Third Parties rise up at NYC Mayor debate: Rev. Billy heckles; report says Villar supporters ejected

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 and Ballot Access News.

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

[Note: 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.]

…”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.”

24 thoughts on “Third Parties rise up at NYC Mayor debate: Rev. Billy heckles; report says Villar supporters ejected

  1. Frances Villar Supporter

    Why is it that 3rd Party candidates are made to go through the exhaustive process of getting on the ballot and then get locked out of the Debates? This is a most undemocratic process. Nothing Bloomberg or Thompson say should be given much thought. They are liars. They are two sides of the same coin. Fresh ideas and new ways forward are needed. Thats why I support Frances Villar for Mayor of NYC.

  2. Steven R Linnabary

    Villar Supporter:

    A better question is why do opposition parties and their candidates continue to file campaign disclosure statements with agencies such as the “New York City Campaign Finance Board”when the very same agencies use their power to keep opposition off the ballot, or failing that, to keep them silent? These agencies attitude is “no we’re not going to allow you on the ballot, nor into OUR debates…and by the way, who are your supporters and where do they work?”

    Yeah, I got your disclosure right here.


  3. me

    this is what pisses me off about the American Left, there are like, three or four leftists running for Mayor of NYC. BIlly Talen is the ONLY candidate who could ever EVEN THINK ABOUT having a shot, he is well-known, he has been in movies.

    But noooooooo! We have the lunatic, sectarian PSL and the also-ever so irrelevant SWP (I am a socialist, but I am also a realist) running candidates. You would think by now that the Left would get a fucking clue, and realize that in a race where you are outgunned by money and machinery, you run ONE candidate, one fucking candidate and put all of your resources, man/woman power behind that ONE person and have a unified message. What is so hard to understand about this? Is it that Talen doesn’t support 100% of your positions? I don’t agree 100% with him on everything, either, he is way too passive on Palestine for my taste. But I am with him on about 90%! And so is most of the Left. But they get dumber and dumber as the years go by and that is why electorally and organizationally, there is really no left in the US.

  4. Kimberly Wilder

    To me:

    I hear what you are saying. And, in some ways you are correct, that it would be good to unify and run one candidate.


    Think about the logistics…how do you demand that all the other parties not run a candidate? And, how do you demand that other people who have vision and think they should be on the ballot should run?

    That is part of the problem. Making unity work, without stifling people and their rights.

    Also, you might have a sense that if all those groups unified, a left candidate could win.

    But, some people probably see winning as unrealistic when you run the numbers. So, they don’t feel unity is a useful strategy.

    Mostly, it is better to support what is good, and only attack the bad guys. No need to berate your own team. Your energy is better spent cajoling, guiding, or supporting them (even if they barely seem to want the support.)

  5. Robert Milnes

    The only successful such attempt I am aware of is Allende’s Popular Unity coalition. Extremely good candidate, extremely distressed circumstances, extremely unfortunate result.

  6. Robert Milnes

    The Progressive Libertarian Alliance Strategy COULD result in a 40/30/30 plurality on MOST ballots by 2012. Some 6 year Senators would not see another election by then.

  7. me


    I am not demanding that others not run, I am saying it is common sense to merge and support the strongest. You get behind the strongest, corporate America knows this, this is why their companies merge (which hurst us, but that is a whole other conversation). Think they like one another? think they agree on everything? No, but they know enough to act in their own inetrests.

    This is what happened with Nader 2000, though you had a few running others for prez, but they had no support, resources, etc, but with Nader, you had coalitions of people (and yes it was messy, it always is), from different groups.

    What I said about the PSL does not apply to their candidate for NYC, she looks good, great in fact, has good positions, and I really do not see the difference between her and Rev Billy, except they each are putting their focus on different issues, but their platforms look nearly the same to me, I checked the election records and she is the only other candidate besides Billy, that raised money. She should have merged her energies, resources, 7k with Billy. It is too late now for Billy’s race, but this needs to be done in the future. Though the PSL may want to continue their path to nowhere by running candidates and not merging with other groups.

    I believe that there should be different groups, because the Left is so vast in different types of ideologies, but for a Herculean effort like running for office, these people need to merge. I do agree that lots of energy should not be wasted on calling people out on this, if they want to go solo, let them, but there are many who would see that it makes sense to merge.

    Love Rev. Billy, I donated to his campaign, I wish more people on our side would do so as well.

  8. Dave Schwab


    I understand where you’re coming from, but the issue is rather complicated. On other sites, I’ve had crazed Democrats screaming at me for supporting anyone other than Bill Thompson, who they see as the only candidate who can unseat Bloomberg (altho the media consensus is that even Thompson is a long shot at this point). My argument that the NYC Democrats enabled Bloomberg’s run for a third term, and that they are not an alternative but merely a stagnant, corrupt machine, bounces off their skulls. So I check myself before arguing that small left-wing parties should step aside for the Greens. I believe that if not for Rev. Billy, many voters would be staying home, and that is probably true of the socialist and libertarian and what-have-you candidates as well.

