After City Comptroller Bill Thompson said his work as the president of the Board of Education “paved the way” for mayoral control, his long-shot opponent in the mayoral primary, Councilman Tony Avella, said, “It led to mayoral control because you did such a terrible job.”
The line, fired off during the last televised debate of the Democratic mayoral primary, was followed almost immediately by an email from Michael Bloomberg’s campaign which, as you might expect, used Avella’s line.
Throughout the debate, Avella criticized Thompson for accepting campaign funds from people who do work with the pensions he oversees, and for not being a strong enough critic of Bloomberg during the mayor’s eight years in office.
“If anybody gave me a contribution in hopes that I would somehow favor their position, they were mistaken,” Thompson told reporters afterward.
When asked why he didn’t just refuse to take money from people doing business with the pension funds, Thompson said he was acting within the rules of the City Campaign Finance Board, which doesn’t prohibit the practice.
After the debate, Avella said he wasn’t afraid of writing Bloomberg’s attack message against Thompson, since the mayor’s people already have done their research on him.
“He had these things all set to go,” Avella said. “Come on. We all know Mike Bloomberg was sitting with these things.” He added, “These commercials are already planned out. The strategies are already planned out.”
“I can see the commercials now,” Avella said.
“This is Mike Bloomberg’s commercials: ‘I improved the math and reading scores’ which I don’t think he has but that’s a whole other issue. ‘Who was head of the board of Education when it was worse? What about the pension scandal?’ And then they’ll go through the same things.”
The question now is how many other Democrats start reading from Avella’s script and start openly criticizing Thompson.