Public Advocate candidates try to stand apart for Tuesday’s Democratic runoff election

letitia tish james daniel squadron public advocate
Public Advocate candidates Letitia James and Daniel Squadron try to stand apart for the small number of voters in Tuesday’s Democratic runoff election.
Credit: Aaron Adler

Mayor Michael Bloomberg once said that the Office of the Public Advocate was a “total waste of everybody’s money.”

But the person in the position, created 20 years ago to rename City Council President, would act as mayor if anything were to happen him.

Without any major rivals in the general election, a paltry number of Democratic voters—an estimated 4 percent of the city’s voting population—will likely determine who next holds this underrated position in Tuesday’s runoff election.

The choice isn’t an easy one either—City Councilwoman Letitia “Tish” James and state Sen. Daniel Squadron have similar visions for the office. Both candidates have said they would use the office to fight for disenfranchised New Yorkers.

“I want to focus on social justice issues—impact cases in the city of New York,” James said.

While the Brooklyn Councilwoman highlighted her desire to fight for women, Squadron specifically mentioned using the office to help senior citizens and children.

“The job of the public advocate is to take on failures of the government, especially for those who are least served by it,” Squadron said, adding he, too, believes women are part of this group.

Squadron said he would would divide the office into four bureaus—Most Vulnerable, Children’s, Accountability and Housing—while James expressed interest in hiring law students in the city to help counsel those in need.

Though both pointed out the office was relatively new and still has a chance to shape itself, the candidates disagree about how to fund change.

James said support from her council colleagues would mean the public advocate’s $2.3 million annual budget could increase under her, but Squadron said such political ties wouldn’t be necessary.

“The best way to increase the budget is to make a difference in people’s lives so they want more work from the public advocates office,” he said.

One of the only other things the candidates seem to disagree on is each other.

Noting she voted against the mayor’s third term, James insisted she’s the choice to “move the city past the 12 years of the Bloomberg administration.”

But Squadron said working against, and sometimes for, the mayor is an important role for the public advocate.

“It’s not about the office or individual but the people you service,” he said.

Both candidates said that the other has run a negative campaign.

“That’s why voters are cynical, why so few voters came out in the primary,” James said. “What we really need to do is focus on issues that they care about.”

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter: @AnnaESanders



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor pledges lower greenhouse gas emissions from New…

Just hours before the start of the People’s Climate March on Sunday, and two days ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit, Mayor Bill de…

National

The best places to see the Northern Lights…

A large solar storm hit the Earth's atmosphere and will tonight illuminate the skies with aurora borealis -- also known as the Northern Lights.

Local

Police officer killed Sunday morning Bronx crash, 8…

One NYPD police officer was killed and eight other officers were injured early Sunday morning when the van they were traveling in crashed  in the…

National

Pennsylvania police shooter manhunt near home of suspect's…

A police manhunt intensified on Friday for the gunman who killed an officer and wounded another in an ambush at a Pennsylvania police barracks a week ago.

Television

'How to Get Away with' mischaracterizing Shondra Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes read Alessandra Stanley's New York Times piece about her being "an angry black woman" and "a romance writer" and it did not sit well with her.

Gossip

New nude celebrity selfies leak … and Clay…

A new batch of nude selfies of Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, Vanessa Hudgens, Lake Bell and Avril Lavigne hit the web and Clay Aiken has something to say!

Television

James Spader's route to villainy on "The Blacklist"

In honor of the second season premiere of "The Blacklist" tonight, where James Spader plays good guy/bad guy Raymond “Red” Reddington, it’s a good time to look back at Spader’s…

Television

True Detective

NFL

Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.

NFL

Jets vs. Bears: 3 things to watch

Jets fans likely chalked up Monday's matchup with the Bears as a loss when the NFL schedule came out. But given their team's play so…

NFL

Rashad Jennings carries Giants in first win this…

Rashad Jennings, who came to New York from Oakland last year, by way of Jacksonville, was highly coveted this offseason by general manager Jerry Reese.

NFL

3 things we learned as Giants pick up…

The Giants picked up their first win of the season over the Texans.

Career

Here's how to make the most of visit…

You’re primped, you’re looking polished, you’re prepared with a stack of resumes. Job fair hunters, unite! There are a few things to keep in mind…

Education

Learn how to study effectively and stop cramming…

Picture this: It’s midterm week, and college students everywhere are trying to frantically memorize all of the math formulas, political theories and historical facts that…

Parenting

How motherhood inspired Bethenny Frankel's new book

Bethenny Frankel's new children's book is about how her daughter and dog didn't always get alone.

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.