CD 11 – The Post-Debate Gaggles

NY1 and the Staten Island Advance hosted an 11th Congressional District candidate debate Tuesday evening between Republican Dan Donovan and Democrat Vincent Gentile.  Held at the College of Staten Island, the debate topics ranged from whether the candidates have ever smoked marijuana to how to deal with Israel, Iran and the deep issues raised by President Obama’s recent executive orders on immigration.

Both candidates spoke with the press following the debate.

Donovan:

Gentile:

Donovan & The Minimum Wage

During a candidate debate hosted by NY1 and the Staten Island Advance Republican Dan Donovan appeared to not know the federal minimum wage.  His Democratic opponent, Vincent Gentile, asked him that question during a “cross examination” portion of the debate (at about 31:00).  When asked about it during a post-debate Q&A with reporters, Donovan denied hearing the question as posed.

Gentile:  Here’s what Gentile had to say about his minimum wage question and Donovan’s response when speaking with reporters after the debate.

11th Congressional District Debate – The Full Story



The race to succeed Michael Grimm moved ahead Tuesday evening as three candidates met for a sharp, sometimes raucous debate. Democratic Party candidate Vincent Gentile, Green Party candidate James Lane and Republican/Conservative/Independence parties candidate Dan Donovan faced off in Bay Ridge in front of a crowd of more than 100 people.

11th CD Debate

The evening began with opening statements and then moved entirely to questions asked by the audience. Many were solid, meaningful questions even if they often made clear the questioner’s view on the answer.

Here are a few observations on the candidates and the race, with video of the complete debate at the bottom of this post.

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Donovan On Lynch Nomination

Offering a position contrary to most of his party, Republican congressional candidate Dan Donovan expressed support for President Obama’s nomination of Loretta Lynch for Attorney General of the United States.  A vote on Lynch’s nomination has been blocked by Senate Republicans.  Although only the Senate votes on such nominations, Donovan has a worthwhile perspective.  He’s the Staten Island District Attorney and his jurisdiction of Richmond County falls within Lynch’s jurisdiction as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

I asked Donovan about the the Lynch nomination following an 11th Congressional District candidate debate in Bay Ridge.  Here’s what he had to say.

Donovan & Gentile Gaggles

Republican Dan Donovan and Democrat Vincent Gentile separately spoke with the press following the 11th Congressional District candidate debate Tuesday night.

Donovan:

Many of the questions for Donovan, the Staten Island District Attorney, focused on domestic violence conviction statistics for his office.  During the debate Gentile was critical of what he described as poor results by Donovan’s office.  Donovan dismissed that criticism as misguided and proceeded to discuss some of the many challenges inherent in prosecuting domestic violence cases.  I asked Donovan about Senate Republican delays on acting on the nomination of Loretta Lynch to be Attorney General.  As the current U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District Lynch’s area of jurisdiction includes Staten Island.  Donovan express unambiguous support for Lynch’s nomination.  A final question addressed Sandy recovery issues.

Gentile:

Question topics for Gentile included his criticisms of Donovan on domestic violence prosecutions and, in several iterations, how he would produce any meaningful results in a Republican-dominated House.

Debate Nadir (Updated)

The race to succeed Michael Grimm moved into a higher gear Tuesday evening as three candidates met for a sharp, sometimes raucous debate.  Democratic Party candidate Vincent Gentile, Green Party candidate James Lane and Republican/Conservative/Independence parties candidate Dan Donovan faced off in Bay Ridge in front of a crowd of more than 100 people.

