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BY JOSH ROGERS | Bill Thompson still wants to reopen Park Row to most traffic but he’s more cautious about changing World Trade Center security, Anthony Weiner would close the Battery Park City Authority, and Christine Quinn thinks St. Vincent’s “slit its own throat” before it closed.
Those were just a few of the revelations some of the Democratic mayoral candidates made to the editorial board of Downtown Express and its sister NYC Community Media publications in recent weeks.
Two months ago, the editors met with Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and the Express published an article on the meeting, June 12, which is available at DowntownExpress.com
What follows are a few excepts of the more interesting comments made in our recent interviews with John Liu, Quinn, Thompson and Weiner.
Former City Comptroller
When he ran for mayor four years ago, Bill Thompson said he would reopen Park Row near One Police Plaza to most traffic. Thompson said he still holds that view but he’d be reluctant to loosen the proposed security barriers around the World Trade Center. He also thinks the N.Y.P.D. should give the Port Authority more input into the security operation.
“Park Row is very different in the connection between Downtown and Chinatown. I am still in favor of restoring that connection. In the World Trade Center, I don’t want to generalize. We realized that that is a target, and we want to be very careful…. I’d wanna have my police commissioner take a look at that….
“Then also, just in the way the security plan has been laid out, it doesn’t have to be all N.Y.P.D. … Can we create a better mix so that at the very least, it does create an opportunity for New York City?”
City Council Speaker
Quinn said she “potentially” could go further than the mayor in terms of backing storm surge barriers out in the water.
“We need a network of barriers to harden the exterior of New York City. Now that means the comprehensive network of manmade and natural barriers…
“Some of the Lower Manhattan potential sites [for river barriers] have negative repercussions for Staten Island so you have to be careful about where and how we place them.”
“We’re looking at that. I have some questions about that to put it mildly.”
Pier 17 deal at the Seaport
“I worked very closely with [Councilmember] Margaret Chin on efforts to make sure community concerns were raised and addressed in the South Street Seaport issue….
“There were a lot of concerns that went down to the wire about the businesses there… Also a lot of work went into the indoor food market issue. The food market…I think is going to be a really important addition to Lower Manhattan and to the city’s food economy and tourism.”
St. Vincent’s closing
She said St. Vincent’s made it difficult to keep open when it cut its residency program, which acts as a revenue generator for hospitals.
“At that point the management of St. Vincent’s decided to slit its own throat and let themselves bleed out because there was no way anyone was going to take over that hospital as challenged as it was without the money to get the staff you need….
“We found out they hadn’t been billing insurance regularly. They hadn’t been billing Medicare and Medicaid regularly.”
Former U.S. Rep.
Battery Park City Authority
He said he would close the Battery Park City Authority and take full jurisdiction of the neighborhood as the mayor is empowered to do.
“We created these authorities to remove accountability from elected officials…. Albany has to get out of our way so we have more governance of ourselves, and that includes these authorities.”
The People profile and had he ‘changed’
“I don’t know — when did I tell People I was a changed man? When I announced for mayor I said that these things were in my background.
“Should I have said to People Magazine, ‘oh when the cameras turned off after I resigned, the problems continued, my personal problems continued, the problems in my marriage continued, etc., and extended to this date or this person or this date or that time?’ Maybe…. The entire process — when I resigned from Congress — I was a changed man. ”
Unlike some of his opponents he has not ruled out co-locating charter schools in existing schools saying he is “agnostic” on the subject.
“I won’t have the same zealotry about charters that I think this administration does so I think I’ll have a much more honest conversation about where space does and does not exist. “
“I give Mayor Bloomberg general kudos for coming up with those ideas. Some of them are more realistic than others, and we’re talking about huge amounts of capital outlays….
“What I would like to do is to get a better handle on the FEMA reimbursement that we are truly entitled to as well as the private insurance plan; and see how the city government can better coordinate the reinvestment of those funds….
“There are sea walls right at the edge of the water. There are tidal marshes that I actually think make long-term sense, and then there are the gates — kind of like garage doors that open. I would not rule out the gates. I think we have to approach it with a tiered approach. First tier is — we’ve got to use whatever money we can to shore up infrastructure.”
On Seaport City
Maybe there’s gonna be a movie about that. But I think there are more immediate priorities that we have to deal with… electrical communication, transportation infrastructure.
Stop & Frisk
Prior to this week’s federal ruling against the N.Y.P.D.’s Stop & Frisk policy, the Democratic candidates had for the most part, pledged to substantially reduce the number of stops to ones where police had reasonable suspicion of a crime. Liu had often said he would end the practice, but he suggested two weeks ago that he only considers unjustified stops to be a part of the policy and he insisted his stance was different than his opponents:
“You’re walking alone minding your own business, you could be with your mom, could be with your girlfriend, and you are asked to put your hands up against the wall or over the hood of the car for no apparent reason. And that, I think, is what people refer to as Stop & Frisk, not the technical issue of stop, question and frisk….
“I don’t think it’s simply a matter of semantics. I think it’s an understanding of what’s happening.”