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Brooklyn’s own Bill de Blasio was elected in a landslide to become the city’s next public advocate.
With 94 percent of the citywide unofficially tabulated at press time, the lanky Park Slope pol running on the Democratic line had 77 percent or 633,834 votes compared to Republican candidate Alex Zablocki’s 18 percent or 145,222 votes.
“I have been incredibly proud to run as a citywide candidate from Brooklyn,” said de Blasio, tipping his hat to his home borough. “I have also been honored to serve as the City Councilmember for the 39th district over the past eight years. I look forward to continuing to fight for the needs of all neighborhoods as Public Advocate.”
Representing residents of Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Windsor Terrace, Kensington and Borough Park, de Blasio had often challenged Mayor Bloomberg on a number of issues.
The die was cast last year when de Blasio veered away from his City Council colleagues and voted against the term limits bill that would give city officials a third term in office.
De Blasio and Bloomberg met the morning after the election for several hours in what he called a productive discussion.
“We discussed several priorities that I have been advocating for, including bringing public school parents back into our education system, reforming the Civilian Complaint Review Board and making elections more open and fair. I am hopeful that we can continue this positive dialogue in the years ahead. As I have said before, I plan to be a watchdog over City Hall. I will work with the Mayor when he is right, but I won’t hesitate to stand up when I disagree,” said de Blasio.
On September 15, de Blasio rose above a field of four for Public Advocate. But since De Blasio only secured 32 percent of the vote, not 40, a runoff was called.
In a runoff election that was high on negativity and low on voter turn out, de Blasio defeated challenger Mark Green by 25 points, all but assuring him of this week’s win.
But de Blasio’s win could have the wind cut from his sails as Mayor Bloomberg and several city council members are vowing to disband the public advocate office.
The office currently serves as a watchdog role with no legislative powers, although the public advocate is next in line to become the city’s chief executive if something happens to the mayor.
—with Tom Tracy
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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