Yesterday, I reported that the three mayoral candidates who are attending tonight’s forum hosted by the Working Families Party were given the questions in advance.
Courtesy of an aide to one of the candidates, I now have the questions, which are listed below.
In addition, Michael Bloomberg, Bill Thompson and Tony Avella will each be asked an eighth question that is specific to them.
Here are the questions:
1. Development: New York has more development projects than any other American City. What’s your plan to ensure that these development projects serve working families’ interests by creating high-quality, good paying jobs and truly affordable housing?
2. Paid Sick Days: During the Swine Flu panic, public health officials urged New Yorkers to stay home if they felt sick. But thousands of working New Yorkers don’t have a single day of paid sick time. Should New York City pass an ordinance mandating paid sick days for everyone who works inside the city limits?
3. Education: Whatever one’s view may be on the success of charter schools, they serve only 2% of New York City’s public school students. Meanwhile, many of the large schools that serve thousands continue to fail. What is your plan to turn around these failing schools so that we don’t have a two-tiered system of “have and have-not” public schools?
4. Green Jobs: New York City leaders are considering a proposal to require owners of large buildings to make energy-efficiency improvements. This initiative is long past due, but energy savings shouldn’t be the only goal. How do we ensure “green” public policies also protect tenants from unfair rent increases, and create good job opportunities for all residents?
5. Homelessness: The New York Times recently reported that there are more families in homeless shelters than there were five years ago. Under these circumstances, should the homeless get priority for affordable housing programs such as public housing and section 8?
6. City Budget: The Working Families Party agrees with Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz that during an economic crisis, reductions in vital spending or increases in regressive taxes do more harm than modestly raising taxes on wealthy individuals. As our city works to recover from this economic crisis over the coming years, which of these options do you believe we should pursue?
7. Non-Partisan Elections: Every few years, the notion of “non-partisan” city elections is raised. Critics of this proposal, including political scientists, object that political parties provide important information about candidates’ issues and values to voters. Should New York City use non-partisan elections? Would such a system advantage wealthy candidates who could then more easily hide unpopular positions and affiliations?
What else would you ask?