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Maybe the 2009 Mayoral Race Will Be a Fight After All


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WNBC (4) New Yorks: [NY1 Below]




Both candidates ramping up for fiery campaign



The 2009 general election campaign for mayor, after a rather listless Democratic primary, shows signs of being exciting, hard fought and meaningful.


It got off to a rousing start on Election Night when the winner of the Democratic primary, Comptroller Bill Thompson, led his supporters in a chant: "Eight is enough!" -- meaning Mayor Michael Bloomberg has served two terms, eight years, and that is enough.


Earlier, the mayor, in what seemed like an attempt to steal the spotlight from Thompson, held what his campaign called a ''victory party.'' Even though he was not involved in the primary, Bloomberg tried to preempt Thompson's celebration. He warned of the danger of "politics as usual." He raised the specter of corruption and do-nothing government that, in his words, ''inflicted so much pain" in the past.


Neither Bloomberg nor Thompson seems naturally suited to the art of making fiery speeches -- or rousing a crowd to fever pitch. But both tried hard to do what their advisers obviously want them to do right now: express anger at the other guys and inspire the voters.


The mayor has spent tens of millions of dollars already in an effort to motivate voters. He is reportedly ready to spend $200 million if necessary to win a third term. Thompson is trying to turn the mayor's great monetary advantage into a disadvantage. He accused Bloomberg of trying to buy the election and the voters, even as the mayor accuses him of being a machine politician who failed when he led the Board of Education and failed again when he monitored city finances as comptroller.


Now it appears that both Bloomberg and his opponent have what campaign strategists call ''fire in the belly'' -- a strong desire to win. But the question is: what are the serious issues before the voters?


Term limits clearly is in the forefront. On a recent morning when people called in to WNYC, almost all raised the term limit issue as of great concern to them. The fact is Bloomberg once denounced as disgraceful any attempt to overturn term limits and proceeded to get the City Council to do just that. This happened despite two referendums in which the people voted for term limits. Thompson may be expected to harp on that.


Bloomberg will undoubtedly denounce his opponent as a clubhouse Democrat who has no vision for the city's future, as a listless, uninspired politician unfit to lead New York in the years to come. He will probably charge that, after decades of public service, Thompson has no achievement to show for it.


Education will be a major issue -- and Thompson will be attacked for presiding over the old Board of Education at a time when the 1 million school children got an inferior education. The mayor will cite the great improvement in test scores that has taken place under his leadership. Thompson will attack the very basis of the Bloomberg's argument -- the vaunted improvement in math and reading exams.



Is the great improvement in test scores real or the result of manipulation by ambitious educators and politicians? It's a debate worth having. And Thompson's contention that parents have been left out of the educational process seems worth debating, too.


It could be a real contest----and New Yorkers can hope that the better man will win.


Source: WNBC-4 New York

Sept 16, 2009


New York (1)


Mayors Campaign Together As Firefighters Back Thompson


City Comptroller and mayoral challenger William Thompson picked up a key endorsement hours after winning the Democratic nod for mayor.


Hours after defeating Queens Councilman Tony Avella by 70 percent in the Democratic primary, Thompson earned the endorsement of the Uniformed Firefighters Association.


Addressing the union, Thompson said they should be equally disappointed in Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta.


"Voters really do have a choice in November," said Thompson. "They have a choice between someone who's going to stand up and fight for them, someone who isn't going to dump the burdens of this city on the backs of the working and middle class New Yorkers, and a mayor who's done that for eight years. Who's ignored and tried to squeeze them out of the City of New York. That's what the choice is this November."


"We need somebody who understands the day-to-day workings that New York City firefighters endure, and the current commissioner doesn't," said UFA President Stephen Cassidy. "He's been there for eight years, despite constant failures. It seems no matter what he does, he can never get himself fired."


The firefighters' union has a history of backing Democrats. It endorsed Congressman Anthony Weiner in 2005, but Weiner lost in the primary to Fernando Ferrer. The union then didn't endorse Bloomberg or Ferrer in that year's general election.


The UFA endorsed Mark Green in 2001, who lost to Bloomberg.


NY1 reached out to Scoppetta for comment.


Thompson thanked supporters last night and immediately challenged Bloomberg to a series of debates, one in each borough. He also accused the mayor of squeezing out middle-class New Yorkers and pushing to overturn term limits.


"Mike, you told us over and over again that overturning term limits would be a disgrace. But the fact is that it was in your best interest," said Thompson. "You hijacked democracy and overruled the will of the voters."


Meanwhile, Bloomberg, with former Mayor Ed Koch at his side, greeted commuters this morning at 71st Avenue and Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills, Queens.


Bloomberg said he's improved life in the city over the last eight years.


"I think people either are or will be - after we explained what we've done - happy with we've accomplished, and want to use that and build on it and they don't want to go back to what it was before," said the mayor.



"The fact is and I tell the truth, Mike Bloomberg has an extraordinary record and it cannot be compared to Bill Thompson," said Koch, the last city mayor to serve three terms.


Two debates are scheduled between the mayoral candidates. The first is on Tuesday, October 13 and will be moderated by NY1's political anchor Dominic Carter. The second will be held two weeks later.


The two other citywide races are not yet settled and there will be runoffs on September 29.


Queens Councilman John Liu will go against Brooklyn Councilman David Yassky for city comptroller.


Mark Green will face Brooklyn Councilman Bill de Blasio in the race for public advocate.


Turnout was lower for this primary than four years ago.


The most votes were cast in the comptroller's race, followed by the public advocate's race and the mayoral primary.


The Manhattan district attorney's race, won by Cyrus Vance Jr., generated the lowest voter numbers but only Manhattan residents could vote in the race.



Source: New York 1 News

Sept 16, 2009


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