After months of Zoom discussions, WABC radio did one thing refreshing final week: maintain an actual, stay, in-person, debate, with candidates standing at podiums and speaking to one another (not at a display). The three supposedly main candidates declined to do the onerous work of displaying up, giving Kathryn Garcia, former sanitation commissioner, an opportunity to shine on the stage.
Who did present in addition to Garcia? Shaun Donovan, former Bloomberg housing director and Obama funds director; Ray McGuire, former Citigroup investment-banking head; and Maya Wiley, Mayor de Blasio’s former counsel.
Good for them.
Garcia simply carried out the perfect. First, she was pure and cozy; she and Wiley have been essentially the most relaxed on the stage. “I am the city’s crisis manager,” Garcia stated, referring to her “boots on the ground for the last 14 years” getting the rubbish picked up and the snow plowed.
“You can’t pick up the garbage from home,” she stated. “We kept working,” till she resigned final September to run. “No one else on this stage has that experience of working through the pandemic,” with the Sanitation Department having been liable for delivering 1,000,000 meals a day to needy New Yorkers.
She additionally gave essentially the most direct solutions on questions that want solutions now. On evolving our habits because the pandemic evolves, she stated she was glad to know that “I don’t need to wear a mask outside . . . that that is safe for me and safe for the rest of the community.”
She added: “I do believe that we should have schools opening right now. We have been late.”
She had concrete solutions on the place New York City wants to make investments its cash, from rebuilding the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway to former subway chief Andy Byford’s “Fast Forward” plan — keep in mind the subways? — in order that underground alerts “are raring to go.”
When requested about bail “reform,” her first impulse wasn’t to declare success about emptying the jails. It was to acknowledge that “we have seen an uptick in crime in this city, an uptick in shootings, in . . . hate crime” towards Asians, “in crime on the subway.”
She identified, too, that when it comes to higher policing, she has managed a big, uniformed, unionized workforce. (On public security on the whole, Wiley was the outlier on this crowd, in being most aggressively in favor of slicing the police funds.)
Garcia was gracious to her opponents, as was Wiley, whose foremost proposal was to add 2,500 extra academics to cut back class sizes.
In distinction, Donovan and McGuire sniped at one another. For some purpose, Donovan continues to accuse McGuire of single-handedly beginning the mortgage disaster of greater than a decade in the past whereas nonetheless at Citigroup. Yet Donovan by no means offers any proof, and this line hasn’t gotten any traction for months.
McGuire does want to give a solution on why he gained’t launch his tax returns. It’s completely effective for him to say how a lot he made on the financial institution is none of anybody enterprise, however it’s unusual to faux he didn’t hear that query.
Still, McGuire’s thought to let small companies hold their metropolis gross sales taxes for a yr is a stable one. It’s a much better use of federal aid cash than but extra authorities spending.
And he was essentially the most forthright candidate in saying that bail “reform” wants reform: “The system needs to be adjusted,” he stated. “Crime is soaring, and we feel a lot less safe.” (He has adjusted this opinion over the previous couple of months, which is an effective signal; he can adapt as proof turns into clearer.)
Donovan is a succesful supervisor — he has way more expertise than Andrew Yang does. But he relies upon an excessive amount of on saying he’ll depend on his “friends” in Washington to get New York its fair proportion of cash. The metropolis has already acquired large federal aid, and New York already has an efficient bring-home-the-bacon champion in Sen. Chuck Schumer.
Speaking of Yang, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, and Comptroller Scott Stringer: None of them bothered to present.
As beneficiaries of town’s campaign-finance system, they’ll have to debate, beginning later this month. They had higher hope the undecided voters — nonetheless sufficient to tip the election — haven’t moved on by then.
As Garcia stated, “I was putting them out of my mind as the leading candidates, because if we’re here, I do believe that we’re the four leading candidates.”
Nicole Gelinas is a contributing editor of City Journal.