Mayoral Candidates Take The Stage To Debate Ahead Of Early Voting

Five leading contenders in the mayoral race took the stage at CBS2 on Thursday for the final debate before early voting in the primary begins; CBS2's Dick Brennan reports.

Video Transcript

KRISTINE JOHNSON: New York City's top Democratic mayoral candidates face off in the final debate before early voting in the primary begins. Tonight, their positions on the important issues as the city prepares to choose its new leader.

Good evening, I'm Kristine Johnson. Five leading contenders in the mayoral race took the stage, facing questions over the rise in gun violence and crime across the city. But one hot topic, questions over where one candidate lives. Let's get right to CBS 2's Dick Brennan here in studio with a wrap up of tonight's debate. Dick?

DICK BRENNAN: All right, Kristine. Well, it didn't take long for the candidates to tackle the thorny issues, and even a few controversies. Eric Adams-- the frontrunner-- found himself an early target.

ANDREW YANG: Eric is literally trying to convince New Yorkers where he lives.

DICK BRENNAN: From the jump, frontrunner Eric Adams was the target of shots from the other candidates. But Adams defended himself on issues of where he lives, and how hard he works.

ERIC ADAMS: I live in Brooklyn, New York. I'm proud of that. I served as a police officer in Brooklyn. I became a state senator elected from Brooklyn. And now, I am the Brooklyn Borough president.

DICK BRENNAN: The five leading candidates mix it up on occasion, but for the most part, it was a civil debate of the issues, including what to do about an increase in hate crimes.

KATHRYN GARCIA: We have seen an uptick in anti-Asian hate crime, but we have also seen an uptick in anti-Semitism. It has to stop.

SCOTT STRINGER: A lot of our children don't believe that there's a way out, because we don't create opportunities for them to have jobs and real opportunity.

DICK BRENNAN: With the city opening up again, a key question-- should congestion pricing for vehicles be quickly implemented?

MAYA WILEY: It should be right now, because part of what we need to do with that money is put it into our subway systems to make sure that they're continuing to run and operate, and we have to improve them.

KATHRYN GARCIA: We need to have congestion pricing put in place.

MAURICE DUBOIS: Now?

KATHRYN GARCIA: Now. We are not suffering from a lack of cars in midtown.

DICK BRENNAN: The candidates mostly agreed on changing street names that came from slaveholders.

SCOTT STRINGER: I believe the names have to be changed in a thoughtful community led process.

MAYA WILEY: We have to change these names, but we have to do more. We actually have to make sure that in a crisis like this, we're not only doing things that are symbolic.

DICK BRENNAN: Another question, the regulation of second hand smoke, particularly for marijuana.

ERIC ADAMS: I am in full support that we should make sure we regulate where smoking is taking place, particularly in apartment buildings where people live.

ANDREW YANG: We should designate particular areas-- particularly in large apartment buildings-- that are appropriate for smoking marijuana, and not.

DICK BRENNAN: On a lighter note, the candidates were asked, if they could, what landmark would they name after Rudy Giuliani?

ERIC ADAMS: Rikers Island.

[LAUGHTER]

MARCIA KRAMER: Ms. Wiley?

MAYA WILEY: [CHUCKLES] Do we have a dump we can, out of state--

KATHRYN GARCIA: No, we do not. We do not.

MAYA WILEY: I know, I know, I know. I'm just saying I'd find the dirtiest thing.

MARCIA KRAMER: So your one word is a dump?

MAYA WILEY: A dump.

DICK BRENNAN: Now, the candidates were also questioned about various issues and various controversies. We can tell you, though, this is the final debate before early voting starts on Saturday. So things are beginning to happen very quickly, Kristine.

KRISTINE JOHNSON: All right, Dick, thank you.