Tag Archives: Bill Thompson

De Blasio elected mayor in landslide


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo by Lauren Epifanio

Bill de Blasio, in a landslide victory, has been elected as the city’s first Democratic mayor in two decades.

With 99 percent of the precincts reporting, de Blasio won Tuesday’s race with 73 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results. His Republican opponent, Joe Lhota, had 24 percent.

“Today, you spoke out loudly and clearly for a new direction for our city, united by a belief that our city should leave no New Yorker behind,” de Blasio said in his victory speech.

“Tackling inequality isn’t easy; it never has been and it never will be. The challenges we face have been decades in the making, and the problems we set out to address will not be solved overnight,” he added.

“But make no mistake: the people of this city have chosen a progressive path, and tonight we set forth on it, together, as one city.”

As far back as late June, polls still showed de Blasio, the city’s public advocate, finishing fourth in the Democratic primary.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn was the early front-runner, but when former Congressmember Anthony Weiner entered the Democratic primary in May, her lead shrunk in the polls.

Weiner, however, soon faced another sexting scandal, and he lost favorability with voters.

In July, de Blasio started to gain in the polls, and took the lead away from Quinn the following month.

De Blasio’s surge in the polls coincided with the release of a campaign ad starring his teenage son Dante, whose Afro took center stage.

His momentum continued until the primary, where de Blasio beat second-place finisher, former City Comptroller Bill Thompson by a significant lead.

But, with de Blasio still hovering around the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid an October 1 runoff, Thompson would not concede on primary night.

Thompson dropped out of the race six days later, and in late September the Board of Elections certified de Blasio the official Democratic nominee with just over 40 percent.

Lhota, the ex-MTA chairman and former deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani, easily secured the Republican nomination with 53 percent of the vote, topping grocery store mogul John Catsimatidis and Doe Fund founder George McDonald.

But Lhota’s success within his own party could not be replicated in the general election.

“We are five boroughs, but we are one city. We are one people and we want our city to move forward, not backwards. And I do hope our mayor-elect understands this before it’s too late,” said Lhota, conceding the race.

“It’s natural tonight to feel some disappointment. But tomorrow we must move beyond it. It was a good fight and it was a fight worth having,” he continued.

With a heavy Democratic electorate in the city, early on polls showed de Blasio beating Lhota by a wide margin.

The heated battle between the two and their different visions for the city were evident throughout the general election campaign and the three debates between the candidates, where they clashed on a range of issues, including taxes, education and crime.

Though Lhota promised a safer city under his watch, suggesting crime would go up under a de Blasio administration, voters ultimately favored de Blasio’s progressive message and saw him as a break from the Bloomberg years.

-With additional reporting by Meaghan McGoldrick

Updated 2:12 a.m. 

 

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Christine Quinn endorses Bill de Blasio for mayor


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/@deBlasioNYC

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn officially endorsed Bill de Blasio for mayor Tuesday.

“It is time for Democrats throughout our city to put aside their differences and fight together for the progressive values we all share,” Quinn said in a statement. “By working together, we will build a stronger city where no New Yorker is left behind, and where working and middle class families have access to good-paying jobs, great schools, quality health care, affordable housing, and safe streets.”

De Blasio, thanking Quinn, who finished third in the primary last week, said it was “an honor” to receive her support.

“She is a tireless fighter for her constituents and she has always been a powerful voice on so many critical issues – from housing to fairness to fighting for the middle class. I look forward to working with her to move our great city forward.”

The announcement was made a day after and at the same spot that another former mayoral opponent, Bill Thompson, said he was dropping out of the race and supporting de Blasio.

“I’m proud to stand next to a great New Yorker and throw my support behind him. And I ask every single person who campaign for me, supported me and voted for me to do the same thing,” Thompson said Monday.

Governor Cuomo also expressed his support for the current public advocate to become the next leader of the city on the steps of City Hall yesterday.

“Bill is going to lead this city in the great, progressive Democratic traditions that made this the greatest city on the planet,” said Cuomo.

Since finishing first in the Democratic primary, with 40 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results, de Blasio has been racking up endorsements, including, the Working Families Party and former backers of Thompson and Quinn.

 

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Thompson ends mayoral bid


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Bill Thompson’s mayoral campaign has come to an end.

The former city comptroller announced Monday morning that he was dropping his bid for the Democratic nomination, throwing his support behind primary winner Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.

