Planes Trains & Automobiles
At a Democratic mayoral forum this morning focusing on New York City’s transportation policies, the candidates often agreed on many of the issues–stated support for bike lanes, for example–but starkly disagreed when it came to several topics, including school bus contracts.
Setting up the dispute, former Comptroller Bill Thompson, the leading candidate for the teachers’ union endorsement set to be announced later this afternoon, defended pricey school bus driver contracts and provisions that protect current employees.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former Comptroller Bill Thompson both pulled out of a mayoral forum hosted by charter school advocates at the last minute Tuesday–earning the ire of audience members who accused them of being too scared of crossing the powerful teachers’ union a week before their endorsement vote.
Mr. de Blasio dropped out less than an hour before he was supposed to appear on stage, and Mr. Thompson pulled his RSVP Tuesday afternoon, according to an event organizer.
Anthony Weiner took a beating on his first official stop in Staten Island Monday night.
Mr. Weiner was repeatedly hit by his rivals, including Green Party candidate Tony Gronowicz and former Councilman Sal Albanese, for an old racially-charged campaign flier, his congressional vote authorizing the Iraq War, and his allegedly “coarse” conduct during a candidates’ forum hosted by the Pleasant Plains, Prince’s Bay and Richmond Valley Civic Association.
At a forum in Brooklyn earlier this evening, Anthony Weiner raised eyebrows when he suggested that a woman in the audience was flirting with him.
Anthony Weiner, who usually points to his congressional record or loud advocacy efforts, went a different route in Harlem yesterday and recalled his days battling then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani from the City Council.
“Do you remember when the stairwells were bursting into flames in public housing?” Mr. Weiner asked members of the Sojourner Truth Democratic Club’s mayoral forum gathered in a back room of the La Hermosa Christian Church.
After a frenzied meet-and-greet with commuters in Harlem, ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner made his first appearance–that we know about–at a mayoral forum last night in the Riverdale section of The Bronx, where he tried to make a case to voters about why they should consider electing him again.
“For me, it’s good to be anywhere,” Mr. Weiner told members of the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club–one of the few clubs he said endorsed him back in 2005–a day after formally jumping into the race with a video posted on his campaign website.
The candidates for mayor of New York City made their pitch to animal lovers yesterday, and needless to say, they repeatedly professed their love for various species that don’t have a vote.
Republican John Catsimatidis–who likes to call himself “the cat man”–once begged the fire department to rescue his daughter’s cockatiel, for example. Bill Thompson claimed that he had not one, but two rescued cats. And Sal Albanese insisted his mother-in-law lived a few years longer because of a chihuahua named Joey.
Church & State
Cops resemble “slave catchers.” Sal Albanese never smoked a joint. The Bloomberg Administration has locked the men of God out of City Hall.
These were all arguments presented at yesterday’s peculiar mayoral forum, moderated by clergymen in the Bronx.
“How do you make the city safe with the thugs who are running around from the police department undercover who are from the outer boroughs and Long Island?” Randy Credico, a comedian and long-shot mayoral candidate, boomed. “They have thousands of undercover cops that are whacked out on steroids, going around like slave catchers, this is true, like slave catchers did back in the 1860′s and 1850′s in the wake of the fugitive slave law.”
The Israel-Palestine conflict once again reached New York’s political scene today as elected officials and other activists gathered to denounce Brooklyn College’s political science department for their controversial decision to sponsor a February forum calling for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel. To say the press conference was heated would be an understatement as it was chocked full of charged rhetoric including multiple references to anti-Semitism, the Holocaust and al-Qaeda.
“Let me tell you, it brings back a lot of memories,” Assemblyman Dov Hikind, the emcee of today’s denunciation, began. “I studied here towards my B.A. and got my Master’s at Brooklyn College, a lot of very fond memories. I stand here very, very disappointed, … students and the organization [are] holding a lecture next week with two viciously, viciously, anti-Israel [speakers]. And when I say ‘viciously,’ I mean they call for the destruction of the state of Israel. They think Hamas and Hezbollah are good organizations. I would assume they feel the same way about al-Qaeda. These are individuals who are extreme radicals.”
Kathy Wylde, the head of the pro-business Partnership for New York City had a question for New York’s four Democratic mayoral hopefuls at the candidate forum she hosted today.
“Will the next mayor be as understanding, as visionary, as sympathetic to issues of the economy and business as Mayor Bloomberg, one of our own, has been?” Ms. Wylde said many of the city’s businesses leaders are inquiring, before elaborating, “So there is consternation about the post-Bloomberg era with regards to who is the next mayor.”
In case it wasn’t clear, this particular mayoral discussion, hosted by Crain’s New York Business, may have tilted a little bit towards the pro-business side of things. But at least one Democrat on stage, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, pushed back against the idea the business community has reason to be anxious about City Hall without Bloomberg.