NYC comptroller debate: Spitzer to work for a dollar, Stringer sings

Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer responds to questions during a news interview after a primary debate for New York City comptroller in the WCBS-TV studios in New York, August 22, 2013. REUTERS/
Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer responds to questions during a news interview after a primary debate for New York City comptroller in the WCBS-TV studios in New York, August 22, 2013. Credit: Reuters

Eliot Spitzer, trying to rebound from a sex scandal that cost him the New York governorship, promised to work for a dollar a year while his opponent tried to sing a chorus from David Bowie’s “Heroes” as part of Wednesday’s debate between the two Democratic candidates for New York City’s comptroller.

Spitzer now also has a date booked to baby-sit for the children of opponent Scott Stringer and the two candidates have pledged to sit down over coffee and go over Spitzer’s tax returns.

The last live debate before the Democratic primaries on September 10 was a mix of policy minutiae about the city’s pension funds, testy personal exchanges, and off-the-wall moments such as Stringer’s rendition of “Heroes” and Spitzer’s awkward pledge to forgo his salary.

But behind the political theater were the very real – if less entertaining – issues of managing the city’s $140 billion public pension fund, being a watchdog for a $70 billion city budget, and auditing a myriad of city agencies.

The new comptroller will inherit a city that is projecting a budget gap of $2.2 billion in fiscal year 2015. Fixed public sector benefit costs are growing at nearly 8 percent a year, and public sector workers are demanding retroactive pay increases that the city says could cost nearly $8 billion.

“We can be a strong counterweight to the mayor, we can hold agencies accountable,” Stringer said, envisioning his future team in the comptroller’s office. “It’s going to take revitalizing that office, energizing that office, getting it out of the web of bureaucracy.”

Stringer, the Manhattan borough president and favorite of the local Democratic establishment, was considered certain for the nomination before Spitzer announced that he would run at the start of July. That has allowed Spitzer to cast himself as an underdog while at the same time surging ahead in the polls.

A recent Quinnipiac University poll showed Spitzer has a 19-point lead over his rival. He has a particularly strong advantage among black voters, where he leads Stringer 68 percent to 21 percent. He also an 18-point lead among women despite being attacked by some women’s groups.

Spitzer called on voters to “elect someone who is independent of the political infrastructure that has not endorsed me because they see me as a threat to an ossified broken system.”

Spitzer was forced to resign as governor in 2008 after a prostitution scandal, an issue that has been a key element in the race and a central line of attack for Stringer.

Before his fall, Spitzer won a fierce reputation as state attorney general from 1999 to 2006 for going after dubious securities practices at Wall Street banks. That earned him both enemies and supporters in equal numbers.

New York state’s general election will be held on November 5. The winner of the Democratic primary will square off against John Burnett, who was unopposed as the Republican candidate.

(Reporting by Edward Krudy; Editing by Tiziana Barghini)



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

NYPD looking for man they say assaulted elderly…

      The New York City Police Department is asking for the public's assistance in locating a Hispanic male 20's wanted in connection with…

Local

Three arrested after allegedly assaulting off-duty officer in…

Three men were arrested early Saturday morning after allegedly assaulting an off-duty officer at a Bronx bodega, and the NYPD is asking for the public's…

Local

Healthcare union creates vibrant West Indian Day Parade…

Volunteers worked almost around the clock through the weekend, putting the flashy finishing touches on hundreds of costume pieces 1199SEIU members will wear while marching…

National

Top 10 most hipster college campuses

Hipsters are everywhere these days. You can't walk down the anywhere anymore without seeing a pair of skinny jeans on a handlebar mustachioed 20-something, a…

Arts

Theater: Discouraging 'Poor Behavior'

Theresa Rebeck's latest off-Broadway play, about two couples sparring on a weekend getaway, repeats a few mistakes of her past.

Gossip

Chef Todd English arrested for DWI in the…

Celebrity chef Todd English is facing DWI charges after a traffic stop on Sunday.

Movies

Box office: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is 2014's…

This weekend "The Guardians of the Galaxy" passed the fourth "Transformers" movie to become the highest grossing film of 2014.

Gossip

Spears back with controversial ex?

Is Briteny Spears back with Adnan Ghalib?

Sports

Novak Djokovic feeds off US Open crowd to…

Novak Djokovic isn't a native New Yorker, but he sure knows how to use the U.S. Open crowd to his advantage.

NFL

Odell Beckham still 'weeks away,' Tom Coughlin angry…

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has fought a losing battle against the media all preseason over the status of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

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

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…

Sex

When it comes to dating, height matters

Does a man’s height really matter when it comes to dating? Unfortunately - according to a new study - the answer looks like it’s yes.…

Travel

10 free apps to make traveling easier

Finding the nearest bathroom, calculating currency exchanges and locating your departure gate must have been difficult for travelers of previous generations. But we wouldn't know,…

Travel

How to get a seat upgrade to business…

It used to be much easier to upgrade your coach seat to business or even first class, but rigid rules and tighter schedules have made…