Taking place the day after a man drove a rented truck down a Manhattan bike path, killing eight and injuring 12 others, the final mayoral debate between Bill de Blasio, Nicole Malliotakis and Bo Dietl kicked off on the topic of terrorism.
The key points were police surveillance of Muslim New Yorkers, installing bollards to protect pedestrian and cycling pathways and more immigration restrictions proposed by President Donald Trump.
“Yes, we can prevent terror by intelligence gathering. We can prevent terror by building close relationships with communities all over the city,” incumbent Democrat de Blasio said, adding that past surveillance alienated NYPD officers and violated the rights of those they sought information from.
Dietl, a former NYPD detective who is running as an independent, echoed Trump’s tweet regarding the political correctness of extreme vetting, saying it “cannot be there all the time.”
To that end, Republican Assemblywoman Malliotakis said that a group or religion should not be targets, but police should have “the tools that we need to do their job” with “no limits to their ability when they get their lead.”
To the bollards, of which extra were installed after a man drove his car through Times Square in May, killing one and wounding 22, the mayor said, “We change constantly with the times” and that barriers were put in sensitive areas of the city.
If elected, Malliotakis said, “We will have bollards where necessary.”
In addition to terrorism, the candidates clashed on the usual topics of crime, homelessness and affordable housing, as well as “pay-to-play” donors of de Blasio, who were subjected to state and local investigations.
“This matter has been fully investigated by the federal authorities,” the mayor said. “They took no further action.”
Malliotakis said that “the ‘for sale’ sign comes of City Hall” if she is elected and asked the public “if they want a mayor who looks for that little loophole, a way to skirt the law and get an intended outcome for him and his friends.”
Dietl said a special prosecutor should be brought in for de Blasio because “I know a criminal when I see one” and that “this city is corrupt as heck.”
Wednesday night’s debate was the second and final before Tuesday’s general election.