Category Archives: 2017 Mayoral Race

Malliotakis: Fund Smart Light Tech With Vision Zero $



GOP/Conservative mayoral candidate today proposed funding a new program to upgrade traffic signals with “Smart Light” technology by using money now allocated to the de Blasio administration’s Vision Zero program.  Malliotakis estimates that implementing Smart Lights technology citywide would cost approximately $1 billion.

I asked Malliotakis for her overall assessment of Vision Zero and which elements she would defund in order to fund her “Smart Lights” effort.  Here’s our exchange:

Malliotakis On Congestion Pricing



Republican/Conservative mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis is open to considering congestion pricing.  Malliotakis, who represents the East Shore of Staten Island in the New York State Assembly, cast congestion pricing as “in broad terms, something that needs to be looked at” and described “the Sam Schwartz plan [as] a starting point for a real conversation.”  (I understand the Sam Schwartz plan as including bridge and tunnel toll reductions in a congestion pricing system.)  Malliotakis has long been a critic of the toll prices set by the M.T.A. on the Verazzano-Narrows Bridge, and she expressly conditioned consideration of any congestion pricing plan on capping bridge and tunnel tolls.

Malliotakis was replying to my question during a press conference this morning in Ridgewood.  Malliotakis held the press conference to call for implantation of “Smart Light technology” throughout the City.  Such technology involves using a variety of sensors and artificial intelligence to actively manage traffic signals with a goal of improving traffic flow.  That’s a goal broadly shared with the various congestion pricing ideas proposed, which seek to limit Manhattan traffic congestion by charging drivers a fee to enter the busier parts of Manhattan.

Here’s our exchange:

Malliotakis Marches: Pulaski Day Edition



Republican/Conservative mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis marched in the Pulaski Day Parade Sunday, one of the few elected officials to participate.  The parade celebrates Polish-American pride, conceived to honor General Casimir Pulaski, a Polish aristocrat and American Revolutionary War hero.  Other electeds participating included Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Assembly Member Joe Lentol.  Malliotakis’ mayoral rivals Bill de Blasio, Bo Dietl and Sal Albanese did not attend.

Malliotakis received a warm welcome from a light crowd.  In an unusual circumstance Malliotakis ended up marching most of the route in a quiet envelope.  For a time there was a gap of several empty blocks both ahead and behind Malliotakis and her campaign supporters, providing an unusually parade environment.  The silence quieted the mood a bit, but it allowed easy hearing of anything shouted from the crowd.  Those shouts were a scattered but steady stream of supportive statements, drawing waves and the occasional shout back from the candidate as she moved expeditiously up Fifth Avenue.

Malliotakis On Puerto Rico & Trump Tweets



Republican/Conservative mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis urged the federal government to accelerate its response to the post-Maria crisis in Puerto Rico, but had little to say about President Trump’s multiple tweets criticizing the mayor of San Juan and Puerto Ricans’ efforts in the recovery.  Speaking just before marching in Sunday’s Pulaksi Day Parade Malliotakis offered that “I’ve always been one to say that nothing good comes out of staying on Twitter so much” when asked about the president’s tweets and spoken comments.  She did not have any direct criticism or comment on Trump’s tweets, however.

Malliotakis did urge increased and accelerated federal aid to Puerto Rico, terming it a “crisis” that requires bipartisan support in Washington.  While voicing empathy for the frustration people in Puerto Rico are experiencing in the lengthy timeframe for federal assistance, she also noted that reality is that federal efforts take time to to organize and effect.  Malliotakis recalled the post-Sandy recovery in her assembly district, noting that local officials acted well before significant federal aid arrived.

Malliotakis has previously said that her family members in Puerto Rico are safe, but she has no new information as her family has had very limited communication with those on the island.  Malliotakis said she’s considered going to Puerto Rico but, due both to the conditions and her pending election, she’s unlikely to do so before election day.

Malliotakis On Grimm



Republican mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis had little to say about fellow Staten Island Republican Michael Grimm’s return to politics Sunday.  Speaking just before marching in the Pulaski Day Parade, Malliotakis offered that “I’m focused on my own election which is five weeks away” when asked for any reaction or expression of support for either Grimm or incumbent Congressman Dan Donovan.

Grimm is a former congressman who resigned in 2014 after pleading guilty to federal tax fraud.  He held a Staten Island rally Sunday to declare his intention to seek election to his former congressional seat.  The current congressman, Dan Donovan, was elected in a 2015 special election.  Malliotakis, a member of the New York State Assembly, had sought the Republican nomination in that election but party leaders selected Donovan.  (Party nominees are selected by party leaders, not via a primary, in such special elections.)  There is speculation in Staten Island political circles that Malliotakis may be interested in running for this congressional seat, should she not win her current mayoral race.

Malliotakis On Senior Centers



Republican/Conservative mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis held a press conference today to condemn what she characterized as a wrongful decrease by the de Blasio administration in spending on senior centers.  Speaking outside St. Benedict’s Roman Catholic Church in Throggs Neck Malliotakis pledged to increase such spending as mayor and to create to a Commission on Aging, composed of the heads of multiple City agencies, to “create a blue print to prepare NYC to serve and retain our aging population.”

Press question topics included details of her increased spending, how she would fund such increased payments, her campaign’s expected receipt of $1.6 million in matching funds, Puerto Rico’s medium and long term rebuilding and the Bronx school stabbing.

