Candidate Catsimatidis?

John Catsimatidis is not yet a 2017 mayoral candidate, having neither formally declared himself to be one nor having created a campaign account with the NYC Campaign Finance Board, but he’s acting like one with frequent political appearances.  Among his recent political appearances was a brief speech to kick-off a Reform Party mayoral candidate forum held last Tuesday.

Catsimatidis, who finished second to Joe Lhota in the 2013 mayoral primary, played a mixed role of potential candidate and elder statesman.  He praised the six candidates seated in front of him for engaging in politics while criticizing “professional politicians” who “glom.”  Catsimatidis, a prolific contributor to politicians, also spoke critically of political pay to play.  He closed with a pep talk to the six candidates and possible Catsimatidis rivals, only one of whom has held elective office.

Here’s what Catsimatidis had to say:

Update – Photo Gallery:

Our forum photo gallery is available here.

We’re Back

NYTrue.com was offline for a few days, in the aftermath of a cyber attack on the server hosting our site.  We’re back, fully restored and ready to make up for lost time.  We’ll be posting a few items from last week to catch up.

Dietl Press Conference

Dietl 3-24-17-5Mayoral candidate Bo Dietl today held his second campaign press conference, covering an eclectic mix of topics as he works at pushing his quixotic candidacy ahead.  Healthcare, calling for a new investigation of Mayor de Blasio, possibly running as a Republican, Donald Trump, PBA support for a Democratic mayoral candidate and a few more chapters on Mayor de Blasio filled about 30 minutes with three reporters.

Continue reading Dietl Press Conference

Dietl Change On Wilson-Pakula

Mayoral candidate Bo Dietl has had an about-face on the prospect of taking a Wilson-Pakula and running on the Republican line.

Under New York election law candidates may seek to run on the line of a party that they’re not registered in only with the permission of the party, granted via a “Wilson-Pakula” waiver.  Dietl, who initially wanted to challenge Mayor de Blasio in the Democratic primary, ended up as a man without a party after the Board of Elections rejected the form he submitted seeking to change his registration from Republican to Democratic as improperly completed.  Dietl now plans to run on a self-created ballot line, “NYC Cares.”

When I asked Dietl on Tuesday about running on the Republican line via a Wilson-Pakula he declared that “if I was to do that I would be a hypocrite” as he’s evolved politically into a “moderate conservative Democrat.”  A report in today’s New York Times quoted Dietl as saying, contrary to his statement Tuesday, that “if the Republicans want to give me the line, I’ll take it.”  Today during a press conference at Dietl’s midtown office I asked him directly about his seemingly contradictory statements.

He began by saying that “since the other day, I’ve been contacted a lot” and then stating that “if the Republican Party feels as though they want to use this Wilson-Pakula or whatever its called and wants to give me the Republican line I will take it.”  His lengthy response included saying that he’s scheduled to meet Monday with two Republican county leaders to discuss the prospect of a Wilson-Pakula.  Dietl declined to say which County leaders he’s meeting with, saying that “maybe they’ll get slapped around by the Republican Party.”  He also invited a Democratic Wilson-Pakula, saying “maybe the Democrats want to come and Wilson-Pakula me too, I’ll take their Wilson-Pakula too, I’ll take everybody’s Wilson-Pakula.”

Dietl on a Wilson-Pakula:

 

Expanded Response:

Here’s Dietl’s full response to my question, which includes a lengthy criticism of Mayor de Blasio:

Photo Gallery: Jimmy Breslin’s Funeral

Writer Jimmy Breslin, whose outrage at societal wrongs and interest in people combined in a novelized reporting style that powerfully captured the New York of his era, was memorialized in a funeral Wednesday at the Upper West Side’s Church of the Blessed Sacrament.  Among the several hundred mourners were several Cuomos, including Governor Andrew, broadcaster Chris and their mother Matilda.  Contemporaries Mario Cuomo and Breslin had a decades-long close relationship, which Andrew Cuomo movingly described in his eulogy.

Mourners included Tony Bennett, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Bo Dietl, former NYC council speaker Chris Quinn, former NYC council member Robert Jackson and NY Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman.

