Adams Releases Toll Records; NYC Budget Warning: Election Update
(Bloomberg) -- New York City mayoral hopeful Eric Adams released his E-ZPass toll records after rival Andrew Yang asked the Brooklyn borough president for proof he lived in the city, not in New Jersey. New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli issued a warning to the city’s next mayor that the de Blasio administration’s proposed budget could leave the city’s next leader saddled with fiscal distress.
New York City has paid out a record $32 million of public funds so far for the mayor’s race. Civil rights lawyer Maya Wiley soared past rivals Yang and former city Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia for second place in an Emerson/Pix 11 poll released late Wednesday, following big-name endorsements from progressive politicians Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Elizabeth Warren. Adams ranked first ahead of the June 22 Democratic primary.
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Adams Releases E-ZPass Records
Adams released his E-ZPass toll records for several government-owned cars on Thursday in an effort to provide evidence that he lived in New York City, rather than in Fort Lee, N.J.
A Politico report this week drew scrutiny over whether the Adams was actually residing at the brownstone that he listed as his residence on mayoral paperwork. The article suggested he might be still sleeping at his Brooklyn Borough Hall office, which he stayed at overnight during the depths of Covid, or at a New Jersey home he owns with his partner. The campaign denied such claims. Adams’ rivals pounced on the controversy and Yang asked Adams to release his toll road crossings to confirm his residency.
Adams made trips to New Jersey over the George Washington Bridge or through the Lincoln Tunnel on six different weekends between July 2020 and February of this year, according to toll records shared with Bloomberg News.
Adams called the questions over his residency “silly” at a Thursday campaign stop at a Brooklyn rally for bus operators and transit workers who were calling for more safety protections in light of crime against transit workers.
At the Thursday event, Adams also reversed course and said he would now attend a televised mayoral forum airing on CBS Thursday night after rivals accused him of trying to avoid answering questions about where he lived.
Fiscal Warning for Next Mayor
The next mayor of New York City is about to inherit a city that’s recovering but setting itself up for potential financial harm if he or she uses federal stimulus money to pay for new services, according to a report released Thursday by the state comptroller.
While Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to use more two-thirds of the $15 billion in federal stimulus on short-term measures to boost the recovery and Covid 19-related expenses, his $98.6 billion budget proposal for the fiscal year beginning July 1 also relies on non-recurring federal aid to pay for ongoing programs like pre-K for three-year-olds, DiNapoli warned.
By fiscal 2025, the city would incur more than $1 billion in recurring costs for proposed new services, including funding for 4,365 positions, that are paid for with nonrecurring resources, the report said. The city’s next mayor will be left to grapple with these expenses.
“Ultimately, setting priorities for recurring spending now will leave the repercussions of funding decisions to the incoming mayoral administration,” DiNapoli said. “Enhancing reserves and identifying options for cost efficiencies would provide the next administration with flexibility to manage the recovery in its ensuing stages.”
FDNY Union Endorses Yang
Yang was endorsed by the 20,000-member Uniformed Firefighters Association, whose president decried 2003 closings of six engine companies and said the department has become smaller while firefighters’ workload has become heavier.
“Andrew Yang has shown that he understands the difficulties that firefighters face in a city that does not prioritize adding fire companies and staffing to meet the ever expanding needs of NYC,” union President Andrew Ansbro said in a statement.
Among other uniformed labor, the Police Benevolent Association and the Corrections Officers’ Benevolent Association have not yet endorsed a candidate. The Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association backed Garcia, the former commissioner of sanitation.
Garcia Proposes Jobs for Young Adults
Garcia on Thursday unveiled a plan to offer guaranteed jobs for more than 90,000 New Yorkers between the ages of 16 to 24, in a push to combat the rise of crime. The cost of employing those individuals -- $2 billion to $3 billion -- is a fraction of the expense of jailing them, according to her plan outline.
“I don’t want to be a mayor who spends more money on youth incarceration,” Garcia, 51, said at a campaign event in Brooklyn.
The jobs proposal comes two days before the start of early voting. The program would launch in the first year of her administration and would be funded initially with stimulus dollars, she said.
Garcia also plans to expand family and care-giving paid leave, and to create a pipeline from city colleges and trade schools to guarantee graduates a path to city employment by working with the private sector. Garcia also proposed offering 10,000 paid internships to high school students.
Record Taxpayer Dollars
The number of candidates paid and the amount disbursed are higher than any mayoral race in the New York City Campaign Finance Board’s history, chair Rick Schaffer said on Thursday.
So far, the board has paid $32 million to seven mayoral candidates. Former Citigroup banker Ray McGuire is the only one among leading contenders who declined to participate in the matching funds program. The campaign-finance board will issue the final round of public funds to candidates on June 17, ahead of the June 22 Democratic primary.
Across all city races, including the mayor, comptroller and council races, candidates were paid $96 million in public funds, compared to $60 million of private funds raised, Schaffer said during a board meeting.
The program matches small-dollar contributions from city residents. Rules were altered in 2018 to increase the matching rate and lower contribution limits.
“Small contributions from city residents are playing a pivotal role in the race for the city’s mayor,” he said. “Voters have a more and more diverse field to choose from when they start voting this weekend.”
Wiley was ranked first by 17% of respondents in the Emerson/Pix 11 poll of registered voters conducted on June 7 and 8, an increase from 9%, or fifth place, in the May 25 survey. Wiley’s campaign attributed the surge to a spate of recent endorsements from big-name progressives on both the national and local stage: Representative Ocasio-Cortez, Senator Warren and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who endorsed Wiley on Tuesday. “AOC’s endorsement of Maya Wiley was a game changer,” the poll’s release said.
Read more here: NYC Public Advocate Endorses Wiley in Final Weeks of Mayor Race
Adams had 23% of first-choice picks, up from 20% in May. Yang dropped one point to 15% while Garcia tumbled to 12% from 21%. Morales, fighting turmoil in her campaign, dropped to 2% from 7%, while 12% remained undecided. Crime was the first priority among nearly a third of respondents, helping Adams, who has positioned himself as the law-and-order candidate.
Leading Democratic candidates for New York City comptroller faced off at an in-person debate Wednesday held by 77 WABC Radio, with Johnson taking the heat from rivals over accusations of profligate spending and city budget increases as council speaker since 2018. He was also criticized for cutting funds to homeless organizations and youth services groups.
The comptroller oversees the city’s spending and $250 billion in pension fund assets and is meant to serve as a watchdog for the city’s finances. Johnson came in with 18% of first-choice picks in a NY1/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday. Councilman Brad Lander and former financial journalist Michelle Caruso-Cabrera were tied at 9%, while 44% said they were undecided.
On Wednesday, Caruso-Cabrera was criticized for changing parties when she switched her registration from Republican in 2015. Caruso-Cabrera also unsuccessfully ran in the Democratic primary against Ocasio-Cortez in 2020.
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