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The race for the most coveted of Mayor's offices begins with the Democratic Primary next year. Who are the big Dems running for the office? This post is a brief introduction to the personalities. I'll get to the policy differences in a future diary. For people unfamiliar with some of the terms used here, here is a basic introduction to New York City government...which functions more like a City-State than what most americans typically understand as local government.

Now on to the candidates:

Christine Quinn, Speaker of the New York City Council

Christine Quinn, 46, is considered the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. If she became Mayor, she would be the first woman and first openly gay person to be Mayor of New York, and the first Irish-American since William O'Dwyer. She is from Long Island and has represented Manhattan's Chelsea and Greenwich Village neighborhoods since 1999. She married Kim Catullo this year and the couple spend their Summers on the Jersey Shore.

Quinn has for the most part been a partner with Mayor Bloomberg's administration during her time as speaker, including helping him overturn term limits. For that, she is expected to receieve a great deal of support from Manhattan's media, cultural and financial elite. Her base of support is expected be strong throughout the wealthier areas of Manhattan.

Bill Thompson, former Comptroller of the City of New York

Bill Thompson, 59, is the former Comptroller of New York City. If he became mayor, he would be the second Black mayor since Mayor David Dinkins. He was born and raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn...a neighborhood so legendary it needs no introduction. He is the son of Bill Thompson, Sr. who was big time Democratic Party Boss. Like most black Brooklynites, his family has its roots in the Carribean Islands rather than the American South.

Thompson has spent his political career coming up through the ranks of of the Democratic Party machine. He won his first elected office, Comptroller, and served for eight years. He was the Democratic nominee for Mayor in 2009 and lost an unexpectedly close race to Bloomberg.

Thompson has had a couple of very high profile divorce cases. He moved to Harlem in 2008 after marrying his third wife, Elsie McCabe. His base of support is expected to be in the black neighborhoods of Central Brooklyn, Flatbush and Canarsie. He might also find strong support in Southside Queens.

Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate of the City of New York

Bill de Blasio, 51, is currently the New York City Public Advocate having won the office in 2009. Mr. de Blasio is from the Park Slope section of Brooklyn and if elected Mayor would be the third Italian-American Mayor after Mayors LaGuardia and Giuliani. He and his wife Charlane live in Park Slope, Brooklyn with their two children. To my knowledge, they would be the first interracial couple to live in Gracie Mansion.

Bill de Blasio came up the old fashioned way, starting with getting elected to the Community Board in his neighborhood. Then he won a seat on the city council where he served for eight years. Then he won the Public Adovcate's job by winning City-wide. Most of the "dark horse" buzz is around de Blasio who is attracting staffers of Barack Obama's legendary Obama for America campaign to his banner. He is expected to have strength in Central Brooklyn, Downtown Brooklyn, South Brooklyn, and in various parts of Queens.

John Liu, Comptroller of the City of New York

John Liu, 45, is the current Comptroller of City of New York. Liu was born in Taiwan and raised since age 5 in the strong and diverse Asian-American enclave of Flushing, Queens. Liu attended Bronx Science and earned his degree at Binghamton. If elected, Liu would be the first Asian-American Mayor of New York. Liu still lives in the old neighborhood with his wife Jenny and son Joey.

After working as a community organizer, Liu was elected to the City Council in 2001. He was the first Asian-American to do so and is therefore a trailblazer. Unfortunately, Liu's candidacy would be clouded by ethics problems. The FBI is currently investigating Liu for campaign finance irregularities. His campaign treasurer has been arrested.

In New York City, campaign finance laws are very strict, so Liu could be in trouble. But if he is cleared of wrongdoing, he is likely to be a strong candidate. His base of support is expected to be in Central and Eastern Queens.

Any of these good, progressive Democrats would make a fine Mayor. New York City needs a Democratic Mayor, stat. Our little experiement with Billionaire rule has come to an end, and it needs to. The party is strong again after the disaster of the Giuliani years. We've got good, clean, strong candidates that reflect this city's diversity (although there is no major Jewish (Scott Stringer decided not to run) or Latino Democatic candidate...inexplicably!)

Personally, I've been for John Liu until his recent troubles. I'm now leaning towards de Blasio. I met Bill and his wife at the West Indian Parade last Labor Day and I must say I was very impressed with them both. But I'm not ready to endorse quite yet. Christine Quinn would be a fine Mayor, but I'm not convinced quite yet that she isn't going to be a typical "rich white people in manhattan" centric type Mayor. Quite frankly, as bad as Guiliani was, he looked out for outer borough services with vigor. Being from Brooklyn, he knew what its like. Bloomberg has been all Manhattan, all the time and he doesn't give a shit. We've had quite enough of Manhattan. Thompson. Meh. I've always been very Meh on Thompson. I'll take him if he wins.