Video:

Here is Malliotakis’ full press conference:

Malliotakis Matching Money



Republican and Conservative mayoral nominee Nicole Malliotakis achieved a significant campaign milestone today, being awarded $1,518,092 in matching funds by the Campaign Finance Board.  Malliotakis reported having just $162,000 on hand as of September 18th, so this funding increases her cash on hand nearly ten fold.  It also places her campaign’s current financial condition reasonably close to that of Mayor de Blasio, who has an estimated balance (also calculated with his September 18th reported balance and matching funds awarded today) of $2.4 million.

Intended to “level the playing field” for candidates facing fundraising difficulties, the City’s program provides a 6-1 match for contributions of up to $175 from City residents.  It also restricts the amount that candidates who opt to participate in the program may raise and spend, while setting thresholds of the number and total amount of contributions that candidates must meet to be eligible to receive matching funds.  Malliotakis just met those thresholds in her September 18th filing, so this is the first time she’s received any matching funds.

There’s some irony in the great boost Malliotakis’ campaign received  from the award of matching funds, however.  Malliotakis has voiced opposition to the City’s program, calling it an irresponsible use of taxpayer money, and voted against a bill that would have established a state matching program with a similar 6-1 match.  Malliotakis termed that proposal “a completely disgraceful use of taxpayer money.” Continue reading Malliotakis Matching Money

Malliotakis On Puerto Rico



Republican/mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis today expressed frustration with the pace of federal storm relief in Puerto Rico and urged the federal government to treat Puerto Rico equally with other areas of the United States in providing storm relief and to accelerate its current emergency aid and response.

Puerto Rico faces many challenges in the coming months and years of storm recovery, with its pre-Maria financial crisis and infrastructure issues deepening those challenges and increasing the cost and difficulty of long term rebuilding.  Pre-storm, Congress has been loath to provide financial assistance to Puerto Rico in addressing its massive indebtedness.  How that indebtedness may factor into Congressional funding of post-Maria rebuilding is not yet clear, but it’s distinctly possible that Congress may limit or restrict rebuilding funding as a consequence of Puerto Rico’s financial troubles.

I spoke with Malliotakis during a press conference today in Throggs Neck focused on funding for senior centers.

Paws Off



Republican/Conservative mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis denounced what she characterized as a City crackdown on pet caretakers, saying that such effort is unnecessarily burdensome and will unfairly drive some dog walkers and sitters out of business.  Accompanied by three dogs, including her own chihuahua named Peanut, at a press conference Tuesday Malliotakis described the City’s Health Department as engaged in a systemic effort at enforcing regulations that require such pet caretakers to obtain a City license.

Malliotakis also declared that several other laws should be “reviewed and fixed,” including the Cabaret law which prohibits dancing in restaurants and bars unless the establishment receives a cabaret license from the City.

Malliotakis faced multiple questions concerning her view of President Trump’s recent denunciations of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.  Malliotakis was quite supportive of Trump, although she did acknowledge that she was not supportive of Trump’s vulgar characterization of a protesting player as a ” son of a bitch.”

Video:

Here is the full press conference.

MallioMoneyMentum



Money has been one of many steep challenges for Republican/Conservative mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis, but she appears to be making progress on addressing that challenge.  She hit a campaign highlight Friday, announcing that she expects to qualify tomorrow for $1.6 million in City campaign finance matching funds.  Receiving such an amount would markedly boost her campaign’s financial condition and put her reasonable close financially to Mayor de Blasio’s campaign, which reported $2.3 million on hand as of September 18th.  Malliotakis reported having less than 1/10th of that amount, $163,000, on hand as of the 18th, but receipt of her estimated $1.6 million in matching funds would markedly improved her campaign’s financial condition.  (The Campaign Finance Board will determine whether she qualifies, as well as determine the precise amount.)  Continue reading MallioMoneyMentum

Malliotakis Bronx Rally



Republican mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis attended a Bronx Republican Party rally Saturday, giving a pep talk to about 50 supporters at Bronx County Republican headquarters in Pelham Bay.  Republican public advocate candidate J.C. Polanco and city council candidates John Cerini, Patrick Delices and Daby Carreras also participated in the rally.

Malliotakis’ presentation was almost entirely a criticism of Mayor de  Blasio, beginning with a rallying cry question of whether “Bronx is ready to make Bill de Blasio a one term mayor” and ending with a harsh critique of de Blasio’s July trip to Germany the day after NYPD officer Miosotis Familia was assassinated.  Characterizing New York City as a place where “everything is deteriorating” Malliotakis touched on familiar complaints: that property taxes and water bills have increased, that sex crimes have increased, that the Department of Education spends enormous amounts of money yet produces many under-prepared students while charter schools are neglected, the mentally ill are insufficiently helped by the City and the homeless are insufficiently assisted while the City spends enormously on a plan to build 90 new shelters.

Continue reading Malliotakis Bronx Rally

Photo Gallery: African American Day Parade



Sunday’s African American Day Parade drew elected officials to Harlem, including Mayor Bill de Blasio and Republican/Conservative mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis.  de Blasio, accompanied by his wife Chirlane McCray, received an extremely warm welcome.  Steadily working the sidelines as the parade worked its way up Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, de Blasio was showered with smiles, handshakes and hugs.  Malliotakis worked her way through waiting marchers ahead of the parade, but did not march in the parade.  She was well-received, with many people interested in her candidacy, but her reception did not match de Blasio’s.

Photo Gallery:

Our full photo gallery is available here.