Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s troubled, controversial third term, which ends this year, put his administration into the position of a political piñata during a forum Thursday night of six candidates to replace him.
It especially showed on the matter of the New York City Housing Authority where the mayor’s selection of a chairman from the private sector, John B. Rhea, has been on the hot seat for issues ranging from poor repairs, financial missteps and other governance problems.
“John Rhea is the Cathie Black of NYCHA,” said Tom Allon, a candidate for the GOP nomination, referring to the abortive tenure of Bloomberg’s last schools chancellor.
“When you have that kind of failure of that period of time, it doesn’t happen by mistake,” said former Comptroller Bill Thompson, a Democratic primary candidate.
Council Speaker Christine Quinn also criticized the current administration of the sprawling agency as did Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. GOP candidate Joe Lhota said “the entire housing apparatus of the city needs to be completely reorganized.”
Nearly 1,000 people filled the seats at the St. Paul’s Community Baptist Church on Hendrix Street in Brooklyn’s East New York. It was sponsored by the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation and the Daily News
There was other criticism of the current City Hall regime on the topic of Sandy recovery in affected areas.
De Blasio cited the city’s ignoring mold problems in its “rapid response” program. Comptroller John Liu cracked, “It’s possible that Mayor Bloomberg does not know what mold is.”
Lhota said that a one-size-fits-all approach to the Sandy aftermath didn’t work — that different areas, from Gerritsen Beach to Staten Island, require different responses from high-rise neighborhoods.