NYC mayoral race: Bill de Blasio, 'Bo' Dietl, Nicole Malliotakis

2017-09-13 | amNewYork

Sept. 13--With the primary election over, the race to become New York City's mayor is heating up.

Incumbent Mayor Bill de Blasio easily beat a number of candidates vying to unseat him in the Democratic primary on Tuesday.

But the mayor isn't without competition, even with a landslide primary win.

Republican challenger New York Assemb. Nicole Malliotakis has come out swinging against de Blasio, taking him to task on everything from reports that he takes naps in his office to his campaign practices in the 2013 mayoral race. Independent Richard 'Bo' Dietl, a former NYPD detective, has painted de Blasio as a corrupt politician who hands out favors to campaign donors.

Mike Tolkin, who ran against the mayor in the Democratic primary, will challenge him again, running under what he calls the Smart Cities party.

Despite his rivals' criticisms, de Blasio had a 57-22 percent lead on Malliotakis in a poll released by Quinnipiac University back in late July, with 78 percent of voters polled saying they don't know enough about the Republican to form an opinion on her candidacy.

Get to know more about the mayoral hopefuls and where they stand on key issues.

Bill de Blasio

Bill de Blasio, 56

Party: Democrat

Current role: Mayor of New York City

On the issues:

Homelessness: During his tenure, the mayor created a homeless outreach program, called HOME-STAT, with the goal of bringing people off the streets and into shelters. So far, 750 New Yorkers have been transitioned into shelters, according to de Blasio's campaign. Back in February, de Blasio proposed opening 90 new shelters across all five boroughs over the span of five years as part of his plan to curb the homeless crisis. The plan also included the promised elimination of housing homeless residents in hotels by 2023. With the number of people living in city shelters on the rise since taking office, the mayor has been criticized for his approach to homelessness.

Jobs and the economy: De Blasio's current administration unveiled an initiative in 2016, LifeSci NYC, that aims to bring in 16,000 new biotechnology jobs to the city through tax breaks for labs and research firms. The initiative is part of the mayor's overarching plan to create 100,000 jobs over 10 years. So far, the city has seen 300,000 new jobs added in de Blasio's first term, according to his campaign.

Transit: The mayor often touts the successes of his Vision Zero traffic safety initiative -- which his campaign says has reduced traffic deaths by 23 percent since 2014 -- his plan to fix the subway's crumbling infrastructure has been met with mixed reviews. Following a summer filled with terrible commutes, caused by everything from track fires to derailments, the mayor announced a proposal to fund the modernization of the subway system by taxing the city's wealthiest earners. The so-called millionaires' tax would also create enough funding for 800,000 half-priced MetroCards for low-income New Yorkers -- an initiative that has been pushed by some transit advocates in the face of rising subway fares. Some transit advocates, however, prefer congestion pricing -- including tolling currently free East River bridges -- as a more sustainable way to generate transit funds. De Blasio also helped launch the new NYC Ferry system in 2017, bringing a new transportation option to places like the Rockaways and Astoria at the same cost as a subway ride.

Education: One of de Blasio's shining achievements in his first term as mayor was the launch of universal pre-kindergarten in New York City. Currently, about 70,000 4-year-olds are enrolled in full day pre-K, per his campaign. Up next: the mayor wants to make full day early childhood education available for 3-year-olds across the five boroughs. The city's public school system also saw the highest recorded graduation rate in 2016, at 72.6 percent.

Crime/criminal justice reform: De Blasio's administration was involved with the passage of a package of bills, known as the Criminal Justice Reform Act, in the City Council in 2016. The act, among other things, allows police officers to issue a civil ticket for many low-level, non-violent offenses. De Blasio also recently proposed a 10-year plan to shutter the scandal-plagued Rikers Island facility. The complex would be replaced by a series of smaller jails placed in each borough, according to de Blasio's administration. On primary day, several activists who want to see Rikers closed heckled the mayor outside of his Brooklyn polling site, demanding that he close the jail faster.

