Televised Mayoral Debate, August 21, 2001
ANDREW KIRTZMAN: Good evening and welcome
to the NY1/New York Times Democratic mayoral debate.
I'm Andrew Kirtzman, and this is my colleague, Joyce
Purnick of The New York Times. We are coming to
you from the studios of CUNY-TV in Midtown Manhattan.
. . .
So my first question goes to all the candidates. Maybe we'll start from my
left this time.
A recent New York Times poll shows that New Yorkers now hold a more
optimistic view of their city and its future than in any time in nearly a
quarter of a century. You all like some of the things that Mayor Giuliani has
done and dislike some of the things that Giuliani has done, but clearly a lot
of New Yorkers like a lot of the things that Rudy Giuliani has done as mayor.
Look into the camera and tell New Yorkers exactly what aspects of the city
you will guarantee will stay the same or get better for the next four years.
PETER F. VALLONE: Since I've had the privilege of working with Mayor
Rudy Giuliani and his predecessors, Mayor David
Dinkins and Mayor Edward Koch, I worked alongside
the three of them and it took not just one person,
but it took a lot of work to get the city where
it is today, and I like to think that I had something
to do with it. No mayor can do this alone. The mayor
has to work very closely with the City Council,
arrive at a consensus, and I think we did that.
Not only have we adopted 12 on-time balanced consecutive
budgets, and not only have we made this city a much
safer city, but we also built up a surplus of over
a billion dollars for this city to go into the next
century, and I think that that's something we should
be proud of, without raising a solitary single tax.
KIRTZMAN: So what aspects of city life will
you guarantee the voters of New York will either
stay the same or get better while you're mayor over
the next four years?
VALLONE: There's no possible way that I
would ever let the city become unsafe again since
I'm the one that created the Safe Streets, Safe
City program, which is responsible for the 10,000
cops that we had. What Mayor Giuliani did with those
10,000 cops is to come up with a Compstat system,
which gets the kind of accountability for the police
officers to make this not only the safest city in
town, but to set an example.
KIRTZMAN: Mark Green.
VALLONE: It's the kind of things we should
be doing for the other agencies.
MARK GREEN: I guarantee that every service
will either be as good or better. Why else would
I be running? I promise you no - through no effort
of mine will any service get worse. There are four
areas that count. First, a chief executive in New
York City, any city, is held up to the standards
of is crime down and lower, and are test scores
high and higher. And so I'll do everything feasible
not only just to keep the good news on crime, but
continue the good news on crime by more creative
strategies on community policing and swifter, surer
discipline. So crime goes down with misconduct.
Second, how do you get test scores up? The Board
of Ed. is broken. I want to change it by assuming
more mayoral control and focusing on smaller class
sizes, the instant that kids are biologically ready
to learn or not, K to 3.
The other two, Andrew, are we have to build more housing, not more stadiums.
Unless we have more housing, my daughter won't be able to leave home ever and
companies won't move here because their employees can't afford to live here.
None of this can happen without going beyond Rudy Giuliani. And racially and
by borough uniting a city that's been all too divided under him.
KIRTZMAN: Guaranteeing that all the city services are going to be better
when you finish your mayoralty is a tall order.
GREEN: I didn't say that. I said I guarantee
that all will be as good or better.
KIRTZMAN: Are you willing to guarantee that
if they're not as good or better that you won't
run for re-election?
GREEN: Of course not, that's up to the voters
to decide. Joe Namath predicted victory when it
was brash. He won in '68 when the Jets beat the
Colts. Allow me, in the spirit of Joe Namath, to
predict on running to make the city better by 2010.
I'm not looking backwards, Andrew, I'm looking forward.
KIRTZMAN: Fernando Ferrer.
FERNANDO FERRER: Undeniably, New York City
has gotten better in so many respects in the last
eight years, but I do not view the last eight years
as an unalloyed success. Just ask the New Yorkers
who can't find a decent place to live at a price
they can afford, or the parents of New York City
public school children who are still deeply conflicted
about their public schools, finding too many of
those children trapped in schools that cannot succeed.