Andrew Cuomo spoke briefly with reporters after the funeral:

Photo Gallery:

Cameras were not permitted inside the church during the funeral, so our photos were shot as mourners departed.  Our full photo gallery is here.

Wilson-Pakula For Dietl?

Bo Dietl held a campaign kick-off press conference today on the steps of City Hall for his quixotic mayoral campaign, moving forward after a muffed attempt at shifting his party registration from Republican to Democratic.  Dietl, who initially wanted to challenge Mayor de Blasio in the Democratic primary, ended up as a man without a party after the Board of Elections rejected the form he submitted as improperly completed.  Dietl now plans to run on a self-created ballot line, “New York Cares.”

Under New York election law candidates may seek to run on the line of a party that they’re not registered in only with the permission of the party, granted via a “Wilson-Pakula” waiver.  I’ve heard that some Republican party leaders are considering offering Dietl a Wilson-Pakula and asked him about it today.  Here’s what he had to say:

QVRC Lincoln Day Dinner (Updated)

The Republican mayoral primary rolled through Queens Village Sunday as America’s oldest Republican club held its annual Lincoln Day Dinner.  Over 300 people attended, lamenting the perceived faults of the de Blasio administration and hoping for a path to ending that administration.  Candidate Michel Faulkner and prospective candidate John Catsimatidis spoke during the dinner, while candidate Paul Massey attended the cocktail hour but did not address the crowd, departing before the dinner began.  2014 Republican gubernatorial nominee Rob Astorino also attended the cocktail hour, but departed without addressing the crowd.

With a long list of speakers and honorees, the dinner program limited the mayoral candidates to about 5 minutes each.  Faulkner took full advantage of his short time, launching into a fiery denunciation of Mayor de Blasio with a “dump de Blasio chant” and a declaration of “desperate times” in both the country and the city.  He breezed past his campaign finance difficulties, proclaiming that he’s “in it to win it.”  He closed by quoting Donald Trump; unlike Paul Massey and prospective candidate Eric Ulrich, Faulkner is an enthusiastic Trump supporter.

QVRC Lincoln Dinner 3-19-17-29

Continue reading QVRC Lincoln Day Dinner (Updated)

St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2017

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade, New York City’s annual celebration of all things Irish, featured numerous politicians marching up Fifth Avenue Friday.  Among the biggest political names were Mayor Bill de Blasio, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Irish Taoiseach (prime minister) Enda Kenny.  Political parade traditions include a stop to greet Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of the New York Diocese,  as he watches the parade from a perch in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Photo Gallery:

Our full photo gallery is here.

A Queens Harvest

Massey 3-13-17-7Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey sought to again relaunch his campaign, with a visit today to Kissena Farms Kosher Supermarket in Flushing billed as part of a five day series of visits to the five boroughs “formally launch[ing]” his campaign.  His visit included his third press conference and a cameo by Queens Republican County Chairman Bob Turner, but omitted typical elements of a campaign launch such as cheering supporters, family or a symbolically important backdrop.

Massey arrived early and stood smiling and chatting with Turner as shoppers moved past them.  A few asked what was going on, but the majority rolled past pushing their cart and getting their list out.  Massey and the store manager then did a lap of the outer aisles, chatting about the products they passed, the grocery business and the upcoming holidays. Massey greeted a few shoppers, but he mostly walked past them seemingly absorbed in his conversation with the store manager.

Massey 3-13-17-5

Continue reading A Queens Harvest

Turner With Massey

Queens County Republican Chairman Bob Turner supports mayoral candidate Paul Massey, although he’s not ready to describe it as “a formal endorsement.”  Turner joined Massey at a press conference today in Flushing, dubbed by the Massey campaign as “formally launching” his campaign.   “I am supporting Mr. Massey, but this is short of a formal endorsement” said Turner when I asked Massey whether he has Turner’s support or endorsement.  Turner had stood off to the side watching as Massey held his press conference, not joining him at the lectern.  (When I spoke with Turner on March 2nd, he seemed supportive of Massey, but was not nearly as direct.)

