Malliotakis Press Conference: Homeless Crisis Edition



Republican mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis held a press conference this afternoon promoting her plan to address homelessness in New York City.  It’s an issue that she, and other de Blasio challengers, have frequently spoken of over the past months.   Today Malliotakis outlined a series of steps should she would take as mayor to address the “homeless crisis”, including establishing “pop-up intake shelters,” creating an interagency taskforce, limiting the number of nights homeless individuals may be housed by the City in a hotel, seeking to move “empty nesters” in large NYCHA apartments into smaller apartments  and entering into an agreement with New York State to fund supportive housing units.

Continue reading Malliotakis Press Conference: Homeless Crisis Edition

Malliotakis On Healthcare Bills



I haven’t read the bills.  That was Republican mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis’ response today when I asked whether she supports either or both of the two pending Congressional bills aimed at dramatically changing the Affordable Care Act.  Those two bills include the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BHCA), the healthcare bill drafted by Senate Republicans which was publicly released last week but has not yet been voted on, and the American Health Care Act of 2017 (AHCA), approved in the House on May 4th.  Malliotakis did express an opinion on the Faso Collins amendment, a provision contained in the AHCA that would require New York State to take over Medicaid expenses of counties outside of New York City, leaving New York City as the lone New York locality to continue to shoulder Medicaid costs, saying that New York City’s exclusion is “problematic.”

Malliotakis gave a similar answer on the AHCA nearly two months ago, declining to express an opinion because she had not read the bill.  There is a lot to be said for reading a full bill in order to express an opinion, but it’s also an easy dodge.  It’s certainly legitimate to reach, and express, opinions on legislation based on good analysis by others, whether in the press, from staff or other interested parties.  In this case, Malliotakis is avoiding expressing a view on an issue that has been at the center of political discussion for months, with two months elapsing since the House bill was publicly available, and that may profoundly affect the City she hopes to lead in six months.  It’s worth noting that Malliotakis generally is responsive to questions and willing to declare her position on specific issues.

We spoke at a Malliotakis press conference outside City Hall.

Video:

Here’s our exchange:

Dietl Defends



Mayoral candidate Bo Dietl held a press conference today, his first since giving up his court battle seeking reinstatement to the Republican Party.  Speaking in front of his office on West 34th Street Dietl gave an impassioned defense against unflattering press accounts of some of his business activities as a private investigator.  He said that accounts of his working for Steve Bannon and Roger Ailes were false and that his work for Fox has been misrepresented.  He also asserted that his role in the James Rackover murder case has been overstated, saying that he briefly assisted Jeffery Rackover but would not  and did not in any way assist accused killer James Rackover.

Dietl plugged a Facebook poll he conducted that produced a majority supporting him in a three-way race with Bill de Blasio and Paul Massey.  Such unscientific polls are widely regarded as unreliable, but Dietl nonetheless seized on the positive result as a significant marker.  Dietl’s press conference was held shortly before Paul Massey’s surprise withdrawal from the race.  In a later conversation Dietl laughed and suggested that perhaps his Facebook poll results pushed Massey to exit the race.  Dietl also released a copy of his new voter registration form, changing his registration to Democratic.  (That registration will not allow him to run in a Democratic primary until 2018, however.)

Massey’s sudden exit seemingly ended any serious competition in the Republican primary, although it may cause some renewed interest in Dietl among Republicans unsatisfied with the leading candidate.  In a separate conversation late today Dietl suggested that there is some meaningful renewed Republican interest in granting him a Wilson-Pakula, but didn’t say who has expressed such interest.  He did say that he “would definitely explore the possibility of accepting a Republican Wilson-Pakula.”  He also expressed interest in seeking to replace Massey as the Independence Party candidate, but said that he hasn’t yet taken any steps toward doing so.

Video:

Here is Dietl’s full press conference:

Ending Debate



The two leading Republican mayoral candidates sat for a debate this morning, but one of those candidates headed for the exit shortly after the debate ended.  Nicole Malliotakis and Paul Massey participated in a debate hosted by Crain’s and moderated by Greg David, but Massey ended his candidacy shortly after the debate ended, issuing an unexpected statement at noon.  Massey attributed his withdrawal as driven by money, or the lack thereof, saying that he  did “not see a path to raising the necessary funds to beat an incumbent mayor.”  His looming withdrawal was not apparent during the debate.

The hour long debate featured a steady series of probing questions from Greg David.  He asked for candidate views and proposals on a variety of issues.  He focused most effectively on what’s going well in the City, challenging the candidates to explain and defend their criticisms of the incumbent mayor on the economy and crime when both are reported at positive record-setting levels.

Video – Full Debate:

Massey Out (Updated)



Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey abruptly withdrew from the mayoral race this afternoon.  Massey issued a statement at noon announcing that “[t]oday I am ending my campaign for Mayor of the City of New York.”  Massey participated in a Republican mayoral candidate debate this morning hosted by Crain’s New York without giving any indication that he was considering withdrawing. Continue reading Massey Out (Updated)

Malliotakis on Subway Derailment



Republican mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis was not impressed by Mayor de Blasio’s silence on today’s subway derailment, offering harsh criticism tonight.  She characterized as “shocking” the mayor’s unwillingness to comment or respond to shouted questions from reporters.  More broadly, she urged a joint City/State effort at expediting upgrades of the subway signal system and said that as mayor she would willingly increase the City’s financial contribution to the MTA for such an effort.  Malliotakis also had kind words for newly returned MTA chairman Joe Lhota.

