With Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner dominating the headlines, one mayoral candidate found a novel way to reclaim the media's attention Wednesday: he got himself arrested. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
It was a rally to save Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn, with mayoral candidates Bill de Blasio, John Liu and Anthony Weiner joining health care workers in protesting the hospital's closure.
Then, after presenting 7,000 signatures outside the SUNY Chancellor's office and getting little response, the group refused orders to disperse.
The result was 15 arrests, including City Councilman Steven Levin and de Blasio, for obstructing traffic and disorderly conduct.
"We're going to lose Long Island College in a matter of weeks if we don't act now. We're going to lose Interfaith Hospital," de Blasio said. "We have to stop hospital closures in this city."
While premeditated and well-choreographed, the arrests were successful in drawing attention to the issue and away from Eliot Spitzer.
Weiner, at a separate event outlining his plan to prevent Catholic school closures, again ducked Spitzer questions.
"I'm not spending a lot of time focusing on other campaigns," Weiner said.
Christine Quinn, after being endorsed by the state laborers' union, again criticized Weiner and Spitzer in tandem, and hit Spitzer for paying signature-gatherers $800 a day.
"I've always done petition drives with volunteers. I've never had to pay people to go out and get petitions for me," Quinn said.
Speaking of petitions, Adolfo Carrion filed his on Wednesday, virtually assuring himself a spot on the November ballot as the Independence Party candidate. He's seeking to position himself as the grownup in the race.
"When the subject matter has turned to black socks, pants dropping, sexting and texting," Carrion said, "all of that really helps our effort."
As for de Blasio, he was released after about two hours and received a desk appearance ticket. He's due back in court on August 20, exactly three weeks before the primary.