As election nears, both candidates on the trail
As the clock ticks down toward Election Day, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and city Comptroller Bill Thompson were both out in force over the weekend, with each candidate pumping up their supporters and reminding them to go to the polls Tuesday.
Perhaps looking for inspiration as he sprints to the finish line, Bloomberg greeted runners at the marathon Sunday before hitting rallies in Brooklyn and Queens. Thompson attended several church services Sunday morning before appearing with fellow Democrats in Queens.
Bloomberg is running on the Republican and Independence party lines, though he is not registered with any party. According to a Marist poll Friday, Bloomberg has a 15-point lead in the election.
Both the mayor and Thompson share a socially liberal political outlook and find common ground on a lot of major issues, though each side has ramped up its attacks over the past few weeks, with a slew of negative ads hitting the airwaves.
“This has been a campaign more about style rather than clear difference on policy,” said David Birdsell, the dean of Baruch College..
Still, each has sketched out an agenda on several key issues, with Bloomberg, naturally, promising much continuity with the last eight years.
Both support mayoral control of the schools. Thompson has criticized the Department of Education for its emphasis on test preparation and called for more parental involvement, while Bloomberg touts what he says is the narrowing of the achievement gap and better graduation rates since he took over.
Bloomberg has vowed to increase the use of surveillance technology for law enforcement and points to historically low crime rates during his administration. Thompson has criticized the police department’s stop-and-frisk program as too aggressive, though he has not said he would end it.
Both have called for the city to diversify its economy beyond Wall Street with job training and help for entrepreneurs. Thompson has proposed financial incentives for independent retail operators and more funding for vocational schools, while Bloomberg created an incubator for start-ups and promised to streamline the permitting process for small businesses.
Thompson says he will push to repeal vacancy decontrol laws and would steer homeless families into Section 8 housing. Bloomberg has touted a loan program for homeowners facing foreclosure and promised more subsidies for the Mitchell Lama program.
The Bloomberg administration pushed the extension of the No. 7 train to the far West Side and plans to continue opening bicycle lanes. Thompson has proposed creating a permit parking program and said he would attend MTA board meetings as a way to influence policy.