All posts by John Kenny

80 Acres, Walking Distance to Beach

In this report we visit Arverne East, 80 empty oceanfront acres in the Arverne section of Rockaway.  Sitting in a flood zone adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean and vacant for nearly 40 years with little infrastructure, it has many challenges as well as remarkable potential.

As the clock winds down on the Bloomberg administration, the City is pushing forward with an innovative program to restart development there.  The Department of Housing Preservation and Development, together with the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter and the site developers, has opened a public design competition for the site.

We visit the site, talk with the City commissioner in charge of the effort and consider what it all will mean.


Liu on Liu’s Fundraising

The trial of John Liu’s campaign treasurer and an outside fundraiser is concluding, with closing arguments expected to finish today.  As described by the New York Times, the government asserted in it’s closing argument that Liu must have been aware of the illegal “straw donor” arrangements that his campaign aides are accused of.  The government has not, however, offered direct evidence of any such knowledge by Liu nor has he been charged with any crime.  Liu has soldiered on since the first report of financing irregularities, his campaign surviving when many thought it would not.

As Liu marches on, he is infrequently asked about the charges in candidate forums and debates, but often brings it up on his own.  His general approach is to proclaim that he is “very proud” of his fundraising, lament the need for campaign fundraising, sometimes complain about the federal government’s actions and then move on.  He also, sometimes gingerly, complains about the New York Times’ role, once describing it as “in bed with the feds” and once asserting, presumably referring to the Times, that “newspapers which I think [Bloomberg] has a huge amount of influence over, they’ve come after me.”

Here are three recent examples of Liu addressing his fundraising, two of which have Liu raising the issue and in the third he responds to a question.

1)  April 25, 2013 – Good Government Regular Democratic Club Candidate Forum.

2)  April 15, 2013 – Staten Island Democratic Committee Candidate Forum.

(Here is our full report on Liu’s appearance at the Staten Island Democratic Committee forum.)

3)  April 9, 2013 – Asian American Federation Candidate Forum.

(Here is our full report on Liu’s appearance at the Asian American Federation forum.)

Republican Mayoral Candidates Discuss Sandy Recovery

At a mayoral candidate forum this morning, hosted by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and held at St. Francis College, three Republican candidates and one Independence candidate fielded questions from a number of borough Chambers of Commerce.  Jack Friedman of the Queens Chamber of Commerce posed a question concerning the ongoing Sandy recovery.

Continue reading Republican Mayoral Candidates Discuss Sandy Recovery

George McDonald … Republican Social Activist

George McDonald, a Republican candidate for mayor, has spent most of his professional life creating and running The Doe Fund, an innovative social program focused on helping “homeless and formerly incarcerated individuals … break the cycles of homelessness, addiction, and criminal recidivism.”  The Doe Fund is best known for it’s Ready, Willing  & Able program, which puts its “Men in Blue” to work cleaning and maintaining many neighborhoods and business improvement districts while also providing those workers with intensive counseling and development programs.

McDonald has an unorthodox perspective, shaped by nearly 30 years of creating and running a major social services provider on a “free enterprise model” and the premise that “a job is the best social program in America.”  We visited McDonald off the campaign trail, to discuss his experiences and his view of the role of government in providing social services.  Watch.

Mayoral Mashup – Young Republican Edition (Updated)

In our Mayoral Mashups we talk with voters, as well as political and policy leaders, about what they see as the most important issue facing New York City’s next mayor.

For this Mayoral Mashup we spoke with voters at a mayoral candidate forum hosted by the New York Young Republican Club and Maverick PAC, asking one simple question:  What do you see as the most important issue that our next mayor will face upon taking office?  Watch to see what they had to say.

Some of our other Mayoral Mashups are here, here and here.
(Video updated)

Salgado Discusses Giuliani and being “Tough on Crime”

Erick Salgado made a widely noted comment at last night’s debate that he would consider appointing Rudy Giuliani as police commissioner.  While that seems virtually certain to not occur, the comment does illustrate that Salgado, contrary to the prevailing Democratic view, has previously spoken admiringly of Giuliani’s policing policies.

Here is a short clip from Salgado’s campaign kickoff in early April in which he laments that “our police department cannot follow and continue the tough on crime policy of Mayor Giuliani”.

Our full report on Salgado’s campaign kickoff is here.

Republican Public Advocate Candidates?

I asked Manhattan Republican Chairman Dan Isaacs whether there are any Republican candidates for Public Advocate.  Here’s what he had to say.

Even without the party’s recent legal problems, Public Advocate is a tough office for Republicans.  Created in 1994, the office has been held only by Democrats.  In the last general election, the Republican candidate for Public Advocate received about 14% of the vote, and in the two prior elections Republicans did not even have a candidate on the ballot.

That challenge is exponentially tougher with the recent disarray following the Smith/Savino/Halloran/Tabone troubles.  The Bronx County chairman was arrested and resigned.  The Queens Vice Chairman was arrested and resigned, reigniting a long-running factional battle which threatens the Queens Chairman’s hold on his seat.  The Brooklyn Chairman is in a battle with one of the few elected Brooklyn Republicans (with Dan Isaacs engaged on behalf of the Brooklyn chairman).  Staten Island also recently replaced it’s County Chairman.  With those troubles, the county organizations face a challenge in any effort at working together and, whether fair or not, can expect heightened scrutiny and skepticism if they do.

Will there be any Republican candidates?  Will they have any realistic chance of winning or of at least helping the Republican mayoral nominee?  Be sure to check back with us for updates.

9 Candidates, 7 Zillion Debates

Last night, nine candidates participated In a mayoral candidate forum, the most yet of any forum or debate in the 2013 mayoral election.  Those candidates have participated in dozens of forums and debates so far, with the prospect of scores more before September’s primary election day.

We talked with Brian Lehrer, noted radio host and the moderator of three 2013 mayoral forums to date, about why candidates are willing to engage in so many forums and debates.  We also spoke with Republican candidate Joe Lhota about the now-prevalent practice of mixing Democratic and Republican candidates in the same events.

Report From Rockaway #9: Riding The Wave

In our current Report from Rockaway we speak with Kevin Boyle, editor of The Wave Newspaper.

The Wave is Rockaway’s weekly newspaper and it has faced two enormous recent challenges; the business tsunami which has swept through the news business and an actual hurricane which sent a wall of water through The Wave’s office, destroying everything in it, and displaced The Wave’s readers and advertisers.

We discuss how The Wave is dealing with those challenges, as well as The Wave’s role in both reporting the news and acting as a leading community voice as Rockaway works to rebuild.

Mayoral Mashup – The HeyNowJO Edition

In our Mayoral Mashup we talk with voters, as well as political and policy leaders, about what they see as the most important issue facing New York City’s next mayor.

For this Mayoral Mashup we spoke with Council Member Jimmy Oddo at a mayoral candidate forum hosted by the College of Staten Island, and organized by the Staten Island Democratic Committee, asking one simple question:  What do you see as the most important issue that our next mayor will face upon taking office?  Watch to see what Council Member Oddo, a Staten Island Republican, had to say.

More coverage of the candidate forum is here.