Category Archives: Joe Lhota

Lhota Tries to Trash the Transfer Station

Joe Lhota is solidly against the 91st Street marine transfer station, announcing that as mayor he will discontinue the City’s efforts at building it.  Lhota appeared at a press conference this morning in front of Asphalt Green, the sports and arts facility immediately adjacent to the planned waste transfer station.  Speaking to an enthusiastic crowd of 100 or so, it was one of the best Lhota campaign appearances that I’ve seen so far.

The transfer station is part of the City’s Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan, a large, complex plan which is more than a decade in the making.  The SWMP grew out of the Giuliani-era closing of the Fresh Kills landfill, previously the destination for the City’s garbage, as the City has tried to develop a long term plan for waste transfer.  Lhota is certainly knowledgable on the topic, having been involved in the Fresh Kills closing as Giuliani’s deputy mayor for operations.


In answering questions from the press, Lhota addressed some of the operational aspects of the City’s waste transfer plan, asserting that eliminating the 91st Street station and instead continuing to truck the affected trash to New Jersey would be less expensive and a better outcome.  When asked why this was so important to him, Lhota gave several reasons, concluding by noting that he “expect[s] to live in a building right over here”, pointing toward Gracie Mansion.  When questioned why as a Republican he would engage in “environmental activism”, he responded with a sense of outrage, saying that it is not just a Democratic issue and noting that a Republican president created the EPA (that would be Richard Nixon, but without noting, well, you can guess at all that he didn’t note).

Here is Lhota’s on-topic press Q&A from this morning.


The 91st Street marine transfer station was a topic of discussion during the primaries, with candidates split on what they would do about it.  For some background, here is a discussion from a Bronx mayoral forum in June.  It’s an issue that inflames many outside of Manhattan, who see it as efforts by a wealthy, well-connected neighbor to avoid the same burdens that they face.

Lhota On The Street: Jackson Heights Edition

Today Joe Lhota walked along 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights, visiting local businesses and talking with reporters.

Municipal IDs & Drivers Licenses:

As mayor, Lhota plans to issue municipal identification cards.  Such IDs could be obtained by anyone, whether or not a citizen or legal resident, but the real purpose is to give the undocumented a form of government issued identification in order to ease many of the day-to-day difficulties of living without documentation.  Lhota goes further, proposing that his version of a municipal ID will assist the “unbanked” by including a credit/debit card function.  When asked about drivers licenses, Lhota seems to clearly support issuing them to the undocumented, although he is not actually calling for the state to do so and says that he does “not want to burden the state system”.  Lhota was replying to questions from NY1 Noticias.

Campaign Moments:

Lhota has grown more comfortable campaigning and seems to mostly enjoy it.  This brief clip features a few moments from today’s walk.

Lhota Discusses Day One

Today Joe Lhota described his three immediate priorities should he take office in January. Responding to a question from NY1’s Courtney Gross, Lhota listed meeting with the City’s union leaders to develop a “roadmap” to reaching new contracts, meeting with “the leaders of all the banks in New York” to encourage them to loosen credit restrictions while also assisting businesses in better preparing for credit requests, and meeting with college and university presidents to discuss ways to help the City’s economy, as his immediate priorities.

JoLho v. JCats: The Epilogue

Celeste Katz of the Daily News today reported that former Republican mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis is, so far, unwilling to endorse Republican primary victor Joe Lhota.  Among other comments, Catsimatidis is reported as saying “[d]eep down inside, I feel he doesn’t like me, and if he doesn’t like me, that’s why I’ve held back.”

I asked Lhota about Catsimatidis’ comments, and whether it is a problem that his rival has not supported him, all as Bill de Blasio brings his former rivals onboard.  Lhota gave a lengthy description of their contacts from primary night, including phone calls, texts and a breakfast.  He also tried to be friendly toward Catsimatidis, exclaiming “what’s not to like about John Catsimatidis”, but also saying “I don’t understand why he makes such disparaging remarks about me.”

