Daily News and NY Post see John Catsimatidis a challenger to Mayor Bloomberg in 2006
NEW YORK.- by Apostolis Zoupaniotis
We are more than two years away from NYC mayoral election, but Greek American supermarket king John Catsimatidis has already started planning to move from his 5th Ave residence (across the Central Park) to the Gracie Mansion. There was not an official announcement made, but according to Wednesday’s New York Daily News, J.A.C. is the first one to challenge Mayor Bloomberg.
“The president of Red Apple wants to be the mayor of the Big Apple”, writes Sidney Zion in the New York Daily News. It should be mentioned that the story was reported only on the column of the Daily News. No other major media reported on it, until Good Friday, when NY Post columnist Cindy Adams wrote at her column that she had spoken “with John Catsimatidis. Yes, he is going to run for mayor. He is planning to topple Michael Bloomberg”.
Using sharp language, John Catsimatidis, a former Vice Chairman of the Archdiocesan Council and a close friend of former President Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore and Senator Hillary Clinton, criticized Mayor Bloomberg for the financial mess of the City and of decisions like the pan on smoking even from the bars. And he says that he could beat Bloomberg even “on a laundry ticket.”
“Our city is in a financial crisis,” Catsimatidis says. “Mike Bloomberg knows this, but he’s going to the wrong bank for help. Albany is busted out, so why go to George Pataki? He’s in worse shape than we are.”
So where is the money?, He asks, and points his finger at the direction of the U.S. Capital.
“Washington. We need $3 billion and change to straighten us out. That’s breakfast in Baghdad. If it weren’t for 9/11, we wouldn’t be in Iraq. And New York City wouldn’t be broke, nobody would be talking about laying off cops and closing firehouses, not to mention schools and libraries and pools and zoos.
John Catsimatidis says that Bloomberg doesn’t put pressure on President Bush and call on him to go after the President.
Replying to a question he said he himself would go after the President publicly.
“The worst that could happen is he’d say no. And then the Daily News could replate that great headline that ruined Gerry Ford, ‘Bush to City: Drop Dead.’ I don’t think George Bush would sit for that.”
It is Catsimatidis’ view that public safety and education are nonnegotiable. “We compromise on those two,” he says, “and we lose New York. People will leave if they can’t protect and educate their children, it’s axiomatic. We have to stand firm here … Bloomberg gives us doomsday alternatives, one worse than the other. It’s wrong, it’s crazy.”
On smoking, Catsimatidis says he is “pro-choice” and calls it “an issue of freedom”.
“I don’t decide issues of freedom on polls. Anyway, I don’t think people vote for you because you won’t let them smoke at a bar. I believe they vote against those who take away your right to smoke.”
Daily News column explores his chances on a possible run.
“Catsimatidis has markers all over town, all over the country. He was one of former President Bill Clinton’s major fund-raisers. He is not just a grocery man, his big money comes from oil and real estate. Clinton is a natural to back him for mayor, which by itself could do it for him”.