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Sandy anniversary causes postponement of mayoral debate

The two mayoral candidates will wait a day to stage their final debate. AP photo

Lhota, de Blasio agree to wait a day

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

The final debate between mayoral rivals Bill de Blasio and Joe Lhota will be postponed 24 hours in deference to the victims of superstorm Sandy. The face-off was originally scheduled to take place on Tuesday, Oct. 29. But that is the first anniversary of the hurricane and communities ravaged by the historic storm reached out to both campaigns and expressed disappointment with the idea of politics as usual on that date.

Instead, de Blasio and Lhota will face each other on Wednesday, Oct. 30 in their debate, to be broadcast on WNBC-TV.

The New York City Campaign Finance Board, the debate’s sponsor, agreed to the one day postponement after de Blasio and Lhota issued a joint statement requesting the date change to commemorate the one-year anniversary of superstorm Sandy.

"Tuesday marks the first anniversary of superstorm Sandy, a tragic event that took dozens of lives, and caused enormous damage to the homes, businesses and communities of tens of thousands of people in New York City, and across the region.  This day should be marked with solemn reflection and remembrance,” the two candidates stated.

“Today, we are joining together to call on the Campaign Finance Board to reschedule Tuesday's debate to Wednesday. This is the most respectful and appropriate way to honor the memories of those who were lost, and to stand with those who are still struggling to recover," the statement read.

The New York Times printed a statement from Amy M. Loprest, executive director of the Campaign Finance Board, explaining the reasoning behind the decision to postpone the debate. “The next mayor will be responsible for helping the affected families recover, and for helping a wounded city become more resilient. The first anniversary of Sandy’s landfall can serve to focus this discussion about the future of our city. Out of respect to those who are still rebuilding, we join all New Yorkers in commemorating the storm on Tuesday,” she stated.

Lhota told Newsday during a campaign appearance in Crown Heights on Saturday that he had heard complaints about the debate date from residents in Brooklyn, Staten Island and Queens communities that were hit hard by the hurricane last year and are still recovering.

Residents pointed out to Lhota that the time the debate was scheduled, 7 p.m., is also the time when the superstorm hit the city, Newsday reported.

De Blasio toured Breezy Point and met with civic leaders there on Sunday. That beachfront community sustained devastating damage last year, not only from the hurricane, but from a fire that destroyed more than 100 homes.

October 28, 2013 - 11:00am


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