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NYC Mayoral Hopefuls Make Appeal To Voters With Election Day Fast Approaching

Joe Lhota, Bill de Blasio Sat Down Separately With WCBS 880's Rich Lamb
New York City mayoral candidate Joe Lhota and Bill de Blasio speak at a news conference near the United Nations headquarters denouncing Iran's diplomacy offensive on Sept. 23, 2013. (credit: Getty Images)

New York City mayoral candidate Joe Lhota and Bill de Blasio speak at a news conference near the United Nations headquarters denouncing Iran’s diplomacy offensive on Sept. 23, 2013. (credit: Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New York City voters will pick their new mayor on Tuesday.

Ahead of the vote, Democrat Bill de Blasio and Republican Joe Lhota each sat down for one-on-one interviews with WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb to discuss the key issues impacting voters this election season.

The candidates both support changes to the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk program, but differ on how to go about modifying it.

“I’ve said throughout this campaign there is a legal and appropriate way for a police officer to do a stop. It has to be done constitutionally, it has to be done in a way that is consistent with our laws,” de Blasio told Lamb. “No quota system, end the quota system – the de facto quota system that’s been prevalent in recent years.”

Listen To The Full Interview With Joe Lhota:

“It needs to change,” Lhota told Lamb. “It’s really important to understand, though, that stop, question and frisk is a tool. We need to make sure that the police officers are trained and properly trained over and over again.”

After the men faced off in their first debate, Lhota began airing an ad painting de Blasio as weak on crime. He’s continued to argue that the low crime rate that the city’s enjoyed would be in jeopardy if de Blasio becomes mayor.

“He wants to implement the same policing strategies in New York that they’ve implemented in Chicago. Chicago has had more murders this year than New York and it’s significant,” said Lhota.

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Both men agreed that there needs to be police outreach in neighborhoods where relations are frayed.

Listen To The Full Interview With Bill de Blasio:

The economic disparity in the city and job creation have also been key issues this year. De Blasio has cast his argument that New York is a “tale of two cities” because of the growing income gap.

“The cost of housing has put immense pressure on middle class families, let alone working class and poor families, so I think something different is going on here and it’s not that we have rich and poor…it’s that the number of people struggling economically is increasing all the time and government has not been responding to it.,” de Blasio told Lamb. “It is time to ask the wealthy to do a little more to help us out.”

Democratic mayoral nominee Bill de Blasio speaking with WCBS 880's Rich Lamb

Democratic mayoral nominee Bill de Blasio speaking with WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb

“It doesn’t end the problem of income disparity but it means that the city would be taking tangible actions that people would feel and they would see a real response to their economic situation,” said de Blasio.

Lhota described himself as a New York Republican, but balked at the term “liberal Republican,” saying he wouldn’t describe himself as liberal in any way.

He said as a Republican, he’s focused on financial discipline.

“We need to reinvigorate the American Dream in New York,” said Lhota. “We need to make sure that everybody has a chance to get on the road to opportunity.”

The candidates also differed on their thoughts about living in the mayor’s official residence, Gracie Mansion, located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Both men live in Brooklyn.

“I have very mixed feelings,” de Blasio said. “On one level, who wouldn’t want to live there? On another level, I’m a Brooklynite. I love my neighborhood.”

“Absolutely, looking forward to it,” Lhota emphatically said. “It’s a center of power.”

Both men had some criticisms for the man they hope to replace, Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“It’s a real mixed bag,” said de Blasio.

While de Blasio praised the smoking ban and mayoral takeover of the city’s school system, the Democrat said Bloomberg’s been “unresponsive to the economic challenges people are facing.”

De Blasio also said Bloomberg’s efforts to change the term limits law “was really immoral on many levels and undemocratic.”

Lhota said there would be a substantial difference between his mayoralty and Bloomberg’s tenure.

“We’ve got to get out in the communities. Every borough believes that the government of the city of New York has become way too Manhattan-centric,” Lhota said.

Lhota added de Blasio’s efforts to paint him as another Bloomberg are inaccurate.

Republican mayoral nominee Joe Lhota speaking with WCBS 880's Rich Lamb

Republican mayoral nominee Joe Lhota speaking with WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb

Both men were asked why they’re seeking to lead the city.

“I love this city deeply, it’s a magical place, it fascinates me every day. It literally does,” de Blasio told Lamb. “To me, it’s the most extraordinary place on earth and I think that’s about the grassroots…I don’t think it’s about the skyscrapers and the museums.”

“I’ve been in New York my whole life,” said Lhota. “Now I have an opportunity to give something back to New York and I would love every second of every day to be the mayor of all the people of the city of New York.”

Several polls have shown de Blasio with a commanding lead, but Lhota said he’s still confident he can pull out an upset.

“I’m optimistic. I will be spending every hour of every day up until Nov. 5 – including Nov. 5 – getting my message out for what my vision is for the city of New York and it is a stark difference from my opponent,” Lhota told Lamb. “He makes promises he can’t keep. This is not what we need in a mayor, someone who will make a promise and not follow through.”

Lhota, a former investment banker who served as deputy mayor in the Giuliani administration and worked at Cablevision before serving as chairman and CEO of the MTA, said his opponent does not have any executive experience.

De Blasio worked in the Dinkins administration and served as city councilman and New York City Public Advocate.

“My experience is broad-based. I know what it means to run a large organization. My opponent has never managed anything other than a political campaign. Political campaigns and government are two very, very different things,” said Lhota. “I love the opportunity to be able to be on call 24 hours a day working on five and six things at once. Being in a center of command and control, that’s when I am my most comfortable.”

Lhota noted that the city has a $70 billion annual operating budget and 300,000 employees.

“The mayor needs to set the tone. The mayor is the CEO of the city of New York,” said Lhota.

On his 6-foot-5-inch frame, de Blasio said that height comes with inherent dangers.

“I enjoy it but it also has real disadvantages. I hit my head on a very regular basis,” said de Blasio. “I learned a long time ago to duck going into the subway door.”

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