NYC Mayor’s Race

Lhota Loves Staten Island

I mean really who doesn’t?

The so-called “forgotten borough” has the last remaining indoor roller rink in New York City. Having been to the St. George Theater, I must say, the renovation was well done. And the ferry, last time I checked, has one of the cheapest beers in the city — about $3.50. 

Joe Lhota, of course, loves to go on at length about his affinity for the borough.

“This is my eighth visit to Staten Island since the primary was over,” the Republican candidate for mayor said this morning.

He was at the site of the former Fresh Kills landfill — a landfill he was instrumental in closing.

“Bill has been out here once,” he said referring to his democratic rival, Bill de Blasio. “You can’t mistreat this borough. We got to make sure we get our issues out here. Staten Island is quite unique, and we have to talk to people about quality of life.”

Moments before, a SUV drove by. Out the window someone shouted: “Don’t vote for him. He is anti-union!”

Lhota pressed on.

The former landfill turned future site of Freshkills Park was a fitting backdrop. The former deputy mayor was there to urge the city to open up the roads inside. This particular entrance was overgrown by weeds. A cement barrier blocked any through traffic. A sign was posted warning, “No trespassing.”

Lhota said Staten Islanders needed the road access to unclog thoroughfares. Asked when they should open, he retorted: “Last year.”

“One important aspect of quality of life overall is making sure people are mobile in their cars, that they can avoid traffic,” Lhota explained. “We need to build the roads that were envisioned here when the plans were put together to close the landfill.”

(We have reached out to the Parks Department for the status of these roads, but have not yet heard back.)

Staten Island is long considered the last bastion of the GOP in the city. And it’s clear Lhota will need it if he plans to be competitive at all next month.

So he is playing to that constituency — talking about traffic, widening roads, taxes, etc.

But it’s unclear whether Lhota is making any headway there. In a Wall Street Journal/NBC4 New York/Marist College poll released last night, in Queens and Staten Island de Blasio bests Lhota 64 percent to 25. Of that group, 43 percent had an unfavorable view of Lhota, and 31 percent said he was too conservative. (Marist did not separate Staten Island voters out, because the sample size was too small).

Staten Island was crucial for Mayor Rudy Giuliani — whose campaign Lhota is emulating.

But perhaps they have grown tired of the Giuliani era. If this is any indication of where voters stand, yesterday’s poll showed 36 percent of likely voters in Staten Island and Queens would be more likely to vote for Lhota with a Giuliani endorsement — 42 percent said they would be less likely.

Could Dante Inspire Kim Catullo to Hit the Trail?

Quality family time for Bill de Blasio may not be barbeques or picnics in Prospect Park. This summer it’s the campaign trail.

De Blasio has attracted a lot of attention for putting his family front and center at many of his campaign events. So it may not come as a surprise his first TV spot features his son, Dante.

Christine Quinn often has her father, Larry Quinn, by her side. But her wife, Kim Catullo, is rarely seen at political events. Although she did walk the Gay Pride Parade this year.

So could de Blasio’s family inspire Quinn?

We asked today. The answer: Not sure.

A: I haven’t seen the ad. I suspect there will be lots of ads soon. It’s getting to that time of year. But I haven’t seen it. And Bill has a lovely family. A lovely family, and I know he is incredibly proud of them and he has every right to be. They really are a terrific group of folks. A lovely family.

Q: Can we expect to see Kim out more on the campaign trial?

A: (Laughter) You never know.


McDonald Loses Campaign Finance Challenge

New York City Republican Mayoral Candidate George McDonald has lost his legal challenge to the city’s limits on contributions.

McDonald argued that the city’s cap on individual contributions at $4950 was in contrast to the state law which allows $19,700 for mayoral primaries and up to $41,000 for general elections. He accepted 11 donations for more than $5000 dollars earlier this year and then challenged the city campaign finance board in court.

McDonald recently discussed the case on Road to City Hall with Errol Louis, expressing frustration that it took so long for the court to rule on his case. His spokesman echoed those comments in a statement.

“It’s disappointing that it took 147 days to ‘just say no’ in long form. Further, it’s simply incomprehensible that such a decision would take this long and smacks of the kind of crony politics that New Yorkers have grown tired of seeing,” said Dave Catalfamo, McDonald Campaign spokesman. “Given this decision, the NYS Board of Elections should immediately clarify its website to make apparent New York City’s primacy on election law. We are considering our options on appeal.”

McDonald’s campaign said earlier this year that they will comply with the current campaign finance laws.

Mcdonald Final Verdict