By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Sal Albanese, the maverick fighting an uphill battle for the Democratic Party nomination to run for mayor, surprisingly found that he agreed with Michael Bloomberg on a key question involving oversight of the New York Police Department in the wake of the controversial stop and frisk policy.
Albanese, a former Bay Ridge councilman, blasted Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio for their support of the idea of hiring an inspector general with oversight powers over the NYPD.
Noting that Bloomberg has threatened to veto the measure after the City Council passes it, Albanese said that if he were mayor, he would have vetoed it, too.
"This week, New Yorkers were subjected to a two-act performance of pure political theater. On Tuesday, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio shook his fist at City Council Speaker Christine Quinn for not supporting legislation that would create an inspector general to oversee the NYPD. Hours later, Quinn announced that she would back a bill to create an I.G. Fortunately, Mayor Bloomberg vowed this morning to veto it. I would do the same,” Albanese said.
In his opposition to the creation of an inspector general’s post, Albanese also finds himself in the company of someone else from across the political aisle. Politicker reported that Joe Lhota, the former Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman seeking the Republican nomination for mayor, is also against the idea, as are Council Minority Leader James Oddo and members of the council’s GOP delegation.
Quinn gave the green light to an inspector general bill on March 20. The IG’s office would be created within the New York City Department of Investigations.
The New York Daily News reported that Bloomberg criticized the move as a political ploy.
“There is no doubt that the current stop and frisk program and the surveillance of Muslims have created deep and troubling divisions. Serious issues like these merit a serious solution,” Albanese said.
“Instead of offering one, Mr. De Blasio and Ms. Quinn are grandstanding and playing games with New Yorkers. The fact is that the New York City Council has subpoena power and oversight responsibilities,” Albanese said.
“We owe our communities real action, not feigned outrage,” Albanese said, taking a verbal swipe at his Democratic Primary opponents. “Instead of creating another layer of bureaucracy, we should eliminate quota-driven policing and invest in better training for officers,” he added.
“And our City Council should use its oversight powers to ensure that stops and surveillance meet the constitutional standards. Those reforms don’t make for a rousing press conference, but they would have a real, lasting, and meaningful impact,” Albanese said.
The debate over the NYPD’s stop and frisk policy is taking place amid the backdrop of a federal lawsuit filed by New Yorkers who charged that the Police Department violated their civil rights against unlawful search and seizure.