Potential Mayor Candidates Talk Sandy At Forum
Hurricane Sandy has already become a central issue in next year's race for mayor, and at a forum with business executives Wednesday, a field of potential candidates for mayor were peppered with questions about recovery from the storm, as well as their plans to shore up New York ahead of another flood. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.
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The panel was on the post-Bloomberg era, but it was at times also a post-Sandy forum for four Democrats hoping to replace the mayor in 2013.
The next mayor could very well oversee projects to prevent a repeat disaster.
"It is time for a Marshall Plan for New York City," said candidate Bill Thompson.
"Make no mistake. This is the most significant infrastructure project of our time," said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
Any project aimed at preventing a repeat of the devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to New York would be guaranteed to have an eye-popping price tag.
Outside of federal aid, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio seemed to be the only one who had a way to pay: tapping city pension funds.
"Some greater percentage of that could be part of the solution, working with pension funds throughout the region," he said.
Some of the Democrats expected to run for mayor are critical of the man they want to replace. That may make sense during the Democratic primaries, but it set up a conflict at Wednesday's event, which was largely filled with pro-Bloomberg business leaders anxious about what comes after he leaves.
It didn't go unnoticed when de Blasio called for new taxes or when comptroller John Liu said city tax rates favor the richest.
"That's exactly what we have seen this past decade, a tax base, an economy that becomes held more and more hostage to the high-income earners of this city," Liu said.
Bloomberg's legacy also spotlights a big difference between de Blasio and Quinn on how the city is doing.
"We're not on the right track for the economic future, in my view," de Blasio said.
"Under the leadership of the City Council, myself, my colleagues and Mayor Bloomberg, we've demonstrated that we understand," Quinn said
Quinn appeared to be the room's favorite, with reservations.
"We can't take for granted that whoever's sitting in City Hall is going to have a business approach to the issues facing the city," said Kathryn Wilde of NYC Partnership.
There are other issues, too, including better internet access. Mitchell Moss of NYU said this batch doesn't match up against Bloomberg.
"They're well educated when it comes to local politics, but they're not seasoned when it comes to technology, and they're just going to have to get up to speed," Moss said.