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Public Advocate Runoff Candidates Debate On NY1

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City Councilwoman Letitia James and state Senator Daniel Squadron clashed on topics from education to the role of the public advocate in a debate Tuesday night between the two Democratic candidates for public advocate. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.

State Senator Daniel Sqaudron faces City Councilwoman Letitia James in a runoff primary next week for the position of public advocate.

The candidates participated in an hour-long debate Tuesday that included some tough attacks.

At one point, Squadron accused James of failing to disclose income and refusing to release her tax returns.

"Yes, Dan, I will release my tax returns, just as I hope that you would release the fact that you have a trust fund," James said. "You have lived on a trust fund for a very long time."

"That kind of personal attack and innuendo, in addition to simply being untrue, is deeply inappropriate," Squadron said. "This is not what this campaign is about."

Squadron went on to say that his family lost all its money in the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme.

The two candidates also tried to paint each other as close to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a tactic that proved very effective in the mayoral primary.

"Councilmember James has voted with Mike Bloomberg 159 times in the City Council, 98 percent of the time has agreed with Mayor Bloomberg's bills," Squadron said.

"I recognize that you are a close ally of Mayor Bloomberg, someone who was endorsed by Mayor Bloomberg, someone who once worked for Mayor Bloomberg, someone who carried Mayor Bloomberg's water in Albany," James said. "So, Dan, clearly, to charge me with Mayor Bloomberg's agenda is actually laughable."

James accused Squadron of supporting a plan that allowed luxury housing development in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

"Dan, as you know, you betrayed the trust of your constituents. You told them during the campaign that you would not build housing in Brooklyn Bridge Park, and then Mayor Bloomberg, after endorsing you, you cut a deal with Mayor Bloomberg," James said.

"I got in the middle of that plan and I said, 'We desperately need Brooklyn Bridge State Park to be built, but we also need to reduce and delay housing,'" Squadron said. "I was successful in reducing and delaying housing. The idea that was put out there that somehow, this is a plan that came after I was elected is put out there just to mislead voters."

The office of public advocate is one of three citywide elected offices. It is the only one with a runoff next week. That election will take place Tuesday, October 1.

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