In Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s last State of the City speech today, he touted his record of accomplishments. But Comptroller John Liu, a likely candidate for mayor this year, isn’t so sure about that. Accordingly, only minutes after Mr. Bloomberg finished speaking, Mr. Liu fired off a statement blasting the mayor.
“Obviously, Mayor Bloomberg can point to some accomplishments after 11 years, especially in improving New Yorkers’ health through reductions in smoking,” Mr. Liu said. “But his selective retelling of history leaves out some troubling facts: near record unemployment, record numbers of homeless, record income disparity, record stop and frisks, record claims against the NYPD, record numbers of school closures, and a failed education record that has only one in five high school students graduating from college. How can we be satisfied with that? No one can say that New Yorkers of all walks of life shared equally in the accomplishments he claims as his legacy.”
The Huntley Becomes the Hunted
Former State Senator Shirley Huntley, who has already plead guilty to federal embezzlement charges, decided to settle her affairs this morning by pleading guilty to separate state-based charges of tampering with evidence during the embezzlement investigation. Specifically, in the words of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman when he unveiled the indictment last summer, Ms. Huntley was accused of “falsifying business records, conspiracy and tampering with an investigation in a scheme to steal taxpayer money using a sham nonprofit that did not provide any services to the public whatsoever.”
Ms. Huntley initially maintained her innocence, including issuing a forceful declaration in an “Emergency Press Conference” on her front lawn. This morning, however, the former southeastern Queens lawmaker reversed course and directly admitted to breaking the law to benefit Parent Workshop, the “sham nonprofit.”
A couple days ago, the New York Daily News reported former Governor Eliot Spitzer “is being talked about” as a potential primary candidate against incumbent Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, a move he had reportedly seriously considered in 2010. On NY1′s Inside City Hall last night, however, Mr. Spitzer dismissed the speculation and labeled Mr. DiNapoli “a buddy.”
“It was a tabloid and you know I’ve always said … to you, ‘I never trust what’s in the tabloids!’” Mr. Spitzer declared over the protestations of host the show’s host, Errol Louis, a former Daily News columnist.
Law & Order
The federal case against Comptroller John Liu’s fundraising operation has hit a rather intriguing snag.
Oliver Pan, the donor accused of breaking campaign finance laws on Mr. Liu’s behalf, was “involuntarily committed with a mental health condition,” according to Judge Richard Sullivan, who’s overseeing the case. He did not elaborate on the specifics, outside of saying it’s unclear when (or if) he will recover.
Thus, at today’s pre-trial hearing, Mr. Sullivan established a date–this Friday, at noon–that medical professionals treating Mr. Pan need to report on his status. The judge further set April 15th as the “backup” date for the trial to begin, should Mr. Pan not promptly regain his health.
hot for scott
Scott Stringer may be unopposed so far in his bid to be the city’s next comptroller, but that doesn’t mean he’s slowing down.
To wit, Mr. Stringer’s campaign rolled out the endorsement of the New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO this afternoon, a labor body that represents 1.3 million members, placing a further marker down as he seeks to lock up the Democratic nomination and bash his eventual Republican opponent.
Earlier tonight, Comptroller John Liu held a birthday party extravaganza at the renowned Jing Fong dim sum restaurant in Manhattan’s Chinatown. It was quite the affair, featuring a number of speakers, a packed crowd, a massive display of balloons, a gigantic American flag-themed birthday cake and even a celebrity impersonator. The event, which doubled as a fundraiser for his expected mayoral campaign, also served as a teaser for the expected electoral effort.
“2013 is going to be a year of change, a year of change in the City of New York, the greatest city in the world!” Mr. Liu declared in a policy-laden speech outlining his plans to achieve greater economic equality in the five boroughs while deftly avoiding directly announcing his intention to run for mayor. “We’ve got a lot of ideas. We’ve got the will to start this campaign and to win this campaign. And 2013 will be a year of change and with all of your support, I know we’re going to get there.”
Then came the “big” announcement.
Without a doubt, Comptroller John Liu knows how to bring pomp and circumstance to his speeches.
Mr. Liu, a likely mayoral candidate next year, appeared to do everything he could to best the pageantry of his last “State of the City” speech–which he gave just ten months ago–where traditional Chinese lion dancers and gospel singers performed before he discussed the city’s financial outlook. This time, Mr. Liu’s pre-speech entertainment included a phalanx of elementary school children singing and dancing to tracks from American Idol season 11 winner Phillip Phillips and High School Musical. But the party didn’t stop there.
As expected, Councilman Dan Garodnick, who had been firmly campaigning for comptroller until today, formally dropped out of the race and endorsed Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer for the position. Mr. Stringer, of course, had previously been campaigning for mayor until he dropped down to the comptroller’s race himself.
“When I announced my candidacy for NYC Comptroller, I promised that New Yorkers wouldn’t get any drama with me,” Mr. Garodnick wrote in an email to his supporters.
After months of rumors, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer has officially decided to run for City Comptroller next year. He was previously considering a campaign for mayor, but he said his experience exploring that race convinced him to run for the city’s top financial office. Mr. Stringer spoke to Politicker about his decision earlier today and said he will formally launch his campaign in three weeks. Rather than an avoidance of the crowded mayor’s race, Mr. Stringer characterized his entry into the comptroller race as a move to confront the most crucial issues currently facing the city.
“What’s needed right now is an experienced hand who can partner with the mayor when it’s in the best interests of the city, but also someone with the independence and backbone to stand up to special interests, to call out wasteful spending and to safeguard the city’s pension funds,” said Mr. Stringer. “That is what I’ve done my entire career and that’s what im going to as comptroller, so I’m not dropping down, I’m stepping up.”
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer is most definitely running for office next year, the question is, which one? While Mr. Stringer has long been considered among the crop of likely mayoral candidates, there are mounting rumors and multiple reports he may instead run for comptroller.