Category Archives: John Liu

John Liu’s Night (Updated)

On the same day that the criminal trial of his former campaign treasurer and a former fundraiser began, John Liu turned in a strong performance at a mayoral candidate forum.  Five Democrats participated in the forum, which was hosted by the Staten Island Democratic Committee.  It was also the day of the Boston Marathon bombing and the forum mood was subdued.

Here are two clips:

In his closing statement, John Liu addressed the campaign finance investigation.  He also managed to get the biggest laughs of the night, with his four rivals joining in.  Watch.

Afterwards, I asked Liu about the proposal, advanced by Christine Quinn, that New York City control the MTA.  Watch what he had to say.

Update:  Here is an additional clip, showing a seemingly carefree Liu working the pre-forum audience.

Democratic Mayoral Candidates Discuss Sandy Recovery

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.

John Liu Discusses the NY Times Investigation (Updated)

At last night’s Democratic mayoral candidate forum, hosted by the Asian American Federation, John Liu was asked: “Do you think the New York Times was right in investigating your campaign finances as vigorously as it did?”

Liu tried to make nice with the Times, laying blame on federal prosecutors, but then said that the Times was “in bed with the federal government … they were being fed by the Feds”.  He also asserts that “not a single fake donor has been established other than the ones that were the result of an FBI undercover agent … tricking and deceiving his way into my campaign.”

Somewhat surprisingly, Liu received a nice but not overwhelming audience welcome.  Whether the attendees were merely restrained in their applause or whether they were not strongly supportive of Liu should be revealed today.  The Federation conducted a straw poll after the forum and we’ll bring you the results later today.

My apologies for the poor sound quality.

The Federation held a Republican mayoral candidate forum last week – coverage is here and here.

Update:  Straw poll results are in.  Liu – 54%, de Blasio – 29%, Albanese – 13%, Quinn – 2%, Thompson – 2%.

Rockaway Comes to City Hall

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.


Check back for more coverage on the rally.

Also, be sure to watch our continuing coverage of post-Sandy Rockaway.

Democratic Mayoral Candidates – All In, For Now

With John Liu’s expected formal campaign kickoff on Sunday, the Democratic mayoral field appears to be set.  Four “major” candidates, Christine Quinn, Bill de Blasio, John Liu and Bill Thompson, and a couple of lesser candidates, are in.

The next big change in the field will likely come when one, or both, of the citywide officeholders in the race faces a reality check.  Bill de Blasio and, presumably as of Sunday, John Liu have declared that they are giving up their current citywide office and running for mayor.  Presently, public polling shows both significantly trailing Christine Quinn, and with only modest recent gains for de Blasio and little change for Liu.  Both are in their first term, and term limits do not apply to them in this cycle.  Both would likely be readily re-elected, although John Liu would face the somewhat tricky circumstance of dealing with Scott Stringer’s candidacy.  (The four Democratic candidates for Public Advocate would not present such a problem for de Blasio.)

Will one, or both, rethink their target office when petitioning begins in early June?  Absent significant poll movement, it seems likely.  Stay tuned as they each try to emerge as the clear alternative to Christine Quinn.

~     John Kenny