October 25th, 2013
Mr. Joseph Lhota
Joe Lhota for Mayor
51 East 42nd Street
New York, NY 10017
Re: Commercial Attacking de Blasio’s record on crime
Dear Mr. Lhota,
As an organization dedicated to enhancing the democratic process, the Executive Committee of the New York County Democratic Committee would like to express its displeasure with your most recent commercial and refute the claims made therein. Our mission is to help elect candidates who share our progressive views and ideals, but we also strive to increase the electorate. Every political season, the District Leaders in New York County talk to eligible voters and many are apathetic and turned off by the dirty tactics candidates use to disparage their opponents. In a City of more than eight million people, it is rather telling that only seven hundred thousand New Yorkers cast a ballot in this year’s Primary Election. The next Mayor will face incredible challenges and the voters deserve a vigorous debate on the City’s most pressing issues.
Instead, this commercial distorts Mr. de Blasio’s positions on crime and it preys on people’s darkest fears and prejudices. It is very reminiscent of the Willie Horton ad used by the George Bush campaign during the 1988 Presidential Election. The images chosen elicit memories of a tense and difficult time in the City’s history but as you know, New York is the safest big city in the world. We’ve come a long way but there are still inequities in our approach to policing and Mr. de Blasio cannot ignore the impact “Stop, Question, and Frisk” has on communities of color. It is indeed possible to protect and preserve personal liberties while keeping the City safe.
You have a formidable professional resume and a strong base of support in the City’s Republican Party. It is unwise and unnecessary for you to resort to tactics used by your counterparts in Washington. I ask that you cease running the ad and issue an apology for the offensive images and conclusions expressed in the commercial. The New York County Democratic Committee supports Democrats exclusively but we are dedicated to expanding the electorate and making sure all New Yorkers have a voice in the political process. Commercials like yours do not help this cause and actually exacerbate voter apathy.
Keith L.T. Wright