Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mayoral candidate profile: Jeremy Blaber

When I first saw bouncing around Facebook a post in which Jeremy Blaber declared his candidacy for New Paltz mayor, I said to myself, "why?"  He's a Kingston guy, I said to myself, so is this just some kind of stunt to generate some buzz? Luckily for me he was the first candidate to accept my invitation to chat.

It turns out that Blaber, who presently splits his time between Brooklyn and Kingston, didn't choose New Paltz without reason.  He lived in the village for three years before starting a job with the Working Families Party, which took him down to Brooklyn.  He's careful to point out that New Paltz has a very high transient population, and that his own ties here are at least as strong as some other rumored candidates.

So why New Paltz?  He told me when we sat down at the Muddy Cup Cafeteria today that he's probably going to return to the village in the near future, regardless of how his candidacy goes.  However, he plans to "run a very aggressive race" for the job, with plans to spend $10-15K on his campaign.  "I'm not trying to buy the race, but I am serious about it," he told me.

Blaber has reached out to all the possible candidates mentioned in the gossip pages, since (as far as I know) no one else has declared as yet.  He's hoping to run as part of a slate of candidates, and he's searching for the right mix. As for what their party will be called, he thinks he may run a contest for ideas.  All he knows for sure is that he will steer clear of anything that suggests affiliation with Working Families, because that kind of confusion has caused trouble for candidates in the past.

"2011 is going to be an interesting election year, and it all starts with New Paltz," he told me.  He expects the race to be interesting, and he understands that he needs to set himself apart from other younger candidates that may emerge.  Expect a platform of unifying the various factions of New Paltz; better communications with the village board, town council, and residents; and greater inclusion of District 9. In fact, he's planning on starting with a non-partisan voter registration drive targeting the thousand new freshmen arriving on campus this weekend.

Since he mentioned the "U" word, I asked him his views on merging our governments.  Like me, he's not willing to believe that it's a bad thing, or a good one, without more information.  I also asked him about one of my other favorite issues, that of districting up the village board so each member is elected from one district and the mayor is the only at-large official.  He believes it makes for a more accountable and responsive government.

Blaber doesn't expect this to be an easy campaign, and he's planning on winning it "block by block by block."


Maria said...

10-15 k? .....

I wish this post discussed more of his qualifications and history. Just for info. Not a bag on you at all T, maybe he didn't say anything at your interview?

Finally, running a non partisan voter drive as a candidate never works on the campus; one will always face scrutiney. And as usual, good luck getting students to care! If I were him, id leave that up to nypirg....they know all the voter reg facts!

Sorry about all the imperfections in this comment, I'm typing it on my cell phone

George said...

This "profile" tells me noting about this guy's politics, background or motivation for running for office in a village in which he does not reside. A carpetbagger, a shill for landlords (Kimbiz), and egomaniac (West) don't add up to an encouraging filed of maybes.

Anonymous said...

Not clear how you can interview someone running for mayor, feel good about the guy and actually know so little.

Anonymous said...

I am running too, keep your eyes open.