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Weiner Criticized at First Staten Island Campaign Stop

By Nicholas Rizzi | June 11, 2013 10:00am
 Anthony Weiner got attacked about Twitter and his vote for the Iraq War at a forum in Staten Island.
Staten Island Mayoral Candidate Forum
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PLEASANT PLAINS — Anthony Weiner made his first Staten Island visit of the mayoral race Monday night, and got hit by rivals Sal Albanese and the Green Party candidate.

At the Pleasant Plains, Prince's Bay, Richmond Valley Civic Association mayoral forum,  the Green Party's Tony Gronowicz called Weiner’s behavior on Twitter “coarse” and brought up an old campaign flier.

“I’m going to point out something that has nothing to do with your anatomy,” Gronowicz said to Weiner. “Back in 1991, he was a long-shot candidate in a Jewish district in Brooklyn, and he ran a race-baiting campaign that the Times attacked.”

The flier Gronowicz mentioned was sent out during Weiner’s 1991 City Council race, where he capitalized on racial tensions after the Crown Heights riots to defeat opponent Adele Cohen, Capital New York reported.

After the forum, Weiner briefly talked to the press and said that he apologized to Cohen about the flier.

“I apologized for it,” he said. “I regret sending it.”

Weiner was also attacked by Democratic rival Albanese, who twice mentioned Weiner’s congressional vote authorizing the Iraq War.

“Anthony voted for the invasion of Iraq, which cost us a trillion dollars,” Albanese said. “Let’s take care of America, let’s not get involved in unnecessary skirmishes.”

Weiner later quipped about the attack, saying he wouldn’t rule out the possibility to invade Yonkers if elected.

“I won’t rule out as the mayor invading Yonkers,” he said. “I want you to know I keep that possibility at my disposal.”

The civic association forum also featured Republican candidates Joe Lhota and George McDonald, and Democrats Rev. Erick Salgado, a Staten Island resident, and city Comptroller John Liu.

They were joined on the forum by candidates for public advocate, Councilwoman Letitia James and Staten Island native Cathy Guerriero.

Discussion mostly focused on transportation and health care for Staten Island, with candidates Lhota, Liu and Albanese largely repeating ideas from previous mayoral forums in the borough to address the problems.

However, both Lhota and Weiner spoke in favor of extending the R train into Staten Island to make it easier to get to Brooklyn.

“We need to look at it again, we need to make sure that this Island is not the forgotten borough,” Lhota said. “It is equal to all the other boroughs and you need to have your fair share of mass transit.”

The forum was also the first time Staten Islanders heard Weiner’s opinions on how to address protecting the borough’s shoreline in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Weiner called beach communities “human populated barriers,” and said they should look at new shoreline protections.

“Bad things are going to happen,” he said. “I think you should hope for a government that’s responsive to you. A government that stands by your side when insurance companies don’t do what they’re supposed to.”