Bloomberg's obsession with a West Side Stadium - the centerpiece of the New York's bid for the 2012 Olympics that was derailed this week when a state board denied public funding for the project - is a misplaced priority, the candidates said during a forum at the Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association Thursday evening at JHS 93 in Ridgewood. The other two Democratic candidates for mayor were invited to the forum, but City Council Speaker Gifford Miller (D-Manhattan) and Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields did not show up. Weiner and Ferrer spoke separately and focused their attacks on Republican Bloomberg, not each other. "This is a mayor who spends more time in search of the Olympics than he does in search of new cops on the streets," Ferrer said, noting that Bloomberg wanted to fund a portion of the proposed Jets stadium with $300 million in state money. "It's amazing - paying public funds for private stadiums when our streets need repair, our subways need repair. We need to get serious about important things in this city.""He's been obsessed with things that are so far removed from our lives," Weiner said, making his case that Bloomberg has ignored the plight of the middle class. The mayor's failure to stand up to lawmakers in Albany and Washington has caused New York City to be short-changed, Weiner said. "We've gotten less funding for education. We've gotten less money for homeland security. We've gotten less money for everything," Weiner said. The congressman, who was raised in Brooklyn and now lives in Queens, played up his middle-class roots to connect with the small audience of some 50 people, most of them senior citizens. He said there is a key difference between him and the mayor. When Bloomberg sleeps, "he envisions the beautiful skyline of Manhattan," Weiner said. "I think of the neighborhoods I grew up in."The candidates said they would work to make life easier for the middle-class. Ferrer promised to rein in a property tax that skyrocketed 18.5 percent under Bloomberg in the aftermath of the economic shock delivered by the Sept. 11 attacks and a recession. Weiner guaranteed a 10 percent tax cut to New Yorkers earning less than $150,000 annually. Reach Matt Monks at news@times
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