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Interview | Warren Redlich - The Local East Village Blog - NYTimes.com


Interview | Warren Redlich


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Warren RedlichJoan Heffler Warren Redlich.

Warren Redlich is a Libertarian who hates the war on drugs, supports gay marriage, thinks college loans harm more than help students, and wants to cap bureaucrat pay and pensions.

Mr. Redlich, 44, is the Libertarian party candidate for governor and his longshot campaign received a moment in the spotlight after his participation in the gubernatorial debate on Monday at Hofstra University.

If nothing else, Mr. Redlich, a lawyer from Albany, does not lack for confidence: he believes Carl Paladino is going to take third place in the Nov. 2 election – after he comes in first and Andrew Cuomo places second. Mr. Redlich spoke with The Local East Village on Wednesday about why voters should choose him, what they should know about him, and his love of East Village Korean food.

Q.

What do you think of Carl Paladino?

A.

Carl Paladino is done. He’ll come in third place, if he’s lucky. After the debate, Carl’s campaign manager said it looked like I hadn’t taken my Prozac. They weren’t satisfied offending blacks, gays, women, Jews – I’m Jewish – now they’ve offended mental health patients. I think they’re going to stop on Nov. 3, when he comes in third place in the election.

Q.

Why would voters choose you over Andrew Cuomo?

A.

Insanity is defined by doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. We went from a Cuomo, to Pataki, to Spitzer, to Paterson, and now if we go to another Cuomo, we’re doing the same thing, expecting a different result. We keep getting runaway government spending, government corruption, and politicians with massive special-interest contributions. Expecting Andrew Cuomo to deliver meaningful change is ridiculous. It’s not going to get better; it’s going to get worse.

Who’s the biggest property owner in your community? Go look at his campaign contribution list. Andrew Cuomo is deep in with special interest groups. There’s a real concentration of New York real estate owners, people who own lots of property in New York City. He’s been bought by the landlords. You tell me what the tenants think about the governor being owned by the landlords.

Q.

What does your party stand for?

A.

When you ask people what the Libertarian party’s all about, you’ll get 50 answers. I try to focus on small government. That’s important because when you listen to Cuomo and Paladino, they say things like, ‘Whatever the problem is, we’re going to take care of that in the governor’s office.’ That is not a good way of going about things. I respect local governments. The idea that the governor is supposed to fix your problems, that’s not the way to do things. The best government is local.

Q.

What do you think of Jimmy McMillan, the eccentric Rent Is Too Damn High Party candidate?

A.

I would respond to him, ‘My image is too damn nerdy.’ I acknowledge he’s entertaining. I was at the debate because I thought we were trying to figure out who’s going to be the next governor. I don’t think people think he’s a serious candidate. I’m glad he was there for entertainment, and I hope people stay focused on the serious issues.

Q.

Where do you want to cut spending in Albany?


A.

The head of the New York Public Library makes $689,000 a year. There are 110,000 bureaucrats in New York State who make over $100,000 a year. There’s rampant pension abuse. I would cap bureaucrat pay at $100,000 per year and pensions at $75,000 a year. It’ll save close to $3 billion in the first year. We have an $8 billion deficit to work on.

Cuomo and Paladino are saying we’re going to control spending. I’m the only one with a specific plan. Cuomo’s vague plan won’t work. His plan is creating a new commission to figure out where the cuts should be. I’ve already identified places we should be cutting, and none of them are education or healthcare. Creating a commission costs a lot of money. I don’t think Sheldon Silver’s going for that. His plan is not specific or realistic.

Q.

What do you think of the new Hayley and Diego’s Law, which punishes careless drivers and was sponsored by Senator Daniel L. Squadron, who represents the East Village?

A.

Reckless driving is already a crime. It’s preposterous that we need a new law on this. I’m a traffic lawyer. I’ve had clients prosecuted for reckless driving. There’s already a law in place. This doesn’t make any sense. I object to a senator and a governor imposing this law on the rest of the state. It’s a New York City problem, and something that should be handled by the New York City Council and the mayor. You’re making a law that may be appropriate for New York City, but doesn’t make sense for upstate New York. It’s a local law. You shouldn’t be asking your state legislator to be making laws like that

Q.

Why are politicians like Senator Squadron then doing things like this?

A.

They’ve got to show you they’re doing something. If they weren’t wasting our time and our money on things they shouldn’t be spending on, then we might have more resources to address the problems.

Warren RedlichJoe Masucci Mr. Redlich at a Tea Party event in Albany earlier this year where he gave a speech on reducing spending in state government.
Q.

Many college students in the East Village are wondering what you would do to make education more affordable?

A.

Loans allow students to pay far beyond what education should really cost. Because students can borrow money, students may not have the same long-term financial perspective that other people do. It allows the universities to keep raising prices as long as people keep paying. If the student loans weren’t there, the education would cost less. It’s true that they might not be able to afford it, but there’s been a lot of abuse in the student loan programs. If we have more money for the state, we have more money for resources like schools. The CUNY and SUNY schools should be adequately funded with reasonable tuition rates. Why is the head of SUNY making $300,000 a year? We’re cutting here and there, but paying the head of SUNY $300,000 a year? Come on. I call it the No Administrator Left Behind policy.

Q.

What do you think of the penalties that are handed out to drug offenders?

A.

I represent a lot of criminal defendants. Taking a father away and putting him in prison isn’t going to help the family. The drug war exacerbates poverty. Arrest and incarceration tends to occur among the poor population. What happens to the kids? I’m not saying the father is the greatest father in the world; he’s selling drugs. That doesn’t mean he’s a bad father, and he’s probably still better than no father. You’re taking countless, mostly young black and Hispanic males, sometimes the mothers, too. You’re taking them to prison and the children then don’t have a parent. There are a huge number of children in America who don’t have two parents at home. A lot of cases it’s because one of them is in prison.

Q.

What’s the solution?

A.

I would end the war on drugs. We ended prohibition because it caused a lot of crime and didn’t solve any problems. The same thing is happening with the war on drugs. It causes a lot of crime. It ends up funding Al-Qaeda, Mexican drug gangs, organized crime. Inmates in prison are getting drugs. If we can’t keep drugs out of prison, why do we think this is working?

Q.

What do you like about the East Village?

A.

I’m a guy who loves to go out to eat, and I love New York City restaurants. I’ve definitely been to some Korean restaurants there. I love Korean barbecue. I also love Japanese food – I speak Japanese. I’ll try almost anything! New York City and The East Village has great nightlife. New York City is a place I really like to go and pop in for a visit.

Q.

You’ve spoken at several Tea Party events. What’s your association with them?

A.

I’m a Ron Paul guy. The Tea Party movement seems to be moving away from him and thus leaving people like me behind. I was a core Tea Party guy when it was about bailouts, bonuses and reckless spending. When it veers off into mosques and social issues, I don’t fit much any more. Though I am a big Second Amendment supporter.

Q.

The candidates have been throwing out the zingers. What will you leave us with?

A.

I’ll say what I said in the debate: I’ve never been caught with a prostitute. My dad wasn’t governor and I’ve never been convicted of a crime. I’m not your typical New York politician.