Tag Archives: Adolfo Carrion

Lhota continues to blast de Blasio on past Sandinista support


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

As Bill de Blasio received an additional endorsement for mayor Tuesday, he faced more criticism about his past support of Nicaragua’s ruling Sandinista party, detailed in a recent New York Times article.

The piece, published online Sunday, examined de Blasio’s time in Nicaragua helping to distribute food and medicine in the late 1980s and how he “grew to be an admirer of the Sandinista party.” It also looked at how his time as a young activist has shaped him today.

The Sandinistas ruled Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990, and, according to the Times, were denounced by the Reagan administration as “tyrannical and communist,” though liberal supporters said they were “building a free society with broad access to education, land and health care.”

The article prompted two of de Blasio’s opponents in the race, Republican candidate Joe Lhota and Independence party candidate Adolfo Carrión Jr. to attack him for his past support of the Sandinista party.

“Mr. de Blasio’s involvement with the Sandinistas didn’t happen in 1917; it happened 70 years later when the cruelty and intrinsic failure of communism had become crystal clear to anyone with a modicum of reason. Mr. de Blasio’s class warfare strategy in New York City is directly out of the Marxist playbook. Now we know why,” said Lhota in a statement released Tuesday.

Carrión, calling him a “radical without a clue,” spoke of another fact mentioned in the Times article, de Blasio’s honeymoon in Cuba, which violated the U.S. travel ban.

“It’s no wonder de Blasio, the political operative and union organizer, whose world view is rooted in the Castro/Guevara philosophy that fueled the Sandinista dictatorship, is surrendering his policy agenda to collective bargaining organizations, he said in a statement.  “That’s why, whether it’s Stop, Question & Frisk, education policy, or business regulation and taxation, this election matters because it can erode the progress we’ve made as a city.”

In response to earlier comments from his rivals, de Blasio said on Monday “I’m not surprised that my opponents will throw labels and call names. That’s a Republican tactic. That’s a right-wing tactic,” according to published reports.

De Blasio also received criticism Tuesday for his choice of debate locations.

He announced today he would participate in three debates over the next six weeks, all in Manhattan.

Lhota, who recently called for weekly debates hosted in each of the city’s five boroughs, said it was “incredibly disappointing that Mr. de Blasio does not appreciate the need to hold debates outside Manhattan when New Yorkers in all five boroughs deserve the chance to learn more about the next mayor.”

On Tuesday, de Blasio found support from former Democratic primary opponent City Comptroller John Liu, who officially endorsed him for mayor.

“Now more than ever, we need a mayor who will stand up for working and middle class families and Bill is that leader. He understands this city is strongest when every New Yorker – no matter where they live or where they come from, who they love or what they look like – has a fair shot, said Liu. “It is time Democrats unite behind Bill de Blasio and work together to ensure a progressive fighter wins in November.

 

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Candidates answer questions at Courier mayoral forum


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Mike DiBartolomeo

The Democratic, Republican and independent mayoral candidates all came together on one stage for the first time since the race to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg began.

The Courier hosted its Mayoral Forum on Friday, June 7 at Terrace on the Park with Democrats Sal Albanese, Bill de Blasio, John Liu, Christine Quinn, Bill Thompson and Anthony Weiner joined Republicans John Catsimatidis, George McDonald, Joe Lhota and independent Adolfo Carrion. Moderator and NY1 anchor Rocco Vertuccio asked questions pertaining to both borough and city issues.

Vertuccio kicked off the event with a question about handling labor contracts for city workers.

“The municipal work force is demoralized,” Albanese said. “Many haven’t gotten a raise in five years.”

The former councilmember said he would do his best to provide retroactive pay for the workforce without raising taxes.

Carrion suggested establishing a cost-sharing relationship with the city’s workforce, while Lhota said workers do not pay their fair share when it comes to healthcare costs.

“We don’t want to go backwards,” McDonald said, adding he would not sign a labor contract that did not include a cost of participation for healthcare by municipal employees.

He also said there are “too many city employees” and that the city should utilize available technology to fulfill the tasks of some jobs.

Weiner agreed the city needs to take control of spending, especially healthcare costs, and utilize local pharmacies and labs to keep “our healthcare money here in Queens.” He was the only candidate to stand while speaking.

The Major League Soccer (MLS) development in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park was a source of disagreement, with some candidates taking a pro-development stance and others aiming to preserve as much parkland as possible.

De Blasio, the city’s public advocate, said he lived near the park and has a “personal sense” of how much Flushing Meadows means to people.

“Sports don’t necessarily help out the larger economy,” he said.

However, he said that finding a way to create a stadium that gives an opportunity to keep the same amount of parkland would be a “worthy discussion.”

“I’m all for having a stadium somewhere in the city, but we can’t burden Flushing Meadows,” Lhota said.

He added we should not be taking parkland and using it for other initiatives. Lhota suggested allocating the funds to renovate the New York State Pavilion instead.

City Comptroller Liu, a Queens native, said he wants to make sure there is no alienation of parkland and that it should not be sold to public interests.

Before leaving for another engagement, City Council Speaker Quinn said it is “critically important to have the utmost respect for the community and voice of the local elected officials.”

She added that is why she has been working with Councilmember Julissa Ferreras on the area’s proposed tennis center.

Former Congressmember Weiner said he is pro-development and would love to have MLS in the borough, but first, he joked, he’d “love to have major league baseball here in Queens.”

“I’m a Mets fan. I can say it,” he said with a laugh.

One citywide issue concerned government’s alleged use of violation fines as a source of revenue. The Bloomberg administration has come under criticism by some who fines placed upon small businesses are unfair. Vertuccio asked the candidates what they would do.

Catsimatidis, once a small business owner himself, proposed a “business advocate group” within the city. When business owners are fined and believe it is unwarranted, they would not need to hire a lawyer. In Catsimatidis’ proposal, the advocacy group would fight on the owner’s behalf.

“New York City is at war with its small businesses,” Thompson said.

McDonald said his city sweeping company cleans the streets outside of merchants’ sites and “saves [them] millions of dollars a year in fines.”

When it came to city cultural institutions and the yearly “budget dance” that such organizations experience, all the candidates agreed there needs to be more control over the mayoral budget, saying the confusion should end.

Thompson said the city should put more money into cultural institutions and place art and music education back in the public school system.

PHOTOS FROM THE MAYORAL FORUM

Some candidates briefly showed their claws during the forum’s closing remarks. Albanese made reference to Weiner’s controversial fall from office.

“Weiner is interesting,” Albanese said. “He’s very political and articulate. But I believe it’s important if you want to be the mayor of New York City to have credibility. He’s betrayed the public trust on several occasions. I think that disqualifies him from running for mayor.”

The remark was met with sounds of disapproval from the panel, with McDonald tapping loudly on his microphone.

Moving on, de Blasio described his proposal to tax the “wealthiest New Yorkers so we can have full day pre-kindergarten programs for our kids.”

Catsimatidis called himself “the balance,” saying he has not taken any campaign donations from political contributors.

Carrion said he is running as an independent to “ensure this city of promise gives this opportunity to our generation and future generations.”

Candidates will continue to blaze down the campaign trail until the primary election in September, followed by the mayoral election in November.