More to come as the race unfolds.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Liu (5+ / 0-)

    I know Liu pretty well and I believe he did no intentional wrongdoing. Emphasis on believe, but I have a pretty good BS meter and he didn't seem to be BSing me. That said, it isn't the truth that matters but whether the accusations stick to him among the voters.

    I can't stand any of the others. de Blasio is the sleaziest of the lot, Quinn is Bloomberg in drag and Thompson is about as inspiring as a piece of cardboard. Liu is the only one I was excited about until the accusations against him.

    Rumor has it that Liu is considering waiting to make his run. Though that is an old rumor so not sure how true it is.

    What about Stringer? Thought he was running as well.

    FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

    by mole333 on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 08:04:41 AM PST

  •  Another good and informative local race diary (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Portlaw, vcmvo2, Egalitare, ManhattanMan, Woody

    Please God do not let someone screw this Sunday with a hit piece on one of our own. Thank you.

    "Aux ames bien nees, la valeur n'attend point le nombre des annees" Pierre Corneille.

    by Patate on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 08:10:14 AM PST

  •  Any Republicans to watch out for? n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brooklynbadboy, sandbox, Portlaw
  •  Am not in love with any of them. Sigh. nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  not a great choice, IMHO (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simplify, Woody

    Front-runner Quinn might have been good once, but her last few years have been terrible. First came the deal to overturn term limits for Bloomberg, despite a voter referendum that initiated term limits and a later one that turned down an attempt to repeal term limits. Oh yeah, these term limits apply to the city council too, which Quinn leads. Quinn main achievement this year is in watering down the living wage bill so much that it only affects about 500 employees.

    2 years back, I would have been for Liu, but the campaign finance accusations against him are serious. I've yet to decide if its a case of 'everybody did it, but he got caught', or if he went overboard (assuming he is found guilty).

    I guess DeBlasio and Thompson are my choices right now, but the latter is uninspiring while the former is unproven. I was for Stringer, but he pulled out to run for controller instead.

    Meanwhile the Republicans have 3 democrats who bolted since they couldnt win a Democratic primary.

  •  can Bloomberg buy another exception? (0+ / 0-)

    Brand new favorite RSS feed of Daily Kos Radio Podcasts
    Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

    by We Won on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 11:15:41 AM PST

    •  One certainly hopes NOT (to the Blmbrg exception) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I have never been a fan of term limits and voted against them on the ballot - but overruling a decision backed twice by the electorate was chutzpah of the highest order by the Mayor and the City Council.

      Bloomberg's main pluses have been an efficiently managed government and strong environmental policy/greenish development.  His minuses are big: elitist education and housing policies.  And I wouldn't disagree with the diarist's point of him being Manhattan-centric (disclosure: I'm an upper West Sider) except to clarify that he's been a very below-96th(ish) Mayor - and has really focused development downtown and in Midtown.

      THANKS for the diary and I look forward to updates!  I am pretty much meh on all of them - currently, I'd lean toward de Blasio.  I feel bad about what's happened to Liu, Thompson is a nebbish, and Quinn, I think, should be avoided as very much more-of-the-same and a good distance from progressive.

      If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. Thomas Paine

      by WestCider on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:11:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh - one more big Bloomberg minus I must mention (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Which has been the horrific Kelly/Bloomberg stop-and-frisk policy, training a whole generation of young men of color that law enforcement is not their ally and is not for them.  It has been an unforgivable and disgusting policy; I don't know any black or Hispanic male teens that haven't been stopped multiple times, and most white kids never have.  Fact.  Appalling.  I insist that the next mayor commit to ending this - really and truly - to get my vote.

        If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. Thomas Paine

        by WestCider on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:16:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Bloomberg blew it (0+ / 0-)

          When Rudy 9iu11iani was the Mayor, part of his job was to go in front of cameras and say, "I'm sorry about the black kid dying after being shot by the police". And I always felt that his insincerity might short-circuit my TV.

          Bloomberg gets up to say the same damn thing but he makes me think he really is sorry. Maybe his heart isn't broken, maybe he only thinks these incidents should not happen in the efficiently managed government he intends to provide, but he does seem to be sorry.

          Part of his efficiently managed government, I'd say, is that the number of such police murders has declined markedly. Not ended, but certainly declined from the 9iu11iani days.

          With that kind of better attitude, Bloomie could have gone a long way to reduce racial hard feelings for years to come.

