Republican Joe Lhota is far and away the most qualified candidate running for Mayor of New York City. His combination of experience heading up huge organizations and his policy stances make him the clear choice for the city’s highest office.
Mr. Lhota, 58, was deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani, largely considered one of the most successful mayoral tenures in New York history. Lhota worked with then-mayor Giuliani on fighting crime, lowering taxes, and increasing the standard of living. Mr. Lhota also recently served as chairman of the Metropolitan Transit Authority. He was roundly applauded for handily getting public transportation up and running following the devastation of hurricane Sandy.
Joe Lhota, more than any of his opponents, can credibly say that he has experience running an organization as large, messy, and complex as New York City. In addition, he has demonstrated his backbone by not jumping on the bandwagon and pandering to the anti-stop & frisk crowd, as his opponents on the left side of the aisle have done. He points to the NYPD’s recent history-making gunrunner takedown as evidence that the stop & frisk program is effective at keeping illegal guns off the street.
Mr. Lhota pledges to continue to fight for lower crime, high living standards, and sound economic policies. A self-described Libertarian, the former deputy mayor is also committed to safeguarding civil liberties.
Not that Lhota is incapable of making a wrong or unpopular decision-making. His MTA fare and toll hikes will be remembered by voters come election day. His plan to transfer bridges and tunnels away from MTA control and to the city is sure to raise some eyebrows. He has also been guilty of some PR blunders – he famously called Bloomberg an idiot in the wake of a comment the mayor made regarding the reopening of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel (this hasn’t stopped Bloomberg’s daughter, and, according to some reports, Bloomberg himself, from endorsing Lhota).
However, Lhota certainly has a better track record then his main opponent for the Republican primary, John A. Catsimatidis. In all fairness, that isn’t all that impressive, as Catsimatidis doesn’t have any public experience at all. This is not to say that Catsimiatidis, 64, is incapable of successful management. His is the classic rags-to-riches tale that New Yorkers are so fond of. His family emigrated from Greece when he was six months old and settled in West Harlem. John rose up from his humble origins to own Gristedes, the largest grocery store chain in Manhattan, as well as the Red Apple Group, a real estate company. The billionaire has fashioned himself as the relatable guy next door – if you happen to live in the swanky 5th avenue neighborhood he shares with Mayor Bloomberg.
In addition to his lack of public track record, the billionaire grocer also lacks the sophistication and knowledge of city intricacies possessed by his rival. For example, he suggested dubbing a neighborhood clustered with tech startups Silicon Alley – a name that already exists elsewhere in the city. He once suggested giving bullies their own school, and he compared Obama’s tax policies to Hitler’s anti-Jewish laws.
Generally, Lhota is a bit more tactful at choosing his words. He has a proven record as a public official and he supports sound policies. The Jewish Voice thus urges its readers to rally behind Joe Lhota in this year’s mayoral election.