Lhota was a top aid to Mayor Rudy Giuliani, moving around in the administration and holding a half-dozen top-level positions. He was deputy mayor of operations on 9/11, and was instrumental in keeping services up and running as the city reeled in the wake of that tragic event.
More recently, as chairman of the MTA, he led our city’s mass transit system back from Hurricane Sandy much more quickly than anyone could have expected. When it comes time to show leadership and tackle seemingly monumental tasks, he has done just that.
John Catsimatidis is an intriguing candidate. He's an interesting man, but if his mayoral administration is anything like his campaign – in other words cavalierly dysfunctional – it would not bode well for the city.
After the arrest of one of his Queens campaign organizers, who was charged in a bribery scheme to help get Malcolm Smith on the Republican primary ballot, Catsimatidis could have shown real leadership, but did not. His campaign has been negative, and his handlers have convinced him that in order to win he has to smear the other candidates.
Catsimatidis wants voters to give him a chance based on his success in the private sector, a big leap of faith. We say give Joe Lhota a chance based on his proven success in the public sector.
There are a number of good candidates running in the Democratic primary for mayor this year, but we feel that one stands out as the progressive voice that City Hall has been lacking for two decades, and that candidate is Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.
Speaker Christine Quinn has been a big Bloomberg backer – the most obvious being the role she played in pushing a term limits extension through the City Council - until there came a time when being a big Bloomberg backer was going to hurt her in the polls.
Quinn has also said that she would keep Ray Kelly as commissioner of the NYPD, but inexplicably has become an outspoken critic of stop and frisk. The question is, would Kelly even want to be commissioner in a Quinn administration? We're not sure where Quinn really stands on the issues.
Bill Thompson is the uncle everybody loves. A number of legislators we spoke with sang his praises, and in his endorsement interview with our staff he was candid and open about his vision for a safer New York. We sense that Thompson’s moderate approach could work in this city, but we believe we need a mayor who is more outspoken.
While many critics have characterized his plan for universal pre-K as impossible, de Blasio convinced us he could get it done. De Blasio has a real plan to end stop and frisk, but not at the expense of good, solid police work. De Blasio also has a background in working with the homeless, and we feel that he is the best candidate to tackle that growing problem in this city.
And his recent, tireless advocacy in keeping Long Island College Hospital open is admirable.
Of all the candidates, we feel that de Blasio is best suited to tackle the overarching issues facing the city, while keeping an eye on the grassroots, quality-of-life issues that matter to our readers.