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Former Bronx Beep Fernando Ferrer:Third Time's A Charm? – QNS.com

Former Bronx Beep Fernando Ferrer:Third Time’s A Charm?

On the hottest day of the year so far (at least according to me, not AccuWeather), I met up with a spry Fernando Ferrer at the newly-refurbished 74th Street subway/bus terminal in Jackson Heights.
100 degrees and full humidity in the shade? Ferrer remained unfazed.
This station right here,” Ferrer said, “is a cross-section of the entire city. It’s tremendous.”
Freddy, as he is commonly known, then sat down with me at the City Coffee on 37th Avenue for a carrot/orange juice (“lot of beta-karotene there”) while I sipped an iced coffee. Gee, who’s the candidate for mayor and who’s the reporter?
Maybe it wasn’t his daily intake of essential vitamins and minerals that had put a spring in his step that night. Perhaps it was the poll numbers released earlier that day, showing his lead in the Democratic Primary had ballooned to more than double his nearest competitor.
Not according to him.
“[The polls] go up and down, I don’t focus an awful lot on them. The best thing I can do is get my message out there,” Ferrer said.
His rationale for running this year after two previous attempts is wrapped around his experience and what he calls the “misplaced priorities” of the current administration.
When I left government in 2001 (he lost in the Democratic runoff to Mark Green), I had no expectations of running again,” he said. “Look, I had very high expectations of this mayor (Bloomberg). Given his wealth, he could be independent and govern from the heart. But he is independent from everybody including the people of New York and their hopes and dreams and aspirations.”
Ferrer also gave the mayor’s seat a go in 1997 but dropped out midway and instead ran successfully for re-election as Bronx Borough President. Before that he was a Councilmember for 15 years.
“Everybody comes in with something special. I come to the table with over 20 years of public service…so what do I bring to this? I’ve done this before.”
He said his proudest achievements in his time in city government were the passage of his “window guards” bill in 1986 and the first-ever Civilian Complaint Review Board law.
Ferrer cited a number of issues that he thought would play a big role in the minds of Queens voters come Election Day.
“One is a crisis of affordability here,” he said. “People are either looking for a decent place to live at a price that they can afford or live in a place that they can’t afford anymore. There’s also the uneven quality of public schools…the transportation system that strands too many people…there’s overdevelopment…I could go on and on.”
He returned then to his claim of “misplaced priorities” and gave an example.
“This city has the capability of having somebody with a hand-held computer scan your windshield and find out how many parking tickets you have, but they can’t find a high school student who’s not showing up for over a year.”
said he spends his days campaigning at subway stops as early as 6:30 a.m. and as late as 8 p.m. He also meets with community leaders around the city “listening” to the issues he should be talking about. He also is still raising money (currently second to Miller with $3.7 million raised), which will be a necessity should he gain the Democratic nod and have to face “Mayor Billionaire.”
“This mayor is very content to campaign with George Bush, George Pataki, his Republican colleagues and he’s saying out of one side of his mouth that they’re great people and out of the other side of his mouth that these policies are killing the city. Well you can’t have it both ways.”
first he has to get past three “good democrats” that “all bring something special to the table.” And while Ferrer said he would support any Democrat who survives the Primary, in his heart he thinks he knows who that will be.
“I expect by dint of hard work and a vision and a story to tell, I’ll win the primary and they’ll be with me.”
politics@queenscourier.com

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