Mayoral Forum 5/22/05.
Democracy for NYC held a Mayoral forum on Sunday 5/22/05 at the Wonderland club on East 27th Street.
The four Democratic mayoral candidates,C. Virginia Fields,Freddy Ferrer, Gifford Miller, and Anthony Weiner, were there to give their positions and answer questions. Basically they all agreed that the West Side Stadium was a waste of tax payer money, that NYC should have voting machines with paper receipts, that the mayor was a friend to big business but not to small mom and pop enterprises, that the mayor is out of touch with the average New Yorker, and that they would all make better mayors than Bloomberg.
After each candidate spoke the meeting was open to questions. Basically it was all blah, blah, blah, none of the candidates standing out with a bold vision for NYC. That seems to be the Democrat's biggest problem in their quest for city hall. The mayor, may be out of touch with the common man but his PR machine knows how to reach the public. The mayor's new TV ads are hard to beat, average guy/gal in the street talking about how much the mayor has done for the city since 9/11. He plays to the heartstrings with a strong message and I believe the voting public will buy it.
The Dems need to wake up fast if they want to retake control of NYC.
I didn't get a chance to ask my question but I did speak to Anthony Wiener after the meeting. Since he is a Brooklyn boy I decided I would ask him about the Coney Isalnd Development Corp. and it's plans for the overhaul of Coney Island.
I asked him if he thought the CIDC plans with their pretty sketches were just a smoke screen in order to pave the way for developers to build luxury high rises on the Boardwalk without any consideration to Coney's history.
He said that he thought that the city usually did things like this ass- backwards, letting the developers come in and do what they want and then come up with some sort of scheme to go with it. He mentioned the re-zoning for the Williamsburg waterfront as an example. He asked me what I would like to see done in Coney. I told that the amusements must be preserved and expanded. That the city must do something about all the vacant lots and real estate speculators that hold on to this land and do nothing with it. I said that if malls are to be built they should be made to look like the Steeplecase with big rides along with the stores.
I explained to him that the CIDC never mentions Thor Equities in it's plans or sketches yet they are buying up a lot of land in Coney Island. He said that he knew Thor and was friends with the head of the company. I explained that the fear is that Thor will build luxury high rise condos on the boardwalk with a token amusement area in the shopping mall lobby. Power Towers was the phrase I used.
Rep. Weiner said that Thor is known for building malls in depressed areas like the Albee Square mall in Downtown Brooklyn. He said he had never heard of Thor building residents over their malls. He said he would try to find out what their plans were.
At that point he had to leave but he asked his aid to take my number and that he would get back to me today with an an answer. If and when that answer comes I will let you all know about it.
I have to give Anthony Weiner credit. At least he listened to me and wanted to know my views, and he had some knowledge of the plans for Coney. That is more than I can say for some of the candidates I have spoken to.
At that point I headed over to the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater for much needed comic relief.
The special surprise guest monologist was none other that Henry "The Fonze" Winkler. All I can say is Ayyyyyy!
But that's a story for another post.