Dipping in the polls, Lhota attends Brooklyn Real Estate Board forum

October 8, 2013 Denise Romano
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As his numbers continue low in the polls, Republican candidate for mayor Joe Lhota came out to the Brooklyn Real Estate Board forum held at the Dyker Beach Golf Club on Wednesday, October 2.

Introduced by State Senator Marty Golden, the former head of the MTA talked about what he would do if elected, although his chances are likely slim.

According to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio — who is running on the Democratic line — leads him 77 percent to 10 percent. Independence Party candidate, former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, is polling at two percent.

“I believe we will have to create an economy that creates jobs in New York City. We need to make sure that we expand and diversify the economy and make sure that jobs are created so that the unemployed can become employed and the underemployed can have better paying jobs,” Lhota said.

“We have to lower the cost of living and the cost of doing business,” he went on. “The cost of living has gotten to the point where many people are thinking about leaving the city. We have to fix the affordability problem.”

Lhota said that if he is elected, he will give the city’s education system an overhaul, noting that 81 percent of public school graduates cannot read on a seventh grade level and were “deemed incapable of doing college level work.

“The public school system is in severe need of reform,” he said, noting that charter school teachers get more professional development that they are compensated for than public school teachers.

“I want to make sure that our teachers are properly prepared and as mayor it’s my responsibility to give them the resources to do that,” Lhota went on. “The principal should be the chief academic officer in the school.”

Lhota talked about how quality of life and public safety go hand in hand.

“Everything great that has happened in the city of New York started with the reduction of crime…the increase of tourism, people living in parts of the city you never thought they would live in before,” he contended. “We have to make everywhere in the city of New York a safe place to live.”

When asked by an attendee, Lhota said that he has a different opinion of how the Police Department should be run than De Blasio, who had told forum organizers that he was unable to attend due to scheduling conflicts.

“Over the last few months, the city of New York has taken a body blow,” Lhota said, referring to the passage of the Community Safety Act and how instances of rape have increased by 24 percent this month.

“We have had people saying that the leader of the city and the leader of the Police Department are condoning racial profiling. That’s not true and it has sent a chilling effect on the whole Police Department,” he contended. “We need to be talking about this because we have to make sure that we are the safest big city in the world.”

De Blasio has said that he would end the stop, question and frisk policy if elected and would also replace Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. He also supports adding an inspector general to oversee the department.

“I’m not a law enforcement person,” Lhota said. “But I do know when I look at the numbers that something is going on and that the numbers need to go down again. I want to know what the strategy is to reduce that particular crime.”

Lhota contended that when De Blasio was asked how he would reduce crime, he answered that he would better relationships between police officers and the communities they serve.

“That’s a cute answer and who would disagree with that, but what does that do and how does that help the mother whose child was killed?” he said. “What are you going to actually do to keep streets safer?

“I want this city to be a city where we can work, live, have fun and where we can and want to raise a family. That’s how the city of New York continues to grow and thrive,” he concluded.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 5.

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