I don't know who to vote for. Part of the problem is an embarrassment of riches, in a way, in any other race the rather liberal democrats we have in NYC would be exciting-- but, when compared to each other they tend to blur together.
So, what I'm doing first is making lists of questions I'd like to ask the candidates and I'd love to have some help. I'm going to try to go to all the forums and debates that I can and by election day I hope to have all of the answers either through research or by asking the campaigns directly. So, here is my list of questions thus far.
1. The number of police officers in NYC has decreased since 2001 even as population has increased, police spend less time than ever simply walking the beat especially in outer boroughs. Will you increase the police presence on the streets or keep things the same? (This sounds needlessly specific, but for all his tough on crime yammering Mayor Bloomberg has taken police off of the streets and allowed Commissioner Kelly to run wild with racial profiling and stop and frisk... what this means is it's harder to find and officer when you need one, not that you'd want to he'll just frisk you rather than listen!) What people in the outer boroughs keep asking for is "more police who walk the beat" what we are given is more pat-downs and new inexperienced officers who are unfamiliar with the places they police. This has gotta' change. Since crime is so low now it's at the point where the biggest annoyance on the streets is the the police themselves!
2. All of the Democrats in the race have pretty sensible positions on stop and frisk-- but I want to know if they think the NYPD has gone to far in its surveillance of Muslim groups in the city? (From what little I've seen Liu, of all people, makes the most sense on this issue. Though I don't think I'd vote for Liu. I don't like his transportation policy ideas.)
3. There are no gifted school programs in the south Bronx right now. Will you change this? (Shocking right?) Also, do you think just having one test for admission to these programs still makes sense? (The test is gamed through test prep by the well-to-do and it has resegregated our schools along the lines of who can pay to get in to gifted by prepping for the test. Teacher recommendations used to mitigate this, but Bloomy got rid of them since he loves tests so much.)
4. Who will be your police commissioner? (Ray Kelly needs to be replaced.)
5. How will you address the high rate of pedestrian injury by cars in the city?
6. What do you view as the greatest obstacle for working class families who live in NYC?
7. Who will head the DOT if you are mayor? What qualities do you look for in this person?
8. How will you build trust between the NYPD and the communities they serve where that trust has been eroded?
9. School lunches are terrible and unhealthy. Do you have any ideas for getting the funding and organization needed to improve the quality of the food we feed NYC's children?
10. Do public health initiatives like smoking bans and sugared drink size limits save lives? Or is it just hype? (I liked those bans, I think they were effective and I think the backlash is just generalized anti-bloomberg angst.)
11. Yankees or Mets? (If you like them equally you lose my vote that's a cop out.)
12. How do you feel about the gentrification of neighborhood in Brooklyn and upper-manhattan. Is that the future of the entire city? Is gentrification always bad?
13. Paid sick leave? Yes? No?
14. Do you think too many buildings have been landmarked?
15. If you see kids playing a game of basketball in the street do you think "how dangerous" or do you think it's a good use of public space in a city with too few parks?
What would you ask the mayoral hopefuls?