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.
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.
Here’s a brief excerpt from Joe Lhota’s press conference in which he describes the provision of the proposed NYPD Inspector General bill that he finds “extremely distressing.” He references a section of the proposed bill which provides that the inspector general would have “all powers necessary to conduct independent reviews of the [NYPD's] policies”. In responding to the question of why he objects to the proposed NYPD IG, but didn’t object to the MTA’s IG when he ran that agency, he goes on to say that the MTA Inspector General “does not have the ability to question the policies directly by the MTA. It is an audit function.”
I looked at the statute authorizing the MTA Inspector General – here’s what I found in Section 1279(4)(b) and (c) of the Public Authorities Law:
“§ 1279 (4). The inspector general … shall have the following functions, powers and duties:
(b) to initiate such reviews as he may deem appropriate of the operations of the authority and its subsidiaries … in order to identify areas in which performance might be improved and available funds used more effectively;
(c) to recommend remedial actions to be taken by the authority and its subsidiaries … to overcome or correct operating or maintenance deficiencies and inefficiencies that he determines to exist;” (underscore added.)
Lhota is correct that the MTA Inspector General does not have the authority to examine the MTA’s “policies”. He seems to understate some of the MTA IG’s statutory authority, however. The statutory sections above appear to give the MTA IG authority for rather broad reviews at the IG’s own initiative and to “recommend remedial actions … to … correct operating deficiencies.” That seems like a broad mandate.
Would a similarly drafted provision in the NYPD IG bill be acceptable to Joe Lhota? We’ll try to get an answer. Also, I’m unclear on whether the MTA IG has full authority to examine the operations of the MTA police. We’ll try to get that answer as well.
Today, Rockaway came to City Hall. A group of Rockaway residents rallied on the steps of City Hall, seeking to draw renewed attention from Mayor Bloomberg. We spoke with three mayoral candidates who attended the rally, and asked this question: ”If Mayor Bloomberg called and asked you ‘what’s one thing I can do to improve how we’re doing in the Rockaways’, what would you say”?
Their answers reflect what we’ve previously reported, that many Rockaway residents are deeply disaffected by what they perceive as the mayor’s lack of interest or engagement in their community and it’s post-Sandy challenges.
Political leadership has many components, including managerial, policy and emotional leadership, with the last including the sense of voters that their elected leader cares about them and understands their community. The mayor’s tenure has included strong elements of the first two components, but much less of the third. That lack of emotional leadership continues to reverberate in post-Sandy Rockaway.
Check back for more coverage on the rally.
Also, be sure to watch our continuing coverage of post-Sandy Rockaway.
Here’s a brief “horse race” analysis of how they each helped or harmed their candidacies: