At a panel discussing the mayoral race, the uncertainty in the volatile race seemed to be the only issue that had a broad understanding between the panelists at the table. The insightful discussion called “Who Should Be the Next Mayor of New York” was moderated by Fred Siegel, St. Francis College’s Scholar in Residence, at St. Francis College in Brooklyn. Panelists included Harry Siegel (The Daily Beast), as well as John Avlon (CNN), Michael Powell (New York Times), Maggie Haberman (Politico), and Michael Meyers (New York Civil Rights Coalition).
Nobody should count out Joe Lhota, should he win the Republican primary, a majority of the panelists agreed. Nor was Christine Quinn's candidacy much eluded, no necessarily heartily favored. Her only chance stands in a decisive victory in the first round of the crowded primary, whereas John Liu made it an even more difficult task following his Sunday kick off and dominated performance at the Daily News Forum that was hosted at the same time in Queens.
Video: Opening Remarks
No clear answer was given whether Thompson will certainly emerge in the top two, should there be a run off, or whether in the event that he does win over Quinn in a run off that he'll cruise to victory in November.
Asked why fiscal issues have not become the center of the campaign, Maggie Haberman suggested the Democratic candidates would do anything to avoid that conversation, which in some way may help the Republican candidate, following a robust primary in comparison to the Democratic primary. Columnist Michael Powell criticized his paper. The new York Times 'does not do a very good job of covering the financial condition of the city'. "That has traditionally been one of those boring issues, so called," he said.
Michael Meyers from the NYC Civil Rights Coalition criticized Quinn for her past as an ally to Bloomberg and her experience as Speaker which would come to haunt her once voters actually tune in.
Asked who they think would become or preferably should be the next mayor of New York, most of the panelists sought to avoid direct answers. Michael Powell forthrightly admitted that he is an undecided voter at this point, mainly because the candidates have yet come to answer the tough questions and addressed their experiences as a measure for their suitability.
"They are all pretty bright, and so are they all deeply engaged in the city." Since none of the candidates is stupid, "it will be easier to draw the measure of these people if we start asking them the tough questions," Powell suggested. "And I don't think the measure has been drawn. All of them, not excluding Lhota have a lot of questions to answer, and they shouldn't be allowed to float in because they were part of the Giuliani administration or that they got the UFT endorsement or whatever," he added.
John Avlon was the only panelist that expressed his preference in Joe Lhota as the next mayor
"Under Lhota in the 2nd term spending increased by 12 percent. In the Bloomberg years, spending has increased by an average of 58%. He [Lhota] looks pretty good in this regard," professor Siegel noted the distinction between Bloomberg and the presumed Republican front-runner hopeful. "Having said that," he continued, "his decision in defending Bloomberg on Bloomberg's education reform looks less incredible.