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Eye On Politics: Adolfo Carrion Jr. Calls For ‘Mayor From The Outer Boroughs’

WCBS 880 Continues Interviews With Mayoral Hopefuls
Adolfo Carrión, Jr. (credit: Carrion 2013)

Adolfo Carrión, Jr. (credit: Carrion 2013)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Adolfo Carrion, Jr. is a former Bronx Borough President and current independent hopeful for mayor of New York City.

On Wednesday, he spent more than a few minutes speaking with WCBS 880’s Steve Scott for the Eye on Politics, following last week’s interview with Anthony Weiner.

At a town meeting held by CBS New York in the Bronx on Tuesday, there was sense that some in the Bronx feel like they’re a forgotten borough.

One woman said, “We want to be the next big borough in New York. Brooklyn is moving up. It’s our turn next.”

“I think that same sentiment is felt on Staten Island, in parts of far away Queens, and areas of the city that are far away from the central business district or have historically not been represented as strongly as they could be,” Carrion told Scott. “I think we need a mayor from the outer boroughs, the so-called outer boroughs. I was the chief executive of the Bronx and our constant battle was to ensure that City Hall was not forgetting the 75 miles of waterfront, the 62 neighborhoods of the Bronx, the diversity of that borough, what it offered the city and regional economy. So, I agree with her sentiments and that’s partly while I’m running for mayor, because we have to have a mayor that represents the entirety of New York City.”

Carrion was also asked about education and how to raise the standard for everyone.

“One of the most important decisions that a family makes is where they’re going to live and they usually tether that decision to the schools and the school choices that they have for their family because, at the end of the day, everybody comes to New York because it’s a city of opportunity and they hope that they can find a good neighborhood, a good neighborhood school,” Carrion said. “Unfortunately, I believe we have miserably failed. We have failed miserably to deliver a good education in this city… We conducted an experiment with charter schools and magnet schools. Now you have tens of thousands of families that apply and that are trying to get into these schools because we’ve sort of set aside the conventional rules and allowed innovation to take place, but unfortunately, Steve, that only touches 3 percent of the 1.1 million kids in the New York City school system.”

So, he proposed to create world-class schools in every neighborhood so every family and their children can walk to a top-notch schools, what he says is now being offered to that 3 percent.

“It’s a sad state of affairs that families have to hustle all over the city to try to find a good education when it should be right in their neighborhood,” Carrion said.

How would that be accomplished in traditionally underserved or impoverished parts of the city?

“The way you do it is you re-engineer the schools so that the school building is open 7 days a week. You take it out of the grip of the custodians union that controls the life of that school and the hours of operation. We have these buildings that are sitting idle, that could be providing a platform in addition to the classroom interaction, for sports, arts, culture, not just for the children, but for the parents and families,” Carrion said. “We take the funding that we give to neighborhoods around the city and we ensure that when we give that funding it shows up in the school building – health services, arts and culture, sports, job training…. Those auditoriums, those gymnasiums, and those cafeterias should be buzzing with community activity so you begin to create the magnet in each neighborhood, which is the neighborhood school.”

Should stop-and-frisk be abolished?

“We cannot throw out stop-and-frisk. What we have to do is fix it. We know that it’s not yielding the results, that it’s possibly being overused and it has a severely negative impact on the relationship between communities of color in the city, largely, which are the lion’s share of the people who are stopped and frisked, and the government and the police force,” Carrion said. “So what we need to do is restore what works… We know what works. It’s called community policing. It’s the neighborhood beat cop. We’ve got to get the police officers out of their cars, on the sidewalks of the residential and commercial strips in our city, and build that working relationship with the neighborhoods.”

“If you are the father of a teenage son or daughter of color, what do you tell them about why they may be stopped on the street when they did nothing wrong?” asked Scott.

“You tell them that, ‘Unfortunately, we live in a society where, still, race and ethnicity and sometimes zip code, are often determinative of how authority deals with you and the expectations that are you put upon you,'” Carrion said. “We’re shedding that as a society. Our job as Americans is to continue, every generation, to shed racism, classism, and sexism. We need to continue to work on that, but we also need to ensure that the police are able to do their job and that we do it in a targeted, scientific way, which means where there is crime, we should be crime fighting.”

Would a Mayor Carrion keep Ray Kelly on as police commissioner?

“You know, Steve, I have great respect, I’m a dear friend of Ray Kelly. He’s been terrific, but I think it’s time to open up a new chapter,” Carrion said. “I would use Ray Kelly and Bill Bratton, both friends of mine, as great advisors and help with the transition to a new administration. But Ray Kelly… he probably is thinking about the next chapter in his own life.”

Does Carrion have a plan to protect the city from future Sandy-like storms?

“Absolutely. I fully embrace the mayor’s plan. I think it’s a good first step. It applies a number of creative options and tools. It addresses the question of how we pay for it. Obviously, this is going to cost a lot more and take a lot longer. But we have to start immediately dealing with our resiliency challenge. We cannot allow the subway system to be paralyzed, our tunnels to be paralyzed, our buildings along the waterfront, whether they’re families’ homes or apartment buildings, to be paralyzed,” Carrion said. “So, we need to make sure that this economy continues to be the engine of the region and the country and that’s going to require a serious investment. I think the mayor has made a good first step and I would take that and put it on steroids.”

The polls usually have Carrion nowhere near the top of the field in the mayor’s race. How would he improve his exposure and chances of winning?

“You know, if you got back to 1977. Bella Abzug was the presumptive nominee for the Democrats. She came in third place. We may have a repeat of that in 2013. New Yorkers are very smart. They’re looking for grownups. We’re going to have a grown up discussion with three candidates. Adolfo Carrion will be the independent candidate that will offer New Yorkers a choice and there will be a Democrat and there will be a Republican,” he said. “We have to get past the primary. It’s going to be a hot, interesting summer. We’re going to talk about the issues that people care about, but at the end of the day, Adolfo Carrion will give New Yorkers the independent option that they’re looking for, Steve. This is about smart solutions and moving the city forward, making it job-friendly, business-friendly, safe, and good for families.”

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