City Hall News reporter Edward-Isaac Dovere has filed a funny account of his futile attempt to attend last night's mayoral debate between Mike Bloomberg and William Thompson. According to Dovere, an officer outside the debate on the corner of 104th and Fifth Avenue promised to have him arrested if he tried to move past him, because Dovere was allegedly late. But Dovere and other ticket holders blocked by the cop insist they were still several minutes early, and the cop's watch was fast. Bickering ensued!
By the time Dovere finally made his way past the zealous NYPD gatekeeper to the actual doorway, he actually was late, and he found himself standing next another latecomer, public advocate Democratic nominee Bill de Blasio. The nominee was able to use pull to get in, but not poor Dovere. Still, he made good use of the time by getting badge numbers and pestering the cops, who probably wished they'd just let him in. And when he told the cop at the door that he'd been threatened with arrest, the officer told him, "He’s my partner, he wouldn’t do that."
Dovere, who was kept out for the duration of the debate, ultimately confronted the commanding officer, but an NYPD press liaison, one Lt. White, intervened and demanded to see his press credentials "to make sure they were not fake." White then refused to answer any questions, telling Dovere, "Why don’t you give me a call in the morning? It seems like you’ve had something to drink tonight." Dovere, who says he only consumed half a Snickers bar, offered to take a Breathalyzer, to which White replied, "I don't need that. I can smell it on your breath." But even if Dovere was a little tight, so what? How else are people expected to sit through a debate?!
We asked Dovere via email what his strategy is for getting past police at future debates, and he replied, "I'm a reporter with a valid press pass who was on the Campaign Finance Board's RSVP list. There is not supposed to be a need for a strategy beyond that to get into a mayoral debate."