The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article on the Liu’s mayoral race and his thoughts on education.
New York City Comptroller John Liu accused City Council Speaker Christine Quinn of failing to deliver a bold vision for improving education during her State of the City speech Thursday, offering a glimpse of how fierce the mayoral battle may become next year.
“I think there are more far-reaching reforms necessary at the Department of Education,” said Liu, a potential rival to Quinn in the 2013 mayor’s race, just moments after the speaker finished her hour-long address at City Hall.
Council aides said the speaker didn’t intend Thursday’s speech to be a comprehensive address on her vision for education. She plans to lay out more education proposals in the coming months, aides said.
While it remains unclear whether Liu will ultimately seek the Democratic mayoral nomination – his campaign finance operation is currently under federal investigation – the comptroller’s willingness to criticize the speaker suggests next year’s mayor’s race could get heated fast.
Long-shot mayoral candidate Tom Allon, a media executive, has already taken shots at Quinn, the perceived frontrunner to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
As The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, Quinn outlined plans in her speech to make kindergarten mandatory and she proposed a new program to help middle-class parents pay for child care.
Some of Quinn’s other initiatives include:
*Requiring housing developers who receive government benefits to keep units at “affordable” rates for 60 years, instead of the current 30-year benchmark. And Quinn said she is working with the Bloomberg administration on a strategy for “permanent affordability.”
*Calling on the city to create a new rental assistance program to get homeless families off the streets and out of city shelters. Last year, the Bloomberg administration cancelled a program of this kind when the city lost federal and state funding to pay for it.
*Adding city funding to the New York City Housing Authority to make more than 100,000 additional repairs to dilapidated housing units. The funding will create 175 new jobs, and Quinn said the plan will be to offer those jobs to NYCHA residents.
“We can dream attainable dreams about how we can do more for ourselves and each other,” Quinn said in her remarks. “New York is a ladder that always leads us to greater opportunity.”
Other potential mayoral candidates offered praise, albeit reserved, for Quinn’s speech.
Asked if Quinn sounded mayoral, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who is contemplating a bid for mayor next year, said, “I don’t think it was that different from other State of the City speeches by speakers in recent times. Bottom line, there’s definitely some good ideas that I appreciate.”
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, another potential 2013 mayoral candidate, said he welcomed the recent letter Quinn sent to the police commissioner about her concerns about the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policies. He’s been active on that issue.
Stringer described the speech as “very good,” and when asked if he had any criticisms, he smiled broadly and replied: “None.”
Some education advocates praised Quinn’s speech. “The Speaker really gets the notion that schools have a role in the community and the community has a role in schools, and we can’t have high quality education without that,” said Jon Snyder, Bank Street College of Education dean, in a statement.
Liu said he is in full agreement with the speaker that kindergarten should be mandatory. “The next step is we should go even further and require pre-kindergarten of all four-year-olds,” he said.
When asked if Quinn sounded mayoral, Liu said, “She’s been speaker of the City Council for a little more than six years now – and she’s good at it.”