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.
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.