By Philip Newman
Conservative Party mayoral candidate Terrance Gray of Douglaston has demanded to be included in debates among mayoral contenders while suggesting that Democrat Mark Green and Republican Michael Bloomberg were “one and the same.”
Gray also complained at a news conference in Manhattan last Thursday that the New York City Campaign Finance Board left his name off the official New York City Voter Guide.
“Look, Green and Bloomberg are one and the same,” Gray said. “They are both lifelong Democrats. The only way the Nov. 6 election will be fair to all New York City voters is if I am included in any debates and if the New York City Campaign Finance Board puts a profile statement on my candidacy on its Internet website immediately.
Gray maintained that the Campaign Finance Board did not contact him for information even though he has been “a legitimate petitioned candidate for months.”
The Campaign Finance Board could not be reached for comment.
Standing on the steps of the New York Public Library at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, Gray said: “I demand to be included in any debate held.”
He outlined his platform as backing “lower taxes, proactive policing, the rights of the unborn, fair and equitable choices for education, traditional marriage and a strong national defense.”
Gray, who said “I am a true Conservative and I am proud of it,” recently offered to withdraw his candidacy in the event Mayor Rudolph Giuliani attempted to seek a third term on a Conservative Party ticket.
Gray said the top priorities for the next mayor of New York City were:
Education — “The first thing we can do is offer vouchers to parents for other schools. Not across-the-board but starting out with the poorest performing schools. We have at the eighth-grade level math a failure rate of 75 percent. And that’s not higher math, it’s arithmetic.”
Crime — “We must have no letup in the fight against crime. But I am afraid there will be with these two leading candidates, both of whom courted the support of Al Sharpton. And Green talks out of both sides of his mouth.”
Prosperity — “We must nourish and keep the middle class in this city. We could go along toward that goal if we quit taxing people to death.”
Gray said New York City must abolish the unincorporated business tax, which he said preys on mom-and-pop businesses, particularly those operated by immigrant families.
Gray praised Giuliani for his leadership since the World Trade Center attack but said one of the mayor’s most important acts came earlier.
“I believe Mayor Giuliani’s finest hour came when he took on the Brooklyn Museum,” Gray said in reference to the controversial exhibition “Sensations.”
“This nasty, ill-tempered, cynical attempt to sell tickets to the Brooklyn Museum succeeded,” Gray said. “It was an attack on all people of faith. And to think something like that receives public financing!”
Gray said he believed the vilification of Giuliani by what he characterized as the liberal media was a factor in the mayor’s withdrawal from the U.S. Senate race.
Gray was born in Brooklyn but brought up in Queens where he attended public schools, Holy Cross High School, and graduated from Oswego State University and St. John’s University Law School.
He served as a U.S. Coast Guard officer from 1970 to 1974 and is a former Nassau County assistant district attorney.
Reach reporter contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 136.