Roy Gilbert

Candidates Clash Over Future of New York in First Mayoral Debate

The two leading candidates in the New York City mayor’s race battled to protect their advantages in a hard-hitting Democratic debate on Thursday evening while their six rivals grasped for breakout moments, sought to redefine the stakes of the contest and put forth their own visions for the struggling city.

The contenders clashed over government experience, ideology and public safety in confrontations that sometimes devolved into acrid personal attacks.

They sketched out their plans on an array of city issues, taking divergent stances on policing, education and managing the city’s economic revival. Policing emerged as the most-talked about problem, with proposals ranging from reimagining plainclothes units to expanding the use of mental health professionals in traditional law enforcement situations.

Andrew Yang, one of the front-runners, was the target of an onslaught of criticism, which he sought to defuse by reaching for areas of common ground rather than engaging with equal force. But the sharpest direct clashes were between the other leading candidate, Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, and Maya D. Wiley, a former counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Ms. Wiley sought to cast Mr. Adams as a conservative former Republican who embraced stop-and-frisk policing tactics, while Mr. Adams dismissed her criticisms as ill-informed.

“Every time you raise that question, it really just shows your failure of understanding law enforcement,” Mr. Adams said after she questioned how he could be trusted to “keep us safe from police misconduct.” Mr. Adams argued that he was a “leading voice against the abuse of stop-and-frisk.”

Ms. Wiley […]