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Posts by Josh Robin
Sep 20th - 5:07 pm
It’s not that Mayor Bloomberg is lonely. It’s that he sees the whole city benefiting if even more rich people moved to new york.
He said on his radio show this morning: “If we could get every billionaire around the world to move here, it would be a godsend.”
Some beg to differ.
They think New York has become too rarified. And they found their disgust validated this week with word that of the biggest U-S cities, none has a wider income gap than New York.
Narrowing that gulf is at the center of Bill de Blasio’s campaign for mayor.
He told me this morning: “We want every kind of person in new york city. we certainly appreciate if people come here and help build our economy, but the mayor needs to understand that beyond his social circle are millions of new yorkers who are struggling.”
Even if Bloomberg may not ooze empathy, hizzoner says it’s his policies that matter: policies, he adds that help poor people through services funded by the high tax rates levied on the wealthy…hence his call for more of them to move here.
Republican candidate Joe Lhota says he hadn’t heard the mayor…but he’s criticizing de Blasio. he says the Democrat’s plan only aids those with a job…not those looking for work.
The former MTA chief said: “That’s how you deal with income inequality. you don’t deal with it around the margins. you’re talking about paid sick leave. paid sick leave helps the people who are employed today – what about the people who are at the core problem of income inequality who are unemployed. I want them all employed.”
De blasio was endorsed by senator charles schumer…no surprise considering they’re both Democrats.
The candidate says he also wants more jobs. he says a better city university, universal pre-k and afterschool programs advances the city’s workforce. He plans to fund it with higher taxes on those making upwards of half a million dollars a year.
Schumer wouldn’t take a position on de Blasio’s tax plan. But he did note that he did back a rise in federal income taxes.
Sep 16th - 4:30 pm
1990 was the last time a Democrat was sworn in at City Hall.
Almost 24 years after David Dinkins’ inaugural, some recalling that day were again at City Hall Monday for a Democratic unity rally. They seemed downright giddy at the prospect they’d at last be swearing in one of their own, Bill de Blasio.
“It’s been so long, that I have to pinch myself and wait until it’s all over,” said U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-Manhattan and The Bronx).
Ballots remained to be counted, but Bill Thompson has now been sidelined. The primary is over, and focus turned to the general election against Republican Joe Lhota.
Another former rival wasn’t there Monday. But expect Christine Quinn to stump with de Blasio Tuesday.
Democrat strategists — as well as the party’s most powerful elected official — hope they’ve read their last story about a divided party.
“I wanted to be here to support Bill,” said Governor Cuomo. “I think it now enters into a new stage. We’re really headed towards the general election. And I wanted to be a part of that.”
Added political consultant Evan Stavisky: “Mike Bloomberg is as close to a non-partisan mayor as you could have, but I think it’s been a long time in the wilderness, and Democrats are excited for the opportunity for a victory in November.”
Speaking of Hizzoner, Mayor Bloomberg says he isn’t going to endorse in this race, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to keep quiet. He’s expected to keep defending his legacy as it’s attacked.
He did as much Monday, as Democrats promised change.
“We have worked as hard as we can for 12 years,” he said at an unrelated news conference. “The vote that matters to me is the vote of people moving into the city, versus out, for the first time since the 50s more people are moving into New York City than out of New York City.”
Democrats see in de blasio, and his family, a new face, reflective of a new city.
This even as he has been a player in city and state politics for almost two decades.
Sep 11th - 8:48 pm
Two items are on the City Council agenda Wednesday: transparency in New York City’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner collection and composting of organic waste in the five borough.
Not the stuff that makes breaking news. Still, it’s a meaningful event if only because overseeing the bills is the Council Speaker Christine Quinn. There aren’t many more of these events she’s going to do.
Quinn, as you probably know, is now an also-ran in her years-long quest to become New York’s first woman mayor. She placed third in the Democratic primary, too distant for a run-off. I went to her vote party last night in a Chelsea Hotel, and hours later offer these observations.
A lot of people are feeling sorry for Quinn. She seemed to ooze a particular vulnerability in the waning weeks of her campaign. Earlier this year, she unveiled a personal history battling alcoholism and an eating disorder in a memoir. The book, With Patience and Fortitude, lacked candor when describing her official dealings. But she bared her tortured childhood, including the death of her mother at a young age.
Additionally, it will be strange to have a City Council without her, after she leaves at the end of the year. She is credited for organizing an institution that had been unfocused. And many would say that working with a chief executive at times — (even if some felt it was too much, or too little) — is an admirable record, given the level of dysfunction elsewhere.
Lastly, Quinn was the frontrunner for many weeks of this contest. While much of this had to do with name recognition, the lead was hers. And now it’s gone.
