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Thomas Alter Headshot

New York, We Have A Problem.

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New York isn't supposed to have this problem.

Dirty streets, overpriced housing, psychotic cab drivers, yes we have those. Mutant rats, $12 dollar beers and increasingly Seattle-like weather, yes we have that too.

But as anyone who's lived here can testify, there's a palpable, magnetic allure to the city. A force that pulls wealthy people back in when they could live in more luxury anywhere else in the world, for less money. The place where the nation's biggest media companies face daily challenges from two-room startups, just blocks away. Where the world's finest chefs compete and sometimes lose with the hole-in-the-wall spot next door.

So why can't we find anybody to run this place? The Bad News Bears of politics have convened in America's landmark destination, fighting their way to the bottom in a display that would be funny, if it weren't so stupid.

Obviously, Anthony Weiner is the man of the hour in the New York tabloids after getting caught in another sexting scandal. What people forget about "Carlos Danger," because he's a walking, digital Adrian Lyne movie, is he was a horrible Congressman before that. "Danger" was that guy who would be screaming on TV about parking tickets at 9 in the morning, yet was too busy to work on any real legislation.

Rather than make amends after his first phallic episode, he decided to jump to a much higher office, as if New Yorkers were too dumb to know the difference. Even Eliot Spitzer, a smarter and more qualified candidate than Carlos in every way, realized that you can't ask for a promotion immediately after disgracing your company.

The only thing sadder than Carlos's small fall from grace, is his main competitor. Christine Quinn, the Bloomberg favorite and current speaker of the city council, is so unpopular, that she may snatch defeat from the jaws of what should have been an easy victory.

Quinn's a screamer, she sends her unpaid high school volunteers on marathon shifts and her memoir sold only 100 books after it's first week of release. Paula Deen would sell more hawking crock-pot recipes outside the Apollo Theatre. Yet she's leading the polls as we speak.

At this point, I'm wondering how bad this could have gotten. Who else could be leading the polls? A-Rod? Trump? Times Square Weed Man?

This means New Yorkers have to get off their high horse about some of the other freak shows in politics today. Yes, Congress has its share of Steve Kings and Louie Gohmerts, but those goofballs aren't running major cities. They're spouting crazy, racially slanted conspiracy theories to tiny bases and Congressional reporters.

In November, New York City will have a new head boss. They'll be dealing with Stop-and-Frisk and counter-terrorism among other critically important issues.

The question for New Yorkers is, why do we let a candidate like Weiner delude himself into thinking he could hold such an important job? Is there something in the fabric of the city that makes us think we need a rich or "exciting" candidate?

While Bill Thompson may be Amour boring, he has been an effective city comptroller. While Bill De Blasio could run through the Highline naked and nobody would recognize him, he's a well-regarded councilman and has shown a keen ear for the cities' tender racial issues.

Maybe New York has no qualified option for mayor because we don't care to look for one.