          Instead he and Ray Kelly chose to go with 'stop and frisk', tricking and arresting hundreds of thousands of black and brown young men, damaging their lives forever. That stain will never be removed from his record.

          In case anyone doesn't know about 'stop and frisk', use  this link.

  •  How could Quinn convince people... (0+ / 0-)

    ...that she views the City as more than just mid-town Manhattan?

    I sense that rhetoric during the Primary "steeplechase" would not be sufficient.

    When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 01:26:40 PM PST

  •  Bloomie' and the Bozos (0+ / 0-)

    Mike Bloomberg's single best accomplishment has been to name -- and back up -- his Commissioner of Transportation for the past 5 1/2 years, Janette Sadik-Kahn.

    She has been reclaiming space for pedestrians and bicyclists and most of all for bus riders, making big enemies among the wealthy and influential minority of NYC households who have cars. Actually, Sadik-Kahn's worst enemies are certain newscasters and columnists who drive from their suburban homes to the City -- not really New Yorkers at all, tho they can and do influence public debate.

    The drivers are angry that many square feet formerly devoted to traffic and even entire blocks of lanes have been given over to undeserving people riding bikes and walking. Many drivers quickly admit that they hate bicycle riders. They don't admit that they hate pedestrians, but obviously they don't much mind if they die when they get in the way.

    Because of Sadi-Kahn's efforts, and despite much opposition from drivers,
    * since 2009 we have Select Bus Service on Fordham Road-Pelham Parkway E-W in the Bronx -- with travel time cut almost 20% and ridership up by 5,000 a day and still growing,
    * since 2010 we have SBS on First and Second Avenues N-S in Manhattan,
    * since 2011 we have SBS on 34th St E-W in Manhattan, and
    * since 2012 we have SBS on Hylan Blvd in Staten Island.

    Work is well underway for more Bus Rapid Transit lines
    * starting next spring on Nostrand Ave N-S in Brooklyn  
    * starting next fall on Webster Ave N-S in the Bronx, and
    * on three routes to LaGuardia Airport in Queens.

    For bike riders, the city has added almost 300 miles of bike lanes, including long stretches of protected lanes in Manhattan, as well as some in the outer boros. The protected bike lanes in fact greatly benefit pedestrians. They allow them to safely advance to a refuge behind parked cars that gives them a two-lane head start on crossing the avenues.

    Pedestrians have enjoyed the "Broadway Boulevard", created by taking two lanes from traffic south of Times Square. This 'calmed' the traffic where Broadway duplicates nearby Seventh Ave. The freed-up space was converted to narrow plazas with tables, chairs, and decorative planters. "Who will sit in the street?" the scoffers asked. Now it's hard to find an unoccupied seat.

    Broadway slices thru the street grid and makes a number of triangular open spaces called "squares". Here Sadik-Kahn has pedestrianized additional lanes. Now the enlarged public spaces at Lincoln Square, Times Square, Herald Square, Madison Square, Union Square, and others, provide places for people to relax, grab a lunch or a Coke, and people-watch. Meanwhile, narrowing the traffic sewer that was Broadway made it easier for pedestrians to cross safely to the other side. Less noticed pedestrian plazas have also popped up in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens.

    At thousands of intersections, the lights were re-timed to give pedestrians a 10-second head start before the light turns green for drivers. At hundreds of intersections, the crosswalks now have neck-downs making the distance shorter and safer. Many others have refuge islands where pedestrians can safely pause if they haven't made it all the way across the street.

    As a result of these measures, the numbers of pedestrians killed by vehicles in NYC has been dropping. Total traffic fatalities -- which means overwhelmingly pedestrians, 10 to 1 compared to drivers and riders in vehicles -- are down about a third under Bloomberg. The number of cyclists killed by motorists has remained steady, despite the fact that the number of cyclists has been rapidly growing (at least doubling, perhaps tripling, or more under Bloomie, tho ridership statistics are problematic).

    Sadly, it looks like most of the Democratic candidates intend to appeal to the motorists' vote. This bunch of bozos have strongly hinted that they'll stop, or even roll back, the policies favoring pedestrians and cyclists. So these pols will ignore the needs and desires of the large majority of New Yorkers who do not have cars. (Yes, polling shows the public supports the plazas and bike lanes)

    Every one of these bozos has indicated that they'll dump Sadik-Kahn. That could mean building or widening more streets and roads like in the old days. I dunno. Maybe they think they can just pave over future hurricanes.

    Well, I've donated too damn much money to too many damn politicians in recent years. This current crop of bozos will get along without my pitiful little money, and right now, I'm not even motivated to vote for any one of them.

