Forget About Anthony Weiner — Here Comes Bill DeBlasio

In a mayoral election filled with Anthony Weiner, Anthony Weiner, and more Anthony Weiner, it’s easy to forget that there are other Democratic candidates running for mayor of New York City this November.

But among likely Democratic voters, New York City’s Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has now jumped to second place behind City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, according to Quinnipiac University’s most recent poll. Weiner has dropped to fourth place.

His candidacy might not be the most glamorous or exciting one, but de Blasio’s platform is one of the most direct rejections of Bloomberg’s New York.

“I am not satisfied with the status quo. Wherever I go, we are living a tale of two cities, we have the greatest income disparity since the Great Depression,” de Blasio said in an interview with MetroFocus host Rafael Pi Roman. “We can’t have a city where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer and the disparities sharpen and expect to succeed and expect it to be a place really open to everyone.”

It’s a difficult position to take for de Blasio to remind us of the glaring issues in the city, when polls show that more and more New Yorkers believe it is heading in the right direction, according to the New York Times. Plus, de Blasio is up against more well-known candidates like Quinn and former comptroller Bill Thompson, one of whom could be the first woman and openly gay mayor, and the other of whom has a large minority voter base.

But de Blasio criticizes his competitors for being unwilling and unable to change Bloomberg’s legacy. In an interview with Huffington Post’s Ahmed Shihab-Eldin, de Blasio labeled Christine Quinn as Bloomberg’s “chief ally” whose reforms for a living wage weren’t good enough for the city’s workers.

“Her version of living wage legislation simply means that if we subsidize the company with taxpayer dollars, they have to pay a decent wage,” he said. “Her version of that reaches about 500 workers. We need to reach tens of thousands of workers with that legislation.” He also condemned Quinn and Thompson for not doing enough to reform the city’s stop-and-frisk policies.

“We have a form of stop and frisk where almost 90% of those stopped are innocent in every way, shape, or form,” de Blasio said to MetroFocus. "It is not based on a suspect description, it’s a broad-brush approach that has alienated communities from police and has violated the civil liberties of a lot of everyday New Yorkers.” He believes that the city needs an inspector general to oversee the NYPD, a new police commissioner, and a racial profiling bill.

Bill de Blasio’s chances against his Democratic rivals are still uncertain. But just last month, he was arrested during a sit-in protest against the closure of Brooklyn’s Long Island College Hospital, the latest in the surge of city hospital closures. If that’s any indication of his determination, he’s definitely not going down without a fight.

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Esha Ray

Esha Ray is a graduate of New York University where she received her B.A. in broadcast journalism and economics. She currently works for WNET New York Public Media as a production assistant. She's a fan of photography, traveling, and television marathons. Follow her on Twitter @TheEshaRay.

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