Or the one out of four New Yorkers who has no health
insurance and no decent and reliable access to health
care. Or too many New Yorkers who find themselves
on the wrong side of the divide of distrust with
their own Police Department. Those are the things
that need to change to bring this city to the very
KIRTZMAN: What aspects of city life will
you guarantee New Yorkers will remain at least as
good as they are or get better?
FERRER: Undeniably, every New Yorker's personal
sense of individual safety and security is the predicate
for a civilized life in this city. And that's the
thing that we must - you'd have to be crazy not
to say I will devote my administration to dealing
But there are also other problems that do affect the quality of life. How can
anyone deny that having a decent and affordable place in which to live, a
good school to send your children to, decent and regular access to health
care and a good relationship with your own Police Department are predicates
for stable family living in New York City?
KIRTZMAN: Alan Hevesi.
ALAN G. HEVESI: I guarantee that if I am
the mayor, there will be not one step back in the
fight against crime, that the Police Department
will be recognized for the extraordinary job that
it's done, that we will raise the salaries of police
officers and we will also deal with the issue of
police misconduct. I guarantee that we will have
a substantial affordable housing program. I've identified
several revenue streams that are new that will be
the basis for that program. I guarantee, as well,
something my friends and colleagues haven't touched
on: that the city will be more business friendly,
that we will partner up with industry and business
to provide the kinds of services that are needed,
industry by industry, profession by profession,
in order to increase their ability to do business
here and to prosper, because when they prosper we
then have the resources to meet our mission. And
our mission is to help poor people and to provide
affordable housing and help the ill and the elderly
- a very, very substantial social agenda. And I
guarantee that the single most important focus in
my administration will be reform of the public schools.
Please ask me how we will be doing that.
KIRTZMAN: O.K. We will get to the public
schools in due time. Joyce.
JOYCE PURNICK: Hi, everybody. Let's stay
for a moment with crime since you all mentioned
it and since that's the No. 1 priority or close
to it among many New Yorkers, according to that
Times poll and other polls. You all have praised
the crime drop. You have also indicated that you're
going to make major, or at least significant changes
in the management of the Police Department. How
do you guarantee to New Yorkers, many of whom have
said in interviews that they're a little worried
about backsliding - how do you guarantee that you're
going to make sure that we don't backslide, that
we have strategies that will continue to fight crime?
In particular, can you tell us, therefore, which
strategies you think work - those of the Giuliani
VALLONE: Let me --
PURNICK: -- and which do not. Why don't
we start with you, Mark Green?
GREEN: The Giuliani administration began
at the same time that parallel processing took off.
They brilliantly used --
PURNICK: Parallel processing?
GREEN: -- computer mapping. They brilliantly
used computer mapping to track crime by borough,
by neighborhood and by block. And if, on Utica Avenue
or Fordham Road, grand theft auto was up, that precinct
commander had to have an answer what - how to respond.
That kind of mapping and accountability has worked.
That kind of holding someone responsible has worked.
Second, the quality of life policing - basically
Commissioner [William J.] Bratton later explained,
the idea was to, if a kid jumps a turnstile, there's
some higher probability he has a gun on him. So
with lesser offenses, you can pat someone down lawfully
and get guns off the street, which has also worked.
We're now at a limit though. If cops and communities,
especially communities of color, continue to have
this angry mutual stereotype of each other, crime
reduction may stop. I am very interested in lowering
these barriers between cops and communities. So
cops on the beat need allies on the beat, reporting
crime, providing evidence, saying there's a drug
den over there, Officer Smith, let's work on it
together. The city investing in community-based
organizations so there is this kind of proactive,
not just reactive, policing. Chicago has done it,
San Diego has done it, Boston has done it. I know
we can do it.
PURNICK: Mr. Ferrer.
FERRER: At the very same time, Compstat,
an important innovation in administrative feedback
and accountability, was born. A good thing in this
city. At the same time that happened, community
policing was dismantled in the very opening days
of the Giuliani- Bratton police administration.
