Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Liveblogging the Mayoral Debate

For those who don't get NY1, I'm going to type in my summary and random thoughts of the debate. I'm only going to touch on education issues unless something else jumps out at me.

Thompson says we are teaching to the test. Education has lost art and music education in the schools. SAT scores have gone down, so there has been no real improvement.

Avella says we have dumbed down the test. We are not educating kids. Teachers and parents need more involvement. First thing to do is fire Joel Klein.

When asked what they would do differently:

Thompson: Focus on literacy. Smaller classes in earlier grades.

Avella: He is not an education expert--teachers are. We should be asking teachers what is that accurate measure of learning? Reading scores are a "lot of bunk."

Avella: We have not done enough to limit swine flu. The city blew it last time. Schools should be closed when necessary--not enough has been done.
Thompson: Bloomberg's response to the flu was a disaster. Rumor ruled the day. Parents want to know what is happening in the schools. Standards of when to close schools were haphazard and confusing.

Both men seem well prepared and aware of the issues at this point.
There will be a "lightning round" in which only yes or no answers can be given--this never works--most politicians are incapable of stopping at one word. But now on with round 2.

7:32-Halfway point
Thompson seems to be positioning himself as the "fiscal watchdog" mayor--he wants transparency on every level, Avella wants the reform vote--he wants to change the way things are done--shifting power from the mayor to the city council, stopping the use of discretionary funds, etc. At this point, both candidates look strong. It's a tie.

7:39 Finally, some blood. Avella accuses Thompson of taking money from real estate and pension funds he manages. Both claim to be grassroots campaigns.

LIGHTNING ROUND--I don't type that fast, so hopefully I can get a few in.

Ray Kelly as police commissioner? Both said no.
Do you have a metrocard? Both show theirs from their wallets.
Excluding marijuana (crowd laughs) have you ever tried an illegal drug? Both say no. Marijuana? Thompson yes, Avella no.
Is Bloomberg a better mayor than Guiliani? Both say yes.
Should NYC name a subway station or a street after Michael Jackson? Both yes.
Will you endorse Patterson for governor next year? Avella no, Thompson yes.
Have you been to the new stadiums? Both no.
Have you ever voted for someone who was not a democrat? Avella yes, Thompson no.

Whew. Round over. New reporter round.

In response to a question about dealing with Albany, Avella mentions he is not in favor of mayoral control of schools.

8:07 Candidates ask questions of each other.
Thompson asks Avella, what is the worst thing Bloomberg has done? Avella thanks him for the softball question, and Avella responds that it's the overturning of term limits. Thompson agrees.

Dominic Carter (moderator) asks both what is the best thing Blooie has done. Thompson says smoking ban, Avella says 311.

Closing remarks:
Avella: Let's end corruption and the political machine, which Thompson represents. Touts the fact that he has not accepted money from interest groups to campaign.
Thompson: NYers have a real choice. We need a mayor who will fight for the people.

Overall impressions:
Avella came off tough in a typical NYer kind of way.
Thompson came off suave and informed.

Generally, it seemed a tie to me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I recalled a segment where Avella stated that Bloomberg's media empire for 2008 had tremendous and financial growth while the city was in the brink of an economic downfall. Avella questioned whether Bloomberg knew in advance the economic climate that would affect the city and his reason for running for mayor again so as to help the city with the imminent economic downfall. Yet Bloomberg's media empire grew from $3 or $4 billion to close to $12 billion during his years of mayor. Avella's observation of Bloomberg's billions stayed in my mind.