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Public Advocate Candidates Talk Ethics, Integrity in Debate

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The public advocate is known as the city’s watchdog. And the four leading Democratic candidates spent much of a debate Sunday questioning whether their opponents have enough integrity for the job.

Council member Tish James accused former Deputy Public Advocate Reshma Saujani of working for a “who’s who of bad actors on Wall Street.”

Debate moderator Melissa Russo followed up with a question about why the last two jobs Saujani held in the financial sector aren’t on her campaign website.

“I had a job at Baskin Robbins. That doesn’t appear on my website either,” Saujani responded. “I’ve been working since I was 12 years old.”

Saujani said she used her positions as a corporate lawyer to do pro bono work and pay off student loans. And she accused James of taking money from developers in return for her support of the mixed-use project BAM South.

James said she switched positions on the project, first supporting it, then opposing it because it required the demolition of a public library where Girl Scouts met. She said the developer withdrew support for her campaign, and she only embraced the final project after the library was preserved.

“The only thing I got was a box of chocolate mints from the girl scouts after we saved the historic library in downtown Brooklyn and I’m proud of that,” she said.

Meanwhile, on the heels of receiving an endorsement from the New York Times, state senator Daniel Squadron defended his efforts to fight corruption in Albany. He noted that he was the lead author of a comprehensive ethics reform package, and said he is the only candidate to refuse contributions from special interest PACs.

University professor Catherine Guerriero touted her role as a mother and teacher. "In a word, I am the only person on this stage who is not a politician," she said.

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Comments [2]

James Lane from Brooklyn, NY

I'm still not happy about spending $20 million of our tax payer dollars just to knock Daniel Squadron off the Democratic ballot since Letitia "Tish" James is already on the Working Families Party ballot in November. My name is James Lane and I am the Green Party candidate for Public Advocate that the corporate media does not want you to know about. http://www.VoteJamesLane.org

Sep. 19 2013 09:08 AM
beaglelover from Queens

The photo makes it seem as if WNYC is favoring one candidate over the others since there are no other photos. It would have been fairer to either forego any photo or have a photo of all of the candidates at the debate.

Aug. 26 2013 08:49 AM

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