That planted the seeds for an enormous number of
the problems that we've seen develop over the last
eight years. And bridging that gulf of distrust
between people and their own Police Department is
important in restoring a relationship that will
at the end of the day keep everyone safer - the
police officer who does their job heroically every
day, and community member who wants to live in a
safe, well-patrolled, decent neighborhood on a safe,
well-patrolled decent block.
PURNICK: Mr. Hevesi.
HEVESI: Mark and Freddy have dealt with
one part of a problem that you raise, that has two
parts to it. You asked about the strategies for
policing. One, sustain the police force at or near
40,000 police officers so we have the manpower to
do the job. L.A. has 9,000 cops; we have 40,000.
Two, there are new deployments that are required, and community policing is
part of that because the world has changed. There aren't 2,200 murders
anymore. They have been reduced by 72 percent. And the crime rates have been
reduced by 63 percent. So you have to start thinking about de-emphasizing the
street sweeps and increasing the manpower and the ability of precinct
commanders to do their jobs in their locales, working with local leaders,
community leaders, elected officials, preachers and so on.
Third, new technology. The Compstat program was a technological breakthrough.
It has to be sustained and continued because it's the basis for performance
standards. It's how you measure precinct commanders. But you need to have a
camera in every car and a camera and a recording device in the precincts so
that the confrontations between citizens and the police are now recorded, and
that will affect their behavior. You need mobile computers so that the
identification of a suspect can be done immediately rather than spending half
a day going back to the precinct and using the Teletype or whatever we use to
find out from Albany. There's a lot more, and I know you want to restrict our
VALLONE: You could use my time, Alan, if you want.
HEVESI: May I? I'll take advantage of that,
Peter, trust me.
PURNICK: Mr. Vallone.
VALLONE: The difference between my colleagues
and I is they can talk about this, but I've actually
done it. You asked, your specific question was how
- what would you do to make it different? Well,
I signed, and I'm the only one here that signed
a piece of paper called Safe Streets, Safe City
in order to earmark our taxes at a time when we
had to reduce the budget by $2 billion. I signed
a piece of paper together with then-Mayor Dinkins
and the other leaders of the State Legislature,
that we would utilize the 10,000 new cops by placing
them in the neighborhoods, where they belonged.
As a matter of fact, we put a head count in each
neighborhood where we wanted those cops because
no one on the Legislature or the governor trusted
us to do what no one, ever, else had done.
What I would do immediately is to go back to what
I signed, the promise that I made. And the promise
that I made is that everybody in this city would
know their police officers, and the police officers
should know their neighborhoods. That's the best
protection that you could possibly have. We would
use what Rudy Giuliani brought in terms of the Compstat
and the computer techniques that he brought in,
but we want to see those police officers, we want
to see those police officers on the street and that's
the best crime prevention in the world.
GREEN: Peter is right, he's the only one
who signed that paper on this panel and the only
one who came forward and sued Howard Safir when
he and the mayor denied police misconduct existed,
found a pattern of the department protecting rather
than punishing officers who routinely racially slandered
kids in communities or used excessive force. And
I helped triple the rate of discipline at the department.
That's not enough.
And so I have laid out a plan to help cops on the beat. I've been meeting
with cops privately without brass around. They are miserable, feeling
underpaid and under appreciated. So I want to invest in precincts, because
where you work reflects what the top brass think of you; invest in tuition
assistance up front. The higher the education levels at the start, the less
the misconduct and the greater the productivity.
PURNICK: Stop-and-frisk sweeps. Would you discontinue them, modify them,
beef them up? What would you do about them?
