The top five Democratic candidates for mayor tackled some of the biggest problems plaguing New Yorkers during a debate Thursday night — zeroing in on rising crime and other quality of life issues.
When asked how they would stop the recent increase in violence, such as shootings and hate crimes, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and city Comptroller Scott Stringer both said they would focus on reaching the youth of the Big Apple. do.
“We must have intervention and prevention,” Adams said on the WCBS-TV stage.
“Prevention are long-term things that we must do. Something as simple as dyslexia screening. Thirty percent of our prison population … they are dyslexic. So we want to stop crime, we have to intervene from childhood.”
Meanwhile, Stringer said that, “we have to invest in our kids.”
“When we invest in children we keep them out of the criminal justice system.”
Former sanitation commissioner Catherine Garcia called for increased investment in mental health services: “The police and mental health professionals need to step up, so we prevent crime from ever happening,” she said.
“New Yorkers deserve to be safe on our own streets,” tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang said, referring to the recent shooting death of 10-year-old Queens boy Justin Wallace and the attack on an Asian woman in Chinatown.
“We have to get people who need help, even if they have the ability, to raise a hand and seek it out.”
Civil rights lawyer and MSNBC pundit Maya Wiley also cited Wallace’s murder in her reply, saying the child “isn’t dead because we don’t have enough police officers.”
“He’s dead, because we’ve never done what the community is asking of us in this city, which is trauma-informed care in our schools, which is in my plan.”
Policing — which has been a major issue throughout the campaign amid a spike in gun violence and calls for NYPD budget cuts — also came early in the showdown, when claimants were asked if they would take guns away from police.
Four of them – Adams, Garcia, Stringer and Yang – all resolved to let the police keep their guns.
But Willie would say no — even after moderator Marcia Kramer pressed her on the issue at least twice.
Wiley, a former de Blasio administration official and chairman of the Civil Grievances Review Board, ultimately admitted, “I’m not prepared to make that decision in the debate.”
“I will have a civil commissioner and a civic commission to hold the police accountable and ensure that we are safe from crime but also from police violence.”
Her campaign later issued a statement: “It’s a ridiculous question; no one is even talking about snatching guns from the police – clearly Maya won’t.”
Later, Wiley is asked if he regrets his role in the “agents of the city” controversy in 2016, when he unsuccessfully pushed to keep Mayor Bill de Blasio’s e-mails secret with outside advisers.
“It’s very simple — all I did was advise a client and the client makes decisions,” she said, noting that she left administration five years ago. “When I’m mayor, there’s only one decision going to happen, which is why it’s in my ethics plan.”
Other mayoral candidates were also pressed on their respective scandals, including Adams, who recently faced claims to live in New Jersey—and not Brooklyn—resulting in making him the target of a pile-up from some of the other candidates.
But Adams insisted: “I live in Brooklyn, New York. I’m proud of it.”
“We can play these silly conversations, but … I know what people are worried about on the ground, because I’m on the ground.”
Adams, a former NYPD officer, also faced an allegation that he flip-flopped about his stance on the police, with Yang claiming that “when Eric talks to some onlookers, he said that the police loves her, but then for the sake of other viewers, the police can’t stand her.”
“No one can question my commitment to ending the violence in this city,” Adams retorted. “No one on stage can tell you that they put their lives on the line to save the New Yorkers.”
Meanwhile, Stringer was asked about the sexual misconduct allegations against him – and a woman who claimed he kissed and groped her without her consent in 1992 when she was working as a waitress in a bar In a New York Times article about what he claimed to be misquoted, he somehow did.
“Well the allegations are not true, they are allegations which are from 20-30 years ago, I have tried my best to answer every question and I will continue to do it tonight. But I am glad that you raised the issue of mess because I was quoted wrongly and then accurately quoted again,” he said.
He said, “I can’t tell you where these allegations came from, but I can tell you – and I mean it – if in any way I’ve made someone uncomfortable in my whole life, I’m sure.” I sincerely apologize for that.”
Other quality of life issues the candidates touched on included new state law legalizing recreational marijuana—Adams was the only one on stage who expressed reservations.
“I’m absolutely concerned about marijuana laws,” he said. “It can impact how you respond, it can impair your judgment, so when we talk about legalization here and how it is being rolled out in the city, we need clear instructions. is required.”
Meanwhile, Yang said of the e-bike and scooter crisis, “We need to make sure people aren’t traveling at speeds that are going to be dangerous for families crossing crosswalks.”
On one subject all mayoral claimants agreed that the city should rename places named after slaveholders.
“We shouldn’t respect people who have had a degrading past,” Adams said.