Skip to main content

One of the reasons Joe Lhota (R) is trailing Bill de Blasio (D) very heavily in the polls is because of low name recognition.  But it might be a good thing that Lhota has name recognition because there's this:

A letter of recommendation that New York City GOP mayoral nominee Joe Lhota wrote for a political ally who was buying an apartment contains high praise of his character. A decade later, that same politician admitted to accepting $800,000 in bribes.

Lhota described Ray Harding, the late head of New York's Liberal Party, and his wife, Elizabeth, as "people of absolute integrity" in a 1999 letter to a Riverdale co-op board. At the time, Lhota was a deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani, who had been elected with Harding's backing. Harding's two sons also served in high posts in Giuliani's administration.

But in 2009, Harding's role as a power broker in city and state politics came crashing to an end in a corruption scandal. He was charged with taking kickbacks from investment firms that were seeking lucrative contracts with the state's pension fund. Former state Comptroller Alan Hevesi managed the fund. According to court documents, Harding did political favors for Hevesi as part of the scheme, which took place over the course of several years after Lhota wrote his recommendation letter.

The letter to the Riverdale co-op board, which is part of the archived material from Giuliani's two terms as mayor, was typed on official stationery from the mayor's office and signed by Lhota.

"I have known Ray and Liz Harding for the past 10 years on both a professional and social basis," the letter says. "I believe they will continue to be excellent assets to your building. Ray and Liz are people of absolute integrity and will be superb neighbors for your entire building."

Harding initially pleaded guilty to felony charges, but in exchange for cooperating with investigators, the charges were reduced to a misdemeanor. He received a conditional discharge, which meant he would avoid prison as long as he stayed out of trouble with the law for a year. Hevesi was sentenced to four years in prison in 2010 as part of a large investigation into corruption in the state's pension fund. - Huffington Post, 10/7/13

Yeah, not the best press for Lhota to raise his name recognition.  Not to mention Lhota's making the press for this:

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23:  Republican nominee for New York City mayor Joe Lhota attends a press conference outside the United Nations Headquarters on September 23, 2013 in New York City. At a media event held by the Jewish Community Relations Council o
Republican Joe Lhota, fending off repeated attacks from his Democratic rival, Bill de Blasio, that he is too right-wing to become mayor of New York City, was forced to defend himself tonight after a video surfaced that showed him telling conservatives that gun permits should be easier to obtain in the city.

“The City of New York … goes to an extreme with their–bureaucracy is not even strong enough of a word,” Mr. Lhota told a Staten Island Tea Party group in April, NY1 reported this evening. “It’s almost a level of harassment at a certain point and it needs to change. There’s something that should be fair and speedy about being able to get a gun permit.”

Pressed on the issue in a Road to City Hall interview tonight, Mr. Lhota said he was referring to people who were renewing their licenses, not those looking to obtain a gun for the first time. The brief video clip does not contain this context and it was not immediately possible to verify Mr. Lhota’s nuance.

“The question was about being able to get a new permit. You know, you need to have one every year–these are people who legally have guns who have shown that they have a need for it,” Mr. Lhota explained in the interview. “What’s gone on is, those people who legitimately need it, it’s getting harder and harder and harder for getting the renewal license, which is required and should be required once a year.”

“They shouldn’t be making it hard,” he continued. “These are not people with illegal guns, these are people who have legal permits to carry and the city is making it harder and harder. The city oughta take its resources and do everything it possibly can to get guns off the streets of New York–illegal guns.” - Politicker, 10/7/13

And of course there's this:

On the issue of health care, Lhota said he agrees with members of his party that one of the central provisions of President Obama’s health care reform — the mandate that every American have health insurance — should be delayed for a year. “You should not be implementing policy unless you know exactly how it’s going to be implemented,” Lhota told Brian Lehrer on WNYC.

Lhota, who has repeatedly condemned the government shutdown and blamed it on Republican “extremists,” stressed that he disagrees with the tactic of demanding an Obamacare delay in exchange for funding the government. And he said he opposes a complete defunding of the health care program. - New York Daily News, 10/7/13

Which has only set himself up for more attacks from de Blasio:

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Democratic mayoral front-runner Bill de Blasio heads to a
“This is another example of the fact that Joe Lhota is a true Republican who is aligning in this case with the extreme views of the Republican Party in the House of Representatives,” charged Mr. de Blasio during his own appearance later in the afternoon on WCBS 880 AM. “This is unbelievable to me that a guy who says he wants to represent New York City would be taking the Tea Party position on the question of the Affordable Care Act.”

Mr. de Blasio has spent the days since the shutdown began trying to tie Mr. Lhota to his party’s more conservative wing in Washington, which is refusing to fund the federal government unless President Barack Obama agrees to defund or delay his signature healthcare law.

Mr. de Blasio argued today that the whole point of the law was to provide health care to millions of uninsured Americans, including an estimated 600,000 in the city.

“What Mr. Lhota is saying is, he thinks, in effect, 600,000 people should continue being uninsured and go without that protection and their families should not have that protection and that we should delay something that could fundamentally cut health costs in this country,” Mr. de Blasio said. “By doing that, he is showing that he is taking a Tea Party view of the world.”

“And I find it outrageous,” he added. “I find it against the interests of New York City.” - Politicker, 10/7/13

But Lhota still has his old boss and buddy to help him out:

Rudy Giuliani on Monday made a pitch for a major cash infusion to help salvage the mayoral hopes of his former deputy Joe Lhota.

As Lhota’s campaign struggles for traction, the former mayor met potential donors to a pro-Lhota outside spending group, New Yorkers for Proven Leadership, at a private breakfast at the opulent Metropolitan Club. - New York Daily News, 10/8/13

David Koch and his wife Julia are two of the biggest contributors to New Yorkers for Proven Leadership.  While Lhota struggles to win over more support, de Blasio is defining himself as a "world leader" Mayor:

Michael Bloomberg doesn’t usually pose for pictures with New York City mayoral candidates Joe Lhota and Bill de Blasio. In September, the mayor declared that he has decided not to endorse either of the men who want his job in City Hall – he wants to make sure his successor is "ready to succeed, to take what we’ve done and build on that," he says. At The Atlantic’s CityLab summit on Tuesday, though, the mayor was all handshakes and smiles. It was a small but notable signal: He’s ready to step down.

On the campaign trail, both candidates have been careful about how they align themselves with Bloomberg. Lhota has been more eager, praising the mayor’s policies on business development and public safety, while de Blasio has kept his distance, on education policy in particular. Still, de Blasio used very Bloombergian language to talk about the future of his city.

"As of 2010, for the first time in history, more people in the world live in cities and the urban areas that support them than outside of them," de Blasio said. "This isn’t just a phenomenon at work in China, India, and other developing countries. In the United States, a similar development is underway."

De Blasio also framed the current mess in Washington in the larger context of the floundering nation-state, an approach Bloomberg has taken time and again. "National governments are failing to serve as catalysts for action, requiring cities to fill the void of creativity and innovation," he said. - The Atlantic Cities, 10/8/13

But not everyone's thinned about de Blasio becoming the next Mayor of New York City:

The leading candidate to succeed Mr. Bloomberg, Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, is a no-bones-about-it critic of charter schools who rose to prominence in part by berating the mayor’s educational agenda. By contrast, the Republican candidate, Joseph J. Lhota, is a fierce defender of charter schools.

In one of his sharpest repudiations of Mr. Bloomberg’s tenure, Mr. de Blasio has said he would stop offering many of the city’s 183 charter schools free rent, a policy that has helped turn New York into one of the most vibrant hubs for charter schools in the country.

Charter schools, often managed by nonprofit groups, receive public funding but operate independently of the school system and have more freedom in deciding scheduling, staffing and curriculum.

The Bloomberg administration is concerned enough about their future in the city that it is racing in its final months to place two dozen more of them into public school buildings. The board that approves school space plans will meet twice this month, an unusual step.

Mr. de Blasio contends that Mr. Bloomberg has focused on charter schools to the detriment of traditional public schools, pitting parents against one another and sapping resources that could be used for after-school programs and classes like art and physical education.

“I won’t favor charters,” Mr. de Blasio said on Tuesday after a conference in Lower Manhattan. “Our central focus is traditional public schools.”

At an education forum this summer, he said of charter schools, “It is insult to injury to give them free rent.” - New York Times, 10/8/13

de Blasio also took the time today to answer supporters and voters personal questions on Redditt:

TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY MARIANO ANDRADE.New York City mayoral candidate Bill De Blasio addresses a speech in front of members of the Association for a Better New York (ABNY) in New York, October 4, 2013.  AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand        (Photo credit sho
There, the Democrat fielded inquiries in one of the social news site’s “Ask Me Anything” forums. Unsurprisingly, the open format resulted in some atypical questions, from his favorite pizzeria to the “perfect geometric balance” of his son Dante afro. (In turn, Mr. de Blasio’s responses featured varying levels of grammar and spelling.)

“Growing up, it was the Autobiography of Malcolm X, and I still love that book,” Mr de Blasio wrote when asked about his favorite book. “More recently, i’ve taken great inspiration from Nothing to Fear by Adam Cohen about the New Deal, and the people who made it happen.”

Asked about his religious beliefs, Mr. de Blasio offered enthusiastic praise of the current pope.

“Although my mother was raised a Catholic, she did not bring me up in the Church. I considered myself a spiritual person but unaffiliated, and I was definitely vey influenced by the liberation theology movement in Latin America. And BOY am I a fan of Pope Francis!”

Some members of the community attempted to push the candidate on more substantive issues, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s reported disinclination to back his signature tax-the-rich proposal, subsidies for commercial development, how he would have handled Occupy Wall Street and more. On these more familiar issues, however, Mr. de Blasio largely kept to his standard talking points. - Politicker, 10/8/13

And some people have pointed out that de Blasio activist past have been setting himself up for this big office:

Three decades before he won the Democratic nomination for mayor, Bill de Blasio got a tough lesson in politics as a student activist at New York University.

Across the country, the protest movement that roiled colleges in the 1960s and ’70s had ended, but de Blasio was undeterred.

He demonstrated against tuition hikes. He marched against nuclear proliferation. He demanded that a student be placed on NYU’s board of trustees.

By end of his time at NYU, however, he experienced a series of reality checks about the limits of activism that culminated with administrators threatening to expel him for a protest that violated school rules.

De Blasio arrived at NYU in 1979 as a tuition-free Presidential Scholar. He majored in Metropolitan Studies, a program in urban studies with courses such as “Politics of Minority Groups” and “The Working Class Experience.”

The passion for politics that he showed as a high school student in Cambridge, Mass., quickly emerged at NYU. By his sophomore year he had become a charismatic figure at the university, a 6-foot-5, wild-haired activist known as Bill Wilhelm — he would later change his name — who regularly confronted school administrators about the cost of something he didn’t have to pay for: tuition.

“He really stood out as one of the brightest students — very engaged, wanting to do things,” said Ann Meyerson, former director of the Metropolitan Studies program. “You would not forget Bill. He was a star.” - New York Daily News, 10/6/13

The general election is Tuesday, November 5th.  If you would like to donate or get involved with de Blasio's campaign, you can do so here:

Originally posted to pdc on Tue Oct 08, 2013 at 07:05 PM PDT.

Also republished by New York City, Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA), Shut Down the NRA, Youth Kos 2.0, In Support of Labor and Unions, and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site