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At NYC Mayor debates, third parties rise up: Rev. Billy heckles; socialists ejected; lots of press coverage

Billy Talen, an activist and performance artist who uses the name “Reverend Billy” is running for Mayor of New York City on the Green Party line. Reverend Billy and other third party candidates were excluded from the October 13th Mayoral debate. Reverend Billy attended, heckled, and was escorted out of the venue. A commenter at the NY Times site says that two supporters of the Party for Socialism and Liberation candidate Frances Villar were also thrown out. Reverend Billy received extensive press coverage, including: The NY Times; The Daily News; Gotham Schools; Ballot Access News; and The Village Voice.

Some press snips:

Gotham Schools:
Thompson and Bloomberg spar over their education records in first mayoral debate
by Anna Phillips

“Nothing the candidates said during tonight’s mayoral debate was more surprising than the Rev. Billy Talen’s spirited heckling, but a few choice comments were made about the city’s schools and mayoral control…”

The New York Times:
Bloomberg and Thompson Spar in First Mayoral Debate
By Sewell Chan AND Michael Barbaro

A Heckler Interrupts [a Subheading of the article]

7:02 p.m. | Mr. Bloomberg’s opening statement was interrupted by a jeering heckler — later identified as the Rev. Billy Talen, a Green Party candidate for mayor — who shouted epithets attacking the mayor’s support of legislation last year extending term limits to allow himself to seek another term.

“Eight is enough” he shouted. “Mike, what are you doing here? We voted for term limits.”…

Also, on the NY Times blog, in the comment section, posted by reader “FrancesFan” was the following (thanks to Ballot Access News for the tip):

Also with Rev. Billy, two supporters of Frances Villar (the first woman of color on the ballot for mayor) were thrown out. The coverage of this debate and the 3rd party candidates in general have been so skewed. Stop ignoring the other candidates standing outside demanding their right to be part of the debate! Frances Villar for mayor of NYC!!

Daily News:
Mayor Bloomberg, Bill Thompson slug it out in first debate for Mayor of NYC
by Celeste Katz, Erin Einhorn and Adam Lisberg

[KW: The Daily News story includes a picture of Reverend Billy, dressed in his shocking blue suit with white collar, being dragged away by someone in a uniform. It looks like a sad twist on a Norman Rockwell painting.]

…”The debate went briefly awry during Bloomberg’s opening statement, when the Rev. Billy Talen, the Green Party’s mayoral candidate, jumped up from the audience and shouted at Bloomberg about term limits.”



The October 13th NYC Mayor debate–which was sponsored by media corporations, New York City Campaign Finance Board and El Museo Del Barrio–only invited the major party candidates, excluding Reverend Billy Talen and several other third party candidates on the ballot. 2008 Green Party candidate for President Cynthia McKinney put out a message to supporters, urging them to make calls demanding Reverend Billy be invited. Reverend Billy urged third party voters to protest the debates. A message at Reverend Billy’s website said, “While Reverend Billy was not invited to be an official part of the debate we feel its important to have a strong presence there, on behalf of voters, third parties and Democracy itself.”

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