When I first ran for NYC public advocate in 2005 on the platform of eliminating the position, many people thought the idea was ridiculous. (I’m a libertarian; I’m used to it.) Over the years, however, as the sheer pointlessness and wastefulness of the office became apparent, the idea of eliminating a useless government office gained traction. By the time I ran for public advocate again in 2009 on the same platform, many voters and the media were openly sympathetic (even if that sympathy didn’t translate into votes).
Today this radical libertarian idea has gone mainstream. So much so that the Wall Street Journal published an article about the push to eliminate the public advocate. (Note that the WSJ link may or may not be behind a firewall for paid subscribers only. It seems to block and grant me access at random.)
I’m quoted in the article assessing the public advocate’s role:
Jim Lesczynski, a Libertarian, ran for public advocate in 2005 and 2009 on the promise that he would close the office.
“It’s New York’s equivalent of the Queen of England—it’s a figurehead position,” Mr. Lesczynski said. “It’s a grandstanding position that really serves no purpose.”
Even Mike Bloomberg thinks that it is time for the Public Advocate to go. The articles says that the mayor’s charter review commission may put the question of eliminating the public advocate on the ballot in November.