Chapter Leader’s Notes: Mayoral forum at the Bronx UFT
Notes by Donald March, chapter leader of Christopher Columbus HS
Bronx Mayoral Forum. May 8, 2013. Christine Quinn, Bill DeBlasio, Bill Thompson, John Liu
As has been the case at these forums or late, Christine Quinn arrives ahead
of the pack and is allowed to speak and take questions first. She is a rather
forceful speaker but could not shake the fact she presided over the City
Council when term limits were thrown out the window to allow the Mayor
to seek a third term. She tried to attain platitudes or favorability with the
crowd but a distinctive flat hollowness and mistrust plagued her debate
performance. In short, few if any, felt she was in the best interest of this
City, our children or of this Union. She strongly favors portfolio schools!
Following Ms. Quinn was Bill DeBlasio, Public Advocate of the City of New
York. A towering man whose voice and physique captured everyone’s
attention. He pointed out how he and the Mayor have fought being on the
opposing ends of most issues. He’s not for closing any more schools and
wants a moratorium. He hasn’t decided if he would like to continue with
Mayoral control but lambasted the selections of Klein, Black, and Walcott. He
even told the story of calling Cathie Black to have a face to face with her and
being told by her she did not have permission to speak with him! Bill wants
guaranteed kindergarten for all New Yorkers and three added hours of after-
school programs for middle schools. He is against co-mingling of schools in
large campus setting, especially if the new schools are charters. He wants
to tax the wealthy to pay for the extra services. He seemed supportive of a
more democratic approach to governing the City and was very favorable to
the outcomes desired by this Union.
The third debater was Bill Thompson who was as down to earth a person as it
gets. His style was to govern from the bottom up and did not hold back one
bit on his attacks on the Bloomberg administrations failings. He is strongly
pro child, parent, and teacher. He wants NY to be an education City and
not have an education Mayor. He is for Mayoral control but wants to pair
back the veto proof power of the Mayoral majority on the PEP Panel. He is
strongly against co-mingling of schools on campus’ like ours. In favor of a
moratorium on closing schools. He seems affable and was received warmly
by the crowd.
The fourth debater was John Liu, New York City Comptroller. An actuary
by trade and a graduate of Bronx Science. He seemed very at home with
the crowd, the issues and with the future of our pensions. He stated at any
given time, his office has between 10 and 15 on-going audits of Tweed. The
Mayor scrambles the numbers and uses editorial boards to cover the truth.
They have had Liu under continual investigation for four years and he freely
discussed the issues with being under such public scrutiny. He’s for limited
Mayoral control, a moratorium on school closings and more complete audits
of all areas of the Bloomberg Administration. He was well received despite of
the dark clouds that surround his campaign’s fundraising from 2009.
Best lines of the night….
“The Mayor fails to realize his view
– that there was no City of New York before him and there will be none after him –
has no basis in reality!”
— Bill DeBlasio
“Pension costs sky rocket Unions will bankrupt the City”
headline from 1914
— John Liu
Donald March was first elected chapter leader of Christopher Columbus HS for the 2001 – 2002 school year. I was his deputy for the first year. He is the longest continuously serving Bronx HS Chapter leader.