    •  btw To be clear, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I am NOT a supporter of Bloomberg. The racist 'Stop and Frisk' policy -- entrapment leading to arrests for marijuana possession -- introduced by Bloomie's Police Chief Ray Kelly is the absolute worst thing to happen to NYC since I have lived here, since 1966. Yeah, worse than when the city went bankrupt and the state stepped in to run things for a while, and worse than Superstorm Sandy, by far.

      At this point I guess I'm for the Meh Mr Thompson. He looks like a guy who'd stop 'Stop and Frisk'. And the others haven't said that they would, have they?

      But I don't think Thompson would keep Sadik-Kahn's policies that favor bus riders, pedestrians, and bicyclists -- my second most important issue.

      •  Great Report (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Used to live/work in NYC back when. Since job transfer to the Empty Quarter (aka the Intermountain West, centered on Salt Lke City), I miss it a little each day over the last several decades (Yikes, THAT long!) Please keep us little  apples up to date on the progress back in the Big Apple. Thanks

        What would Jefferson think of ExxonMobil?

        by Blue inU on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 06:57:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Since you asked (0+ / 0-)

          One other great thing that Bloomie has done, to give the Devil his due:

          As part of his concern about Global Warming and Climate Change, Hizzoner decided that trees are good and more trees are better. Hard to argue with that. But usually it's hard to get government to do anything about that.

          In 2007 Bloomie declared a goal of planting a million trees by 2017, and he got a photo op planting the 500,000th one about a year ago.

          Bette Midler founded a non-government organization that's a partner in the effort, planting trees in public housing projects and non-profits, while the City handles street trees and parks.

          And there's the beauty of the plan. Try to persuade the manager of a public housing project to spend money on new trees, like, instead of repairs to the elevators or the roofs? Or tell the park manager she should plant trees and postpone fixing the broken playground equipment?

          No, have a line item in the city budget for planting 200,000 trees per year. Then tell the park or project manager that the Mayor wants trees, they are free, and they can be planted next week if that's OK. Get a different answer that way. Get trees planted that way.

          Riding my bike around the city I enjoy seeing all the new trees. (You can tell because they're staked and wired in place until they take root.) Areas that used to look downright ugly -- projects, parking lots, warehouse districts, garages, and more -- now look good with their streets lined with trees.

          A nice story here

          But 'stop and frisk' is still unforgivable.

      •  I cannot wait for Bloomberg to be gone (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        but I agree with everything that you've written about the greening, traffic rationalization, automobile de-emphais, and better links to the outer boroughs by bus (handy when I was helping a friend on Staten Island post-Sandy!).  

        There is a sentimental whiskey-and-cigarettes memorializer in me that misses a grittier (and more interesting!) late-night  city of old, but this is not the fault of these great traffic initiatives or the cute street-greening and there would be no point artificially working to faux-keep the grit, anyway.  Where are the neighborhood bar-bands of yesteryear... (gone the way of affordable apartments, of course).  

        By the way, I did the same thing you did with my post farther up: when I read it, I realized I had not talked about stop-and-frisk and knew I had to add that for any opinion to be relevant.  

        If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. Thomas Paine

        by WestCider on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:29:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The cleaned-up 42nd Street (0+ / 0-)

          The wholesale touristification and plasticizing of Times Square is not the fault of Ms Sadik-Kahn, nor even of Bloomie.

          No, it was Rudy 9iu11ani who sent the police, the zoning board, and the developers to transform Times Square. She just calmed the traffic, widened the sidewalks, and provided seating for tired office workers and tourists alike. As a matter of fact, the "Broadway Blvd" also provides a space for break dancers and sketch artists to do their thing and satisfy a public.

          Most of the naughty fun moved to the internet in any case. Nobody's fault.

          The new 42nd Street is an economic powerhouse. It's now a neighborhood where everyone feels safe to attend the theater, go to restaurants, and shop in retail stores. Many New Yorkers need the jobs created by those industries.

          But yes, there's something lost. Once I was in a 42nd Street porno store (no, I didn't take a wrong turn) and watched two well-dressed Japanese tourists peel off eight crisp $100 bills to pay for the XXX DVDs they'd selected. Very special souvenirs I guess you could say. I had a smile.

          My other adventures from that special time and place, like some at McAnn's Bar -- "the place smelled like jail" according to New York Magazine -- I won't share here in mixed company. :-)

  •  i wonder who'd work best with gov/cuomo? (0+ / 0-)

    consider these terms: ocean rise, weather re-patterning, storm pathology, drout famine, acceptance of nature

    by renzo capetti on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 04:38:23 PM PST

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