Rockaway ferry service supporters came to City Hall Thursday evening to urge Mayor de Blasio to continue operating the service past it’s scheduled October cessation. Initiated in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy while the A train was out of service for months, the ferry is subsidized by the City at an annual cost of approximately $6 million. The City calculates that the subsidy is at least $25 per passenger/trip. The de Blasio administration had continued the Bloomberg administration’s short term ferry funding, but has announced that the subsidy will end in October.
The rally featured two citywide elected officials, Scott Stringer and Tish James, as well as Assembly Member Phil Goldfeder, State Senator Joe Addabbo, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Council Members Eric Ulrich and Vincent Gentile.
The Rockaway peninsula’s physical separation from the rest of the City is matched by a sense of political separation. It’s particularly so in the neighborhoods which most use the ferry, with many residents believing that City Hall is not looking out for them. Those western neighborhoods, such as Belle Harbor and Breezy Point, overwhelmingly voted for Joe Lhota in 2013 and have little in the way of a political relationship with Bill de Blasio.
de Blasio Departs:
Mayor de Blasio left City Hall during the rally, passing just behind the rally as he headed toward his car. Rallygoers took note, loudly chanting and calling out to him, but his only acknowledgment or engagement with them was a small wave as he moved past. The mayor continued talking with an aide, ignoring the chants of “no ferry, no votes.” Unfortunately for the ferry supporters, he did okay in his last election without their votes.
Congressional candidate Adriano Espaillat today led a group of supporters on a four mile walk through Manhattan, from 135th Street to his campaign headquarters on Sherman Avenue. With several dozen cars in a caravan following him and music blasting, the candidate and supporters sang and danced their way up Broadway.
Espaillat spoke to the press and his supporters just before the walk. Giving a fiery speech, he attacked Rangel for being “in the center of [the] dysfunction” in a “broken” Washington. Espaillat also attacked Rangel for having “sided with Wall Street” repeatedly. Here is the portion of Espaillat’s remarks made in english.
We talk with City Council Speaker, and Espaillat supporter, Melissa Mark-Viverito, about the congressional primary campaign in her East Harlem council district:
Update – Dancing & Singing on Broadway:
It was a bit north of the theater district, but there were some solid performances on Broadway.
Many elected officials participated in todays Little Neck Douglaston Memorial Day Parade, among them Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate Tish James, Comptroller Scott Stringer and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.
Update – Electeds on Parade:
We look at the Mayor’s, and other elected officials, reception:
de Blasio & Cuomo Remarks:
In what could be titled “a tale of two proclamations”, the Mayor and Governor each made brief remarks at the start of the parade and each presented their own proclamation to the parade organizers. Neither took questions. de Blasio invoked his father’s World War II service and injury, and subsequent struggles, in urging the audience to “never let their memories go” of service members injured or killed. Cuomo described himself as a “Queens boy” for whom it is a “pleasure to be back on [his] home turf.” H e declared it “a day to remember that freedom is not free”, noting that “we still have boys in harm’s way.” Their full remarks are here:
Steve & Teddy:
Congressman Steve Israel, chair of the DCCC, met a historic figure. Every parade needs a little goofiness after all.
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer continued his series of town hall meetings focused on Hurricane Sandy recovery, visiting the Arverne Section of Rockaway Wednesday evening. (Our report on his initial town hall, in Rockaway’s Breezy Point, is here.)
Mayor Bill de Blasio took office on January 1st with an inauguration ceremony on the steps of City Hall.
For the Price of a Small Soy Latte:
In his inaugural address de Blasio highlighted his call for funding universal pre-K and middle school after school programs with an increased income tax on high earners. We look at his clever framing of the anticipated additional tax burden for those high earners.
Update – Applause:
For the Kremlinologists (CityHallologists? deBlasiologists?), here’s a brief clip of the introductions of elected & former elected officials and their respective applause, both by and for.