“If this were a general election with consequences about the fundamental direction of our city, you can bet I’d fight until the very last vote. But Bill de Blasio and I want to move our city forward in the same direction. We share the fundamental same views and values. This is bigger than either one of us,” he said at the announcement in front of City Hall.

Though Thompson said he still believes every vote should be counted, in reality, the time it would take to count those ballots would have made it impossible to campaign, and remaining in the race would have been a “disservice” to voters.

Joining Thompson at the announcement was de Blasio as well as Governor Andrew Cuomo, who, according to reports, played a role in convincing him to step aside.

Thompson’s exit, however, doesn’t mean there won’t be a mayoral runoff on the October 1 ballot.

According to election law, Thompson had until midnight Friday to withdraw from the race. Since he didn’t quit before that deadline, the city will still need to include the two candidates in next month’s runoff if de Blasio doesn’t reach the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff after all votes are counted.

De Blasio received 40.3 percent of the vote in the primary Tuesday, and Thompson 26.2 percent, according to unofficial results.

Thompson’s decision to withdraw from the race comes after the city’s Board of Elections (BOE) rechecked the primary results of lever voting machines over the weekend.

The BOE was set to start tallying a reported 78,000 paper ballots Monday.

Thompson, after meeting with key supporters Thursday, publicly stated he would remain in the race until every vote had been counted.

That promise came after there was mounting pressure for him to drop his bid and as some former supporters endorsed de Blasio.

The city’s Campaign Finance Board, anticipating a runoff wouldn’t be necessary, decided not to release runoff public matching funds to de Blasio and Thompson last week.

De Blasio will now go on to face the winner of Tuesday’s Republican primary, Joe Lhota, in the general election on November 5.

 

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Thompson refuses to drop mayoral bid after meeting with supporters


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/@BillThompsonNYC

Bill Thompson vowed to stay in the mayor’s race Thursday night despite mounting pressure to drop his bid before a runoff can be decided.

He made the statement after reportedly meeting with key supporters, including Congressmembers Gregory Meeks, Hakeem Jeffries and Charles Rangel.

According to unofficial results, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio received 40.3 percent of the vote in the primary Tuesday, just making it to the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff. Thompson, finishing second, received 26.2 percent.

Thompson has until midnight to withdraw, according to election law. If he quits after that deadline, the city will still need to hold a runoff.

Following the Thursday meeting, he reiterated the same promise he made on election night to wait until the vote count is finished, according to reports.

“There are still tens of thousands of ballots that remain to be counted,” Thompson told supporters Tuesday.

He was referring to the paper ballots that still need to be tallied, a process that is expected to take several days.

The city’s Campaign Finance Board, anticipating a runoff won’t be necessary, reportedly denied Thompson around $463,000 in public matching funds and de Blasio about $726,000.

As some urged Thompson to drop his bid, others threw their support behind de Blasio Thursday.

During a rally on the steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall yesterday, several leaders, unions and other groups endorsed him in the race.

They included the Working Families Party and former backers of Thompson and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn who finished third in the primary.

 

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De Blasio leads primary, but may face runoff; Lhota secures GOP nomination


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/@deBlasioNYC

Tuesday came and went with a mayoral Republican nominee but an unclear outcome in the Democratic primary.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s last minute momentum was enough to secure him a first place finish, but not necessarily enough to earn him the nomination without a runoff.

Though he beat former City Comptroller Bill Thompson by a significant lead, he was still hovering around the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid an October 1 election, according to unofficial results.

With 98 percent of precincts reporting, de Blasio had 40 percent and Thompson had 26 percent.

“What we have achieved here tonight, and what we’ll do in the next round of this campaign, won’t just change the view of how things look inside City Hall, but will change the policies that have left behind so many of our fellow New Yorkers outside of City Hall,” de Blasio said to his supporters in Brooklyn on Tuesday.

“I think we all know that this race is incredibly close and there are still tens of thousands of ballots that remain to be counted,” Thompson told his supporters that night.

“But every voice in New York City counts,” he also said, “and we’re going to wait for every voice to be heard. We’re going to wait for every voice to be counted.”

Lhota easily secured his party nomination with 53 percent of the vote, beating grocery store mogul John Catsimatidis, who had 41 percent, and Doe Fund founder George McDonald, who had 7 percent.

“Ladies and gentlemen, tonight represents a mile marker on our road to victory in November. Our journey continues—just at a faster pace,” said Lhota speaking to supporters. “Now is the time for our party to come together and unite for the common good.”

It was no surprise the ex-MTA chairman and former deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani won, as recent polls predicted.

Unlike the GOP Primary, the Democratic race not only had various front-runners, but also more controversy.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn was the early front-runner, but when former Congressmember Anthony Weiner entered the race in May, her lead shrunk in the polls.

Weiner, however, soon faced another sexting scandal, and he lost favorability with voters.

In August, de Blasio started to gain in the polls, and became the front-runner. He eventually surged ahead, and, in some surveys, even had enough support to avoid a runoff.

As the race drew closer, some of those same polls showed Quinn losing support among voters, and even predicted her third place finish.

In the primary, Quinn had 16 percent, followed by John Liu with 7 percent.

Liu, the only mayoral candidate from Queens, was optimistic that his numbers on election night would be better than the single digits the polls were showing, but his campaign was facing fundraising issues.

Though he was never accused of any wrongdoing, two of his campaign workers were found guilty in connection to illegally funneling funds to his campaign, and he was denied millions in campaign public matching funds.

Weiner finished behind Liu, with 5 percent, even though he was polling better than him.

“We had the best ideas,” Weiner said, giving his concession speech. “Sadly I was an imperfect messenger.”

 

Op-Ed: More than a sleep-over, a real eye-opener


| oped@queenscourier.com

GREGORY FLOYD

As president of City Employees, Local 237, nearly 9,000 of my members work in developments operated by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). Their work ranges from apartment repairs to grounds caretakers, boiler and elevator services, to rent collections. About one- third of these workers also live in NYCHA apartments throughout the city.

The problems in public housing have gotten a great deal of attention lately, as the long-standing tenant and worker frustration reached a new high due to sequestration cuts in federal dollars—basically, the only source of funding for the largest and oldest public housing in the nation. The $208 million in cuts would mean a loss of jobs and services.

Despite Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s pledge to restore $58 million of federal dollars lost, the fact remains that NYCHA already has a $61 million operating deficit and $6-7 billion in much-needed capital repairs.

This is a case of too little, too late. With a three-year backlog of repairs, security cameras funded but not installed, reminders of Sandy everywhere in affected developments (and still without a plan to overcome the devastation of the next storm) and with a proposal—long kept secret—to build high-end housing on NYCHA property,

I have joined our members and residents to say “Enough is Enough!” We even held a huge rally at City Hall recently to send a strong message to all of the mayoral contenders: “NYCHA is broken. You need to fix it.” All of the candidates were invited to join the protest. Only one showed up—Bill Thompson. Thompson vowed to end the long suffering of the more than 600,000 NYCHA residents if he becomes mayor.

I guess I wasn’t surprised when Thompson invited me to join him and the other mayoral candidates for a “sleep-over” organized by Reverend Al Sharpton at a NYCHA development, Lincoln Houses in East Harlem. The choice of Lincoln Houses was not random. Residents of the aging, 25-building complex are suing NYCHA for 3,800 unfulfilled repair orders dating back to 2009. Thompson knew I had made repeated attempts to address the backlog and other key problems, all of which went unheeded.

So, after the many speeches and the grounds tour covered by dozens of reporters during the night of the sleep-over, Thompson and I met our host, Barbara Gamble, a NYCHA resident for 44 years, 30 of which were in the 10th floor apartment we visited. Without air conditioning on the sweltering night and with mold throughout the bathroom, we could now feel the human pain associated with the repair tickets that dated back so many years. We saw the struggles of Gamble— a proud grandmother who takes matters into her own hands by routinely cleaning the hallways of her entire floor!

When we met with the other candidates the next morning, the talk was about what they saw in their host apartments: ripped-out kitchen cabinets, chipped paint, water damage, faulty toilets, broken flooring and urine in the elevators (which frequently do not work). But, in my view, this was not the worst part of living in a NYCHA development.

No, it was the news that a few days after our visit, a 23-year old woman was shot to death on the project’s grounds in a location where NYCHA failed to install security cameras even though $ 1 million had been allocated by a NYC Councilmember. Despite these conditions, 227,000 people are on a waiting list for a NYCHA apartment because affordable housing in NYC is scarce. With an average of only 5,400 to 5,800 openings annually, the wait can take years.

NYCHA began more than 75 years ago as an experiment in municipal responsibility that developed into a model of social pride. Many former residents, including a NYC mayor, a supreme court justice, and a world-renowned entertainment mogul, have all gone on to make a lasting, positive impact on society.

Yet, as I saw the hardships of Barbara Gamble and her neighbors first-hand, it became clear that what is wrong with public housing today is not only broken buildings, but broken management.

