under $250 — to help end our campaign in the black," Ferrer said in the letter....

Meanwhile, Ferrer — in an interview with the Spanish daily El Diario — bitterly charged that the lopsided pre-election polls and negative media coverage of his campaign made it impossible for him to win.

He even complained that reporters didn't take Bloomberg to task for holding a press conference on a potential subway terror threat the night that the mayor skipped a debate at the Apollo Theater.

But during the campaign, Ferrer did not say Bloomberg acted inappropriately by publicizing the terror threat, which turned out to be false.
If Ferrer can get $100,000 in small (under $250) contributions, he could fleece the city for as much as $600,000. This is the umpteenth reason why I oppose any matching funds of any kind.

I am hardly a fan of Mayor Bloomberg, especially with his latest straw of wanting to reinstitute the commuter tax. But the fact is that as a Democrat-turned-liberal-Republican, he was a far more electable candidate than the ultra-leftist, racially divisive Ferrer. This latest news will certainly not help Ferrer should he ever seek public office again.

Ferrer also didn't help his public image by misleading voters about his supposed public school education (he went to Catholic school), claiming "God is on my side," and then campaigning at a school in violation of election rules. The only person to blame for losing the election is Freddie Ferrer and no one else.


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