Firehouses Still an Issue

NY Times - October 03, 2009

Coming soon to a firehouse near you: Mr. Thompson.

The comptroller has been attacking Mr. Bloomberg for closing numerous firehouses during his two terms in office.

Of course, to be technical about it, the final call on the closures was made by Nicholas Scoppetta, the fire commissioner, in the name of financial necessity and efficiency. Still, there are few issues that can enrage a neighborhood more than the loss of their local firefighters.

So Mr. Thompson has been showing up lately in more locations that are next to, or not far from, firehouses that were closed or considered for closure. And he is surrounding himself with firefighters from the Uniformed Firefighters Association, which has endorsed him.

He dropped by Engine Company 161 on Staten Island on Sunday, and used the firehouse issue as a way to drive home his message attacking the mayor as being deaf to middle- and working-class concerns. Several firefighters were on hand, wearing "NYC Firefighters for Thompson" T-shirts. Some also clutched "No Bloomberg!" bumper stickers.

On Wednesday, Mr. Thompson campaigned in Sunnyside, Queens, with City Councilman Eric N. Gioia, and noted that Engine Company 261, less than a mile away, had been closed by the mayor. It was a different group of firefighters, but with the same shirts and the same message.

"If Mike Bloomberg wins, there will be other firehouses that will close in the city of New York," Mr. Thompson. "So again, New York's Bravest - it's good to see you, good to have your support."