GREEN: Assemblyman Denny Farrell once creatively
said stopping and frisking these kids is great,
if it's not your kids. Racial profiling is wrong,
it's illegal under federal law. Should I be mayor,
I'll stop it by issuing an executive order and guidelines
when you stop and frisk’§|
VALLONE: Let me just add that racial profiling
already is against the law and we have a bill on
tomorrow that the City Council is on the verge of
passing which will give us the statistics that are
necessary from the Police Department to find out
whether racial profiling -
PURNICK: So You'll discontinue sweeps or
VALLONE: No, we wouldn't discontinue. I
think stop-and-frisk can only be done when you have
reasonable cause to do that. You can't just willy-nilly
stop and frisk anyone. The City of New York is paying
hundreds of millions of dollars in damages out.
So you have to modify it, clean it up and make sure
that you've got the right people you're stopping.
PURNICK: Mr. Hevesi.
HEVESI: I think there are clear guidelines
that were sometimes ignored by the police during
'94 and '95. You are allowed to stop and frisk,
and you are even allowed to profile. If a crime
has been committed and a witness says the - I saw
the guy do it, he was a 6-foot redhead, the police
are allowed to stop 6-foot redheads in the neighborhood,
in the immediate vicinity. What is not permitted
is the random stopping of young black males or Latino
males in the hopes - even though there's no crime,
there's no connection. . . .
PURNICK: Mr. Ferrer.
FERRER: Stop-and-frisk policy must always
adhere to constitutional principles. Stop- and-frisk
policy run amok is racial profiling. So let's not
get theoretical about it anymore, and put a human
face on this. Couple lives in Ditmars Park, an upper-middle-class
enclave in Brooklyn. Their home looks like it belongs
in a magazine. Their 18 - just 19- year-old son,
when he comes home too late and his parents recommend
him take the car instead of riding the train too
late, is prepared to be stopped, as he virtually
is, every other night in that car. By the way, that
young man, Frankie his name is, is black. That's
the dictionary definition of racial profiling. That
is what must be not talked into decline and into
prohibition, which must be legislated into prohibition.
. . .
PURNICK: Let me move to housing. . . . One
of the issues that ranks very high in all the polls
is concern about affordable housing. You all have
plans. Even the most ambitious of the plans, however,
would build, I think it's 150,000 units - I think
that's yours, Mr. Ferrer - in 10 years. There's
a coalition of housing experts who say we need a
quarter of a million units built. There's no way
- in 10 years - there's no way the city is going
to be able to afford to do all of that. My question
is: What can you, as mayor, do to stimulate the
private sector, to encourage the private sector
to build the rest of the housing that we need, particularly
when economists say that the rent regulations that
we have, and other restraints, are impeding the
building - the private sector from building housing?
How do we break that cycle? Let me start with you,
Mr. Ferrer, because you're smiling.
FERRER: Thank you Joyce, I happen to like
to smile about this subject: something I know a
little bit about. In over 14 years as borough president
of the Bronx, I've not only presided over and participated
in the planning and execution of the construction
of nearly 67,000 homes and apartments, but that
changed neighborhoods. It changed markets and marketplaces.
It did something else, too. It encouraged the private
sector to build in other parts of the Bronx completely
unsubsidized, save for the as-of-right tax abatements
that they are entitled to, as any builder would
in undeveloped land in this city, built several
thousand units completely unsubsidized. That was
a good development in the Bronx. And that occurs
throughout the city where there is enough public
sector investment. But something else needs to occur.
To really open the faucets, get the housing we need,
both publicly assisted for low-, moderate- and middle-income
people and to get the private sector to step up
as well, we're going to have to engage in very profound
reform of our Buildings Department, not to merge
it with the Fire Department, but reform it and make
it more expert, get it away from its love affair
with paper and get it into technology.
PURNICK: You would do nothing about rent
regulations, rent stabilization.
FERRER: Well, I was getting to that. It's
a very complex issue. I think we've got to keep
rents affordable in this city. We've got to keep
owners in the business of private rental housing.
That's a very delicate balance. And no one is ever
happy with the outcome. But what we must do is have
a clear and transparent process, not merely for
a rent guidelines board that assesses increases
in rent on the basis of actual cost instead of projected
cost, but since no mayor likes to give up power,
this is one mayor who would to the City Council
in an advise- and-consent procedure on every member
of the rent guidelines board. Let there be full
examination of their bona fides and their credentials.