Sep 9th - 4:44 pm
Before tomorrow’s primary, I covered the final day of campaigning for the city comptroller’s race. Something said in Chinatown by Former Governor Eliot Spitzer has caught some attention. He was asked about polls that show a very tight race, with rival Scott Stringer ahead in one survey, and another that show Spitzer with a lead that is within the margin of error.
“I did not do a poll before I got in. I know all the pundits said “Oh my goodness, how much polling have you done?” I don’t do polls. You’re in this business, you gotta understand what the public thinks. Gotta understand what the public needs. The problem with our politicians is they take polls. They don’t take positions because they’re gutless, they’re spineless. I’m not a voice of the establishment. I’m the voice of the people. And the people have been with me since the very beginning of this campaign. They’re gonna be with me tomorrow. They’re gonna turn out and vote. And they’re gonna say “We want somebody back who’s independent, who has fortitude, who has backbone, who stands up for us… Those for whom politics is a profession, all they worry about is getting the next job. Those are the ones who gave us a third term – directly contrary to the desires of a public that twice voted against it. I said that’s wrong, that’s not the way politics is supposed to be run. Those are the same people who are supporting my opponent. He was the one who testified in favor of a third term. Those are the folks who do polls. Those are the folks who are gutless, spineless, devoid of the backbone that our politicians should be demonstrating. I stand up for people. I stand up for what I believe is right.”
The audience of several dozen applauded.
I think it’s only fair to note that Spitzer’s campaign filings show he has spent $60,300 on polling to the firm of Joel Benenson, who has done President Obama’s polling.
Sep 3rd - 5:08 pm
Candidate for City Comptroller Eliot Spitzer is attacking his rival Scott Stringer for a vote he made in the State Assembly to maintain the tax-exempt status of an association that promotes sex between men and boys.
In the mid-1990s, the North American Man/Boy Love Association reportedly registered as a non-profit group under a different name. After state officials determined who was behind it, the legislature overwhelmingly voted to strip the group of its status.
But 19 Assemblymembers voted no, including Stringer, who was then representing Manhattan. He says it was to protect the group’s civil liberties.
He told reporters Tuesday: “We made it clear that this kind of action was intolerable, so obviously when you have to use a vote like this to protect the constitution it’s unpleasant, but that is what you do when you are reform minded, progressive legislature.”
Stringer, now the Manhattan Borough President, is running against Spitzer for the post, and often brings up the prostitution scandal that forced Spitzer to resign as governor.
A Spitzer spokesman says “Scott Stringer has tried to make this race about judgment. He’ll have to explain to the voters of New York what his willingness to defend the tax-free status of NAMBLA says about his.”
A NAMBLA representative tells us the story quote “just indicates an obsession with us, and the really misunderstanding of what we’re about.”
The vote was first reported in the Daily News Tuesday.
Sep 3rd - 7:14 am
I spent hours Saturday with Christine Quinn, who could very well be watching her political future flash before her eyes. Polls in the NYC Democratic mayoral primary have her lagging Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, and roughly tied with Bill Thompson, the 2009 nominee. The link for the story is here: http://bit.ly/1ag0qub. Here are some takeaways:
-Quinn has moved onto getting out the vote. We spent much of the day in Northeast Queens, where she is popular. Residents there see her as a continuation of Mayor Bloomberg.
-She turns many questions into an attack on de Blasio — a signal she sees the polls as real, and not a fleeting bump.
-Her wife, Kim Catullo, plays a visible role in the campaign. When Quinn was ahead, her presence was minimal.
Sep 1st - 4:32 pm
Just over a week to go before the Democratic primary means no beach break for those wanting to spend the next four years in Gracie Mansion. They’re fanning out across the city in a bid for support.
Let’s start with Council Speaker Christine Quinn. She is announcing a court brief opposing the Bloomberg administration. She wants an immediate start to court-ordered policies like an outside monitor over the police department. It comes after a federal judge recently found the stop and frisk practice unconstitutional. Bloomberg wants those policies stayed pending appeal.
Quinn told a City Hall news conference Sunday afternoon: “Too many innocent New Yorkers – hundreds of thousands of innocent New Yorkers — are getting stopped, where there’s no evidence they did anything wrong. and then when they’re stopped, they’re not arrested. there’s no gun, there’s no knife, there’s no contraband.”
She says the filing was timed only to the court decision – not to garner Democratic votes in the primary in a bit over a week.
But rival Bill de Blasio countered her move is “a desperate attempt to distract attention from her eight year record of standing with Mayor Bloomberg and Ray Kelly.”
He visited a Brooklyn church Sunday, family in tow.
Outside de Blasio told me: “People are looking for consistency, and people all over the city want the stop and frisk era to end. And I have proposed I think the only way to really fundamentally change the situation -a new police commissioner, strong implementation of the racial profiling ban, and an independent inspector general.”
