(Reuters) – New York City’s public advocate, a Democratic mayoral candidate known for his liberal views, on Thursday sued the city to obtain data to determine if soaring fines are hurting small businesses.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio said he has been stonewalled since May in his attempts to investigate whether city agencies – from the Departments of Health to Sanitation – have been guilty of “overzealous enforcement,” in an apparent effort to boost how much money the city rakes in each year in fines, according to a complaint in Manhattan state court.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg ends his third and final term in 2013 and the race to replace him has already begun. De Blasio’s law suit could broaden his appeal to the business community which has been wooed by another Democratic mayoral candidate, Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
“It is a smart political move by the public advocate, who is seen as far to the left, to try to move to the center by defending small businesses,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a political consultant.
He said: “This is the Bill de Blasio moment – only he is in a position where he can take on the mayor this way,” he said.
Political analysts said Quinn has held closely to Bloomberg’s policies, though she has carved out a few specific issues, including her support for a so-called
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