At a forum last night at Long Island University in Brooklyn, several New York City mayoral candidates articulated their platform on public health and answered questions from a panel on various aspects of the issue, although one went off script when asked about Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s record in the area.
The candidates included former City Comptroller Bill Thompson, City Comptroller John Liu, former City Councilman Sal Albanese and Manhattan Media publisher Tom Allon [Manhattan Media is the parent company of City & State.] Thompson, who opposed Bloomberg in the mayoral race in 2009, was asked to give a grade on the mayor’s public health initiatives, and though he commended the mayor on instituting the smoking ban and helping eliminate trans fats, overall he felt his record was mixed, beginning with the ban on sodas over 16 ounces.
“I think the soda ban, and I’m trying to be diplomatic here, was good PR,” Thompson said. “If he were really serious about dealing with obesity in a number of ways, there are other things that you would have done.”
After the forum, Thompson was asked to elaborate on a comment he made during the forum that the city’s budget was balanced with a bunch of “one-shots and fiscal gimmicks.”
“Everything from increasing assessments to fines and penalties and a number of other things, in comptroller- speak and budget-speak, is ‘non-recurring revenues’,” Thompson said. “If you look at what they’ve included in this year’s budget like the Taxi Cab medallion sales, which didn’t happened, all of those are one-shots. It’s not the approach that should be taken. It really is irresponsible.”