All posts by John Kenny

Mayoral Forum: Education, Arts and Culture Edition (Updated)



Teachers College, Columbia University (that’s the way they write their name, apparently), Young Audiences New York and One Percent for Culture hosted a mayoral candidate forum on July 30th focused on The Future of Education, Arts and Culture in New York City.

Update – Joe Lhota & the Brooklyn Museum:

In this excerpt, Joe Lhota discusses one of the more heated episodes of his time in the Giuliani administration.  As a deputy mayor, he led the Giuliani administration’s effort to force the Brooklyn Museum to remove a particular artwork which Giuliani and Lhota found deeply offensive.  In his current comments he acknowledges the legal defeat that he and the City suffered and that he “made a mistake.”  He goes on, however, to downplay the harshness of his attack at the time and, despite having tried to use the City’s role as the Brooklyn Museum’s landlord as leverage, to say that the City’s ownership of the land on which the Museum is located “had no bearing” on his approach.

To get you started, we have a couple of special, brief items:

Lhota v. Rudy

We captured Joe Lhota revealing a deep divide between Lhota and his opera-loving former boss.  Sort of.

An Experience That Turned You On … ?

In this excerpt, a moderator asks a candidate whether the candidate had any experience as a child that “turned you on as you hadn’t been turned on.”

Race for Mayor: Candidate #12



Jack Hidary, a New York City tech entrepreneur, has announced that he is running for mayor.  Hidary joins 11 other “serious” candidates, including seven Democratic candidates, three Republican candidates and one Independence Party candidate, in the race.  Hidary is now petitioning to create his own party for the November general election ballot.

We spoke with Hidary about his business experience and how it shapes his outlook, why he is running and some of the challenges facing New York City.

Spitzer’s Bronx Stroll



Yesterday evening Eliot Spitzer successfully walked around 149th Street and Third Avenue in the Bronx.  “Successfully” in that he actually was able to walk and talk with people on the street, unlike his campaign-launching media maelstrom in Union Square two weeks ago.  He received a very positive reception, with many people recognizing him, wanting a picture with him and professing past or future votes for him.

There’s no way of knowing how many of the people he spoke with are registered Democrats, and how many will show up to vote for him on September 10th, but his campaign would be rightly encouraged by the short stroll.  High recognition, positive comments, smiles all around and virtually no heckling or objections from passersby made for a successful visit.

In an unexpected turn of events, the media and public focus on Anthony Weiner and the latest revelations of his sexting seem to be indirectly helping Spitzer.  It’s given Spitzer a chance to begin a more normal campaign as the media and public onslaught returned to Weiner and his disingenuousness.  The Weiner saga has become a tale of ongoing uncontrollable compulsion, with the previous neat storyline of “I did wrong, but learned my lesson” shattered.  Spitzer and his personal troubles suddenly seem more comprehensible, less bizarre by comparison and, absent any new disclosures, in the past.  What will happen when the Weiner focus fades?  Will media and public attention turn to Spitzer’s past personal behavior with renewed energy?  Or will some sense of exhaustion with the tawdry move the comptroller’s race focus to the office and the candidates’ plans and qualifications?  Stay tuned.


Special Condensed Edition:

Here is a special condensed edition of Spitzer’s walk.  And we do mean condensed.  Watch – you’ll see.

Mayoral Candidate Forum: Bronx Community College (Updated x 2)



Bronx Community College hosted a mayoral candidate forum this evening.  Moderated by Errol Louis, in his 11th mayoral forum of the year, the forum featured separate panels with the Republican and Democratic candidates.

Update #2:  Weiner, The Audience & His Rivals

Anthony Weiner mostly succeeded with the audience, as shown in this report.  His rivals mounted several attacks on him, without success.

Update:  Weiner Media Availability

Here is Anthony Weiner’s full media availability following the forum, which runs about 4 minutes.  He repeats his continuing responses: what I did was wrong, it’s all behind me now, I’m not going to answer in detail and I want to talk about issues and don’t care what my competitors say.  (Note: The music you’ll hear was playing over the house sound system.)

Weiner Responds to Question of whether he uses “Facebook or Twitter”

The Democratic candidate segment featured a “Lightning Round” of yes/no and “pick A or B” questions intended to provide a peek into the candidates personalities.  The final question was not what Anthony Weiner was hoping for.

Retrospective – Weiner Comments



Here are a couple of notable Anthony Weiner comments from May and June.

The first is Anthony Weiner addressing his sexting and resignation from Congress in his first campaign forum appearance.  In his comments at the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club on May 23, 2013, he is apologetic and contrite, but does not offer any detail or description of what it is that he is sorry about.  His strategy of contrition without description served him well until the recent revelations, but those revelations now make that strategy appear deceptive.

The second is his response to a Queens Tech Policy Forum question, where all candidates were asked about their choice of personal phone.  It’s of no real consequence, but in retrospect it is a curious answer.

Walter McCaffrey



Walter McCaffrey, the veteran New York City Councilman from Woodside, died this month.  We’ve posted a clip of the procession into his funeral mass at St. Sebastian’s in Woodside.

This brief clip captures much about Walter: his friends from FDNY’s Rescue 4 standing in tribute to him, a New York City flag draped over his casket, a Boy Scout troop color guard hoisting the colors, Irish bagpipers piping him into St. Sebastian’s where his close friend Monsignor Joseph Finnerty waited to celebrate his funeral mass and, most of all, the many politicians, elected and otherwise, there to mourn his passing.

His obituary, after noting that his parents are deceased, observed that:

“He is survived by the City of New York, his beloved Borough of Queens, and his loving, proud and devoted friends and colleagues.”

A Queens View of the Mayor’s Race (Updated)



We spoke with New York State Senator Joe Addabbo about the mayor’s race, and particularly on how his constituents view the race.  Are his constituents paying attention to the race?  Do they have a clear favorite in the race?  How do they view Anthony Weiner?

Addabbo’s district covers most of Rockaway and runs north through Broad Channel, Howard Beach and Ozone Park to Middle Village, Maspeth, Ridgewood and Forest Hills.  Anthony Weiner’s congressional district overlapped with Addabbo’s district.

Update:

We also spoke with New York State Assembly Member Phillip Goldfeder about the mayor’s race and how his constituents view the race.

Goldfeder’s district covers most of Rockaway, Broad Channel, Howard Beach and Ozone Park.  Like Addabbo, his district overlaps with Anthony Weiner’s former congressional district.

Catsimatidis & Cuomo



Mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis and Governor Andrew Cuomo have a long relationship, with Catsimatidis, his wife and his companies contributing more than $200,000 to Andrew Cuomo’s campaigns over the past 12 years.  Catsimatidis has asserted that a significant reason that he “would make a good mayor” is his “ability to call up and talk to the governor and come up with common sense solutions.”   As part of that argument, Catsimatidis has described being called upon by Governor Cuomo to assist in getting Republican votes in the U.S. Senate for the Hurricane Sandy relief bills (here and here).

Continue reading Catsimatidis & Cuomo