The next mayor, with the ability to appoint a new chairman and form a new board, also has the ability to fix it.

Gregory Floyd is president, Teamsters Local 237, IBT

 

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Weiner falls to fourth place in latest poll


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

After losing his lead in the mayoral race in one poll last week, Anthony Weiner has fallen to fourth place in another survey of voters.

In a Quinnipiac University poll released Monday Weiner received 16 percent of the likely Democratic primary vote, down from 26 percent in a July 24 Quinnipiac survey, where he placed first.

“With six weeks to go, anything can happen, but it looks like former Congressman Anthony Weiner may have sexted himself right out of the race for New York City mayor,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Pulling ahead of Weiner is City Council Speaker Christine Quinn with 27 percent, followed by Public Advocate Bill de Blasio with 21 percent and former Comptroller Bill Thompson with 20 percent.

Finishing behind Weiner in the poll were Democratic opponents Comptroller John Liu, who garnered 6 percent, and former Councilmember Sal Albanese who had 2 percent.

The poll also found 53 percent of Democratic primary voters believe Weiner should drop out of the race following the former Congressmember’s latest sexting scandal.

If Weiner does withdraw his bid for mayor, the poll showed Quinn would still receive the most votes in the primary, but a runoff would still be likely.

In a runoff between Weiner and Quinn, the poll found Quinn would come out on top. But if the City Council Speaker faced Thompson, then she would lose the primary.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Monday: Partly cloudy. High of 84. Winds from the NW at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the WSW in the afternoon. Monday night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 68. Winds from the West at 5 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: From Mr. Chips to Scarface: Walter White’s Transformation in “Breaking Bad”

Now through October 27, the Museum of the Moving Image presents “From Mr. Chips to Scarface: Walter White’s Transformation in ‘Breaking Bad’” in the museum’s main exhibition, “Behind the Screen.” The exhibit looks at how Breaking Bad’s’ filmmakers used a variety of visual cues to convey Walter White’s transformation. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Workers begin strikes at fast-food restaurants

Thousands of fast food workers are expected to walk off the job Monday morning as part of an historic labor strike. Read more: ABC New York

NYPD to restart gun buyback program with 10 events across the city

New Yorkers with guns will soon have more ways to make a quick buck. Read more: New York Daily News

Gov Cuomo signs law making drunk driving felony on conditional licenses

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed a new law meant to keep more drunken drivers off New York roads. Read more: AP

Adequate public notice of sewage spills into New York waterways lacking: study

Yuck! Billions of gallons of untreated raw sewage is flowing into New York waterways annually, but the system of warning the public in a timely fashion is what really smells. Read more: New York Daily News 

Report: Thompson calls stop and frisk institutionalized bias

Mayoral candidate Bill Thompson said Trayvon Martin was killed because he was black and that the same bias drives the NYPD’s stop and frisk policy. Read more: AP

Schumer: Tracking shoppers through phones invasive

Sen. Charles Schumer says federal authorities should regulate the practice of retailers using shoppers’ smartphones to track their movement through a store. Read more: NBC New York

 

Anthony Weiner loses lead in new poll


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner has lost support among voters after it was revealed he continued sexting following his resignation from Congress, a NBC 4 New York/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll released today found.

In a June poll, 25 percent of registered Democrats said they would vote for Weiner and 20 percent said they would chose City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. The new poll, conducted Wednesday, showed Quinn leading with 25 percent, and 16 percent of voters supporting Weiner.

In a runoff situation, Weiner is virtually tied with Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former Comptroller Bill Thompson, who both are at 14 percent, according to the new poll results.

The poll also found his favorability rating has dropped from 52 to 30 percent since last month, and 47 percent of registered Democrats believe Weiner doesn’t deserve another chance, down from 59 percent in June.

 

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Mayor: Police stop too many whites, not enough minorities


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYC Mayor's Office Flickr /Photo by Spencer T Tucker

Mayor Michael Bloomberg answered critics of the city’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy by saying the NYPD doesn’t stop enough people of color and stops too many whites.

Less than one day after the City Council approved major legislation to change up management of the police department against the mayor’s wishes, Bloomberg made the controversial remark about the stop-and-frisk policy on his morning radio show on June 28.

“One newspaper and one news service, they just keep saying, ‘Oh it’s a disproportionate percentage of a particular ethnic group.’ That may be, but it’s not a disproportionate percentage of those who witnesses and victims describe as committing the murders,” Bloomberg said referring to crime statistics that show the police stop much more minorities than whites.

