4:12 pm Oct. 6, 2011
The prospective Democratic mayoral candidates for 2013 are taking vastly different approaches to the increasingly hard-to-ignore Occupy Wall Street protest movement.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer took the most firm step so far in support of the protest, joining yesterday's march, which was the first one conducted with a permit from the city.
If the days-long demonstration turns into a Tea Party-like phenomenon of the left, Stringer will be able to claim credit for having joined it before his rivals, when things were still dicey. But the thing is no one knows what Occupy Wall Street will become yet.
Stringer's office hasn't provided pictures of or additional statements about his visit with the protesters yet.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who has long talked up the need for grassroots activism in policy-making (and who is himself a former grassrootsy liberal), said he would like to talk to the demonstrators, but that he'd like to see better organization and a clearer set of goals from participants.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn yesterday said she has "great sympathy" for people frustrated with the current economic climate. But she also said she's not sure what the protesters' agenda is and won't be meeting them. Quinn has allied herself closely with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has unreservedly expressed the opinion that the demonstrators are misguided and a nuisance.
City Comptroller John Liu said the protesters "should not be stopped and should be heard loud and clear by all policy makers." So far, he has no plans to visit them.
Manhattan Media C.E.O. Tom Allon embraced the protesters' spirit, calling them a potential antidote to the Tea Party.