Morning Read: ‘If You Want Me to Be Real for a Second’

Today's amNewYork.
Today’s amNewYork.

Headline of the Day: “NYC 2013 Irony Alert: Parking Edition.”

The Daily Beast profiled Public Advocate Bill de Blasio‘s front-running mayoral bid. “Bill de Blasio is much closer to Machiavelli than to Marx. He is not a left-wing crusader or ideologue,” says one unaligned Democratic operative in the piece. “He lives for the game.”

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Two New Polls Put de Blasio in Lead, Quinn in Third

Bill de Blasio, proud after winning a cookoff.
Bill de Blasio, proud after winning a cook-off.

Two more polls have Public Advocate Bill de Blasio far ahead of his Democratic rivals less than two weeks before the primary–with former front-runner Christine Quinn now lagging in third.

According to a new New York Times/Siena College poll out this morning, Mr. de Blasio is now head-and-shoulders above his rivals, with 32 percent of the vote. Former Comptroller Bill Thompson and Ms. Quinn appear to be fighting it out to for a slot in the expected run-off, with Mr. Thompson at 18 percent and Ms. Quinn at 17 percent.

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Quinn and Weiner Skewered by Some Fast Food Workers

At least they weren’t throwing food.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and former Congressman Anthony Weiner received a round of boos this afternoon when they appeared at a fast food workers rally–one they were there to support–in Union Square.

Ms. Quinn and Mr. Weiner joined the three other leading Democratic mayoral candidates and a slew of other pols showed up en mass to declare their support for fast food workers participating in a nation-wide strike today. Hundreds of workers from chains including McDonald’s and Burger King were present to demand higher wages and union benefits–and listen to the candidates flex their progressive credentials less than two weeks before primary day. But not everyone was warmly welcomed.

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Scott Stringer Credits ‘Disciplined’ Strategy for Poll Gains

Scott Stringer. (Photo: Getty)
Scott Stringer. (Photo: Getty)

Scott Stringer can’t claim to be completely surprised by the dramatic boost in his poll numbers over the past two weeks.

In fact, the Manhattan borough president and city comptroller candidate predicted as much–although not quite the 19-point jump displayed today–in a Wednesday interview at The New York Observer‘s Midtown office.

“Our numbers are much different than the Q poll,” he said. “We’re in a very tight race.”

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Small Business PAC Targets More Tight Races

The PAC’s logo.

The real estate industry-backed PAC Jobs for New York has been grabbing headlines for their hefty independent expenditures on behalf of City Council candidates, but another pro-business PAC is quietly wading into several key contests, too.

The Small Business Coalition, a PAC dedicated to propping up more moderate candidates interested in lowering business fines and minimizing regulations, announced their latest round of endorsements today, backing incumbent Councilwoman Annabel Palma and open-seat contenders Vanessa Gibson, Rafael Espinal, Robert Cornegy, Ari Kagan and Ken Biberaj.

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Bill de Blasio Thinks Christine Quinn Thinks Too Small

Bill de Blasio today.
Bill de Blasio and supporters at today’s event.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio wants to be known as the ambition candidate–at least when it comes to his policy book.

“One of my opponents, Speaker Quinn, has a very clear pattern throughout her time as speaker for offering small solutions, solutions that don’t reach many people,” Mr. de Blasio said at a press conference just outside City Hall today, less than two weeks away from the primary “Small approaches that really don’t change the fundamental reality. They sound good in a press release but they don’t get us very far.”

Mr. de Blasio, the new front-runner in the Democratic primary for mayor, is facing mounting criticism for his signature campaign proposal: a tax on city residents earning more than $500,000 that would fund universal pre-kindergarten for public school children. While the plan has been hailed by some progressive activists, Mr. de Blasio’s opponents and other critics have called the proposal unrealistic because it would require the approval of the State Legislature, where there is currently little appetite to approve a tax increase.

Both Bill Thompson and Council Speaker Christine Quinn have panned the proposal, holding conference calls and press conferences to highlight the inherent difficulty of getting it passed in Albany. Ms. Quinn’s campaign has called the plan a “legislative long-shot.”

But Mr. de Blasio struck back today, bringing supportive state legislators like State Senator Bill Perkins and Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh to argue for the plan’s viability. Mr. de Blasio mocked the policies Ms. Quinn has advanced during the course of her campaign, including a loan for families who are struggling to find childcare.

“In its first version, it would reach only 40 families,” he said, switching over to a favorite topic: Ms. Quinn’s “watered-down” living wage bill. “She offered finally to support a living wage bill, but the bill she chose to support would only help 400, 500 families in a city of 8.4 million people … It’s important to think big.”

Mr. de Blasio said previous governors had secured tax increases in Albany and enough political will would make his far-reaching plan possible. His supporters agreed, insisting that even with the Democrats failing to control a majority in the State Senate–the upper chamber is governed by Republicans and a breakaway Democratic faction–Mr. de Blasio’s tax hike could be achieved.

“Big bold idea: Brooklyn Bridge. New York City–Big bold idea: Empire State Building. New York City,” Mr. Perkins boomed, insisting the five boroughs are the place where ambitious projects could be achieved. “We have a governor in this state that I believe believes in big bold ideas and will support this legislation. We have, as quiet as it’s kept, a Democratic majority in the state that I believe will be convinced to support this big bold idea for the children of New York City.”

But a skeptical Quinn campaign fired right back at Mr. de Blasio.

“There is only one person in this race who has passed an inspector general bill, passed a living wage bill, passed a paid sick bill, got mandatory kindergarten passed, and saved the jobs of 4,100 teachers,” Quinn spokesman Mike Morey said in a statement. “Trust it wasn’t the guy who couldn’t figure out the math for a pre-K plan that every Albany insider has said won’t pass.”

Opponents Batter Bill de Blasio With Lobbyist-Related Criticisms

(Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
(Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

With Bill de Blasio now leading the mayor’s race and less than two weeks to go before the primary, his top rivals are attacking as hard as they can to try and tear him down.

The negative hit today? Lobbyists.

Following a Daily News report this morning detailing Mr. de Blasio’s series of undisclosed meetings with lobbyists, including the sometimes-controversial real estate developer Extell, Mr. de Blasio’s two main Democratic opponents launched into action.

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