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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Strange Campaign of Bernie Goetz

Betsy Gotbaum was reelected yesterday to her post as NYC's Public Advocate.  A creature of the NYC Charter, the Advocate serves essentially as a public ombudsman, with the power to investigate other agencies and introduce legislation to the City Council.  With no real absolute responsibilities, however, the job leaves a lot of freedom to the officeholder.

Bernard Goetz was one of Gotbaum's challengers; he received only 2.3% of the vote.  But Goetz's campaign provoked a fair amount of curiousity, because yes, he is that Bernie Goetz.  And Goetz's campaign was also somewhat off the beaten path.  His platform, laid out here at his website, includes rebuilding the World Trade Center's twin towers, legalizing marijuana, and offering a vegetarian menu at all city facilities.  There is also a picture of Goetz feeding some squirrels with the caption, "A friend to the animals."

Goetz wasn't seeking the spotlight when he shot four youths on the subway more than twenty years ago.  And he is not seeking repentance for his actions, as this CNN transcript from last year makes clear.  But I wonder if Goetz ever wonders about the irony of someone in his position being an advocate for vegetarianism as a way of leading to, in his words, "a kinder and gentler world."

Posted by Matt Bodie on November 9, 2005 at 02:25 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink

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Comments

Well, considering that the mayoral race featured the "rent is too damn high party" (which would've been cool, but for the antisemitism), I think NYC is competing with California for the "wildest politicians" category. (Of course, in California, they win)

Posted by: Paul Gowder | Nov 9, 2005 4:34:32 PM

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