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NYC mayoral race: Candidates’ visions key focus of vote

Voters Tuesday will cast ballots to elect Bill de Blasio, Nicole Malliotakis or Bo Dietl to control City Hall until 2022.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, Republican Nicole Malliotakis and

Mayor Bill de Blasio, Republican Nicole Malliotakis and Independent Bo Dietl will be on the ballot on Tuesday, Nov. 7. Photo Credit: POOL / Jefferson Siegel

To Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City was a Dickensian metropolis he’s tried to make fairer with left-leaning policies since his 2014 inauguration.

His four years in office, he says, rebut critics who warned that the liberal agenda would drive up crime and doom the economy.

To Republican challenger Nicole Malliotakis, de Blasio’s New York is regressing into the bad old days of grime and disorder. She promises to be a pragmatist, to eschew ideological battles and focus on meat-and-potatoes governing.

And to Bo Dietl, the ex-NYPD officer-turned-private detective and reality TV star, “one tough cop” running on the Dump the Mayor line can change the town with a businessman’s acumen and a no-nonsense tongue.

Voters Tuesday will cast ballots to pick one of these visions to control City Hall until 2022.

Term-limited de Blasio, 56, has raised more funds than his opponents and has cast himself as a municipal antidote to President Donald Trump. Meanwhile, Malliotakis, a state assemblywoman from Staten Island, and Dietl have accused de Blasio of shirking day-to-day governing in favor of out-of-town trips to tackle national issues.

De Blasio, who has traveled to Germany, Florida, California and Vermont this year promoting leftist causes, insists he can walk and chew gum at the same time, pointing to his successful initiatives, such as the launch of free prekindergarten classes for all of the city’s 4-year-olds.

In April, de Blasio proposed a plan to expand the taxpayer-funded program to all 3-year-olds by 2021, but his ability to deliver on that pledge remains unclear as the $1 billion program would require $700 million in state and federal funding, according to figures released by his office. The request comes at a time when de Blasio has had a strained relationship with leaders in Albany and Republicans in Congress.

De Blasio’s re-election platform has shunned his 2013 “Tale of Two Cities” campaign theme that New York is a starkly different place for the poor and rich. Instead, his slogan this year — “This is your city” — seeks to comfort residents worried about being priced out.

He has pledged to increase the city’s stock of below-market-rate housing; tackle homelessness, whose growth he admits he was slow to acknowledge; and says he’ll help create 100,000 new, private-sector, well-paying jobs over the next decade.

Major crime under de Blasio’s watch has continued its decades-long tumble to all-time lows, though Malliotakis points to a rise in some types of sexual assaults.

Malliotakis, 36, said she would revamp the city’s property tax code, which all three candidates say is broken — a system that charges her more for her home on Staten Island than for each of de Blasio’s homes in Brooklyn, even though hers is worth many times less.

Malliotakis, who says developers are reluctant to build, said she would lower the required percentage of apartments where developers would need to set rents at below-market rates to 25 percent, from up to 30 percent of the units. That percentage is de Blasio’s mandate for builders to take advantage of certain zoning rules and exceed certain limitations.

And she has seized on government investigations into de Blasio’s fundraising, inquiries that were closed with no criminal charges but still drew admonishments from prosecutors, who questioned the propriety of the mayor’s tactics. Late last week, she hung “FOR SALE” signs on the City Hall gates with names of the mayor’s donors and advisers.

She is a lifelong conservative who last year sued the city unsuccessfully to demand it retain certain records concerning a municipal ID card intended to bring immigrants living in the country without permission out of the shadows. The de Blasio administration had sought to destroy those records to keep the Trump administration from acquiring them.

She has chafed at de Blasio linking her to Trump, for whom she voted but whom she has criticized on certain issues.

She has disavowed her vote in 2011 in the assembly against legalizing same-sex marriage in New York.

Dietl, who earlier this year lost a legal battle to run in the Republican primary, was the only one of five third-party candidates to meet the city campaign finance board’s criteria to debate de Blasio and Malliotakis.

The outspoken 66-year-old author of the 1988 autobiography “One Tough Cop” says de Blasio’s New York is riven with public urination and other signs of disorder. To diversify the police force, he said he’d loosen college requirements to join the NYPD.

At a summer news conference, Dietl encouraged passers-by to urinate on a bull’s-eye sign he tried to place outside Gracie Mansion, the mayoral residence, in response to the NYPD’s adoption of patrol guidelines that reduced penalties for certain quality-of-life offenses under the current administration. But the NYPD wouldn’t let him affix the sign to the mansion’s gate.

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