Just Like Obama
At a fund-raiser last night for his one-time deputy mayor Joe Lhota, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani not only came out swinging against Democratic officials’ counter-terrorism policies, he blasted this year’s crop of Democratic mayoral candidates, saying neither they–nor President Barack Obama–had ever held a real job.
Mr. Giuliani, one of Mr. Lhota’s biggest backers as he seeks the Republican nomination for City Hall’s top job, touted his former attack dog’s record in the private sector and as the city’s once-budget director.
“That’s exactly what we need. Not these career politicians who have never really held a job. Like our President, who never really held a job,” he said, to laughs, according to footage of the speech at the Excelsior Grand in Staten Island, captured by blogger Jacob Kornbluh.
For local races, New York City overwhelmingly tilts towards the Democratic Party and there are only a handful of Council campaigns with the potential to be competitive in this November. The race for outgoing GOP Councilman Jimmy Oddo’s seat is likely to be one of them. And, according to a source active in local politics, the Democratic establishment is backing Mendy Mirocznik, a non-practing rabbi and lawyer, for the Staten Island district.
“We’re seeing fewer education dollars, less transportation options, deteriorating roads and there seems to be no relief in sight,” Mr. Mirocznik said in a statement announcing his candidacy yesterday. “Meanwhile, our small-businesses, the economic engine, of our community are struggling to survive – that is not a recipe for recovery. We need an advocate who will reverse this trend and bring real results for Mid-Islanders, and I believe I can do that.”
Staten Island’s Republican Party may be in turmoil, but GOP mayoral hopeful Joe Lhota said he’s confident he’ll still win them over.
“I am,” Mr. Lhota said yesterday at the Brooklyn Young Republican Club when asked about his confidence in earning the entity’s support. “I am very comfortable in my position with the leadership on Staten Island.”
Guy Molinari may be raging at Joe Lhota, but it doesn’t seem that anger has filtered up to the highest levels of the Staten Island Republican Party.
Mr. Molinari, a significant local power broker and a former borough president, unleashed on Mr. Lhota in the Staten Island Advance today, announcing he would withdraw his endorsement and instead back another Republican candidate, former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión, for mayor. Mr. Molinari said Mr. Lhota had not even returned his phone messages and thus was undeserving of his support.
“What the hell is going on?” Mr. Molinari charged. “They’re making me look bad. I still don’t have the courtesy of a stupid phone call.”
It snowed, hailed and rained on Bill de Blasio’s parade. The public advocate spent Monday, his first official day as a mayoral candidate, on a journey that spanned over sixty miles and all five boroughs, a dramatic, physical manifestation of his plan to propel himself to Gracie Mansion by reaching out to disenfranchised residents in the far flung corners of the city and channeling populist backlash against the policies of Mayor Michael Bloomberg along the way.
the littlest borough
M.T.A. Chairman Joe Lhota made quite the splash earlier this week when he announced he will retire at the end of the year in order to contemplate a mayoral bid as a Republican. At the same time he made the announcement, however, Mr. Lhota’s agency approved a round of fare hikes, including an increase on the unpopular Verrazano-Narrows Bridge toll, which has some GOP politicos wondering if his political brand took a blow in a critical Republican constituency.
“I can already see the knives coming out about a $15 dollar toll on the Verrazano,” Republican consultant Gerry O’Brien told Politicker. “The M.T.A. is always one of the political entities under attack from politicians.”
However, Bob Scamardella, Staten Island’s Republican county chairman who has spoken approvingly about Mr. Lhota’s candidacy in the past, argued Mr. Lhota’s broader profile will be at stake, not just one issue.
Today was a big day for Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro. Two weeks after he was on NBC complaining his borough was being ignored in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Mr. Molinaro spent a substantial amount of time talking with President Barack Obama as the commander in chief toured areas of Staten Island that were devastated by the storm. Mr. Molinaro also encountered a man who is apparently a very, very big fan of his work.
President Obama’s trip to Staten Island today was filled with thanks from local elected officials and residents who praised him for showing up and for the government’s response to Hurricane Sandy. However, there were also signs some Staten Islanders were dissatisfied with the aid they’ve received since the storm.
In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, President Barack Obama toured New Jersey, but, at the request of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, did not go to the hard-hit areas of New York City due to concerns that he would drain emergency resources. That changed today, however, and Mr. Obama is currently in Staten Island along with Mr. Bloomberg, Governor Andrew Cuomo and other elected officials. According to our own Hunter Walker, who’s traveling with the president, Mr. Obama surveyed the damage to Breezy Point and the Rockaways from the air, and received a fairly positive response when he landed in Staten Island.
“A group of residents who were here at the center, which was not closed today, are cordoned off about 200 feet from the tents,” he wrote. “They cheered when POTUS arrived. Several became dismayed and shouted ‘Get out of the way’ when the press corps blocked their view of the president.”
Hurricane Sandy has apparently brought together a pair of borough presidents who previously clashed over pop sensation Lady Gaga. The last time we saw Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer mentioned in the same breath, they had a tiff over Mr. Molinaro’s claim that Ms. Gaga was “a slut.” Now, they have teamed up for post-Sandy relief work in Staten Island.