In a conversation  with Turner afterwards he emphasized that the Queens Republican organization has not yet endorsed or supported Massey, although he expects a decision on whether to do so in “less than a month.”  Turner appeared quite optimistic on the effort by the five New York York City Republican county chairs at uniting behind a single candidate.  Doing so, presuming Massey is their choice, may discourage Eric Ulrich (the only New York City or New York State Republican elected official representing Queens) or John Catsimatidis from entering the race or encourage Michel Faulkner to end his campaign.

Video:

Here’s our post-presser conversation:

Republican Mayoral Forum – Columbia Edition

Like a blooming sign of spring, the nascent Republican mayoral primary continued emerging this week, with a candidate forum last night.  Hosted by the Columbia University College Republicans, the forum featured four candidates: Darren Aquino, Michel Faulkner, Paul Massey and Eric Ulrich.

Columbia Mayoral Forum 3-9-17-6

The forum was a “compare and contrast,” rather than a mix-it-up/toe-to-toe, style.  Each candidate was asked each question seriatim, with little direct interaction among the candidates.  It’s a less dramatic format, but useful in this early “getting to know you” stage.  The audience of about 75 people was attentive but mostly silent in the soaring rotunda of Columbia’s Low Library.

Aquino is an actor and self-described “national advocate for disabled” who has not had any significant previous visibility in the race.  His January campaign finance filing reported raising $1,000, with $542 on hand.  Faulkner and Massey are both declared candidates who have been running energetically for months, with their most recent appearances being Wednesday night at a Bronx County Republican dinner.  Ulrich, a member of the City Council and the only Republican candidate with government experience, is registered with the Campaign Finance Board as a candidate for an “undeclared” city office.  He’s effectively running at the moment, albeit at a somewhat reduced pace and without a full commitment, appearing at some political events while he considers whether to fully move ahead and formally declare himself a mayoral candidate.  That decision is likely in the next couple of weeks.

John Catsimatidis, a wealthy businessman who lost to Joe Lhota in the 2013 Republican primary, is also considering a run but did not appear at this forum.  Like Ulrich he’s appearing at some political events but hasn’t announced his candidacy.  (Unlike Ulrich, he has not registered with the Campaign Finance Board.)  Catsimatidis recently said that he expects to make a decision on running by late March or early April.

Video:

Here is the full forum:

Bronx GOP Dinner

Bronx County Republican Chairman Mike Rendino 3/8/17
Bronx County Republican Chairman Mike Rendino 3/8/17

It was dinner with the 1%.  Not that 1%, but the 1% of New York City voters registered as Bronx Republicans.  The not-quite 40,000 registered Bronx Republicans comprise less than 1% of New York City’s registered voters and don’t have any New York City or New York State elected officials, but they hosted an energetic dinner last night featuring two mayoral candidates and one prospective candidate.

Cast by Bronx County Republican Chairman Mike Rendino as kicking off the 2017 Republican mayoral race, the dinner featured appearances by candidates Paul Massey and Michel Faulkner and possible candidate John Catsimatidis.  Among the three hundred or so attendees were Republican State Chairman Ed Cox, Republican County chairs from Queens, Manhattan and Staten Island and New York City’s two Republican members of the New York State Assembly, Staten Islanders Nicole Malliotakis and Ron Castorina.

NYS GOP Chairman Ed Cox, Queens GOP Chairman Bob Turner and John Catsimatidis at the Bronx GOP dinner. 3/8/17
NYS GOP Chairman Ed Cox, Queens GOP Chairman Bob Turner and John Catsimatidis at the Bronx GOP dinner. 3/8/17

Continue reading Bronx GOP Dinner

Photo Gallery: Rockaway St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2017

Rockaway Parade 3-2-17-5A cold, bitter wind blew across Rockaway Saturday afternoon.  It wasn’t the sentiment of residents toward Mayor de Blasio, but an actual wind blowing in from Jamaica Bay during the Rockaway St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

The cold temperature and strong wind dampened attendance, but those turning out appeared to have their usual good time.  It’s a world apart from the large Fifth Avenue parades, and even from many parades in other parts of the City, with a strong small town feel to it as the parade flows through a suburban neighborhood of single family homes.  Green-clothed crowds filled many front lawns and porches, with cheers for the marchers interspersed amid a steady flow of eating, drinking and talking.

Rockaway Parade 3-4-17-35

Continue reading Photo Gallery: Rockaway St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2017

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