Tony Avella Throws High and Hard at Debate
Avella's volleys of high hard-ones drew the loudest and most sustained applause from the audience. Undoubtedly, many people clapped to keep from freezing to death as the AC was cranked up to sub-zero in the marvelous glass-domed refrigeration room known as the Celeste Bartos Forum at the New York Public Library where the debate was held.
Despite the chill, Avella's face shone with a thin glaze of sweat as he brought on the heat, giving true-blue Dems fed up with Mike Bloomberg plenty to cheer about. Since this week's Quinnipiac poll shows that rival Bill Thompson stands to trounce Avella in next month's primary at a rate of 45 percent to 10, Avella had nothing to lose. He won just by showing up and giving New Yorkers tuned in to the live NY1 debate broadcast a chance to see him and hear him. He did such a good job of stoking the anti- Bloomberg fires that Thompson - whose goal was to look tough but mayoral - often sounded like a faint echo.
Here are some of Avella's withering blasts:
--On Bloomberg's claims of improving education: "I don't care how many millions he spends on his TV ads claiming education improvements. It's a lot of bunk!"
--On schools chancellor Joel Klein: "I'd fire him. I've been saying that for years."
--On the mayor's increased personal wealth since taking office: "How is it that he was worth $4 billion when he took office, and then, in a recession, he's now worth $16-$18 billion?"
--On Bloomberg's failed plan for congestion pricing on cars entering midtown: "I was against it. No one drives into Manhattan because he wants to."
--On Bloomberg's increased donations to local nonprofit and cultural groups: "He's not donating that money for charitable purposes."
--On charge that he doesn't mix well with others in the City Council: "You're damn right I don't get along with some of those council members who raised their own pay and take money from real estate developers."
--On police "stop and frisk" encounters, now at an all-time high: "Just end it. Stop the practice. I think it serves a hidden purpose. Get a new police commissioner. Let's get back to the cop on the beat."
--On abuses by council-members in discretionary grants to local groups: "I'd end all discretionary funds."
--On balance of power between council and mayor over budget issues: "I'd be the first mayor to give up budget power. Give more to the council."
--On having raised only $271,000 for his campaign so far: "I'm not dialing for dollars. I'm not taking money from real estate developers."
--On construction delays at ground zero: "It's a disgrace. The city should've Use eminent domain to seize the property and build the project itself."
--On city transportation commissioner Janette Sadik- Khan: "She should be fired."
--On improving the economy: "We need to bring back the manufacturing jobs."