2003-10-15 / Features

Gioia, Hurley Hold Candidates’ Debate In Dutch Kills

by richard gentilviso


The contest for 26th District in the City Council is between challenger Patrick Hurley (Republican/Conservative) pictured below and incumbent Eric Gioia (Democrat) pictured above.The contest for 26th District in the City Council is between challenger Patrick Hurley (Republican/Conservative) pictured below and incumbent Eric Gioia (Democrat) pictured above.

With three weeks to go until Election Day, most of the attention about the November 4 ballot has gone to the pros and cons of a proposed change to the City Charter that would eliminate party primaries and replace them with so-called nonpartisan elections. But the two-party system was alive and well at the Dutch Kills Civic Association Candidates’ Night on October 9.

The contest for 26th District in the City Council is between challenger Patrick Hurley (Republican/Conservative) and incumbent Eric Gioia (Democrat). This contest comes just two years after most of the City Council was last elected, due to the required redistricting mandated every 10 years by the federal population census. Councilmembers normally serve four-year terms.

Speaking first during an equal time format with the opportunity to answer a few questions, Hurley said, "Property tax goes up to 18.5 percent; the sales tax, income tax, and fines, have all gone up. That’s the reason I’m running."

Hurley also criticized the city’s ban on smoking in restaurants and bars as economically and socially destructive.


"Enough is enough. New Yorkers work hard and then nobody is speaking up for these people," he said, calling the city the most heavily taxed city in the country.

Hurley also called for more cops on the beat. "They [the New York Police Department] tell you crime is down, but what they mean is reported crime is down," he said. Noting the $12 billion city education budget and high rate of failure in the public schools, Hurley proposed more choice and competition, saying, "Catholic schools educate for far less [money]. I believe politicians are in the service of the people and should give 100 percent commitment to the agenda of the people."

Citing Teddy Roosevelt’s quote that it was not the critic who counts but the man who’s been fighting in the arena, Gioia said, "I have been there for the past two years and you’ve been with me." Referring to the city’s fiscal crisis in the aftermath of September 11, he added, "We’ve stuck together and we’ve fought hard in a time of crisis. Schools got better, crime went down and streets are cleaner."

Gioia said, "A lot of people pick on our public schools" as he recounted his own public school education, to which he attributes much of his successes. Pointing to his efforts to improve schools, he said, "I’m making sure every child gets the education they need to compete in the 21st century." Gioia said current state funding for city public schools was unconscionable.

"I think everyone knows how hard I’ve fought Mayor Mike Bloomberg," Gioia said, adding, "A leader knows when to fight and how to fight." Especially critical of the closing of Fire Engine Company 261 "against our will", Gioia promised to reopen the fire house. "Let’s do this together. Let’s make this a better neighborhood together," he concluded.

"You’ve heard their opinions, now go out and please vote. It’s always important," DKCA President Gerald Walsh concluded in nonpartisan spirit.


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