It’s 240 blocks from City Hall to the Carriage House on White Plains Road. NYC Comptroller and mayoral candidate William “Bill” Thompson Jr. made the trek on Monday, May 18 to slurp coffee and answer questions.
Few top officials visit the north Bronx. Edenwald, Wakefield, Woodlawn, Williamsbridge and Baychester are undeniably hinterland.
“We had a good meeting, an open forum,” Father Richard Gorman reported. “Some 50 people attended, a cross section of the community.”
Thompson introduced himself as the comptroller, not a candidate, then proceeded to rip Mayor Michael Bloomberg on education, housing and the water rate. Bloomberg intends to close daycare centers. He recently denied food stamps to single adults, Thompson said. He has begun to charge homeless families in the NYC shelter system rent.
“On the other hand, the mayor found $45 million to re-train out-of-work Wall Street brokers,” Thompson said. “There is something wrong in New York City.”
The comptroller is the chief financial officer of NYC. He or she audits city agencies. Thompson is a two-term comptroller, a former Brooklyn deputy borough president and a former Board of Education president. As comptroller, he has helped to debar 26 dishonest contractors and collected $11 million for hoodwinked workers, plugged minority owned businesses and pressured American firms to snub terrorist nations.
“I want to hear from you,” Thompson told north Bronx civic leaders and pastors.
Alonzo De Castro asked Thompson to push for a recreation center in Community District 12. He and other civic leaders want to revitalize White Plains Road.
“There are too many nail salons on White Plains Road,” Mary Lauro of the Wakefield Taxpayers and Civic League said.
Lauro hopes to secure a soon-to-be-vacated military building on Nereid Avenue for public recreation. Wakefield youngsters need a rec center, she said. Reverend Franklin Williamson works with CD12 teens. Many high school grads need job training, he told Thompson. Barbara Gibson La Grant is a NYC Housing Authority resident. The mayor has neglected the Housing Authority, she stated. “I hope [Thompson] does run,” said La Grant. “Bloomberg is rich and for the rich.”
Ken Parr of Woodlawn asked Thompson to reign in the DEP. He is angry about Croton cost overruns. Woodlawn needs a firehouse, Parr said, and a bigger library.