The mayoral race is like a long distance bicycle race, with the peloton reeling the current breakaway leader back in. In long distance bike races, such as the Tour de France, often a single rider will break will away from the peloton, or main pack of riders, and move into a significant lead for a time. Without the wind and friction breaking benefit of riding in the pack, the breakaway rider often tires and eventually fades back into the peloton.
Yesterday evening District Council 37 held a mayoral forum with five Democratic candidates. We’ll be providing some extended reporting on the forum.
Update #3: DC 37 endorsed John Liu for mayor on May 29th. Extended excerpts of John Liu at the mayoral forum are here.
Update #2: Excerpts showing the discussion on retroactive pay under union contracts are here.
Update: Here are excerpts showing moderator Bob Hennelly in action. In this forum, his campaign season premier, he joined the ranks of the 2013 campaign’s most effective moderators. He skillfully used humor to facilitate the discussion, kept it moving while allowing time for substantive answers and interacted with a very engaged audience. Unlike many moderators, he began with his own impassioned description of the state of the city as Mayor Bloomberg’s term comes to an end.
Our initial clip covers a question, and full answers, on a proposal to allow non-citizens to vote. The exchange illustrates several features of last night’s forum: host Bob Hennelly’s use of humor to effectively facilitate the discussion while keeping it moving, the candidate’s attempts, some humorous, to engage the audience, in this case with their widely varying spanish language skills, John Liu running to the left of the more measured Bills (Thompson and de Blasio) and a very engaged audience which at the start of this question objected to the questioner speaking in spanish rather than english.
Today New York City Public Advocate and Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio proposed having New York State issue drivers licenses, and New York City issue municipal identification, to undocumented immigrants.
We spoke with de Blasio about his proposal, it’s prospects of enactment and the lessons of Eliot Spitzer’s failed 2007 proposal to issue such drivers licenses.
Today NYCLASS hosted a mayoral candidate forum, with Tom Allon moderating, focused on animal rights. It was a lively forum, with both the candidates and the audience engaged and energetic.
We’ll have lots of coverage, but we’ll start you with this brief snippet of Dean and Jerry Sal Albanese and John Catsimatidis.
Update #3 – Carriage Horses:
Here is the full discussion around carriage horses. Only Bill de Blasio calls for a full immediate ban, while the others express concerns around the economic impact on the drivers. All, however, were ready, willing and able to criticize Christine Quinn for her impeding council action on this issue.
Update #2 – The Cat Man in the Lion’s Den:
John Catsimatidis, the “Cat Man” as he has dubbed himself, was the sole Republican candidate to attend the NYCLASS forum. Here are two clips of the Cat Man; his opening statement and his answer to a question on the fate of horse-drawn carriages in midtown Manhattan. We’ve selected these for two reasons: First, there are a number of funny moments, some intentional, some not. (“My kids were raised in Central Park” (not allowed in the house?) and, without evident humor or irony stating that “there’s no free rides” for the horses, make me laugh aloud.) Second, watching a first-time candidate make his way through unfamiliar policy issues and governmental processes while trying to connect with voters is worth watching, both in these brief moments and in the broader campaign.
Update #1 – Quinn in absentia:
Christine Quinn, despite not attending the forum, received significant attention. She has a fraught relationship with NYCLASS and the organized animal rights community, as shown in these excerpts.
At last night’s mayoral candidate forum at Queens College, four Democratic candidates were asked about the City’s post-Sandy rebuilding plans, how they “would get the job done” and about options for “people whose insurance and FEMA support will not cover the expense of a new home and for whom rebuilding is not an option.”
The candidates, Sal Albanese, Bill de Blasio, John Liu and Bill Thompson, gave empathetic and sometimes informative answers that illustrate the continuing challenges for those rebuilding from Sandy. Bill de Blasio discussed communication problems restricting recovery efforts and his early efforts at formulating a mold remediation plan, while John Liu discussed FEMA funding and investments by the City pension funds. All four answers were not really addressing the question posed, however, and reflected the reality that each day other issues and political problems push Sandy recovery further away from center stage for most New Yorkers. One question among many, in front of an audience with many other concerns, the candidates touched on it briefly and moved on, driven by the need to talk about other things and connect on other issues interesting voters.
New Yorkers who continue to rebuild would be wise to work to foster a sustained discussion by the candidates, as our next mayor’s level of knowledge, interest and engagement will be a deeply influential force on the long term recovery.
We’ve posted the full question and all four answers. Although it runs about 10 minutes, if you are interested in the continuing Sandy recovery, it’s worth watching.
Christine Quinn and Erick Salgado did not attend this candidate forum. You can see our report on Christine Quinn’s discussion of Governor Cuomo’s proposed homeowner buyout plan here.
With John Liu’s expected formal campaign kickoff on Sunday, the Democratic mayoral field appears to be set. Four “major” candidates, Christine Quinn, Bill de Blasio, John Liu and Bill Thompson, and a couple of lesser candidates, are in.
The next big change in the field will likely come when one, or both, of the citywide officeholders in the race faces a reality check. Bill de Blasio and, presumably as of Sunday, John Liu have declared that they are giving up their current citywide office and running for mayor. Presently, public polling shows both significantly trailing Christine Quinn, and with only modest recent gains for de Blasio and little change for Liu. Both are in their first term, and term limits do not apply to them in this cycle. Both would likely be readily re-elected, although John Liu would face the somewhat tricky circumstance of dealing with Scott Stringer’s candidacy. (The four Democratic candidates for Public Advocate would not present such a problem for de Blasio.)
Will one, or both, rethink their target office when petitioning begins in early June? Absent significant poll movement, it seems likely. Stay tuned as they each try to emerge as the clear alternative to Christine Quinn.
In our “5 Minutes With …“ feature we spend 5 interesting minutes with leading elected officials and policy leaders. In this “5 Minutes With …” segment we speak with New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.
Join us as we discuss the structure and role of the Public Advocate’s office and look ahead to January 2014 and the challenges that the next Public Advocate will face.
Be sure to also watch our report on the first candidate forum in the 2013 Public Advocate race.
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