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Yang fiddles with city issues as the mayor race becomes more competitive

NYC mayoral candidate Andrew Yang speaks.

NYC Mayoral candidate Andrew Yang speaks at a press conference at the Tweed Courthouse in Manhattan on May 11, 2021 in New York City. | Michael M. Santiago / Getty Images

NEW YORK – Andrew Yang’s influence on New York Mayor’s race continued to loosen this week as rival Eric Adams remained competitive in the polls and Yang’s mastery of local issues was repeatedly challenged.

The former presidential candidate asked a question about homeless shelters at a candidate forum Thursday morning, the day after showing a lack of understanding about MTA operations. Later on Thursday, he appeared baffled by the mention of a controversial law regulating the disciplinary records of police officers and judicial officers.

During a discussion by the shelter provider Win, Yang vowed to create living quarters specifically for domestic violence survivors. The problem with his answer is that such facilities already exist.

“One thing that I find extremely helpful is setting up special shelters for victims of domestic violence who often flee from an abusive partner,” Yang said during the forum. “It’s a certain population with different needs, and they should have separate ones [facilities]. ”

At that point, presenter Courtney Gross, a reporter from NY1, corrected him and stated that the city already offers this type of accommodation.

Yang then tried to go back on his comments, suggesting that he knew this but wanted the facilities to be expanded. “Oh no, they – of course they exist, so that’s one aspect of something we should be increasing its capacity,” he said.

His campaign website calls for more services to domestic violence survivors.

“Domestic violence is one of the main drivers of women and children ending up in shelters. However, only 23% of victims of domestic violence are in specialized IT shelters. The vast majority are in the regular protection system and are not receiving adequate services, ”the website says.

His rivals fell when Gross tweeted the exchange.

“It turns out that Andrew Yang is not only unprepared to be Mayor of New York City, but also apparently unprepared for every forum, debate and press conference he enters,” tweeted Adams spokeswoman Madia Coleman.

Candidate Scott Stringer, the city calculator who left Yang behind in the polls, tweeted, “Having this ignorance about something so important is another reason @ AndrewYang is not qualified to be mayor. These shelters exist. The next mayor needs a plan to make them more accessible. “

Later that day, Yang looked confused when he was asked a question about 50-a, the name of the law that previously protected law enforcement officers’ disciplinary records from publication. State lawmakers repealed the law last year, sparking a lawsuit from police unions.

“Do you agree to the repeal of 50-a?” He was asked while a police-focused campaign stop Thursday in Brooklyn.

“The lifting of 50-a,” Yang repeated, prompting a reporter to ask, “Do you know what 50-a is?”

“This is not that – it is not the mandatory interview of the -” he began. At that point, the city council candidate Edwin Raymond, who stood next to Yang on the podium, cleared the clue.

Yang then replied, “I think we should get more transparency about police officers and their records, and one of the problems is that when you have police officers doing something wrong, like there are times when they unfortunately show up in others Environments in other departments. “

On Wednesday, the race’s early front runner, who prides himself on his facts and figures, was asked by a reporter if he knew about the MTA’s debts – a hurdle he would have to overcome in order to carry out his takeover plan into the subways and city buses now effectively controlled by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“The MTA doesn’t break its numbers that clean, but you see revenue of around $ 8 or nine million and an operating deficit of around three and a half,” Yang said.

Yang probably wanted to say “billions,” but the MTA devotes a full page of its website to debt, and the state auditor publishes an annual report on it.

He then falsely indicated that not all MTA bridges are located within the city – only the port authority, a diocese authority, has control over interstate bridges.

“Andrew’s positions on issues of police transparency, accountability and public safety are a clear day for anyone willing to listen,” said campaign spokesman Jake Spur. “New Yorkers don’t let themselves be distracted by the fact that he’s just as pragmatic, progressive, and thoughtful on these issues as anyone who has ever fought for the job.

“Whether or not he recites legal code numbers and letters is irrelevant to anyone else who listens,” he added.

Jonathan Custodio contributed to this report.

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