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NYC mayoral race: Bill de Blasio, 'Bo' Dietl, Nicole Malliotakis

New Yorkers are heading to the polls Tuesday to decide who will be their next mayor.

Incumbent Mayor Bill de Blasio easily beat a number of candidates vying to unseat him in the Democratic primary in September. But de Blasio isn't without competition, even with a landslide primary win.

Republican challenger New York Assemb. Nicole Malliotakis has come out swinging against de Blasio, taking him to task on everything from reports that he takes naps in his office to his campaign practices in the 2013 mayoral race. Independent Richard 'Bo' Dietl, a former NYPD detective, has painted de Blasio as a corrupt politician who hands out favors to campaign donors.

The three candidates battled it out in the final general election debate on Wednesday, with plenty of jabs over policy to go around.

Mike Tolkin and Sal Albanese, who ran against the mayor in the primary and were not invited to the debate, will challenge him again under the Smart Cities and Reform parties, respectively.

Despite his rivals' criticisms, de Blasio won over 61 percent of likely voters in a Quinnipiac University Poll released in October. Malliotakis had 17 percent of the voters polled, while 6 percent said they would vote for Dietl and 8 percent were for Albanese. Tolkin was not included in the poll.

Get to know more about the mayoral hopefuls and where they stand on key issues.

Bill de Blasio

Bill de Blasio, 56 Party: Democratic Current
Photo Credit: Jeff Bachner

Bill de Blasio, 56

Party: Democratic

Current role: Mayor of New York City

Brief bio: De Blasio was born in New York City on May 8, 1961. He began his political career as a junior staffer for former Mayor David Dinkins after graduating from New York University and studying at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. De Blasio then went on to serve on the City Council before being elected as public advocate, a position he held for three years. He was elected mayor of New York City in November 2013 and was sworn into office on Jan. 1, 2014.

On the issues:

Homelessness/housing: During his tenure, the mayor created a homeless outreach program, called HOME-STAT, with the goal of bringing people off the streets and into shelters. So far, 750 New Yorkers have been transitioned into shelters, according to de Blasio's campaign. Back in February, de Blasio proposed opening 90 new shelters across all five boroughs over the span of five years as part of his plan to curb the homeless crisis. The plan also included the promised elimination of housing homeless residents in hotels by 2023. With the number of people living in city shelters on the rise since taking office, the mayor has been criticized for his approach to homelessness.

Jobs and the economy: De Blasio's current administration unveiled an initiative in 2016, LifeSci NYC, that aims to bring in 16,000 new biotechnology jobs to the city through tax breaks for labs and research firms. The initiative is part of the mayor's overarching plan to create 100,000 jobs over 10 years. So far, the city has seen 300,000 new jobs added in de Blasio's first term, according to his campaign.

Transit: The mayor often touts the successes of his Vision Zero traffic safety initiative - which his campaign says has reduced traffic deaths by 23 percent since 2014 - his plan to fix the subway's crumbling infrastructure has been met with mixed reviews. Following a summer filled with terrible commutes, caused by everything from track fires to derailments, the mayor announced a proposal to fund the modernization of the subway system by taxing the city's wealthiest earners. The so-called millionaires' tax would also create enough funding for 800,000 half-priced MetroCards for low-income New Yorkers - an initiative that has been pushed by some transit advocates in the face of rising subway fares. Some transit advocates, however, prefer congestion pricing - including tolling currently free East River bridges - as a more sustainable way to generate transit funds. De Blasio also helped launch the new NYC Ferry system in 2017, bringing a new transportation option to places like the Rockaways and Astoria at the same cost as a subway ride.

Education: One of de Blasio's shining achievements in his first term as mayor was the launch of universal pre-kindergarten in New York City. Currently, about 70,000 4-year-olds are enrolled in full day pre-K, per his campaign. Up next: The mayor wants to make full day early childhood education available for 3-year-olds across the five boroughs. The city's public school system also saw the highest recorded graduation rate in 2016, at 72.6 percent.

Crime/criminal justice reform: De Blasio's administration was involved with the passage of a package of bills, known as the Criminal Justice Reform Act, in the City Council in 2016. The act, among other things, allows police officers to issue a civil ticket for many low-level, nonviolent offenses. De Blasio also recently proposed a 10-year plan to shutter the scandal-plagued Rikers Island facility. The complex would be replaced by a series of smaller jails placed in each borough, according to de Blasio's administration. On primary day, several activists who want to see Rikers closed heckled the mayor outside of his Brooklyn polling site, demanding that he close the jail faster.

Nicole Malliotakis

Nicole Malliotakis, 36 Party: Republican Current role: State
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Drew Angerer

Nicole Malliotakis, 36

Party: Republican

Current role: State assemblywoman, representing parts of Brooklyn and Staten Island

Brief bio: Malliotakis, the daughter of Cuban and Greek immigrants, was born in New York City on Nov. 11, 1980. She's currently serving her third term in the state Assembly, representing parts of Staten Island and Brooklyn. She earned a bachelor's degree at Seton Hall and has an MBA from Wagner College. Malliotakis was named one of the American Conservative Union's "Top 10 Under 40" in 2013.

On the issues:

Homelessness/housing: Malliotakis does not agree with de Blasio's plan to build more homeless shelters across the city, arguing that the focus should be on transitioning people out of shelters. She says she will address the "underlying issues of homelessness like substance abuse, mental illness, domestic violence, or lack of employment," and build affordable housing.

Jobs and the economy: Malliotakis wants to streamline the permit process for new businesses and exempt small business from the commercial rent tax.

Transit: The Republican has called for upgrades to the MTA's subway signal system, which is the cause of daily delays. "Unlike Bill de Blasio, Nicole will extend a hand to Governor Cuomo and work in partnership to find funding sources to make these upgrades," her campaign website says.

Education: Malliotakis argues that funding is not going to the right places in the city's schools and wants to see it go directly into the classroom, paying for supplies and technology.

Crime/criminal justice reform: The mayoral candidate opposes the proposal to close Rikers Island and build jails across the five boroughs. She wants to modernize the current prison complex and focus on the case backlog in the justice system. She also disagrees with de Blasio on the lower penalties for crimes like public urination and littering.

Richard 'Bo' Dietl

Bo Dietl, 66 Party: Independent Current role: Private
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Stephen Lovekin

Bo Dietl, 66

Party: Independent

Current role: Private investigator, business owner and former NYPD detective

Brief bio: Dietl worked as an officer and detective in the city from 1969 through 1985. He previously ran for a U.S. Congressional seat in the 6th District but lost to Democrat Rev. Floyd Flake. He was appointed co-chairman of the National Crime Commission by then-President George Bush in 1989, and is the founder of Beau Dietl & Associates and Dietl was born in New York City on Dec. 4, 1950.

On the issues:

Homelessness/housing: Dietl believes psychiatric treatment, job counseling and other supportive training is key in lowering the homeless population in the city. He has also proposed using vacant, city-owned buildings to house homeless people.

Jobs and the economy: If elected, Dietl would fight to raise the minimum wage in the city. He would also create a program that would hire out-of-work New Yorkers to clean up the five boroughs.

Transit: Dietl has put out a three-point plan to fix the subways, which includes a freeze on capital spending until the subways are at least 95 percent reliable; creating a dedicated funding source to ensure ongoing maintenance; and funding future expansions of the system using 100-year callable "green" revenue bonds.

Education: One proposal from Dietl's campaign would reduce student debt by creating tax incentives for private businesses to take part in a super fund for college tuition grants. New Yorkers making less than $100,000 would qualify to apply to such a program. Dietl wants to open more vocational schools, believing that young adults would be better equipped for the work force with more practical skills.

Crime/criminal justice reform: Dietl wants to reevaluate the NYPD's use of body cameras and get rid of the college education requirement for recruits, allowing officers to earn their degrees over the course of five years instead.

