The candidates for City Council speaker have just weeks left to earn their colleagues’ votes for the influential post.
There is some contrast, but much overlap in their views.
At a forum hosted by NY1, the only televised such event of the speaker’s race, they agreed with the need for COVID vaccine mandates while challenging Mayor Bill de Blasio’s implementation plan — or lack thereof.
“If you’re going to have vaccination at a large corporation in Midtown, where’s the vaccination truck? What’s the plan?” Asked Gale Brewer, then stressing the need for equity: “What’s the language capacity?”
Keith Powers said, “I just talked with small business owners last week … a diverse group from all over the city who are looking for more clarity from the city government on what’s next, what mandates might occur.”
The forum was moderated by political anchor Errol Louis.
Candidate Diana Ayala declined to participate.
The other six weighed the nuances of police reform and funding for the NYPD, which was cut by the council.
“My vote against the budget was about equity for the people of New York City,” Carlina Rivera said. “We were slashing agencies budgets due to the economic impact of the pandemic, but those same cuts were not being made to the NYPD.”
Justin Brannan said: “I think there’s ways to do a deep dive to cut funds here without firing cops, which is the third rail that no one is going to support.”
All vowed that as speaker they could both work with and stand up to Mayor-elect Eric Adams.
“We have to know when to partner with the mayor and we have to know when to push back,” Adrienne Adams said.
The forum comes at a time when the Adams team is promoting Francisco Moya as its choice for speaker, rankling some members ahead of what will be an internal vote in January.
The candidates were asked which agencies they believe should see cuts.
“Where a lot of the bloat is is in the procurement process in our city budgets,” Moya responded, “and one of the biggest agencies that we’ve has stalled with that is within the Department of Transportation.”
The contenders had differing responses to that and other lightning round questions, but spoke almost as a chorus against a potential de Blasio bid for governor.
An exasperated Brewer queried, “Why is he running?”