We spoke this morning at a reception for “King of Queens” honorees.

Mayoral Candidates on Iran Diplomatic Initiative

Joe Lhota and Bill de Blasio support President Obama’s current diplomatic initiative toward Iran.  We asked both candidates that question yesterday, and both gave indirect answers that appear to condition support on continued sanctions and other forms of pressure on the Iranian government, but were nonetheless supportive of the initiative.  We spoke with Lhota at a press conference condemning the Iranian government, sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council, and with de Blasio at a campaign event in Queens.  Here’s what they had to say.

Mayoral Candidates, Iran & Running (Updated)

Today the Jewish Community Relations Council hosted a press conference aimed at condemning the government of Iran and calling for continued action to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.  The press conference, held in front of the United Nations, is an annual event timed for the start of the United Nations General Assembly session.  Among the many New York elected officials and candidates participating were mayoral candidates Joe Lhota and Bill de Blasio.

Lhota Media Availability:

Following his remarks at the press conference, Joe Lhota spoke with the press on the topic of Iran, as well as several other topics.  Among the questions he addressed were his view of the recent diplomatic initiative by the United States towards Iran (he seems to be in favor, although it’s “not enough”) and his view of Jonathan Pollard, the Israeli spy imprisoned by the United States (he seems to be in favor of considering his release).  Lhota’s full press availability is here.

de Blasio Slow Speed Press Chase:
Bill de Blasio declined to answer any questions following his remarks at the press conference, leading the press on a several blocks-long, low-intensity, slow speed chase.  It was not as dramatic as some of the Anthony Weiner press chase/avoidance episodes (such as this or this), but it was a notable change for de Blasio.  It’s important to note that he and his staff said several times during the walk that de Blasio intended to answer questions at a 2:00 p.m. endorsement press conference in Queens, and he did so.  Here’s a portion of the chase.

Lhota/deBlasio Remarks at Press Conference:

Here are Lhota’s and de Blasio’s full remarks at the JCRC press conference.

Lhota on the Street – Upper East Side Edition (Updated)

Today Joe Lhota campaigned at a subway stop on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.  At 77th Street & Lexington Avenue, the stop has a heavy flow of voters who, if Lhota is to prevail, Lhota must connect with.

Update – Lhota Press Conference:

Here is Joe Lhota’s full media availability, at the conclusion of his campaign stop.

Among the topics he addressed:

  • Dean Skelos, and Lhota’s view of Skelos’s policies vis-a-vis New York City
  • His relationship w/ Dan Isaacs, Manhattan Republican Chair, who campaigned with Lhota today
  • Public poll results showing him far behind Bill de Blasio
  • The effect of the hard-fought primary, and whether his primary rivals will support/endorse him
  • The MTA and it’s ongoing work, and how that affects Lhota’s campaign


Dean Skelos;

During a press availability following his campaigning, I asked Lhota about State Senate Temporary President/Republican Conference Leader Dean Skelos.  In a statement on Tuesday, Lhota announced that Skelos and former governor George Pataki, both of whom supported John Catsimatidis in the primary, have endorsed Lhota.  In his statement, Lhota described them as “true examples of sensible and responsible governing” and “great New York leaders”.  As Temporary President/Republican Conference Leader in the Senate (not “Majority Leader” as referenced in Lhota’s statement) Skelos has often acted in ways that most New York City residents would consider against their interests, including elimination of the commuter tax, blocking a vote on a fracking ban and pushing school aid formulas to benefit suburban districts over the City.  His kind words toward Skelos illustrate a major challenge for Lhota.  Dramatically behind in public polls, Lhota needs to tend to Republican Party faithful while trying to find an opening with City voters whose views differ markedly from the suburban/rural dominated state Republican Party.

Lhota Visits Sharpton

Joe Lhota visited Al Sharpton Tuesday evening.  They had a private meeting for about 25 minutes, then spoke with the press.  Rev. Sharpton made clear that he was not endorsing Lhota, but also made clear that he took Lhota seriously.  Sharpton termed their meeting as “cordial and candid”, noting that while they differed on many issues he valued a civil dialogue.

