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.
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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.