Mayoral candidate Eric Adams slammed fellow Democratic rival Andrew Yang Thursday for holding an event focusing on parking placard abuse while he railed against rising subway crime amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Adams, the Brooklyn borough president and an ex-cop, focused on bolstering public safety outside a subway station while Yang held an event to promote a plan to crack down on abuse of placards by government workers.
“On one side of Brooklyn. I am dealing with crime. On another side of Brooklyn, someone is dealing with placard abuse” Adams said outside the G train station at Keep Street and Union Avenue,” Adams said.
“That’s a New Paltz crisis. That’s not a Brooklyn crisis. That’s not a New York City crisis –And I’m going to focus on those safety issues. And that is what the city’s concerned about.” said Adams, referring to Yang’s decision to live outside the city during the early part of the pandemic.
“If he lived in New York City, he would know we have a crime problem. And the mayor of the City of New York that will focus on placards while five year old girls are being graced with bullets, and three family members are murdered, and every day my Citizen app is going off on new shootings — that’s really a privileged problem,” Adams continued.
“They’re thinking about over 1 million people not having money to pay their rent, food insecurity, and ability to to get children back in school. Unemployment. The economy devastated. . And that is what he’s talking about? The tells me he’s privileged. And the people I represent are not privileged.”
Adams’ pointed attack on Yang is an indication he considers the entrepreneur and 2020 presidential candidate his biggest threat to winning the crowded Democratic primary for mayor.
Meanwhile, Yang was at Cadman Plaza Park touting his plan to curb placard abuse by government workers — near Adams’ Borough Hall turf.
The site was a not-so-subtle slap at Adams. He and his staffers are known to use placards to park on the plaza outside Borough Hall, which critics claim is an abuse. Adams insists he and his staff will stop it if other city agencies follow suit.
During his campaign event, Adams cited as good news that that subway ridership has climbed to more than 2 million New Yorkers daily for the first time since the pandemic slammed New York.
“But many New Yorkers are still afraid. They’re still afraid to use a system that is the lifeblood of New York. And if we don’t deal with the public safety crises that this city is faced with, it is going to stymie our recovery and our growth,” he said.
“I hear it every day when I’m on the subway system that people are concerned about how well we are protecting our riders.
“These fears are understandable, and they’re clear to me,” he said.
Adams discussed a safety plan for the subway system, which included better NYPD deployment of transit patrols.
“As a former transit cop, you should not have three or four officers standing together. I rode alone. We need to use our manpower better,” he said
“You don’t need three, four officers at a station. I was a transit cop. I rode alone. And I did not have a working radio. I had a night stick that I threw on the platform (hoping) someone heard it. So I’m a little disappointed that we’re not properly deploying the officers that we have. We should be deploying them more efficiently to ensure that they can cover a larger piece of real estate and transit territory.”
“I don’t think our police officers are lazy, I don’t think they’re soft. I believe that the right leadership would deploy them in the right manner that we can cover more ground.”
He also said there are too many dangerous, unstable mentally ill individuals wandering the subways and not getting the treatment they need.
“When you look at the number of incidents of shoving innocent people on the tracks, assaults, attacks — it still continues to come back to: people are not receiving the right mental health support that they need,” Adams said.
“The prerequisite to prosperity is public safety. I’m going to say that over and over again, and I’m not going to move away from that. If this city is not safe, this city’s not going to reopen, it’s not going to function, and we’re not going to recover from COVID.”
Yang’s placard platform consists of following through on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s delayed plans to upgrade the city’s parking permits to an all-digital system, passing Councilman Steve Levin’s bill to reward citizens for reporting illegal parking, and funding the Department of Transportation to conduct more enforcement and reduce the number of placards.
“Let’s end placard abuse in New York City. We are going to do it under my administration,” Yang said.
“There just hasn’t been enough progress. I think something like 2,000 of the new digital stickers have been distributed, and the total number of placards in circulation is around 125,000. So we just have to move faster and make progress more quickly.”
Yang also dismissed Adams’ criticism for focusing on placards, saying a mayoral candidate has to address multiple issues.
“We have the capacity to do multiple things at once. One is addressing parking placard abuse, which is a problem that has been growing for years and has nothing to do with one’s ability to address the rise of rates of crime in the city,” he said.
Yang said he’d substantially reduce the number of placards, but declined to say by how much. Adams also said he would curb placards assigned to city workers.