Should Democratic candidate Vincent Gentile win the upcoming 11th congressional district special election he will join a lopsided minority in the House of Representatives. With a current division of 245 Republicans and 188 Democrats (and 2 vacancies) Democrats are decidedly out-of-power in the House and Gentile would face significant challenges in accomplishing any of his legislative goals. I asked Gentile about this, with a followup question on his view of Nancy Pelosi. We spoke at a forum Monday evening hosted by the Middle Class Action Project.
Eric Massa, Christopher Lee, Anthony Weiner and Michael Grimm – which of these names is unlike the others? What do their similarities and differences portend for the 11th Congressional District special election?
Newly designated congressional candidate Vincent Gentile spoke with press following his selection and speech to the Richmond County Democratic Committee. Topics included the Eric Garner case and the absence of any direct discussion of it in his acceptance speech, his plans for continuing post-Garner “healing”, opponent and incumbent District Attorney Dan Donovan’s prosecutorial abilities, the absence of an indictment in the Garner case, a poll (which did not include Gentile) showing Donovan as the leading candidate, his assessment of President Barack Obama and his assessment of Mayor Bill de Blasio.
A detailed look at his assessment of Obama and de Blasio is here. Here’s Gentile’s full Q&A:
Obama – great, or good, job. de Blasio – meh. That’s the essence of Council Member and congressional candidate Vincent Gentile’s response when asked about the two Democratic elected officials. Gentile spoke during a press Q&A following his nomination to run as the Democratic candidate in the 11th Congressional District special election scheduled for May 5th.
When I asked Gentile to rate President Obama’s overall performance he responded with an answer solely focused on the economy. Gentile termed Obama’s performance “great”, although he also amended his answer to “good”, saying that “I’m prepared to say that he’s done a great, a good job with the economy.” Although viewed by many as a political liability, President Obama carries substantial support in some areas. He won Staten Island in his 2012 reelection bid, 78,000 to 74,000, after having lost it in 2008 by 7,000 votes. It’s also worth noting, however, that Bob Turner won a neighboring district congressional special election in 2011 (to replace Anthony Weiner) by galvanizing discontent with Obama’s approach to Israel. It’s unclear at this early stage whether Obama will be a meaningful part of the campaign, but Gentile’s initial positioning is supportive of his fellow Democrat.
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.
Update – Elected Officials Speak:
Here are the remarks of the elected officials:
Insight, analysis and reporting on New York and national politics