Let everyone have confidence in the honesty and
accuracy of the process.
PURNICK: Mr. Green.
GREEN: The city project Housing First, New
York Law School have done separate studies on this.
And affirmatively we have to tell the Buildings
Department to start building again. We need a gut
rehab of a department where it forces citizens to
hire expeditors who know the computer system that
other citizens don't.
Second, we have to reduce the mob tax on building. It's not nearly as high as
in the carting industry, but I have ideas other than just licensing tens of
thousands of contractors and subcontractors to have independent private
sector inspector generals attached to companies putting up units to reduce
the cost by making sure organized crime doesn't come back in. And I've done a
lot of work on that, obviously, in the carting industry.
But finally, very few cities - I would keep rent regulation and control as it
is with vacancy rates going from 4 to 2 1/2 percent, Joyce, in the last four
years this is no time to further decontrol apartments to the marketplace.
Finally, almost no city I know does the private market put up affordable low-
and middle-income housing, notwithstanding your colleague John Tierney's
brilliant essays in The New York Times, and he's here today. I would keep
rent control, and we have to have government coming up in my generation with
the equivalent of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper, of 421A of Mitchell-Lama
and should I become mayor, I have an idea on how to generate $100 million in
fresh revenue to bond it and put up a lot of units. I will have an affordable
housing summit with all developers, not-for- profits, union leaders, scholars
to figure out the revenue stream and the creative government mechanism to
PURNICK: Mr. Vallone.
VALLONE: Yeah, I'm very pleased that all
of my colleagues have adopted my original idea that
I came out with to start an affordable housing trust
fund. And I showed where the money's coming from,
from the additional real estate taxes we'll be getting
from the sale of the World Trade Center. That could
be leveraged to - $100 million is leveraged to more
than a billion dollars a year. You could work with
the partnership, like we have been doing with -
and other not-for-profits to build the kind of affordable
housing that is necessary in the city for people
up to an income of $100,000, because we're not just
talking about people with very low incomes, we're
talking about holding the middle class in the City
of New York. The only reason we still have a middle
class, in many respects, is due to the rent protection
that is absolutely necessary. But when you have
a leader of the State Senate who says that rent
protection is going to end in this city, we better
start building affordable housing. The only reason
we have any rent protection at all is because we
have a housing emergency. We must build affordable
housing in this city. You could fill that pot, Joyce.
If you got another $100 million of revenue every
single year, in 10 years you can have 200,000 units
of affordable housing, which is the estimate of
what we are short now. People have to have an option,
people have to have a place where they can choose
or none of our young people will ever be able to
GREEN: I will imitate your good ideas, why
not? But I have never agreed with spending the revenues
from the sale and future taxes from the World Trade
Center on housing. I want to keep Port Authority
assets and sales to Port Authority purposes, which
is regional transit, like the Second Avenue subway.
VALLONE: I was talking about the affordable
housing trust fund.
GREEN: No, I know, but you want to spend
VALLONE: No, I showed you --
GREEN: -- the World Trade Center money.
VALLONE: -- where I'm getting the money.
That's our World Trade Center, that's city money.
That's city-owned property.
GREEN: You said you want to also spend World
Trade Center money.
VALLONE: No, I said the real estate taxes
that would be due to the City of New York based
upon the sale or rental of the World Trade Center.
. . .
HEVESI: Well, I've got to respond. We have
more millionaires in this city than any other city.
We have more poor people in this than any other
city. And to have a stable middle class and working
class, we cannot, at this time or in the foreseeable
future, eliminate the rent control and rent regulation
system. It would be an enormous dislocation to almost
two million people. That's No. 1.
No. 2, I really encourage those who are listening and the press as well to
find out the details of what I have heard my good friend Peter Vallone say
any number of times, that you can take $100 million and leverage it to a
billion a year. And I don't believe that's possible --
VALLONE: I issued a report on that, Alan, I issued a report on it.
HEVESI: Excuse me. Well, I'll be glad to
read the report. . . . That doesn't make it - excuse
me, Peter, you can take 100 million a year and commit
it for a number of years, 15 years or 20 years into
debt, and get $1 billion, but please don't keep
telling people it's a billion a year.
Now, what I believe in is using those - I agree with Peter on the theme that
you use the new revenue stream, real estate tax revenues from the sale of the
World Trade Center, which is a $70 million net because right now the Port
Authority does give the city $30 million in . . . payments in lieu of taxes,
and you add to that what should have been part of a mix to create a housing
trust fund, which is the revenues from Battery Park City, which are profits
approaching $50 million.
And the third piece is you commit the comptroller to do what I have done
through my seven and a half years, which is to use pension fund money,
absolutely safely and guaranteed, to rehabilitate 10,770 units of housing.
Then you can have a very substantial affordable housing program of 105,000 in
PURNICK: Mr. Hevesi, if I can stay with you for a moment.
PURNICK: How do you respond to the perception,
which is shared, clearly, by the Campaign Finance
Board, that you were trying to game the system by
basically having volunteers run your campaign, volunteers
in quotes, and not even having a campaign headquarters?
I mean, what were you thinking?
HEVESI: Well, No. 1, I was thinking that
the law permitted us to do these things, and No.
2, if anybody has that perception, they have to
look at the facts. What happened? What happened
is with all the tumult and the spinmeisters trying
to create an impression here that you are identifying,
the bottom line is the Campaign Finance Board and
our campaign had a disagreement over one single
issue: could a political consultant be a volunteer?
That was the only issue. And that issue, we still
think we're right, they think they're right. We
didn't contest it. And ultimately it took an extra
several days. We said, all right, we'll pay our
consultant. And we are paying our consultant and
the Campaign Finance Board had certified us to be
in compliance, no fees, no fines, no penalties.
And they released our $2.6 million in matching funds.
So that's a misimpression.
KIRTZMAN: O.K., we are now at the stage
of the debate where are going to ask each candidate
to ask a question of one other candidate. So why
don't we start with you, Fernando Ferrer? Who's
your question for?
FERRER: Well, this is a question really
for all my rivals in this.
KIRTZMAN: We're limiting it to one, if we
could, we have time restrictions.
FERRER: Well, then if I'd pick anyone, I'd
pick my friend Mark Green. In some of the most roiling
debates about policing in this city, the protest
that took place before One Police Plaza, it's peaceful
civil disobedience over the Diallo shooting, killed
in a hail of 41 bullets. My understanding is you
declined to get involved in that. On the issue of
the four cops involved in that shooting, you called
for a report to be issued. You read the minutes
of the commissioner's firearm control board and
you promised after the inspection of that report
you would come up with a conclusion on that. At
our first debate, I asked all of my friends if they
would join me in calling for the firing of those
four cops. Common sense says they shouldn't be carrying
a gun and a badge anymore.
KIRTZMAN: What's the question?
FERRER: Alan Hevesi joined me. What is your
position on that today? Where do you stand on that.
GREEN: Sure. The Diallo killing was a horrible
tragedy. Mayor Giuliani then compounded it with
the travesty of him saying, `Oh, the four officers
who shot him - they really didn't do anything wrong
and one of them should go to the Fire Department.'
I then demanded and got from Commissioner Kerik
the files to see why Commissioner Kerik then whitewashed
it. And what I found was that there was a direct
correlation between the mayor's announcement and
Commissioner Kerik's refusal to have a disciplinary
Freddy, there's a rule of law which fundamentally says you don't punish a
civil servant, black or white, unless a court has found him or her guilty or
there's been a disciplinary proceeding coming to a conclusion. I'm pleased
that you agreed with me on the Sam Roberts show on New York 1 when you said,
Sure, they can be transferred to the Fire Department because there was no
disciplinary proceeding against it. Let me just say, last night, I --
FERRER: But should they still be cops?
