Category Archives: 2017 Mayoral Race

Dietl Fundraising Restart

Independent mayoral candidate Bo Dietl sought to reenergize his fundraising Tuesday night, holding a fundraiser at the Cutting Room as he looks ahead to Tuesday’s mayoral debate. The event drew about 50-60 people for an evening of entertainment, featuring a Frank Sinatra tribute singer and a stand-up comic.  Dietl has raised about $900,000, and put in $100,000 of his own money, during his campaign,  but the pace of fundraising has fallen dramatically since the start of the summer with only $90,000 raised since mid-July.  (Dietl reported having $208,000 on hand as of September 18th.)

Dietl expressed confidence in his ability to raise significant amounts in the remaing five weeks of the campaign, but he also made clear that he sees next Tuesday’s mayoral candidate debate as a lynchpin of that ability.  He said that he expects his fundraising to significantly increase after what he anticipates will be a successful evening confronting Mayor de Blasio.  Dietl said that he’s been approached by  “Italian-Americans who have come to me and asked me to take a stance … on Columbus” and that he will schedule a “couple of big fundraisers” shortly.  He added that a “little birdie” told him that “somebody might be setting up a PAC.”  Continue reading Dietl Fundraising Restart

Malliotakis Press Conference: Smart Lights Edition

Republican/Conservative mayoral Nicole Malliotakis held a press conference in Ridgewood this morning to advocate for implementation of significant upgrades in traffic signals.  According to Malliotakis, installing such “smart lights” technology would markedly improve traffic flow and ease congestion.

Question topics included Malliotakis’ view of congestion pricing, Vision Zero and what Malliotakis would defund in order to redirect money to smart lights and her current view of the SAFE Act.

Here is her full press conference:

Malliotakis On SAFE Act

Republican/Conservative mayoral candidate declined to discuss the SAFE Act today, saying that she wished to wait until more is known about the Las Vegas massacre which occurred overnight.  Malliotakis voted for the SAFE Act, proposed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school killings, which implemented some restrictions and registration requirements on assault-style rifles and limited magazine capacity.

My question was about the SAFE Act, not the Las Vegas episode, but Malliotakis responded by focusing on Las Vegas and declining to comment as the facts were far from fully known.

We spoke during a press conference this morning in Ridgewood.

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.


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.”


Here is the full press conference.


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