The city’s at a crossroads. The next mayor will face serious challenges even before you consider the unexpected. The choice of whom we elect will largely determine whether the gains of the last couple decades are maintained or we reverse course. You’ve heard it all before. But that’s because it’s true.
These are uncertain times. When will Wall Street’s recovery finally make its way to Main Street? How will roughly 150 new city union contracts be hammered out without either bankrupting the taxpayer or shortchanging the worker? Will violent crime begin to rise again? Will the next terrorist plot be successful? How can the schools be improved without leaving so many children behind?
Serious questions that call for a serious leader. And on the Democratic side of the aisle, we believe the best choice for the mayoral nomination is Bill Thompson. That measured demeanor, that quiet but strong personality? They’re not an act. That’s Thompson. And that’s what New York needs.
Thompson has vast experience in public service, as well as a stint in the private sector that would help inform his decision-making if elected. He’s always been a moderate, even a peacemaker. He was the youngest-ever deputy borough president in Brooklyn, and worked hard to restore racial harmony after the 1991 Crown Heights riots.
Shortly after that he was appointed to the old Board of Education, and, with the support of then-Mayor Giuliani, successfully ran for president of the board. In that post he worked to centralize administration of the school system, a needed move that helped set the stage for mayoral control — a worthy though imperfect change.
On that subject, one of Thompson’s more impressive proposals is to reduce the number of mayoral appointees on the 13-member Panel for Educational Policy from eight to six. That would end the guaranteed majority that Mayor Bloomberg has wielded like a club to force his agenda through. But Thompson says that if he can’t get one more person to agree to what he has to say, maybe there’s something wrong with what he has to say. Quite a novel tack to take.
“Who gives up power like that?” rival candidate Anthony Weiner asked. Someone comfortable in his positions.
After leaving the school board, Thompson won two terms as city comptroller. During his tenure the city’s pension fund investments achieved a 12.3 percent rate of return, 50 percent better than forecast. Not bad, not bad at all. And a promising sign of the financial acumen he would bring to the budget negotiation table.
On the crimefighting front, Thompson has backed stop and frisk but has since softened his support for it. He’s running in a left-leaning primary, and we’re confident he would take a moderate position if elected. The practice was already being reformed, and used much less, before a majority of the City Council and a federal judge decided to handcuff the Police Department.
A word about Thompson’s major opponents:
Weiner also has some good ideas, and is dying to serve, but he’s made himself unelectable because of his personal habits. Council Speaker Christine Quinn also plays a good moderate game, but she’s too volatile and could get in trouble by shooting from the hip. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio knows where he would take the city but is simply too far to the left for us. Saddest of all for us is Comptroller John Liu, who could have made us proud as a son of Queens, but has been tainted by his campaign finance scandal.
Thompson’s the one, and we’re glad to endorse him in the Sept. 10 Democratic primary for mayor. See page 10 for our Republican choice.