Live Updates: Adams and Sliwa Attack Each Other’s Character in N.Y.C. Mayoral Debate


Climate change often gets short shrift in political debates like this. Moderator Bill Ritter is asking both candidates how they would prepare a city surrounded by water for the effects of a warming climate.

Curtis Sliwa uses a question about basement apartments to attack Eric Adams on whether the property he owns in Brooklyn is properly registered. Adams gave a tour of the apartment when questions arose about whether he actually lived there.

“Shutting down” illegal basement apartments would be a tall order — they exist essentially “off the books.” Going through each building in the city to find those that have been illegally converted would be a herculean if not impossible task.

Eric Adams said he would not “displace” the residents of those basement apartments. He wants to map them and track them, then work with city agencies to legalize them.

Question: What to do about the 100,000 illegal basement apartments in the city, some of which became deathtraps during the Ida floods — but are also a desperately needed source of affordable housing. Curtis Sliwa said he would shut them down, “but first fine the landlords for housing people in inhumane conditions.”

Basement apartments have become a big issue after 11 people were found dead inside them when the remnants of Hurricane Ida flooded New York City. Curtis Sliwa said he would move to shut down illegal basement apartments and fine landlords who operate them.

As the debate turns to the future of Rikers Island, Curtis Sliwa goes for hard-core scare tactics. “If you elect my opponent, you will have a community jail in your neighborhood,” he warns.

We aren’t covering a lot of new ground in this debate. Both candidates were given chances to articulate many of these same policy positions last week, and the questions haven’t differed substantially.

Curtis Sliwa says no congestion pricing, which he says will crush the middle class, even though the next mayor does not have the authority to stop it.

Given the opportunity to ask Curtis Sliwa any question, Eric Adams declines, saying, “My goal is to speak to the voters and there is not one question I have for Curtis.”

Credit…Pool photo by Eduardo Munoz

Pressed by Curtis Sliwa if he would support him if he lands an improbable victory, Eric Adams gives a grudging yes. “I do not support human beings, I support the position,” he said. Adams then says he has no questions to ask Sliwa.

“Get rid of the speed cameras,” says Curtis Sliwa when asked about raising taxes. “That’s a hidden tax.”

I can’t really explain the look on Eric Adams’s face as Curtis Sliwa continues to attack him aggressively. It somewhat looks like he is trying to keep from laughing.

To save money, Eric Adams says he would cut pay at every city agency 3 to 5 percent across the board.

Next topic: N.Y.C.’s $99 billion budget and the gaping funding hole it faces. Curtis Sliwa’s plan: disband the mental-health program led by the mayor’s wife, Thrive; on education, “filter the money that they waste at the top” into the classrooms.

“You cannot allow someone to cross the line,” Eric Adams says in detailing another part of his crime platform: holding police officers accountable quickly if they violate the law.

After Eric Adams brings up Curtis Sliwa’s child support payments, Sliwa calls his comments “scurrilous.” “How dare you!” he says.

Credit…WABC-TV and the New York City Campaign Finance Board

Things are really going off the rails. Eric Adams says Curtis Sliwa hid money to avoid paying child support. Sliwa denies: “How dare you bring my family into this?”

Tonight’s debate is much more adversarial than the first last week. Many of the attack lines are the same, but the volume has been sharply turned up, and this time, Eric Adams is punching back.

Curtis Sliwa is taking a much more aggressive tone toward Eric Adams tonight. “You fake where you live, Eric Adams,” he shouts, and tells him to “man up.”

Eric Adams finally blows up at Curtis Sliwa for his constant interruptions: “You are acting like my son when he was 4 years old. Show some discipline so we can get to some of these issues,” he says. “You want to be the mayor of the city of New York, start with discipline. “

Credit…WABC-TV and the New York City Campaign Finance Board

Eric Adams has repeatedly tried to distance himself from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s vaccine mandate on city workers. Curtis Sliwa is trying to link him to that policy, suggesting Adams has ties to the mayor and could have interceded in advance.

Curtis Sliwa keeps pointing at Eric Adams and raising his voice. Adams says Sliwa isn’t following the rules and is “acting like my son when he was 4 years old.”

The candidates take very different positions on vaccine mandates. Eric Adams says he would have communicated with the unions before the mandates, which go into effect on Friday, but he does not oppose them. Curtis Sliwa calls the mandates “madness”: “They could have been tested once a week,” he said.

Curtis Sliwa appealing to his erstwhile base, saying that he is upset that police officers and firefighters will face unpaid leave for not getting vaccinated. Sliwa says that he would hire them all back with back pay if elected mayor.

Curtis Sliwa denounces Mayor Bill de Blasio’s policy of putting city workers who refuse to get vaccinated on leave: “When I’m mayor, I’m hiring them all back, and I’m giving them back pay.”

Curtis Sliwa is now interrupting and speaking over the moderators of tonight’s debate, who do not seem pleased.

Credit…Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

Eric Adams had previously said he would commit to a vaccine mandate for students, but he avoided directly answering the question tonight, saying instead that he would not let the city go backward in its effort to end the pandemic.

The first questions of this debate — on public safety, stop-and-frisk, the gifted and talented school program, vaccine mandates — are very similar to the questions asked in last week’s debate.

Curtis Sliwa said he would not implement a vaccine mandate for children, since he wants to keep children learning in person — echoing a recent argument from Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Curtis Sliwa says he opposes a vaccine mandate for public school students. “Kicking kids out of school? No.”

Curtis Sliwa talks about how he spoke with parents opposed to vaccination at yesterday’s big anti-vaccine mandate march across the Brooklyn Bridge. “We are going to kick them out? We are going to expel them? What kind of compassion and care is that?”

Credit…Benjamin Norman for The New York Times

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the candidates for New York City mayor take opposing positions on coronavirus vaccine mandates.

Eric Adams backs Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision to require nearly all of the city’s 300,000 municipal workers to have at least one dose of a vaccine by Nov. 1 — with a caveat. He says he would have negotiated the policy with the unions before announcing it, which Mr. de Blasio did not do.

“We…



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