August 9, 2013
By Joe Maniscalco
New York, NY – Praising his “consistent support” of law enforcement, the 11,000-member Sergeants Benevolent Association (SBA) on Thursday announced its endorsement of businessman John Catsimatidis in the upcoming Republican primary race for New York City mayor. (Watch Video)
“I think that under the current climate and what the City of New York is facing, John is the perfect candidate in this upcoming primary,” SBA President Ed Mullins said outside City Hall this week.
Catsimatidis, hoping to portray himself as the tough law and order candidate by opposing passage of the Community Safety Act, said that New York City is at a “crossroads” and derided the New York City Council as the New York “silly council.”
“What are we going to do?” the Gristedes supermarket king said. “Are we going to turn the streets back to the hoodlums?”
The SBA is already backing former comptroller Bill Thompson for mayor on the Democratic line. But the two-time mayoral candidate has drawn Mullins’ ire for linking the NYPD’s controversial “stop and frisk” policy to the Trayvon Martin murder case in Florida.
“I am greatly disappointed with his [Thompson’s] comments,” Mullins said. “But at the end of the day, Bill Thompson is a good guy. I’m open to having two of the potential best candidates in the race.”
Joe Lhota – Catsimatidis’ Republican rival in the upcoming mayoral primary – blew his shot at earning the SBA’s endorsement earlier this spring, when he referred to Port Authority police as “nothing more than mall cops."
“Mr. Lhota…we heard him call Port Authority police mall cops,” Mullins said. “They lost more cops than we did [during 9/11]. I don’t think that’s a proper comment. And most important, Mr. Lhota never called my office to have a conversation with me. So, what does that tell you about law enforcement? He has no interest.”
Building on his law and order theme, Catsimatidis pointed to the success of New York City tourism as proof that current, but controversial law enforcement policies under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, are working.
“Tourism is up to 53 million people a year which benefits our entire economy,” Catsimatidis said. “Why? People can walk around and be safe. Our police department has done a terrific job.”
“Let’s take out wages and contracts,” Mullins said. “Because at the end of the day, every opportunity comes from a safe street.”
When asked which of Catsimatidis’ crime-fighting policies convinces him that the multi-millionaire businessman is the best Republican in the race to lead the city, Mullins said he looks at the entrepreneur’s life for clues.
“There’s no better tool to measure a man than to see the life that he’s led,” Mullins said. “His life has been led through hard work, making tough decisions, growing up with nothing and becoming successful. That’s a track record. That’s what puts people in the hall of fame. We sit and look at his record and how he’s played the game and he’s played the game better than anyone else I can think of right now.”