Update #2 – Stringer Oath:
NYS Supreme Court Justice Eileen Bransten administered the oath of office to Comptroller Scott Stringer, continuing on despite a jailbreak by one young attendee.
Eliot Spitzer voted this afternoon in a prototypical Spitzer event: arrive on-time, take care of the business at hand expeditiously and move on. He arrived right on time at his polling place, Manhattan’s P.S. 6, went inside, voted and came out. Total time from arriving at the school steps to back in the car, including a 1/2 block walk? About 7 minutes. That includes just over 1 minute talking to the press. You can watch that 1 minute press availability right here.
The only glitch? A reporter, from the New York Post I believe, wanted to ask “where is your wife?” Here’s what happened.
As Scott Stringer was endorsed by a group of about 50 clergy from around the city, he touted his plan to appoint a chief diversity officer in the comptroller’s office and to pursue diversity goals for businesses and city agencies. Seemingly implicit in his plan was the premise that recent comptrollers have not done enough on these goals. I asked Stringer for his view of how the two most recent comptrollers, John Liu and Bill Thompson, have performed on these issues.
Eliot Spitzer met with a small group of M/WBE business owners today to discuss the challenges that they face in obtaining city contracts. Afterwards, Spitzer walked down Harlem’s Malcolm X Boulevard, visiting several local businesses along the way.
During the walk, I asked Spitzer about what his family-owned real estate business does to facilitate hiring M/WBE contractors. His answer was somewhat vague, beginning with “we haven’t built in a couple of years”, with the apparent implication that they would specifically seek, or be able to, to hire M/WBE businesses only as part of construction projects. Watch.
Scott Stringer and Eliot Spitzer fought their way through Round 3 of their televised debates last night, participating in a debate organized by the NYC Campaign Finance Board and broadcast by WCBS-TV (CBS 2). Moderated by Marcia Kramer, with panelists Rich Lamb and Marlene Peralta, the debate was co-sponsored by WCBS Newsradio 880, 1010 WINS, El Diario/La Prensa, and Common Cause/NY. They returned to now-familiar jabs at each other (think “resigned … prostitution” and “3rd term”), but still managed to discuss some substance of the office that they’re seeking. The entire debate is available here.
They also had a few odd moments which have captured media attention. Moderator Marcia Kramer asked both to sing a line from their favorite song. Stringer recited the opening line from his favorite (Heroes by David Bowie), while Spitzer named his favorite, but declined to sing or recite (Land of Hope and Dreams by Bruce Springsteen). (Editorial note: NYTrue.com heartily approves of both choices.) In responding to Rich Lamb’s question of “is there something nice you can say about your opponent”, Scott Stringer tried to give a friendly response, saying “we are definitely going to hang out after” the election and that as part of that “hang out” Spitzer could “help babysit my two kids.”
Stringer Press Q&A:
Here is Scott Stringer’s full Q&A with the press following the debate. Among the topics discussed: Spitzer’s statement that he would serve for $1 per year if elected, the candidates’ singing ability (it was part of the debate, believe it or not), how his experience may prepare him to manage the very large staff of the comptroller’s office, his views on Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and the sexual harassment scandals that have occurred in Albany, the revelation that he refers to “Eliot Weiner”, and much more.
Update – Spitzer Press Q&A:
Here is Eliot Spitzer’s full Q&A with the press following the debate. Among the topics discussed: Stringer’s babysitting invitation, Mayor Bloomberg’s 3rd term, Spitzer’s statement that he would serve for $1 per year if elected and Stringer’s description of Spitzer as living in an “ivory tower.”
John Catsimatidis held a press conference this afternoon to urge New York City Council members to not override Mayor Bloomberg’s veto of the Community Safety Act. Catsimatidis was joined by several Republican former elected officials, including former governor George Pataki and former congressman Vito Fossella.
I asked Pataki how he feels about the return of his successor, Eliot Spitzer, to electoral politics.
I asked former congressman Vito Fossella, who resigned in his own sex scandal, for his reaction to the candidacy of Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner.