Wednesday, April 23, 2014


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GOP Mayoral Candidates Clash Over Police, Jobs In NY1 Debate

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The three Republican candidates for mayor clashed on topics ranging from stop-and-frisk to jobs creation in their first televised debate Wednesday night.

The sometimes-heated discussion was held at NY1 and moderated by NY1's Errol Louis.

The debate between Gristedes owner John Catsimatidis, former MTA chief Joseph Lhota, and Doe Fund founder George McDonald, opened with a discussion of the city's public safety issues before moving on to the candidates' plans for the city economy and their relative experience in the areas of business and government.

On the heels of the City Council's plans to appoint an inspector general to oversee the New York City Police Department and expand New Yorkers' abilities to sue the department for alleged racial profiling , the candidates were asked how their administration would operate if both bills became law.

Lhota and Catsimatidis emphasized that they would exert control over the inspector general's authority.

"We'll be able to work with the IG," Lhota said. "Don't forget, that IG's going to work for me as mayor. That IG, in the way that legislation works, that IG is not independent. That IG works for the mayor, and I'll make sure that IG does what I want the IG to do."

"If required to have an IG, we will have the IG, but I'll do everything possible to limit his authority, and to keep our police commissioner's authority at the highest level," Catsimatidis said. "If we pick the right police commissioner, then it shouldn't be a problem."

McDonald said that the most effective way to tackle the issue would be to create jobs for the city's young men, saying that 20 percent of men in the city between the ages of 18 to 25 are not going to school and are unemployed.

"That's the answer to solving the last frontier in our city of crime, is employment, getting jobs," McDonald said. "That's what we should be concentrating on. If we do that, we won't have to worry about what these tactics are to keep our city safe."

Some of the exchanges between McDonald and Catsimatidis were tense. At one point, Catsimatidis said that he and McDonald had "been friends for 25, 30 years," to which McDonald responded, "I beg to differ with you about the friendship part."

Catsimatidis, meanwhile, was critical of Lhota's handling of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority while Lhota was chairman.

"You were the CEO. The CEO has a lot to say to his Board of Directors. You have to look at the amount of transparency you gave your Board of Directors and how you explained it," Catsimatidis said.

"I challenge you, John, to show me what was not transparent at the MTA," Lhota said. "That's the most transparent organization in the United States of America."

The debate will be replayed on NY1 at 10 p.m.

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