Voters pack candidates forum
By Phil Corso

Bay Terrace voters took a closer look at candidates running for four different jobs, including mayor and City Council in a nearly three-hour marathon of city politics.

The forum, hosted by the Bay Terrace Community Alliance Tuesday, invited anyone appearing on the ballot for the offices of mayor, city comptroller, city public advocate and City Council in the 19th District. Moderates floated questions on quality of life, stop-and-frisk and other hot-button issues to roughly 20 different political candidates before a packed house at the Bay Terrace Jewish Center.

Virtually all the candidates were asked if they would commit to host town hall meetings in Bay Terrace if elected, to which everyone said yes.

Candidates for mayor included Sal Albanese, Randy Credico, Joe Lhota, John Liu, George McDonald, Christine Quinn, Erick Salgado and Anthony Weiner. Their questions centered largely around stop-and-frisk, funding for city parks and mayoral control of the city Education Department.

Liu, who had the crowd laughing and cheering throughout his short campaign pitch, was one of several candidates to oppose the controversial stop-and-frisk policies of the NYPD.

As for Parks funding, Weiner said he was on the Bay Terrace Community Alliance’s side in contending the nearby comfort station construction project at Little Bay Park was not moving quickly enough.

“We have been holding it in for too long,” Weiner said. “Parks needs to be a little more honest with us.”

Lhota said he would appoint someone with an education background as chancellor of the Education Department. Quinn said she was in favor of keeping mayoral control of the Education Department, but also said it needed reforms so that more stakeholders are allowed a seat at the discussion table.

Credico, a political satirist, delivered mostly jokes during his chance to speak, filled with impressions of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. He then added that anyone running for mayor would be an improvement over Bloomberg.

Council candidates hoping to represent northeast Queens’ 19th District included Democrats John Duane, Paul Graziano, Austin Shafran, Paul Vallone and Chrissy Voskerichian and Republican Dennis Saffran. The candidates were asked about key issues affecting their part of the borough, including airplane noise and outside spending influencing political campaigns.

The candidates asked about airplane noise said they supported the efforts of Bayside activists looking for support in their fight against the Federal Aviation Administration.

As for outside spending, Vallone, who was at the center of attention after political action committee Jobs for New York sent out attack ads against his four Democratic primary opponents, said he would support legislation in the Council that would limit outside spending in elections.

Other candidates who spoke at the forum included public advocate candidates Cathy Guerriero, Letitia James, Reshma Saujani and Daniel Squadron.

Scott Stringer was the only candidate running for comptroller to speak at the event. Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer was a no-show.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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