Score the Candidates at Tonight’s Mayoral Debate
The first Democratic mayoral debate hosted by the Campaign Finance Board is scheduled for tonight. The debate’s sponsors — NY1, Citizens Committee of New York City, Citizens Union, Gothamist, Hispanic Federation, Transportation Alternatives, and WNYC — have developed a scorecard [PDF] so viewers can rate how the candidates performed.
Streetsblog will be covering the debate tonight, and we’ll be live-tweeting in case anything transportation-related comes up. Of course, it’s too early to say how much tonight’s questioners will probe the candidates’ views on transportation policy; the only transportation query posed at last week’s public advocate debate was about subway station naming rights — an issue under state, not city, control.
The moderator tonight is NY1’s Errol Louis, joined by questioners Juan Manuel Benítez of NY1 Noticias, David W. Chen of the New York Times, WNYC’s Brian Lehrer, and NY1’s Grace Rauh. They are taking suggestions for questions via Twitter; we’ve conveniently linked to their profile pages.
Street safety is the top mayoral issue for debate sponsor Transportation Alternatives, and although polls show New Yorkers support bike lanes, bike-share, and plazas, the candidates have wildly diverging plans on how to address these issues (or not).
If you’re voting in the Republican contest instead, something of interest came up this morning on the Brian Lehrer Show. John Catsimatidis, closing on Joe Lhota with a six-point gap in the latest Q poll, called bike lanes “super monstrosities” and claimed they were a drain on the city’s finances, asking, “Where does the budget come from for these bicycle lanes?” The vast majority of the funds for these life-saving redesigns, which amount to a drop in the bucket of the city’s transportation budget, comes from federal matching funds. Isn’t it the job of would-be elected officials to know this stuff?
The Democratic debate begins at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on NY1 and WNYC.