Race to City Hall 2013

De Blasio Mayoralty Looming, Bloomberg Softens Criticism

Tempering his past criticism of Democrat Bill de Blasio’s mayoral ambitions as dangerous for New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that the Big Apple’s “best days are ahead,” and that it was “unfair” to insinuate that a de Blasio administration will bring crime levels back to the 1970s.

Noting that de Blasio did not win the election yet — a nod to Republican Joe Lhota, who is trailing the Democrat by 50 points in two polls — Bloomberg said on MSNBC that the next mayor will be able to take advantage of policies he put into place over the past 12 years. Bloomberg’s actions have brought down crime to record lows and have been credited with helping the city weather the worst economic recession in 70 years.

“Number one, you don’t know who the next mayor is going to be or what he is going to do,” Bloomberg said. “Number two, some things are beyond your control. And number three, if we’ve done a good job, in the last 12 years, the next mayor has a great advantage of things working and going in the right direction.”

Bloomberg and his aides have been fiercely critical of de Blasio, whom the mayor accused of running a “class warfare and racist” primary campaign by bashing the wealthy and using his black children in election ads.

But on Monday, the mayor promised to help whoever is elected his replacement to keep New York City the capital of the world.

“The number of exciting things that’s happening in London is scary for New York and for other cities,” Bloomberg said. “We’ve got to make sure that we don’t lose the advantages that we have.”

Noting Obamacare Chaos, Lhota Calls for Year’s Delay

Obamacare’s rollout was so chaotic and confusing that the individual mandate — the clause underpinning the massive program’s income — should be delayed for a year, Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota told WNYC Monday, siding with national Republicans in their shutdown fight over the budget.

“I think there’s so much confusion about the individual mandate right now, both within the administration and outside of the administration,” Lhota told host Brian Lehrer. “You should not be implementing policy unless you know exactly how it is going to be implemented.”

Probably to forestall denunciations in the Democratic city he is running in, Lhota criticized the current federal government shutdown as a breakdown for which both political parties are responsible.

“The shutdown is a disgrace,” he charged. “It should never have happened. People who go to Washington are elected to govern. What they’re doing is a complete and total absence of governance. They don’t realize how damaging it is going to be to them personally as well as to the party. People need to come to the table and they need to negotiate. This country is about compromise.”

Lhota slammed the Tea Party as “30 extremists in Washington [who] control the entire government.”

But his condemnation did not spare him a harsh press release from the de Blasio camp.

Dan Levitan, de Blasio’s campaign spokesman, slammed Lhota for claiming to be “a different kind of Republican, but when push comes to shove he sides with the GOP fringe.”

Cuomo Seeks to Aid de Blasio Without Signature Tax Hike

Concerned about what a tax hike could do for his reelection prospects next year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is looking to head off a potential clash with de Blasio if he wins the mayoral race and pursues his quest for Albany’s permission to raise tax rates on anyone earning more than $500,000.

Current front-runner de Blasio’s vision is to use the extra revenue to fund universal preschool, but Cuomo is looking into options of allowing the city to raise the money without an income-tax hike, similar to Republican Joe Lhota’s idea of boosting education funding by cutting other areas.

“The last thing the governor wants is a clash with a Mayor de Blasio,” a Cuomo source told the New York Post’s Fred Dicker. “He has his staff looking at the options. There are things that the state could do other than permitting the city to raise the income tax that could make [de Blasio’s campaign pledge] possible.”

Cuomo is seeking reelection in November 2014, and is pointing to the fulfillment of his pledge to balance the budget without having raised taxes. He has also set up two tax-cutting committees — including one last week consisting of his Republican predecessor, George Pataki — and wants to deliver a tax cut for next year’s budget.

Some ideas Cuomo has for de Blasio’s free preschool proposal may be counting on a budget surplus, which is considered unlikely, and allowing an increase in several smaller city taxes that are largely paid for by the well-to-do.

A public feud with de Blasio may hurt Cuomo’s chances of running for president in 2016 since the Democratic party’s liberal wing will undoubtedly side with de Blasio.


 

“Race to City Hall 2013” is a daily Hamodia column focusing on the New York City mayoral race, ahead of the general election on Nov. 5. It is culled from reports from The Associated Press, Politicker, the New York Post, New York Times, Daily News, City & State, Capital New York and others.