GREEN: Let me just finish. Last - until
and when a regulatory body or the commissioner or
a court says they've committed a crime or violated
the disciplinary rules, it's pretty risky for a
politician in a campaign to tell a civil servant,
`You're out of here.' Let me say, last night I got
an unsolicited call at 10 o'clock from a man who
said he was leaving for South Africa . . . and Saikou
Diallo thanked me for speaking out on behalf of
his family and his son and for all that I've done
in his son's memory and to reduce police misconduct.
I myself am satisfied with Saikou Diallo's conclusion
of my role in this.
FERRER: But let me press the question --
KIRTZMAN: -- follow-ups.
FERRER: Forgive me. Mark, with all due respect,
after the study of the report, after all this time
has passed, do you believe, personally, that they
should continue to work in the New York City Police
GREEN: They shouldn't carry a gun. They
shouldn't be on the street. But, Freddy, if you
in the middle of the campaign - I think it's as
wrong for Rudy Giuliani to say they're innocent
before a disciplinary hearing as for a candidate
to say they're guilty before a disciplinary hearing.
. . .
KIRTZMAN: Alan Hevesi. . . .
HEVESI: Thank you very much. I was going
to ask you a question, now I feel guilty about doing
it, but I'll overcome that, Peter. Before the City
Council now is a very important piece of legislation,
the clinic access legislation.
HEVESI: You've authorized the calling of
a public hearing. Hearing is great, we know what
the legislation does. Will you tell us now if you
will set a specific time for a vote on that legislation.
VALLONE: As a matter of fact, I wish you
were there this morning when we, you know I took
testimony on it. We were listening to testimony
from both sides. I don't believe in harassing anyone
who wants to go to a health clinic, who wants to
go to a house of worship, which is the existing
law now. The purpose of the hearing today was to
find out whether or not the law that I passed back
in 1994, which gives the woman a choice to go, a
free choice to go, to a health clinic for whatever
medical consultations or information that she needs
- and I want to make sure that that's happening.
And I used the Brooklyn Museum as an example. .
. . In the Brooklyn Museum situation, as a Catholic,
I was very offended by the terrible exhibit that
the Brooklyn Museum was showing, but the overriding
principle was they had a right to show it. And I
think that that's exactly where we're going to go
with the clinic access bill.
KIRTZMAN: Can I? Forgive me, I'm not clear.
PURNICK: Didn't get an answer, I was about
to say. Can you clarify?
VALLONE: Well, the answer is that the testimony's
being taken today to find out whether or not there
are any harassing incidents that have taken place
that the police are not enforcing.
HEVESI: The question was are you prepared
to tell us now that your scheduling a vote on this
bill or not.
VALLONE: Of course not, not until the hearing's
over. The hearing's still going on.
HEVESI: And did I hear you correctly, again
forgive me for sounding contentious, that the overriding
principle for you --
VALLONE: It's not that you're sounding contentious,
you are contentious. The overriding principle is
HEVESI: Freedom for people to get into the
face of a woman going into a reproductive - -
VALLONE: No, freedom for people to exercise
their right to protest, and you're not going to
take that away.
HEVESI: -- protest within 10 feet of a woman
going into a reproductive health clinic.
VALLONE: The freedom, the right to exercise
your right to free speech as long as you don't harass
or disturb anyone's opportunity to enter a clinic
or a church or a house of worship.
HEVESI: And you think it would be a violation
of those rights to create a 10-foot buffer between
the pregnant woman going into a reproductive health
VALLONE: What would happen if they asked
you to have a 10-foot buffer before you could go
shake hands to a prospective voter? I think, I think
HEVESI: Let me, let me, if you ask me I'll
be glad to respond.
VALLONE: -- the buffer, the buffer is something
HEVESI: The analogy doesn't hold here.
VALLONE: I think it does.
HEVESI: Well, let me explain why it doesn't
VALLONE: Harassment could be within an inch
or it could be 20 feet.
