Who’ll Advocate for the Public?

A Dramatic Contrast in Candidates

If he makes the runoff, Siegel will labor under the same financial disadvantage as he did during the summer, when Gotbaum outspent and out-fundraised her opponents almost three to one.

His tactics will emphasize what he calls "mini-town meetings"—gatherings where he is as much a listener to citizen complaints as a campaigner.

In one demonstration of the role he said he sought to play if elected, Siegel wrote privately to City Council Speaker and then mayoral candidate Peter Vallone after Vallone proposed legislation last month seeking to create a city reconstruction commission to be headed by Giuliani.

"I wrote that the powers were way too broad," said Siegel. "The bill basically would have allowed the commission to do anything appropriate to accomplish its goals. There wasn't even a plan for public hearings; they were just going to rush it through. From my perspective, that was interfering with the powers of the mayor and the City Council."

Siegel said he was also alarmed that few objections were voiced last week against the mayoral edict that pictures couldn't be taken at the site of the Trade Center's collapse.

"The goal has to be how to protect New Yorkers without abridging their rights. There has to be both security and freedom, but there has to be a lot of informed discussion among the public to achieve it."

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