After jumping late into a race they’ve been running in for months, ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner decided to break the ice with his now-Democratic rivals with a telephoned “hello” before they meet on the campaign trail.
“I’ve done a round of courtesy calls,” Mr. Weiner told Politicker during a telephone interview Wednesday–hours after formally launching his campaign for mayor.
There are two Italian-American, relatively liberal men from Brooklyn in this year’s race for mayor. One, both literally and figuratively, looms as one of the front-runners in a packed Democratic field. The other is Sal Albanese, an indefatigable former Bay Ridge councilman who delights in taking shots at his better-known, Park Slope-dwelling rival, Bill de Blasio.
“You listen to him on the campaign trail and you’d think he was the third coming of Martin Luther King Jr.,” Mr. Albanese told Politicker yesterday when asked why the city’s public advocate has earned his ire.
Christine Quinn’s mayoral campaign scheduling arrives with a caveat that her rivals rarely, if ever, employ: “NOT FOR PRINT OR BROADCAST” and “ALL ITEMS EMBARGOED UNTIL DATE AND TIME OF EVENT.”
Beginning with her bid’s launch last month, the Quinn campaign has told reporters they cannot reveal Ms. Quinn’s whereabouts until the event she is attending is underway. In contrast, all but one of Ms. Quinn’s competitors have no stipulations whatsoever, oftentimes simply stating “Media Advisory” or “For Immediate Release.” Only Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s campaign says, “For Planning Purposes Only,” but there is no specific order to avoid publishing the details.
no cars go
After more than 11 years of new bike lanes and public plazas, pedestrian advocates are getting nervous.
Few of the mayoral front-runners, they fear, have openly embraced the issues they care about: more traffic-calming speed bumps, neighborhood slow zones, plazas, bike lanes and more thorough crash investigations.
“I think a lot of the candidates have sort of danced around the question of complete streets and plazas and bike lanes and things like that,” said Park Slope community activist Eric McClure, one of the board members of the newly-registered political committee StreetsPAC, which officially marked its launch Thursday with an event on the Flatiron Plaza.
Longshot mayoral candidate Erick Salgado wants to bring Mayor Rudy Giuliani back to City Hall– this time as the new police commissioner.
Mr. Salgado, a socially conservative reverend, said he’d love to keep current Police Commissioner Ray Kelly on as the city’s top cop, but has at least one back-up choice in mind.
“I would consider Ray Kelly if he’s available. If he’s not interested, maybe I ask Rudy Giuliani to come and serve as police commissioner,” he said during the campaign’s first televised debate, which was held at John Jay College and sponsored by NY1.
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.”
If Anthony Weiner campaigns for mayor this year, he’d likely shake up the race’s dynamics due to his name recognition, campaign war chest and the widespread media interest in his post-scandal political rehabilitation. But the candidates already in the field said they aren’t sweating their potential rival’s newfound electoral interests, revealed today in a New York Times Magazine profile. Comptroller John Liu already commented on Mr. Weiner by tweaking his infamous Twitter error this morning, and several other contenders for the city’s top job weighed in further this afternoon.
For instance, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio–who is targeting same sorts of progressive activist and outer borough voters that Mr. Weiner could be aiming for–said his strategy wouldn’t be altered by a Weiner candidacy.
“My strategy is set, I’m comfortable with it,” he explained after a candidate forum in the Bronx.
It hasn’t even been a full day before Councilman Dan Halloran was arrested on corruption charges, but he’s already become a political football in the mayoral race. Accordingly, former Comptroller Bill Thompson, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former Councilman Sal Albanese released a statements this afternoon reminding everyone about the City Council’s old “slush fund scandal”–where individual legislators were caught abusing their discretionary funds–and using it to try take rival mayoral contender Council Speaker Christine Quinn down a notch.
“These charges are extremely troubling, particularly because they involve the use of taxpayer dollars to advance corruption,” Mr. Thompson declared. “These most recent developments are the latest in a history of corruption and a broken system that, despite claims to the contrary, has clearly not been adequately reformed under the Speaker’s leadership.”
On Sunday, MSNBC host Chris Hayes is hosting a roundtable featuring many of the main Democratic mayoral candidates on his eponymous show, Up With Chris Hayes. However, the panel won’t feature the woman who’s currently enjoying a large lead in the polls–Council Speaker Chris Quinn. Though Mr. Hayes has been highly critical of Ms. Quinn of late, both her aides and MSNBC spokespeople attributed her absence from his roundtable to scheduling.
“Speaker Quinn has been able to make 14 candidate forums thus far–two yesterday alone– and she has another 12 committed over the next six weeks. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t make this one work,” Mike Morey, a spokesman for the Quinn campaign, told Politicker.
Across the breadth of policy issues, the Democratic candidates for mayor this year tend to share similar viewpoints. However, there are some notable exceptions, and at a debate sponsored by The New York Observer and 92Y, another one was revealed last night: their mayoral role models.
The first two candidates to speak, former Comptroller Bill Thompson and Council Speaker Christine Quinn, couldn’t choose just one mayor. Rather, the pair saw themselves as pulling from the best attributes from four and cited Ed Koch’s spirit, David Dinkins’s compassion, Rudy Giuliani’s toughness and Michael Bloomberg’s vision.
“I’ve been asked that question before and I’ve made sure that I haven’t alienated former mayors,” Mr. Thompson joked.