A day after a contentious televised debate, some of the leading mayoral candidates shared the stage again Wednesday night for a forum on tolerance. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
Perhaps fitting for an event hosted at the Museum of Tolerance, Wednesday's mayoral forum was devoid of any pointed personal attacks, though there was plenty of criticism when it came to the New York City Police Department's stop-and-frisk policy.
"Government, in this case, kind of sanctioning or institutional suspicion of individuals just because of who they are and what they look like, because of their color, is wrong, and that's exactly what happened in Florida with Trayvon Martin," said Democratic mayoral candidate William Thompson.
Several of the candidates speculated that an event like the Crown Heights riots of 1991, sparked by tensions between blacks and Orthodox Jews, couldn't happen today, but John Liu argued that intolerance persists, especially when it comes to Muslims.
"Most New Yorkers think that it's OK for the police to spy on people just because they're Muslim," Liu said. People think it's OK. Now, look, I'm not Muslim, I can't claim to be Muslim, but I think it's absolutely not OK."
Meanwhile, Bill de Blasio's newfound frontrunner status, based on the latest poll, was apparent Wednesday. Not only did he leave the forum early to make his second national TV appearance of the day, but rivals also took jabs at both his plan to tax wealthy New Yorkers and his campaign slogan of a "tale of two cities."
"I have some concern about language in this campaign, about how many cities we are. We're one city. We're united by an ideal, and that we want to leave a city a little better than the one we found," said Democratic mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner.
"I don't think the idea of taxing people that make over $500,000 in New York City is going to be the answer to our problems," said Republican mayoral candidate George McDonald. "I think that that's actually a wrong-headed answer to our problem. I think that if we're looking for tolerance and understanding, that actually divides the city."
McDonald and Weiner were appearing at an event together for the first time since last week's mayoral forum, where they got into a confrontation and Weiner referred to McDonald as "grandpa." They were seated far apart on the stage and left afterwards without speaking.