Incumbent public advocate gears up for primary challenge

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NEW YORK -

The city's incumbent public advocate, Letitia "Tish" James, faces a Democratic primary challenge from Columbia University professor David Eisenbach, a historian.

James has held the job since 2014. It involves holding the city government accountable to residents.

She says a big issue right now is wage equality, and she points to a recent law banning employers from asking about salary history as a major accomplishment during her tenure. She also took aim at economic disparity and corrupt landlords. She says she supports more tenant protections.

Her track record also includes lawsuits against the Department of Education over busing issues for special-needs children and a $130 million program to track students' progress that she says has failed.

Eisenbach says he wants to challenge the current administration and protect small businesses and jobs. He supports a bill that would protect small business owners from bad landlords and keep neighborhoods free from too many chain stores and restaurants.

Like James, he too has made housing a major issue of his campaign. In particular, he says he's fighting against overdevelopment in some neighborhoods.

Additionally, Eisenbach's website says he wants to prepare for a "fiscal crisis" that he says the city will face. He says the city needs to ensure that its budget money goes toward public servants and not special interests.

The public advocate is a nonvoting member of the City Council, but the officeholder does have the ability to introduce or co-sponsor legislation.

The primary vote will take place on Sept. 12.

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