John Liu For New York City Comptroller

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What impresses us the most about Liu is his declaration to "aggressively" make sure that not only are Minority and Women-owned Businesses Enterprises at the table but that they actually get to dine. He says he wants to emulate the remarkable success of cities such as Atlanta and Chicago with MWBEs.

[Black Star News Editorial Endorsement]

When we met with New York City Council member and Comptroller candidate John Liu at the end of a long day Wednesday it was already way past 9 PM.

The youthful and ebullient candidate was fighting off late-day fatigue, having come to our offices in the Wall Street area from one of several events that started early that morning. Liu said he normally kicks off his campaign at 7 AM at subway stations; this Wednesday he started a bit late because he had to wait until he'd dropped off his daughter for the first day of school.

Liu, who has been in the Council for eight years now, won us over with his vision for The Comptroller's office. We endorse him wholeheartedly and believe he will carry the day on Tuesday's Primary Day. "I will try to get this in the first round," Liu says, with confidence. He adds that his 2-to-1 advantage in TV advertisement war chest over his opponents will propel him during the homestretch. "I already told Bill Thompson that I will be a much better comptroller than he is," Liu laughs. He adds that he is a big supporter of Thompson's mayoral run.

Liu says his background as an actuary and a manager with Price Waterhouse Cooper equips him well for the Comptroller post.

He says once in office, he'll start by training a "powerful microscope" on all the contracts from the City. His priority is to ensure that more Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) get a farer share of the City's billions of dollars in contracts.

The MWBEs hire workers who live in the City and help retain jobs here; rather than the large companies that hire outside employees.

Liu says his background as an actuary will help him "restore" the pension funds. He says he's always been a reformist and that he was at the forefront of denouncing the City Council’s slush fund scandal. He says such scandals are inevitable until the "no bid" contracts are abolished.

Liu says the City's budget gaps that occur every year comes from the different revenue projections from the mayor and the Council, with the former low balling and the latter often over estimating projections. He calls for a Charter revision that would let the Comptroller be the independent authority to make revenue projections.

What impresses us the most about Liu is his declaration to "aggressively" make sure that not only are Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises at the table but that they actually get to dine. He says he wants to emulate the remarkable success of cities such as Atlanta and Chicago with MWBEs.

He says he would put large entities such as the Department of Transportation (DOT); Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC); and the School Construction Authority, on notice that he will examine how they adhere to Local Law 129, which aims to boost MWBEs share of City business. "I want to see how they are reaching out, number one, to certify MWBEs; and reaching out to all the companies that could be bidding on contracts," Liu says.

"I want to see the details, as opposed to just the big companies that have always been getting the City contracts."

Liu points to money from the federal stimulus package as a "golden opportunity." From his vantage point as chair of the Transportation Committee on the City Council, Liu says he still sees most contracts basically going to two large companies. "There is no obligation for these companies to reach out to MWBEs" he says.

John Liu has clear plans and a great vision for where he wants to take the Comptroller's office.

The Black Star News fully supports him and wishes him success on Tuesday.


 

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