Morning Read: 'He's the Best Thing to Happen to Political Consultants'

(Photo: Getty)

(Photo: Getty)

As yellow school bus drivers strike today, many of the candidates for mayor have taken sides. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Comptroller John Liu, both Democrats vying for labor support, have backed the union and slammed City Hall, while the more cautious Christine Quinn and Bill Thompson have avoided categorical positions thus far. Republican George McDonald, on the other side of the partisan aisle, said striking drivers should simply be fired.

At a forum hosted by Rev. Al Sharpton last night, all five Democratic mayoral candidates were asked whether NYPD officers should be required to live in the five boroughs. Only Mr. de Blasio said no. Ms. Quinn and Mr. Liu wanted the requirement and Mr. Thompson was “less clear.”

Assemblyman Vito Lopez is reportedly not as interested in the City Council race as he once was, and currently is leaning against the possibility because of health concerns. “I don’t want to walk away from people I represent–I was elected in my [Assembly] district,” he explained.

While Congressman Charlie Rangel, who was removed from his chairmanship of the influential House Ways and Means committee in 2010, was named the ranking member of the trade subcommittee, perhaps a sign of his rehabilitating image after House found him guilty of various ethics violations.

The Democrats in the State Senate continued to argue New York’s new gun laws are a reason why their party should be in charge. “We have at least seven bills in this package,” Democratic Minority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins said on Capital Tonight. “The members have been–for years–talking about creating sensible gun laws and pushing it and pushing it. Frankly, the fact that they did become part of this package and we were able to pass it–I’m sure you noted and they noted–it was our conference that carried the night.”

While on Inside City Hall, GOP mayoral candidate Tom Allon was more than effusive for the gun control bill, adding he “absolutely” does not agree with Republicans opposed to new gun laws. Mr. Allon, who was the first Republican to announce his campaign, also expressed optimism about the growing field of credible Republican rivals, saying, “When I first jumped into the pool, back in October, the pool was empty. Now it’s like Jones Beach on July 4th. I think it’s great. I think it’s great for everybody. I think that the more people that run and the smarter people that run in New York City, the more options we give people, the better. I’m looking forward to debating people like Joe Lhota and John Catsimatidis and potentially Adolfo Carrion if he gets into the race.”

Of the prospects of businessman John Catsimatidis entering the race with millions of his own dollars, Mr. Allon mused, “God bless him, he’s the best thing to happen to political consultants in New York. I like John, he’s a good friend. I’ve known him for 20 years. He’s a smart man. He’s created more jobs than any other candidate in the race. We need people like John Catsimatidis running for Mayor of New York.”

Campaigning for Queens Borough President, former Councilwoman Melinda Katz raised a solid $283,000 in four months, putting a solid marker down among the Democrats vying for the support of county chairman Joe Crowley. “I am so appreciative to our hundreds of donors and their support for my candidacy,” Ms. Katz said in a statement.

At a public hearing yesterday on his new disclosure requirements for nonprofits involved in the political process, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman again explained why he felt the regulations are needed: