NEW YORK - After seven years as city comptroller, Scott Stringer is ready for a new job: mayor of New York City. He’s the latest, and perhaps highest profile, candidate to join the field.

With support from some of the city’s most progressive politicians, Stringer has been pushing his agenda, one that embraces the left but is decidedly anti-Bill de Blasio.

“It’s always a frantic scramble when it comes to this administration,” he said in a Wednesday night interview with Inside City Hall Anchor Errol Louis. “Whether it’s homeless hotels that meet the health needs of the population, whether it’s opening schools in a way that gives parents clear direction, time after time the mismanagement of the de Blasio administration, going back to almost the first year in office, continues to make New Yorkers struggle unnecessarily.”

Stringer addressed many of the post-pandemic issues facing the city, starting with plans to move homeless men out of the Lucerne hotel on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, where they were placed to keep them safe from COVID-19. He says they should be allowed to stay where they are.

“These are human beings,” he said. “They’re not punching bags, they’re not political footballs and the mayor’s housing policy continues to befuddle just about everyone in this city. There’s no coherent management plan, there is overspending and an increase in homelessness and there is no consultation with communities building a consensus.”

Stringer said, when he’s mayor, things will be different.

“We’re gonna reimagine our homeless policy,” he said. “We’re gonna stop silo-ing homelessness and affordable housing. We’re gonna create a mechanism for all people to live their lives regardless of whether they’re homeless or they have jobs.  We need an overall homeless strategy. Obviously we have to move people out of shelter and into safe hotels, but we also need to make sure there are services associated with those moves, we need consultation and outreach and we need to tone down the hateful rhetoric.”

Stringer weighed in on the controversy over reopening the city’s classrooms.

“I think the schools should open and could open,” he said, “but it has to be about safety first. We have to not just protect our children but the teachers and the people who work in the schools. COVID is a killer. COVID hunts down people with pre-existing conditions and at the end of the day we have to make sure that there is safety and ingenuity during this process.”

As longtime watchdog of the city's funds, Stringer admitted opening schools would be more expensive than keeping them closed, but said, for some kids, getting back to the classroom is a necessity:

“When we open the schoolsm, we have to make sure that the kids who are most vulnerable to remote learning, kids who are least likely to get a good education during a pandemic, we have to prioritize them as well. Especially kids who are in homeless shelters, kids who are in places with no internet access. This is what we’re fighting for, an equal education, even with COVID.”

Stringer called de Blasio’s furlough of himself and 495 staff members for a week, “a silly gesture,” saying it would save the city $800,000 when the budget gap is $2 billion, and he laid out a plan that would order every city agency to cut their budgets.


“I believe we can do that without layoffs, without cutting vital services,” he said. “This must be done, and then the balance, $2 billion, $2.5 billion, that’s when we can raise taxes, ask the wealthiest people in the city to help us out a little bit and then use some borrowing if necessary.  But we have to continue to think that we will get some stimulus package especially after [Joe] Biden wins in November. All of this has to be done.”

And, he said, those cuts would include the NYPD.

“What we have to go back to or go forward with is constitutional policing,” Stringer said, “zeroing in on the people who are doing most of the violence and at the same time realizing that we have to go in and invest in our communities, invest in the programs that will actually reduce violence. Clearly, we need a different kind of policing in this city, policing that invests more in guidance counselors and people who can work on mental health issues.”


He pointed out that the pandemic uncovered issues that have been ignored for too long.

“I think the mayor had lofty goals when he ran,” he said. “We do have a 'Tale of Two Cities. Unfortunately, we didn’t do a lot to close that gap. We simply wrote more chapters in the tale of two cities. COVID showed us very clearly the disparities that live in this city.”