We spoke just ahead of Malliotakis’ appearance tonight at the West Side Republican Club.

Malliotakis On Mayoral Control Vote



Republican mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis, who is also a member of the New York State Assembly, said tonight that she will vote for a “clean” one year extension of mayoral control of the City’s schools tomorrow.  That’s what appears likely to introduced at a special session of the Assembly tomorrow, but it’s not yet certain.  Her stated intention was qualified by the possibility that a bill providing for such an extension could include unrelated items, and she may not vote for such an omnibus or combined bill.

Unsurprisingly, Malliotakis offered criticism of Mayor de Blasio’s school management and spending, but said that if it were up to her she would support a multi-year extension of mayoral control.

We spoke just ahead of Malliotakis’ appearance tonight at the West Side Republican Club.

Photo Gallery: NYC Pride March



The sun was shining, the crowds were cheering and the politicians waving as New York City’s annual Pride March was held Sunday.  Once a small protest on the political fringe, the Pride March is now decidedly in the mainstream of New York politics.  This year’s edition featured many elected officials and candidates, including Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Senator Chuck Schumer and mayoral candidates Paul Massey and Bo Dietl.

“Mama” Jean DeVente, organizer of the first gay pride parade in NYC and a leading activist since Stonewall, rides with the Stonewall Veterans.

It was a regular Cuomo/de Blasio affair, with the two leading Democrats arriving separately and taking pains to avoid each other.  Governor Cuomo delayed his arrival until the March began, rolling up 34th Street in his SUV to the parade route just as his marching contingent came down Fifth Avenue to 34th.  Cuomo then held a brief press Q&A as his contingent stood still, blocking the parade route for Mayor de Blasio and the rest of the March.

Continue reading Photo Gallery: NYC Pride March

Dietl On Parade (Updated)



Mayoral candidate Bo Dietl energetically zigged and zagged down Fifth Avenue this afternoon, dancing and exhorting New Yorkers to vote for him at the New York City Pride March.  Other politicians periodically head to the parade sidelines for a few handshakes, high fives and hugs.  Dietl saw it as a prime sales opportunity, however, frequently stopping to bellow out a pitch for his candidacy.

Here’s a clip of Dietl twirling along as a more agile dancer does handsprings down Fifth Avenue:

Pitch:

Here’s a clip of Dietl stopping to make his campaign pitch to parade spectators:

Catch The G



Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey held a press conference this afternoon propounding a solution for an upcoming long term disruption of the L train.  Massey proposes modifying the G train route during a planned shutdown of the L train, thereby offering service into Manhattan for displaced L train riders.  Massey spoke at Macri Triangle Park in East Williamsburg, riding the L train to and fro with reporters.

Massey proposed a series of routing and switching changes that would bring the G train into Manhattan.  He would not provide a cost estimate beyond saying that it would cost “millions, not billions.”  He faced several questions on the role of the governor in running the MTA, how he would accomplish his plan in light of the governor’s control of the MTA, whether he accepts the notion that the governor actually controls the MTA and the nature of his relationship with Governor Cuomo.  He was also asked about his own gym habits, with a reporter asking if Massey came to this early afternoon press conference directly from the gym.

Video – Full Press Conference:

Photo Gallery:

Our photo gallery is available here.

Massey On Cuomo



Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey has never spoken with Governor Andrew Cuomo and doesn’t have an assessment of the governor’s 6+ years in office.  That’s the summary of Massey’s lengthy response this afternoon when I asked about his relationship with, and assessment of, Cuomo.

The relationship between any governor and New York City mayor is important, with state law delineating the City’s power and authority and state government cooperation and/or approval needed for much of what any New York City mayor seeks to do.  Massey regularly criticizes Mayor de Blasio for the infamously poor state of his relationship with Cuomo and pledges to be “supportive” and “work cooperatively” with Cuomo.  That may well occur should Massey be elected, but there’s no established relationship or history to support those predictions.  It’s worth noting that a long prior relationship is not assurance of a smooth governor/mayor relationship in office: de Blasio and Cuomo were once fond of mentioning that they’ve been “friends for 20 years.”

Here’s our full exchange this afternoon during a press conference focused on Massey’s proposal for modifying the G train route during a planned shutdown of the L train:

Massey On Cuomo MTA Board Expansion



Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey avoided directly answering whether he supports Governor Cuomo’s end-of-session bid to expand the MTA board with an increase in the governor’s representation.  Cuomo announced a proposal late Tuesday afternoon to increase the governor’s representation to 9 of 17 MTA board seats, from the current 6 of 14.  Such a proposal would diminish the already limited influence that the New York City mayor has on the board, as they would continue to have 4 seats on an enlarged board.  I spoke with Massey Tuesday night, following a meeting of the Ronald Reagan Republican Club in Howard Beach.

Massey said that he’s “thrilled people are paying attention to the MTA” and that he’s “thrilled the governor is focusing on it.”  He didn’t actually state whether he would support such a proposal, however.  Notably, it’s contrary to Massey’s now often-stated goal of gaining greater influence for the City over the MTA’s subway operations.

Here’s our full exchange: