The candidates for public advocate must be feeling 8-track tape useless by now. Earlier this year, Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council made the call to cut the public advocate's budget from $2.9 million to a meager $1.8 million, and now the mayor is visiting far off places (or, Staten Island) to talk trash about the little-known position.
"You should get rid of the public advocate," he told the editorial board of The Staten Island Advance this week. "It's a total waste of everybody's money. Nobody needs another gadfly, and we have an aggressive enough press."
The NY Post called the remark the strongest Bloomberg has made publicly about "a position that has virtually no power but serves as a government watchdog—and that is next in line to succeed the mayor in the event of a vacancy."
And, naturally, the candidates up for the position currently held by Betsy Gotbaum are none too thrilled with his statement. "The position of public advocate is an important one for New Yorkers," Republican candidate Alex Zablocki told the Advance. "This is our only independent voice in government; it is a place people can go to when no one else is listening to them."
His opponent, Democrat Bill de Blasio, said in a statement, "Mayor Bloomberg can not keep changing the rules to suit his political needs."