HEVESI: The analogy doesn't hold because
this is a health-care circumstance. A woman is now
about to make a traumatic decision as to whether
or not to terminate a pregnancy or to obtain other
kinds of reproductive heath care. She's walking
into a clinic and somebody who has come out of their
home with the express desire to dissuade her can
now get in her face.
VALLONE: No, that's not so.
HEVESI: Yes, it is.
VALLONE: Under existing law that's prohibited.
That is absolutely prohibited. That's the law that
I passed back in 1994.
HEVESI: No, sir.
VALLONE: And you should have been there
testifying today if you have any evidence.
HEVESI: Peter, Peter. Even if you say that
forcefully, it's not the case.
VALLONE: What do you mean it's not the case?
HEVESI: What your law said was she can not
be physically blocked.
VALLONE: Not she, he or she, no human being
can be physically blocked from going to --
HEVESI: Peter. Let me finish my thought
and then you can disagree with me. They can't be
physically blocked, but they can still step in front
of this woman and scream in her face, "Don't do
VALLONE: Absolutely not. That is harassment.
That is harassment and that is a violation, and
she would be arrested if she did that.
HEVESI: So the National Abortion Rights
Action League so the National Organization for Women,
so the civil rights groups are all wrong.
VALLONE: They are they are testifying now,
Alan, and I --
HEVESI: O.K. . . .
PURNICK: So I want to take us out of New
York City for a moment, since this is an international
city, and everybody has national and international
policies in New York. I wonder what the four of
you think of the president's decision on stem cell
research. You think you can do that in less that
KIRTZMAN: Peter Vallone.
VALLONE: [laughs] Yeah, that is another
moral question that you have to leave to the experts.
In terms of the president's agonizing decision,
I still think that scientists are divided as to
whether or not there's 12 options or 60 options.
In my own situation, I would leave that to the experts.
I am someone who doesn't believe that you should
take one life in order to give another life, unless
it's a different kind of circumstance. Here you're
talking about creating life, and I would leave that
to the experts. In my own personal opinion of it
has nothing to do with the city of New York or the
decisions that a mayor would have to make, but it
has a lot to do with a personal decision that an
individual has to make, same as what we were talking
about in terms of --
PURNICK: That's why I asked.
VALLONE: -- clinic access or it's a question
PURNICK: Mr. Green.
GREEN: A man came up to me at a Forest Hills
subway in Queens and said, where are you on stem
cell research? I said President Bush made a political
compromise. If you are pro-life, if you want to
do everything to enhance health and life the federal
government would encourage research into these breakthrough
technologies. He said, thank you, I have Parkinson's.
I can not understand how President Bush could have
come to this conclusion other than based on ideology.
PURNICK: Mr. Ferrer.
FERRER: This was a hopelessly compromised
decision that, you know when you followed the logic
of it, doesn't wash. If he was trying to appease
the hard right of his governing coalition, what
he has done is impeded important research that will
save and enhance life for generations to come.
PURNICK: Mr. Hevesi.
HEVESI: I agree. Stem cell research will
save lives. And it is the cutting edge of new medical
care technology, and scientists should be free to
find the life-saving methodologies that are so crucial
to so many people in our society.
KIRTZMAN: Gentlemen, we have one minute
left so I would appreciate a yes or no answer starting
with Alan Hevesi. Will you support the winner of
the Democratic primary in the general election.
HEVESI: I may, depending on the circumstances,
certainly will support someone who is very much
committed to democratic principles. But I'll make
that decision when the time comes. I intend to win
the primary so the question is moot.
KIRTZMAN: So you may continue on a liberal
HEVESI: I may.
KIRTZMAN: Freddy Ferrer.
FERRER: Like the Rolando Paulino All-Stars,
I expect to be in the World Series, but I have always
supported Democrats, and let me commit now to supporting
the Democratic nominee.
KIRTZMAN: Mark Green.
KIRTZMAN: Peter Vallone.
VALLONE: Yes, no question about it. . .