In his efforts to make a strong Election Day showing in Queens, Republican mayoral candidate Michael Bloomberg has spent a significant amount of time in the borough since his Sept. 25 primary win over Herman Badillo.
Queens has the citys second largest Republican population and was one of the driving forces that swept Mayor Rudolph Giuliani into office eight years ago. In addition, many Democrats have been known over the years to vote Republican.
If Bloomberg hopes to prevail on Nov. 6 against his Democratic opponent, Public Advocate Mark Green, he needs to carry the borough even though Democrats outnumber Republicans by nearly a 4-to-1 margin.
During his almost daily jaunts into Queens, the GOPer has touched on many issues that affect the borough and its 2.2 million inhabitants, including education, illegal housing and neighborhood economic development.
Some of the recent places the media mogul has stopped off are Hollis Hills, Maspeth and Jamaica.
At the Juniper Park Civic Association in Middle Village last Thursday, Bloomberg told the crowd something needs to be done to accommodate Queens school children in a borough that has 27,000 more students than seats.
He said everyone wants a new school in their neighborhood but will fight to prevent one from being built on their block, which has hindered construction in Queens. Bloomberg suggested one way to alleviate the problem would be to convert Governors Island into a high school complex, which could free up some of the school buildings that already exist.
But Bloomberg also has called for a hiring freeze of teachers, which he said should keep class sizes at current levels.
The boroughs school system has been forced to take in more students because of continued population growth. This expansion has led to one of the most contentious issues in many neighborhoods illegal conversions.
There are not a lot of alternatives for the people who live here, he said. The fundamental problem is there is not enough housing in New York City. The only long-term solution would be to build more housing.
To help the borough economically Bloomberg has suggested transferring government jobs from Manhattan into the four outerboroughs because you cant get companies to move out.
He has proposed creating a mini-City Hall in each borough with space for city agencies that would serve as a clearing house to get problems solved.
Bloomberg expressed confidence in his Election Day prospects. We are going to win this campaign, he said. We started out in the beginning of June 40 points behind the four Democrats ... then 30 ... then 20 and now ABC has him seven points behind, he told the civic.
As of Oct. 24 the Quinnipiac poll had Bloomberg trailing Green 35 to 51 percent.
Reporter Dustin Brown contributed to this story.
Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.
©2001 Community News Group
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