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GOP Mayor Candidates Challenge Bloomberg Positions At Forum

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New York City typically does not have GOP primaries, but it's a different story this year, as three Republicans running to replace Mayor Michael Bloomberg. While they generally have favorable things to say about the mayor, some candidates are making it clear they would do things differently. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg favors an open office where he is surrounded by his top aides, but if Joseph Lhota becomes the next mayor, the bullpen at City Hall is going away.

"I would have a very different management style than Mike Bloomberg," Lhota said.

Lhota said the mayor treats his commissioners as if they are chief executive officers. He said they are allowed to run their agencies independently without involvement from City Hall.

Lhota, who was a deputy mayor under Rudolph Giuliani, said he would do things differently.

"I have a much more centralized approach," he said. "I think the mayor is the chief executive officer."

Billionaire businessman John Catsimatidis said he believes in the bullpen model. George McDonald, the founder of the Doe Fund, refused to answer the question.

As for the debate over the New York City Police Department's stop, question and frisk policy, Catsimatidis predicted that it will soon disappear in the next year or two as new technology renders it useless.

"It's going to be a robot or a handgun that identifies if somebody is carrying a concealed weapon," Catsimatidis said.

Lhota, meanwhile, took a shot at a plan backed by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to create an inspector general for the New York City Police Department. He does not think one is needed, but he also does not think the inspector general will be effective, since Quinn is proposing that the position become part of the city's Department of Investigation.

"Having an inspector general that reports to the mayor with oversight over the mayor's appointee absolutely makes no sense," Lhota said.

The candidates won over the Upper East Side crowd when they all denounced the mayor's plan to open a waste station in the neighborhood. They all said that Manhattan's garbage should go to New Jersey.

"The garbage trucks just go right to New Jersey, dump it and then come back," McDonald said. "What could be more efficient than that?"

The crowd also got riled up when the candidates were asked about the scarcity of local buses in the neighborhood. Lhota, who used to run the MTA, admitted that he gets annoyed when he is waiting for a local bus and sees too many express buses passing him by.

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