May 23, 2013
I reported earlier on Anthony Weiner’s latest stop on the apology tour, hosted by WNYC’s Brian Lehrer. To circle back, here’s some of what he said on actual policy issues while speaking with Lehrer during his first day on the stump:
Weiner said he wants to ease the tax burden on average New Yorkers, and “I think we can make it up by saying we should have a more progressive tax for these oligarchs and potentates that are buying $20 million apartments in New York City and are basically paying the same rate as the neighborhood guy in Sunnyside.”
When Weiner ran for mayor in 2005, he placed second in the primary with few endorsements from unions and pols.
Again, this time around, he’s “probably not going to be the candidate of other elected officials and big institutions. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to wage a campaign attacking them.
“I want every member of these unions to support me, and I’ll let someone else figure out what box they want to put me in on ideology.”
More on that ideology:
* Weiner supports single-payer health insurance, but in the interim wants municipal workers to pay toward their own own plans to ease the city’s spiraling costs. He also supports charging smokers more.
* Mayoral control of schools started out as a good idea, but there have been some “crucial mistakes” made since Mayor Bloomberg got his wish, Weiner said to a question on teacher evaluations. “I think that it has led to a situation where, frankly, you have teachers that are chafing so much at their employer that it’s just not healthy,” he said.
* On the much-debated co-location of traditional and charter schools, Weiner said he doesn’t object to co-locations when there’s space, but there shouldn’t be a competition between charters and public schools that leads to overcrowding in some buildings. He also said more gifted and talented programs can stop parents from abandoning traditional schools. On parochial schools, he supports cutting red tape and creating a “non-profit” czar, but didn’t go so far as backing a voucher program.
* Weiner opposes the upper East Side marine transfer station that’s brought the Democratic primary frontrunner, Christine Quinn, a lot of heat. Quinn says distributing garbage plants throughout the city instead of concentrating them in poor areas is a way to combat “environmental racism.” Weiner says he sees no economic rationale — “though there may be a talking-point rationale” — for locating the facility there.
* The NYPD’s stop and frisk tactics are not in themselves unconstitutional or a useless policing tool, Weiner says, but “the way this policy is being done is disenfranchising large communities.” That stance brings him into line with most mayoral hopefuls.
At the same time, Weiner praised Bloomberg for easing racial tensions since voters transferred power to him from Rudy Giuliani. Weiner also supports an expanded DNA criminal database.
* Weiner refused to comply with Lehrer’s request that he give Mayor Bloomberg a rating from one to 10: “I ran against Mike Bloomberg once; I’m not eager to do it again.” He called Bloomberg innovative in some ways — though he made sure to balance that by reminding listeners of his vocal opposition to the mayor’s drive for a third term. “I don’t think it does justice to the covnersation to reduce it to a number,” he said.
* And Weiner loves bikes — and was only kidding with his 2010 Bloomberg-directed crack about tearing out “the [expletive] bike lanes” if he gets elected. He doesn’t like that bike lane on Prospect Park West, though he’s not “getting wrecking crews out” just yet. “I’m not looking to relitigate every bike lane in the city,” he said.