After opening statements the evening consisted entirely of questions asked by the audience.  Many were solid, meaningful questions even if they often made clear the questioner’s view on the answer.  Among the exceptions was this question, which generated the most raucous few minutes of an energetic gathering:

Update:

Here’s an additional clip from shortly after the episode shown in the clip above.  The woman featured in the clip above moved to the back of the room, shouting and heckling the next questioner and the candidates.  As this clip begins Green Party candidate James Lane is responding to the question in the prior clip.

de Blasio Press Q&A: The NYCHA Funding Edition

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Senator Chuck Schumer announced $3 billion in federal funding for Sandy-related repairs and resiliency improvements for the New York City Housing Authority.  Speaking at an afternoon press conference in Red Hook, de Blasio and Schumer celebrated the massive block of federal funding intended for 33 separate NYCHA developments.

de Blasio and Schumer were joined by Reps. Gregory Meeks, Nydia Velazquez and Hakeem Jeffries, Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and NYCHA CEO Shola Olatoye.

On Topic Q&A:

Here is the full on topic Q&A.

Off Topic Q&A:

Here is the full off topic Q&A.

Schumer Rejects Comparison of Indiana Law To His RFRA

Senator Chuck Schumer today rejected as “false and disingenuous” comparisons between a recently enacted Indiana religious freedom law and the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act which Schumer sponsored as a member of the House of Representatives.  Schumer spoke at a press conference in Red Hook announcing $3 billion of additional federal funding designated for NYCHA Sandy repairs.

de Blasio Press Q&A: The 2nd Avenue Investigation Edition

This afternoon Mayor Bill de Blasio and many of his senior staff provided an update on the Second Avenue buildings destroyed yesterday in an apparent gas explosion.  Joined by Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro, OEM Commissioner Joseph Esposito, NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce, Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler and other officials, de Blasio described the known facts, but repeatedly emphasized that the cause is not yet known and that the investigation will take at least several days to complete.

Opening statements:

Here are the opening statements of Mayor de Blasio, Fire Commissioner Nigro and OEM Commissioner Esposito:

Q&A:

Here is the full Q&A:

de Blasio On Renewing Mayoral Control

The no-names battle between Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo continues, with the current chapter focused on mayoral control of city schools.  At a press conference Wednesday Mayor de Blasio was asked whether Governor Cuomo’s characterization of mayoral control of schools as an “experiment” and his proposal that mayoral control be renewed for a shortened three year period “raises questions about whether or not he’s a true reformer on education.”  de Blasio gave a forceful argument in support of extending mayoral control, but did not directly address the question’s characterization of Governor Cuomo nor mention Governor Cuomo by name.

A Tale of Two Mayors

In an unusual moment of agreement Mayor Bill de Blasio and former mayor Rudy Giuliani recently wrote a joint letter to Governor Cuomo and the state legislature urging a continuation of mayoral control of the school system.  de Blasio and Giuliani have mostly had critical things to say about each other, with their joint letter a rare counterpoint to their more typical criticism.  I asked Mayor de Blasio whether the letter signaled a change in their relationship or whether de Blasio’s 15 months in office has affected his view of Giuliani’s mayoralty.

Donovan v. Gentile – The Virtual Edition (Updated)



Congressional candidates Dan Donovan and Vincent Gentile separately answered questions at a Staten Island candidate forum Monday evening.  With a little editing we present their head-to-head answers on a few select questions.

The forum, sponsored by “The Middle Class Action Project“, featured the candidates in sequential appearances.  Both candidates were asked an identical set of questions, heavily focused on manufacturing, international trade, unions and workers rights.  The forum also had a candidate dispute over the format, with Gentile asserting that it was originally intended as a debate and was changed at Donovan’s insistence to separate, sequential appearances.  Donovan’s staff insisted that was not true.

The following video excerpts combine Donovan’s and Gentile’s respective answers to specific questions.

Fast Track Trade Agreements & TPP:

The candidates were asked if they “support fast track trade authority”, both generally and specifically concerning the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership.  Both opposed fast track trade authority.  Donovan expressed general discomfort, saying that “we shouldn’t fast track anything.”  Gentile focused on the usurpation of congressional authority inherent in such fast tracking.  Both expressed opposition to the TPP, although Donovan seemed less familiar with it, ending with a general statement that “all agreements … should be fair to America.”  Gentile, who has sought to make the TPP a campaign issue, went through a list of reasons he opposes it.

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