Not, so according to the third of the trio at the top of recent polls.
Bill Thompson also visited churches Sunday.
“I am confident that in the end that black voters are going to support my candidacy and do that strongly — not based on the fact that I’m black – but based on the fact that I’ve been there on the issues — issues of employment, issues of job creation, issues of safety, issues of education.”
One final note, back to de Blasio. By now, you must know that his son’s hairdo is getting a lot of (positive) attention. And as Dante de Blasio exited the First Baptist Church of Crown Heights, Rev. Daryl G. Bloodsaw called out: “Brother Dante! Keep wearing that Afro, man!”
After the laughter died down, Bloodsaw rubbed his own (bald) head and said, “I’m gonna grow mine on the inside.”
Kudos to Chris Smith of New York Magazine for help on the transcription on that one. I was schlepping out the camera at the time.
Aug 29th - 10:11 am
They are on different sides in the race for mayor, and a heated disagreement erupted between them last week.
But now City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Bill de Blasio’s wife Chirlane McCray are joining in a bid to prevent Eliot Spitzer from becoming New York City comptroller.
State of Politics has learned that Quinn and McCray have signed on to a statement with other boldface New York women imploring Democrats to vote for Spitzer’s rival Scott Stringer.
Polls show Stringer lagging behind the former governor, who resigned in 2008 after admitting he used a high-priced prostitution service.
Their statement doesn’t mention Spitzer….but it does seem to allude to him when it says Stringer has been devoted to quote respecting the public.
Others signing include actors Lena Dunham, Scarlett Johansson and Bernadette Peters; and Congresswomen Yvette Clarke and Nydia Velazquez.
It’s unclear if McCray and Quinn will join a news conference slated for this afternoon.
In a recent newspaper column, McCray was quoted as saying she didn’t feel like she could talk to Quinn about issues like childcare.
Quinn later said she felt that was an insult against her decision to not have children, which de Blasio’s camp says was not McCray’s intention.
Aug 27th - 1:07 pm
As he runs for New York City Comptroller, Eliot Spitzer has frequently apologized for hiring prostitutes. Some may think he also ought to admit shortcomings for his official duties as Governor, when he presided over a stormy 14 months in Albany.
Those wanting more mea culpas may be left waiting.
In an interview with me today, Spitzer says he “couldn’t be more proud” of the budget he put in place, and another proposed before leaving office. This even as a financial collapse — which he says he long warned of — blew significant holes in the spending plans after he left office.
Josh: “you left your successor with a 15 billion dollar deficit that he had to close within nine months.”
Spitzer: “Well, the deficit that David (Paterson) had was after the cataclysm. Look, as Monty Python said, nobody predicted the Spanish Inquisition. You don’t know when it’s going to happen. There are some people who shorted the market properly and timed it properly – many others who tried to short it got it wrong. Just so folks understand, when you short, you have to be right on the substance, right on the timing. I was saying for years, to the folks on Wall Street, the structural issues we’re looking at are going to lead to significant problems. Nobody knew whether it would be in ’08, ’07, ’09 or ’10. Some people might have, but precisely when it would metastasize is a separate issue.”
Spitzer is running against Scott Stringer for the Democratic nomination.
In the interview, he also specified what company he would target in a bid to change its corporate governance structure. And I asked him what he thinks of Governor Cuomo’s reported efforts to ensure he doesn’t return to public office.
For that, watch Road to City Hall, at 7 and 10 tonight on NY1.
And later tonight the full interview will be available on ny1.com
Aug 26th - 7:43 pm
He’s tweeted that he would take New York City back to the days when you needed a “No Radio In Car” sign. Now Howard Wolfson is upping his criticism of Bill de Blasio, a leading candidate in the race to succeed Wolfson’s boss, Mayor Bloomberg. During an interview with me tonight on The Road to City Hall, Wolfson all but called him a flip-flopper on the issue of term limits.
“…[H]is position in 2005, when he was running for (City Council) Speaker, he was for changing term limits – he wanted to do it legislatively – he didn’t even want to go back to the people to do that, as some people want to. So I find that confusing.”
To be sure, de Blasio has said he was in favor of changing the law only after a vigorous debate, which he says didn’t happen under Bloomberg.
Anyway, getting back to Wolfson, it was a curious segue. We had already discussed his differences with de Blasio and had already moved on to Mayor Bloomberg’s interest in limiting tobacco in other nations. Then, when I asked if he had any advice for the candidates, he launched into a final attack on the Public Advocate.
Meanwhile, Wolfson isn’t ruling out an endorsement from the Mayor himself in the general election or the primary. Stay tuned.