It was a tale of two Chinatowns in the mayor’s race Friday as the leading candidates went looking for support in the Asian-American community with very divergent results and also voiced their thoughts on a recent ruling on Mayor Bloomberg’s large sugary drink ban. NY1’s Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
Friday afternoon Bill de Blasio got a warm reception in Chinatown, picking up the endorsement of the Lin Sing Association, a coalition of Chinese-American groups and local elected officials, including Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
“We’re going to make a very focused effort in the Chinese community,” De Blasio said.
It was a different scene in Flushing, where Republican Joe Lhota attended an Asian Americans for Lhota fundraiser at a Chinese restaurant. Attendance appeared to be sparse, though Lhota said many supporters were arriving later.
“I’ve got a lot of significant support in the Asian American community, here in Flushing as well as in other parts of the city,” Lhota said.
At his event in Chinatown, de Blasio also took the unusual step of defending Mayor Bloomberg, in this case for the mayor’s proposed ban on large sugary drinks. That ban was struck down in court, but on Thursday it was announced the case would be heard by the state’s highest court, the court of appeals – though not until after a new mayor takes office.
“Let’s remember, these drinks get up to 64 ounces. I mean, this is a horrible impact on our children. I think the mayor’s right and I would continue the legal process,” De Blasio said.
Lhota, meanwhile, whose policies are normally more aligned with Mayor Bloomberg, would let the soda ban die.
“I don’t agree with the mayor’s position on the soda ban. If the lawsuit is still in place, I’ll instruct the law department to drop the case,” Lhota said.
One positive development for Lhota on Friday was that he won the endorsement of Crain’s New York Business.