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
National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…