    That being said, I think it makes sense to focus our energy and resources on a national progressive party that can someday break the stranglehold of the corporate-sponsored parties on our national politics. I’m a Green for that reason, and because I support the four pillars of grassroots democracy, social justice, nonviolence, and ecology. You should think about joining the GP too.

  9. me

    With all due respect, democrats screaming at you for supporting Billy is not in any way the same as having other left candidates step aside for the strongest progressive running. The third party movement challenges the entrenched duopoly, the Dems are just the left wing of the Republican Party, as Bill Maher said about electoral activity: “The left has moved to the right and the right has moved into a mental hospital.” He called for a third party, so happy that he did this when that Democratic Party hack, Paul Begala was there as a guest!

    Though I do believe in Left formations, I have to reject the argument for progressive/Libertarian electoral alliances that some on here have made, how the hell could on run as a Green or socialist and run as a Libertarian? I have Lib friends who are among the more progressive wing of their party, and I have aided them in their campaigns when no left candidate is running, but running as a Green or Socialist AND Libertarian? Makes no sense.

    Rev Billy’s campaign is exciting, if I lived in or near NYC, I would be a hard core volunteer, and I too look forward to the day when we have a viable progressive third party, hopefully Billy’s campaign will bring us closer to this.

  10. Robert Milnes

    me, there is never going to be a viable progressive party. TR failed. It is permanently split. between the left progressives & right progressives-libertarians. Milsted calls for the formation of a “new upper left party.” But that would directly compete with the Green & Libertarian parties. Vote coordination does not mean merger or dual-identify. ONE Green OR ONE Libertarian on EVERY ballot.

  11. Robert Milnes

    The split between the left progressives & right progressives(libertarians) is at anarchism. The split between progressives/revolutionaries & reactionaries/counterrevolutionaries is between the Libertarian & Constitution parties. This is why a LP/CP alliance never materializes. There is just too much difference. & this is why Ron Paul falls in with the reactionaries/counterrevolutionaries. Endorsing Baldwin over Barr.

  12. me

    “between the left progressives & right progressives-libertarians”

    this type of “formation” is not viable, has NOTHING TO DO with what I am talking about, and most people with a brain would not even consider it. NO Left Party would ever compete with Libertarians, Libertarians are just Republicans who want to smoke weed and are open on social issues, they have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO with the formation of a Left party in the United States.

  13. me

    “NO Left Party would ever compete with Libertarians”

    should read: “NO left party would ever JOIN with Libertarians”

    this is like asking Greens and Republicans to run candidates together.

  14. Just an Observation

    Bloomberg News is reporting this morning that Wall Street plans to pay out $26 billion in bonuses over the next several months. That’s a forty percent increase over last year’s bonuses. That’s also your money, folks. Third parties on the Left and Right need to come together in a genuine populist movement against the powers-that-be before it’s too late.

    Next year’s mid-term election could provide the perfect storm.

    In any case, the good times keep rolling along for those who created this financial crisis and their apologists in both major parties, leaving a majority of ordinary Americans to fight over the crumbs while the moronic talking heads in the mainstream media keep mumbling something about a “jobless recovery” — the first, incidentally, in U.S. history.

    Mindless bickering between Greens and Libertarians, et al, is sort of ridiculous when one looks at the bigger picture. Given the magnitude of the economic crisis facing this country, a little transpartisanship among the nation’s minor parties might be in order.

  15. Dave Schwab

    Greens and Libertarians should join forces for ballot access, open debates, etc. As for running candidates, the more the merrier. I think the Greens’ approach to the economy makes the most sense, and I don’t know of any other national party with an economic policy for all Americans, not just the wealthiest few percent.

  16. me

    “Mindless bickering between Greens and Libertarians, et al, is sort of ridiculous when one looks at the bigger picture. ”

    Who on here is bickering with Libertarians? Yes, as Dave said, we should join forces with Libs on ballot access issues, anti-war movements, agreed upon issues, but refusing to have a left party/Libertarian alliance is not “bickering” or “sectarian” it’s common sense.

    Happy about Rev Billy, looking forward to someday having a viable Left party in the United States.

  17. soapboxer

    What about votes for ANY candidate on the ballot COUNTING toward a decision between the top 2?

    For example, once all tallies are 100% in, lowest votegetter gives their votes to any other and is out, then remaining lowest votegetter does the same, etc. until you’re down to 2, one of whom ends with more votes than the other. (Yes, I realize it’s not the way most elections are done now.)

    How else will these other voices be heard and have their due influence?

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