Nicole Malliotakis

Nicole Malliotakis, 36

Party: Republican

Current role: State Assemblywoman, representing parts of Brooklyn and Staten Island

On the issues:

Homelessness: Malliotakis does not agree with de Blasio's plan to build more homeless shelters across the city, arguing that the focus should be on transitioning people out of shelters. She says she will address the "underlying issues of homelessness like substance abuse, mental illness, domestic violence, or lack of employment," and build affordable housing.

Jobs and the economy: Malliotakis wants to streamline the permit process for new businesses and exempt small business from the commercial rent tax.

Transit: The Republican has called for upgrades to the MTA's subway signal system, which is the cause of daily delays. "Unlike Bill de Blasio, Nicole will extend a hand to Governor Cuomo and work in partnership to find funding sources to make these upgrades," her campaign website says.

Education: Malliotakis argues that funding is not going to the right places in the city's schools and wants to see it go directly into the classroom, paying for supplies and technology.

Crime/criminal justice reform: The mayoral candidate opposes the proposal to close Rikers Island and build jails across the five boroughs. She wants to modernize the current prison complex and focus on the case backlog in the justice system. She also disagrees with de Blasio on the lower penalties for crimes like public urination and littering.

Richard 'Bo' Dietl

Bo Dietl, 66

Party: Independent

Current role: Citizen, former NYPD detective

On the issues:

Homelessness: Dietl believes psychiatric treatment, job counseling and other supportive training is key in lowering the homeless population in the city. He has also proposed using vacant, city-owned buildings to house homeless people.

Jobs and the economy: If elected, Dietl would fight to raise the minimum wage in the city. He would also create a program that would hire out-of-work New Yorkers to clean up the five boroughs.

Transit: Similar to de Blasio, Dietl wants to provide an MTA subsidy to full-time workers in New York who are detailed explained how the subsidy would be paid for.

Education: One proposal from Dietl's campaign would reduce student debt by creating tax incentives for private businesses to take part in a super fund for college tuition grants. New Yorkers making less than $100,000 would qualify to apply to such a program. Dietl wants to open more vocational schools, believing that young adults would be better equipped for the work force with more practical skills.

Crime/criminal justice reform: Dietl wants to reevaluate the NYPD's use of body cameras and get rid of the college education requirement for recruits, allowing officers to earn their degrees over the course of five years instead.

Mike Tolkin

Mike Tolkin, 32

Party: Smart Cities (previously ran as a Democrat in the primary election)

Current role: Citizen, entrepreneur

On the issues:

Homelessness: One of Tolkin's proposals is a rehabilitation program he calls NYC Life, which would provide safe interim housing, mental health care, physical care and job training for homeless people. He also wants to build affordable housing that would be managed by NYC Enterprises, a program he has proposed that would create privately-managed, for-profit companies that reinvest their profits into the city.

Jobs and the economy: The candidate promises to cut taxes, including the personal income tax for people earning below $120,000 and the sales tax, and create new rent subsidy programs for small businesses. To create new jobs, he says he would invest in infrastructure, expand city services such as street cleaning and health services, and invest in new growing industries, like biotechnology, urban farming and virtual reality.

Transit: Tolkin says he would repair, upgrade and expand the subway and mass transit system with a $25 billion improvement program. He also wants to develop a public ride-sharing option for New Yorkers.

Education: The mayoral candidate wants to reform the curriculum for pre-K through 12th grade to better incorporate vocational studies and apprenticeships, as well as upgrade schools with new technology.

Crime/criminal justice reform: Tolkin, like de Blasio, supports increased transparency from the police department, investment in neighborhood policing and adoption of more nonlethal containment methods. He says he would work to reform the court and prison systems to center around care and rehabilitation. He is also in favor of legalizing marijuana to help police focus on violent crimes.

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