Six Democratic mayoral contenders Sunday each posited themselves to a crowd of hundreds as the best candidate to lead a city of immigrants, sparring, sometimes in Spanish, on issues including the controversial NYPD practice known as stop-and-frisk.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio slammed front-runner City Council Speaker Christine Quinn for what he called her inconsistency on stop-and-frisk, which critics say unfairly targets minorities. He said she can't reform the practice while planning to keep its "architect" -- NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly -- in the position.
Quinn reiterated she wanted to create an inspector general position to oversee the police department.
The two spoke at an Astoria, Queens, mayoral forum hosted by the influential immigrant organization Make the Road New York. It brought hundreds of attendees to the forum, most of them Latino and many wearing headsets that translated the candidates' responses into Spanish.
De Blasio, Quinn and their rivals, former Comptroller Bill Thompson, former congressman Anthony Weiner, former City Councilman Sal Albanese and Comptroller John Liu, all attended the National Puerto Rican Day Parade in Manhattan earlier in the day. Their participation in both events -- as well as their efforts to speak Spanish -- underscored the importance of the Hispanic vote in the race.
Several Long Islanders attended the forum, including members of the Brentwood-based Long Island Civic Engagement Table.
Alexandra Sanjuan, of Brentwood, said what happens in the city, especially on matters of immigration reform, affects Long Island and the suburbs. She said that though Long Islanders can't cast ballots in the race, she wanted to stay informed on the candidates' platforms.
"Even if you don't vote in the city, it's important because the mayor, whoever it is, takes positions that affect all of New York," Sanjuan said. "Any changes that happen in the city also affect Long Island."
Thompson said he'd favor replacing Kelly. "We need a new start with a new commissioner," he said of reforming the stop-and-frisk policy. Liu told the crowd he would abolish the practice entirely.
The forum also covered the developments planned for Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, protection of low-income tenants against landlords and workplace justice.