Last night, the Democratic candidates for NYC Public Advocates squared off for a WABC 7-televised debate, and it got good fast: Within 10 minutes, City Councilman Bill de Blasio attacked frontrunner and former Public Advocate Mark Green, "I have to say, with all due respect to Mark Green, he has a little amnesia. He did not stand up to Rudy Giuliani when it mattered most, when Rudy Giuliani wanted to stay on for 90 days at the end of 2001. Mark caved in to him for political reasons.” Green retorted, "There was not any public official in the eight years of Rudy Giuliani who stood up to him more often and more successfully." Green also told moderator Diane Williams, "Diane, let Bill attack me one more time because he needs it emotionally."
Of course, a big question that loomed over the debate is whether there needs to be a Public Advocate at all (City Councilman Simcha Felder released a report on why the city should do away with the position, which is second highest elected position in the city). Civil rights lawyer Norman Siegel said, "You need a public advocate to go and fight. When there is a slush fund in the City Council, you need someone from the outside like me to take on the insiders," while Green said, "I was the public advocate. I don't remember this question being asked very often, if ever, when I was there."
The fourth Democratic candidate, City Councilman Eric Gioia, said, "Politicians bickering back and forth is what gets in the way of results and I tell you, I wish we would end it." PolitickerNY reports, "Gioia's good-guy routine prompted one rival aide to suggest out loud that Gioia was simply running to boost his name recognition for a more serious race for another office next year." (Gioia leads with campaign money but was last in a July 28 Quinnipiac poll.)