BY JOE MARVILLI
With Primary Day just around the corner, John Liu visited the Queens Tribune to discuss some of the toughest
issues facing the City in its post-Bloomberg years.
The Comptroller and mayoral candidate met with the editorial board on Aug. 21 and spoke about the police department, education and how the polls have underestimated his chances to be elected.
Given the recent ruling by a federal judge against Stop and Frisk, the future of the NYPD has been on everyone’s
mind. Liu restated he has always been against Stop and Frisk and said a focus on community policing would
be a good replacement policy.
“You’ve got hundreds of thousands of people being stopped and frisked seemingly randomly. Almost all of them have done absolutely nothing wrong,” Liu said. “A lot of people think they’re reading about some sort of third-world dictatorship.”
“I want to make sure the police presence is working alongside the community,” he added. “Community policing is when police officers actually know the people in the neighborhoods where they’re patrolling, that they’re keeping safe and there are relationships there.”
If elected, Liu would hire a new Police Commissioner, preferring someone who has a long history with New York and the NYPD.
“I’m looking for people who grew up in the ranks,” he said. “I’m also looking for fresh ideas.”
The candidate said as part of community policing, he would boost the police force’s numbers from 35,000 to 40,000.
“Because things are so shortstaffed, when there are problems in certain neighborhoods, they end up flooding the area with officers who really have no ties to that community or don’t know anybody,” he said. “I envision restoring the police force to the size of the pre- Bloomberg days.”
In terms of education, Liu is proposing a renewed focus on getting high schoolers to think about college, saying there is no reason any young person should not see higher education as part of their life. If at the end of high school, some students discover college is not for them, then he said they can look into vocational schools, which he supports. He also said that the transition from a Dept. of Education school to a CUNY should be “seamless.”
While Liu strongly disagreed with the Bloomberg administration’s emphasis on testing, saying it was “reflected as a business model,” he was not as strongly against charter schools, which he said were good in certain community scenarios.
“Community-grown charter schools I think make sense. They are started by organizations that have been working
in the community for a long time and know the community’s needs and pulse,” he said. “Then you have the other type of charter schools, they’re called chain-charter schools, where it’s like a big corporate entity trying to establish beachheads in every neighborhood, by forcing themselves to be co-located. I think that has been a policy that’s highly disruptive and actually harmful to the charter school movement.”
Liu criticized Bloomberg’s lack of effort to negotiate with the unions as well, calling it a “failure of management.”
Although Liu has been a noticeable presence on the campaign trail, it has not translated to the polls, where he has only garnered five percent in the latest release. Liu doubted that Asian- Americans, who make up 15 percent of the voting electorate, were being represented in the polling numbers, therefore skewing his chances.
“This is the first time this community has a horse in the race and anytime there’s a horse in the race for the first time, the community is much more galvanized and motivated,” Liu said. “You have a huge amount of my base not included in the polls. I may not get every last one of the 15 percent, but I think I’m going to get almost all of them. My poll numbers are significantly understated, by double digits.”
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357- 7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Joey788.