In New York City government, the Office of the Public Advocate has a terrific title and little power.
But whatever its public worth, the post is showing its value these days as a platform for the ambitious.
The public advocate officially plays the role of ombudsman, or watchdog. The advocate can introduce Council bills and has a few appointments in city planning, the budget and pension funds. More importantly, the advocate steps into any sudden mayoral vacancy, if only until a special election can be held for the top job.