He added, “In that case, incidentally, I think, we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little. It’s exactly the reverse of what they’re saying. I don’t know where they went to school, but they certainly didn’t take a math course, or a logic course.”

Some mayoral candidates already criticized Bloomberg’s comments.

“To turn around after communities in the city of New York– black and Latino communities– that the inappropriate use, the improper use, the misuse of stop-and-frisk that has caused so much pain and so many problems and then to turn around and say ‘I’m sorry I didn’t stop enough people’– that’s the outrageous part,” said Bill Thompson, the only black candidate running for mayor. “His comments weren’t worthy of any elected official, much less the mayor of the city of New York.”

The City Council passed the Community Safety Act on Thursday. The legislation has two bills, one that creates an inspector general to oversee the police department with the commissioner, and the other which makes it easier for people to sue the police over racial profiling cases. The second bill was pushed in part because some legislators thought the police department abused the power of stop-and-frisk.

Bloomberg has vowed to veto the bills.

 

Poll puts Weiner ahead in mayoral race


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Mike DiBartolomeo

A new poll released Tuesday night shows Democratic mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner as the front-runner in the race one month after announcing his bid.

The NBC New York/Wall Street Journal/Marist Poll found that 25 percent of registered Democrats would vote for the former congressmember in the primary. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn came in second with 20 percent, followed by former Comptroller Bill Thompson, at 13 percent, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio at 10 percent and city Comptroller John Liu at 8 percent.

In earlier polls, Quinn was the candidate to beat.

A May 28 Marist poll showed Christine Quinn with 24 percent and Anthony Weiner with 19 percent.

But even with Weiner in the lead, a primary runoff, which is required if a candidate receives fewer than 40 percent of the vote, seems likely.

Though Weiner would lose in a runoff to Quinn, he still has gained ground since the May Marist poll.

Tuesday’s poll found that Quinn would win 44 percent to 42 percent, with 14 percent undecided.  Last month, the Marist poll showed Council Speaker beating him 48 percent to 33 percent, with 18 percent undecided.

 

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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.

 

 

Queens Democratic endorsements: Party backs Katz for borough president, Quinn for mayor


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Melinda Katz: File photo; Christine Quinn; Photo William Alatriste

The Queens Democratic Party doled out its endorsements for this year’s elections Monday, giving key backings in multi-candidate primaries.

The party backed Council Speaker Christine Quinn for mayor, former deputy public advocate Reshma Saujani for public advocate; Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer for comptroller and Melinda Katz for Borough President. Stringer’s son was born earlier that morning.

Former City Comptroller Bill Thompson, who nearly won the mayor’s race in 2009, only received three votes in his favor. Upon Quinn’s formal nomination, she received a standing ovation. The candidate promised better conditions for the middle class in terms of jobs and education.

Katz served in the Assembly from 1994 to 1999. After that, she went on to oversee Queens’ 14 community boards under former Borough President Claire Shulman. Katz then served in the City Council for two terms, and lost the 2009 Democratic primary for comptroller.

She is running against Councilmembers Leroy Comrie and Peter Vallone Jr., State Senators Jose Peralta and Tony Avella and former Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik.

“It was not an easy choice,” said Congressmember Joseph Crowley, chair of the county party. “But we believe that Melinda has all the assets necessary to become the next borough president.”

Katz said she’s excited for the nearly four months of primary campaigning that still lie ahead.

“Over the last year, I have come into your districts,” she said. “We have spoken with constituents together. I’ve gotten to know the issues that surround this entire borough.”

Comrie was considered a likely pick for the nomination in the days leading up to the endorsement. But he has had trouble raising funds and was snubbed earlier this year in a key endorsement from the Reverend

Floyd Flake. Flake’s congregation is in Comrie’s council district, but the religious leader backed Katz.
Vallone, who has been leading in polls and in fund raising, said he was not disappointed by the party’s backing for Katz, adding he did not expect to get the endorsement. His brother Paul was endorsed for City

Council District 19, beating out Austin Shafran. Shafran has received a slew of endorsements since January, one of the biggest being from the AFL-CIO.

“The endorsement is not something I was expecting,” Vallone said. “And I’m just very happy they went with my brother Paul, because I’m going to need him in City Hall if, God willing, I’m borough president.”

In her endorsement for Saujani, Crowley cited Saujani’s advocacy for housing and work in the public advocate’s office under incumbent Bill de Blasio.

