All the candidates for City Council speaker at a debate Tuesday night backed controversial police reform bills and vowed to override a potential veto by Mayor de Blasio.
The five candidates said they’d push through the Right to Know Act, which has been blocked from a vote by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and opposed by de Blasio.
“We’ve got to have a vote. We’ve got to let democracy happen,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Queens).
Also on board with a veto override were democrats Jumaane Williams and Robert Cornegy of Brooklyn and Mark Levine and Ydanis Rodriguez of Manhattan. The bills would require cops to get consent before doing many searches.
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The head of the campaign to close Rikers Island slammed a leading speaker candidate, Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan), charging he lobbied colleagues not to attend and tried to sabotage the debate.
“I am rarely ever this upset,” said Glenn Martin, president of JustLeadershipUSA, which sponsored the event.
“Corey Johnson aggressively lobbied colleagues to urge them not to show up either. Corey Johnson deliberately tried to undermine our efforts to bring this forum together,” he said. “We will not be insulted. We will not be ignored and we will not be silenced.”
Johnson denied the accusation. “I didn’t try to get anyone not to go,” he said. “I asked people if they were going. That was all.”
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Councilmen Donovan Richards (D-Queens) and Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx) also skipped the event. “To say I’m disappointed, to say that we’ve been let down is a bit of an understatement,” Martin said.
All the candidates also supported closing Rikers.
Meanwhile, Rodriguez proposed extending term limits to let Council members serve for three terms.
Term limits were extended under former Mayor Mike Bloomberg for both him and the Council, but then returned to two terms. Rodriguez, who is already in his own third term, said he’d pursue legislation or a charter change to add a third for other Council members.
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“I will be fighting for all my colleagues,” he said.
The 51 Council members will vote on a new speaker in January.