Here is their full discussion with the press.

Lhota Launches

Today Joe Lhota held a press conference responding to the emergence of Bill de Blasio as the virtually-certain Democratic nominee.  This morning, de Blasio joined Bill Thompson and Governor Andrew Cuomo at a press conference in which Thompson effectively conceded and indicated that, even if a runoff is held, he will not contest de Blasio’s nomination.

Lhota called de Blasio’s theme of “a tale of Two Cities” a “divisive device” that constitutes “class warfare.”  Somewhat paradoxically, Lhota then acknowledged that there is “income inequality … in the city” and that the question is “what programs we’re going to have to be able to deal with the income inequality” in order to make “New York affordable.”  He sounded, for a moment, like a Democrat.

Here is the full press conference.

Lhota & The Bloomberg Shadow

Michael Bloomberg is central to many of the challenges facing Joe Lhota in his uphill quest to be New York City’s next mayor.  Although they’re far from identical, as highly accomplished managers Lhota and Bloomberg share a basic characteristic, appearing to be driven more by process and accomplishment than ideology.   Lhota’s not casting himself as the “next Bloomberg”, however, and is trying to find a way to effectively navigate the pluses and minuses in Bloomberg’s legacy.   Central to that is convincing voters who think that Bloomberg did well overall, and that the City has improved during his tenure, that Lhota is the candidate capable of effectively managing the city, even as those voters are ready for a change of personality in City Hall.  We spoke with Lhota at the Feast of San Gennaro.

Bloomberg’s Endorsement:

On Friday, Bloomberg announced that he does not plan to endorse a candidate in the mayor’s race.  Lhota put a brave face on, characterizing it as “excellent news” conveying the message that “governance is really more important than politics” when asked about it by NY1’s Grace Rauh.  Perhaps, but Lhota is in the zero-sum game of politics, and no election victory means no governance.

Differing With Bloomberg:

Among Lhota’s challenges is how he casts himself vis-a-vis the Bloomberg administration and it’s policies.  He generally speaks highly of the Bloomberg administration, but offers a variety of pointed critiques of specific actions.  Lhota has recently cast himself as a “change” mayor, seeking to harness the evolving sense among much of the electorate that Bloomberg’s time has run.  I asked Lhota how he would differ from Bloomberg.

A Voter’s View of Bloomberg:

A brief encounter with a passing voter encapsulates Lhota’s Bloomberg challenge.  She appears to be a core part of support Lhota needs; what the pundits refer to as a “white outer-borough ethnic”, without whom Lhota has no chance of winning.  She’s no Bloomberg-lover, however, beginning their encounter with “I hope you do a better job than that last idiot”.

Lhota Visits Chabad-Lubavitch (Updated x 2)

This morning Joe Lhota visited the Rebbe’s Ohel, the gravesite of Rebbe Menachem Schneerson, in Cambria Heights.  He spoke with the press afterwards at the adjacent Ohel Chabad-Lubavitch Center.

Update #2 – Full Press Availability:

Here is Joe Lhota’s full press availability.

Update – Lhota re: a de Blasio Administration:

Joe Lhota was asked what the future would be like under a de Blasio administration.

Honey Cake:

Here’s a brief clip in which Lhota receives a traditional gift of honey cake.  This campaign honey cake moment proceeded much more smoothly than the infamous Anthony Weiner honey cake episode.

Republican Mayoral Debate One on One: JoLho v. JCats (Updated)

Republican mayoral candidates Joe Lhota and John Catsimatidis participated in a televised debate today, hosted by WNBC-TV and co-sponsored by NBC 4 New York, The Wall Street Journal and Telemundo Nueva York.  It was a friction-filled face-off, with the candidates down to the last 48 hours of the campaign.

We have video from the candidates’ post-debate media availabilities.

John Catsimatidis:

Joe Lhota:

Joe Lhota & Rudy Giuliani: