All posts by John Kenny

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:


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:

Massey Visits Koreatown

Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey visited Koreatown Thursday, taking a walking tour on 32nd Street with several local business and civic leaders.  Trailed by a swarm of campaign interns, Massey moved briskly along 32nd Street.  He visited several businesses, including a soon-to-open spa, a couple of restaurants, a multi-level food court, a skin care/personal care products store and a gift store.  He ended at a bar loaded with an enormous sound system and extensive record collection, answering questions from some Korean-American news outlets and two New York political reporters.  (While in a side room dedicated to the Beatles Massey revealed his favorite Beatle – Paul, of course.) Continue reading Massey Visits Koreatown

Massey Transportation: Chapter 3

Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey held a press conference today to outline the broad parameters of several transportation proposals, without providing any details, cost estimates or funding sources.  Massey has recently seized on the spate of subway troubles as a weapon against Mayor de Blasio, notwithstanding the limited role the mayor has in running the subway system, and he expanded that approach today as he briefly described several transportation projects beyond the subway.  That list included an expansion of PATH service to Staten Island, a “transformational infrastructure investment program” on most of the City’s major highways and an unspecified number of bridges, building “green corridors” over parts of the BQE and extending the G train into Manhattan.  He also pledged to implement an MTA system-wide maintenance campaign, despite the mayor not currently having the authority to do that, and a “total ground-up overhaul” of the City’s traffic management.

Continue reading Massey Transportation: Chapter 3

Massey Opposes Congestion Pricing, East River Tolls

Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey opposes any form of congestion pricing as well as the imposition of tolls on the City’s East River bridges.  Speaking at a transportation-focused press conference he held just outside of City Hall, I asked Massey about congestion pricing and the prospect of adding tolls to the City’s East River bridges.  (East River crossings controlled by the MTA – the Triborough Bridge, the Midtown Tunnel and the Brooklyn Battery tunnel charge tolls, while City owned bridges do not.)  I also asked about an element glossed over in his short release outlining his transportation plans, that many of the roads he’s proposing construction on are state, not city, roads.

Massey said that he does not support congestion pricing nor East River crossing tolls.  His East River toll opposition seemed to be more about not increasing any taxes or fees, without any reference to whether such tolls would help ease traffic congestion, however.  On whether he’s had any contact with state officials, Governor Cuomo or anyone else in state government, concerning his broad proposal on road construction Massey offered his frequent characterization that “we have a mayor who hates the governor” and that such mayoral failure is thwarting effective city/state cooperation.  Massey asserts that as “a consensus builder” he will solve those city/state issues, but didn’t offer any direct answer about the state issues in his outline.


Here’s what Massey had to say:

Dietl Lawsuit & Wilson-Pakula Update (Updated)

Mayoral candidate Bo Dietl’s effort at running in the Republican mayoral primary appears to be continuing, notwithstanding an adverse ruling last week by the New York Supreme Court’s Appellate Division.  Dietl said that his lawsuit continues, now in the Court of Appeals, and suggested that he may yet receive a Wilson-Pakula from the Republican Party.  We spoke during a press conference Thursday outside Gracie Mansion in which Dietl criticized the City’s switch to treating public urination as primarily a civil, rather than a criminal, offense. Continue reading Dietl Lawsuit & Wilson-Pakula Update (Updated)

Ulrich Retreats On Dietl Endorsement

Council Member Eric Ulrich, the sole Republican elected official to have endorsed Bo Dietl for mayor, last night made clear that his endorsement does not extend to an independent run by Dietl.  Instead, Ulrich will support the Republican nominee in the general election whoever that nominee is.  Ulrich did express hope that Dietl could still become that nominee, urging Dietl to again approach the Republican county leaders for a Wilson-Pakula which would allow Dietl to run in the Republican primary.

Ulrich endorsed Dietl in April, giving Dietl a boost early in his campaign.  Last week Dietl lost his appeal in his lawsuit seeking reinstatement to the Republican Party and the associated right to run in the Republican primary.  As a person who is not registered in any party, and who has not received any of the “minor” party nominations, Dietl’s only prospect for running is on a self-created independent ballot line.  Ulrich made clear that he will not support Dietl in such a run.  I spoke with Ulrich following a meeting in Belle Harbor of the Rockaway Republican Club.