Mike Tolkin

Mike Tolkin, 32 Party: Smart Cities (previously
Photo Credit: Mike Tolkin for Mayor

Mike Tolkin, 32

Party: Smart Cities (previously ran as a Democrat in the primary election)

Current role: Entrepreneur

Brief bio: Tolkin was born on Jan. 1, 1985, in New York City but was raised on Long Island. He earned a bachelor's degree in economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Tolkin moved to the city after graduating and began his career as an entrepreneur, working in a range of industries including retail, media and technology.

On the issues:

Homelessness/housing: One of Tolkin's proposals is a rehabilitation program he calls NYC Life, which would provide safe interim housing, mental health care, physical care and job training for homeless people. He also wants to build affordable housing that would be managed by NYC Enterprises, a program he has proposed that would create privately managed, for-profit companies that reinvest their profits into the city.

Jobs and the economy: The candidate promises to cut taxes, including the personal income tax for people earning below $120,000 and the sales tax, and create new rent subsidy programs for small businesses. To create new jobs, he says he would invest in infrastructure, expand city services such as street cleaning and health services, and invest in new growing industries, like biotechnology, urban farming and virtual reality.

Transit: Tolkin says he would repair, upgrade and expand the subway and mass transit system with a $25 billion improvement program. He also wants to develop a public ride-sharing option for New Yorkers.

Education: The mayoral candidate wants to reform the curriculum for pre-K through 12th grade to better incorporate vocational studies and apprenticeships, as well as upgrade schools with new technology.

Crime/criminal justice reform: Tolkin, like de Blasio, supports increased transparency from the police department, investment in neighborhood policing and adoption of more nonlethal containment methods. He says he would work to reform the court and prison systems to center around care and rehabilitation. He is also in favor of legalizing marijuana to help police focus on violent crimes.

Sal Albanese

Sal Albanese, 68 Party: Reform Party (previously ran
Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Sal Albanese, 68

Party: Reform Party (previously ran as a Democrat in the primary election)

Current role: Former city councilman and public school teacher

Brief bio: Albanese was born in Calabria, Italy, on Aug. 29, 1949, and immigrated to Brooklyn when he was 8 years old. After graduating from John Jay High School in 1967, he received his bachelor's degree in education from CUNY York College and went on to earn an master's in Health Science from New York University and a law degree from Brooklyn Law School in 1990. Albanese worked as a city public school teacher for 11 years before he won a City Council seat in 1982. He served four consecutive terms on the City Council. This is his third time running for mayor of New York City.

On the issues:

Homelessness/housing: Albanese says he would build more affordable housing, but doesn't specify where on his website. He says he would also launch a fund that would go toward homeless prevention services and supportive housing, rather than shelters. Additionally, he wants to "reform and strengthen NYCHA" by fast-tracking repairs, reducing crime and ending the system of double-taxing residents for services.

Jobs and the economy: The former councilman says he would work to pass the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, which would give owners of small businesses the right to a 10-year lease with equal negotiation power as the landlord, end the process of landlords "passing on" their property tax expenses and end unreasonable rent increases.

Transit: Albanese advocates for expanded bus service, a "more equitable tolling formula" and funding the MTA through the personal income tax already collected. He says he would dedicate 0.3 percent of the personal income tax to the MTA. In regards to tolling, Albanese supports the MoveNY plan, which advocates for congestion pricing.

Education: The former public school teacher calls for reforming the way the city recruits, trains and supports teachers, including "more rigorous student teaching experience, creation and expansion of immersive internship programs, and regular classroom feedback." He also wants to institute a new curriculum that focuses on technology, engineering and computer science and create "pediatric wellness centers," where teachers, psychologists and doctors would work with newborns to 3-year-olds to prepare them for school.

Crime/criminal justice reform: Albanese advocates for more community policing. He says he would make sure there are enough officers and detectives at all precincts to ensure crimes are investigated the same way in all neighborhoods.


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