In the event of so many campaign announcements and Borough tours, Mayoral candidate Bill Thompson met Sunday evening with a dozen of Jewish community leaders and politicos at the Avenue Plaza Hotel in Borough Park. "You are looking at the next mayor of New York, without any doubt," said Rabbi Freilich.
Mr. Thompson, who remembers that Borough Park handed over victory to Mayor Bloomberg in 2009, faced a tougher crowd than expected, with questions about vouchers, transportation, public safety, taxes and unions covering the entire Q&A. While Thompson seemed to be on the defensive (after all this is a district that has voted for Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani in the highest numbers) he also deferred concerns of a future Democratic administration after 20 years of Republican/Independent control of City Hall.
Addressing concerns by the audience of a return to the Democratic policies of higher taxes and power the unions have on the Democratic candidates, Mr. Thompson went of the offensive against the current front runner of the Republican primary Joe Lhota. "They are trying to scare you that if a Democrat gets elected as mayor it will all reverse back 20 years or so. But make no mistake, all Rudy Giuliani wants is a 3rd Giuliani administration," Thompson said of Lhota.
In his opening remarks, Thompson touted his years long relationship with the Jewish community, his ability to raise funds to remain competitive and the issues of great concern to the outer boroughs that remain issues close to his heart, which are: Public safety, affordable housing, job growth and the high cost of living. Echoing Quinn and de Blasio, Mr. Thompson also spoke about One New York City that includes the outer boroughs. "New Yorkers want someone that will listen to them, even if they disagree on some of the policies," he said.
The low poll numbers are not an issue of concern, at least that was Mr. Thompson impression. "Nobody that was the front-runner at this point went on to become mayor," He said. "The campaign has just begun," he added. While expressing hope that he will exceed over 70 percent of the Black vote and a substantial amount of the Hispanic vote, "but I need your help, the help of the Jewish Community," he issued a plea.
"I need your community, I need your help and your support. If I have that, you know something? I am going to the next Mayor of the City of NY. And we will be able to sit down in the futrue, and have conversations about the future of NYC. Those who know me, know the one thing: We may disagree but we will always sit down and talk.You will never be surprised by what i do." Mr. Thompson argued seeking the Jewish community's support.
"And one thing," he continued, "I am not going to be the mayor who can't find his way to Borough Park, or to Flatbush, or to Crown Heights or to Williamsburg. You will be able to find me, I know that," he promised to loud applause. "I know how to get there. I don't need a driver to get there."
"So, I need your help. With it, I have absolutely no doubt that I am the next mayor of the City of New York," Mr. Thompson concluded.
After the meeting, I asked Mr. Thompson whether his confidence that he'll be able to defeat the Republican candidate has also taken in consideration a scenario in which John Catsimatidis wins the Republican primary? "I am confident that if I am the Democratic nominee, and I believe I will, I believe I will beat whoever my opponent is," he responded.