Mayoral candidate William Thompson said he wants to grow the police force by more than 2,000 officers and insists he's not going to raise taxes if elected.
During a question and answer period Thursday morning at a breakfast hosted by the Association for a Better New York, he was forced to defend his calm temperament.
Some critics say it shows he doesn't have what it takes to be mayor.
"If you don't attack people in New York City, you are calm and mild mannered," Thompson said. "It's New York City. If you don't scream and you don't holler, you are mild mannered. If you don't try and throw someone down the stairs, you lack fire in the belly. It's just New York City. It's what we're used to."
Thompson also criticized Mayor Michael Bloomberg for not reaching new contract agreements with city unions and for failing to set aside money for the moment those contracts are negotiated.
He said the mayor and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn have hit the city with a "one-two punch of fiscal irresponsibility."
A spokesman for Quinn's campaign said in a statement that the Speaker's fiscal policies helped the city recover from the recession.