With the outcome of almost all of our elections in New York City feeling preordained last month, it’s time to get excited about a campaign that’s not in Alabama and none of the candidates has been accused – at not yet – of sexual harassment.

The fact that all eight candidates for City Council Speaker are men and no one is embroiled in any kind of icky scandal is almost enough to make me shine with civic pride. But that shine is a little tarnished by the fact that all of the candidates are embracing a repeal of term limits in one way or another despite voters saying “basta” three times in the last 25 years in city-wide referenda.

While voters have absolutely no direct say in picking the speaker, the candidates are still going through the motions, appearing at many public forums while privately trying to convince people like Mayor de Blasio and Democratic party leaders why they should get the job. And the job isn’t just window dressing; the speaker is basically the only person in city government who can fund or shelve some of the mayor’s plans through the power of the purse strings – as well as push ahead government initiatives independently of City Hall’s West Wing. And all eight candidates are to be commended for speaking out in public about they want to do over the next four years – rather than just taking shelter in a smoke-filled room.

With Errol Louis as the moderator and Courtney Gross serving as an intrepid panelist, NY1 will be part of the public vetting process tonight, holding the only televised debate with all eight candidates tonight at 7 p.m. from City University’s midtown studios. With the outcome of the race very much up in the air, bring your popcorn and spend 90 minutes of your Friday night with us.


Bob Hardt