The candidates all agreed plans to develop and fortify the waterfront in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. McDonald said he would name the proposed Seaport City — a development that would be constructed on new landfill along the East River — after Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
They also addressed issues of testing in New York City Public Schools, and whether they would reopen Broadway in Times Square and Herald Square to improve traffic congestion — an idea none of them said they would implement as the first choice.
In their closing statements, each of the candidates touted their deep roots in New York City, combined with a look toward the future.
“I grew up in New York City on the poor side of town. I owe New York City everything I have. I made a lot of money and I don’t hide from it,” Catsimatidis said, adding that he now wants to give back.
He said he will ensure that the streets remain safe, and added that he would freeze all city taxes “until we determine where the budget really is.”
Lhota noted that his father was a New York City police officer, his paternal grandfather a firefighter and his maternal grandfather a taxi driver. As mayor, he said, he would look toward the future and focus on moving onward.
“I want New York City as a place where we can live, where we can work, where we can have fun – but most importantly, a place where we can raise our families,” Lhota said.
McDonald again took the opportunity to slam some Democratic candidates’ call to raise taxes on high earners, touting his experience in helping the homeless in New York City by leading them to find work.
“We have a clear choice in this election between what you see on TV – tax the rich – which is the handout society — and work, which is the hand up. That’s the choice that we have,” McDonald said. “It’s a clear choice to me, and I hope it is to you.”
WCBS-TV, WCBS Newsradio 880, 1010 WINS, El Diario La Prensa and Common Cause NY teamed up to sponsor the debate, which was sanctioned by the Campaign Finance Board.
The Republican Party has dominated the Mayor’s Office in the recent history. Democrats have not had a mayor in office in the last five terms — first with Rudolph Giuliani serving from 1994 through 2001, and then with Bloomberg — who began as a Republican and later an Independent — having served since.
But a recent poll said whoever wins the Republican primary will have an uphill battle to fight against the eventual Democratic nominee.
A Marist poll released recently showed Lhota maintaining his frontrunner status. Catsimatidis, who is funding his own campaign, has seen his numbers move slightly higher since launching a series of negative ads.
McDonald remained in last place in the poll in these final weeks before the primary.
Among the Democrats, a newly released Quinnipiac University poll shows Public Advocate de Blasio pulling ahead of his fellow Democrats among likely primary voters.
For complete Election 2013 coverage, click here.
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