Republican candidate for mayor Joe Lhota is taking opposite sides from Democrat Bill de Blasio on a controversial plan to build a waste transfer station on the Upper East Side, which could win him some Democratic votes. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
The proposed 91st Street Marine Transfer Station is located in a neighborhood that is a densely populated area of the Upper East Side, where opposition to the project now under construction is fierce. It’s situated directly next to the Asphalt Green playground, community center and playing fields. So it’s no surprise Joe Lhota’s position is winning him fans.
"When I’m elected mayor, the 91st Street MTS will not open," Lhota told supporters Saturday.
Indeed, Democrats in the neighborhood went for Bill Thompson in the primary after he opposed the project, and they’re not afraid to cross party lines.
"I think this neighborhood, who maybe in other years, might have supported a Democratic candidate for mayor, will definitely go for Lhota," said one Upper East Side resident.
"I say to my Democratic friends, you’ve got two choices: You could hold your nose when they build the dump, or you can hold your nose and pull the lever for a Republican," said another Upper East Side resident.
Democratic nominee Bill de Blasio, along with many environmental groups, supports the project, though he stresses the need for mitigation measures. As City Councilman, he voted for it as part of a 2006 plan requiring each borough to handle its own trash.
"I voted for that plan because it was a five-borough plan that was necessary to end a history of unfairness to a small number of outer-borough neighborhoods of color that were bearing the brunt of the waste stream for the whole city," De Blasio said.
"It’s wrong, it’s irresponsible, and the city cannot afford Bill de Blasio," Lhota told supporters.
"The November election is now just over five weeks away. But first there’s an election on Tuesday: the Democratic runoff for public advocate. And on Saturday, both candidates were at Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.
Daniel Squadron and Letitia James each made their pitch to voters, but in a race that has gone increasingly negative, Sharpton got the two to come together in relative harmony, even sharing a brief embrace.