She is running in a four-way Democratic primary against State Senator Daniel Squadron, Cathy Guerriero and Tish James.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Partly cloudy. High of 59. Breezy. Winds from the West at 10 to 20 mph. Monday night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 43. Winds from the NW at 5 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: EXPO 1: New York

EXPO 1: New York, an exploration of ecological challenges in the context of the economic and socio-political instability of the early 21st century opens at MoMA PS1, The Museum of Modern Art, and Rockaway Beach. Acting in the guise of a  festival-as-institution, EXPO 1: New York imagines a contemporary art museum dedicated to  ecological concerns, presenting a simultaneity of modules, interventions, solo projects, and  group exhibitions including a school, a colony, a cinema, a geodesic dome, Rain Room, and more. On view until September 2. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

VIDEO: 7 train assault

The NYPD is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying a suspect and victim in an assault aboard the 7 train within the confines of the 108th Precinct. Read more: The Queens Courier 

Rev. Floyd Flake, of Queens church, to endorse Bill Thompson for mayor

Queens powerbroker Rev. Floyd Flake will endorse Bill Thompson for mayor on Sunday — four years after turning his back on him in favor of Mayor Bloomberg. Read more: New York Daily News 

New Amtrak trains to hit East Coast tracks

When Amtrak unveils the first of 70 new locomotives Monday at a plant in California, it will mark what the national passenger railroad service hopes will be a new era of better reliability, streamlined maintenance and better energy efficiency. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Ex-White House aides, security executives named to N.Y. State cyber-security board

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has named former White House aides and security executives for an advisory board focused on protecting state infrastructure and information systems. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Nineteen shot in New Orleans Mother’s Day parade

Nineteen people including two children were shot in New Orleans on Sunday when gunfire erupted at a Mother’s Day parade, and city police said they were searching for three suspects. Read more: Reuters

Monday last day for morning-after pill appeal

The government is running out of time to try to halt implementation of a federal judge’s ruling that would lift age restrictions for women and girls wanting to buy the morning-after pill. Read more: AP

 

 

 

Democratic candidates tackle tough issues at Queens mayoral debate


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Four of five Democrats running for mayor would do away with stop-and-frisk or severely tweak it if they make it to Gracie Mansion.

City Comptroller John Liu, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and ex-Comptroller Bill Thompson said they were opposed to the controversial police tactic at a Queens mayoral debate last week. Former Councilmember Sal Albanese said it needed to be modified.

Front-runner City Council Speaker Christine Quinn was a no-show at the April 11 forum and has not publicly announced her stance on the issue.

“You think you’re reading about some third world dictatorship, not America and certainly not the City of New York,” Liu said. “It has to be abolished. That’s the way to . . . return our city to a state where it’s less of a police state and more of a city that we all came to America to see.”

The four candidates said the NYPD policy has caused rifts between police and communities. Liu, de Blasio and Thompson lambasted the practice as racial profiling.

“Somehow they’re being treated as suspects as a whole class of people,” de Blasio said of young minority males.

The public advocate also supported a plan to allow an inspector general to monitor the city’s police department. He and Thompson called for a new police commissioner, a mayoral appointment, to replace current department head Ray Kelly.

“Stop and frisk, when used correctly, is a useful policing tool,” Thompson said. “But it has been misused and abused by Bloomberg and by Commissioner Ray Kelly.”

Albanese said he would keep the policy in tact but would “focus on quality stops” and officer training. He also supported legalizing marijuana, but did not say if he would give Kelly the boot.

The mayoral hopefuls also discussed the city’s “abysmal” response to Sandy, the need to repair the public school system and plans to fix the city’s income gap.

Liu and de Blasio were in favor of hiking city taxes on incomes of more than $500,000 annually. Thompson said focusing on skill development in public schools would help close the city’s income gap.

“I always talk about the ‘tale of two cities’ we’re living,” de Blasio said. “It’s right in front of our eyes, these vast disparities that are going unaddressed.”

Albanese touted the 1996 passage of the New York City Living Wage Bill under his City Council tenure. But he warned against raising taxes on the wealthy, saying it would push the rich out of the city.

“It’s very sexy to say, ‘Let’s tax the rich.’ Bottom line is we want to generate revenue from services,” he said.

Liu, who wants to increase minimum wage to $11.50 an hour, said there was no evidence of wealthy residents hightailing it out of the city.

“I think it’s time that we stop holding our city hostage to those kinds of ideas,” he said.

 

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