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August 20, 2013 — The leaders of the New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB) and its Voter Assistance Advisory Committee (VAAC) called on Time Warner Cable and CBS to set aside their protracted dispute over broadcasting rights to provide New Yorkers access to upcoming debates between candidates for comptroller and mayor, sponsored by CBS.

In a story published in today's Wall Street Journal, representatives from both sides suggested a truce allowing the debates to air on Channel 2 is a possibility.

The CFB has presented debates between candidates for citywide office since 1997. For many New Yorkers, the televised debates are the only chance they have to see the candidates together on a single stage, discussing the issues that are most important to all voters.

In a letter to the CEOs of both organizations, CFB Chair Father Joseph P. Parkes, S.J. and VAAC Chair Art Chang appealed to both companies' civic duty and pride, noting that both Time Warner Cable and CBS were chosen as sponsors of the city's official Debate Program.

"With vacancies in all three citywide offices, this election will decide the future of the city we all share and love," they wrote. "We call upon both sides to set aside their differences, if only for a moment, and find a way to present these debates to all New Yorkers."

CBS was chosen as sponsor for two debates before the primary election September 10. In the event that the dispute is not resolved, the debates will be available on Time Warner Cable via CUNY-TV, channel 75-in addition to the radio broadcast on WCBS Newsradio 880 and 1010 WINS. The potentially affected debates are:

  • Democratic Primary, Comptroller: Thursday, August 22, 7:00pm
  • Republican Primary, Mayor: Wednesday, August 28, 7:00pm
  • Democratic Runoff, Mayor: Monday, September 23, 7:00pm
  • General Election, Mayor: Tuesday, October 22, 7:00pm

The full schedule of the CFB's NYC Votes debates for the 2013 elections are available on the CFB website. Other upcoming debates include:

  • On Wednesday, August 21, at 7:00pm, the first official debate in the Democratic primary for mayor, at The Town Hall in Manhattan, sponsored by NY1, WNYC, NY1 Noticias, Citizens Committee of New York City, Citizens Union, Gothamist, Hispanic Federation, and Transportation Alternatives.
  • On Sunday, August 25, at 11:30am, the debate for leading contenders in the Democratic primary for public advocate, sponsored by WNBC, Telemundo Nueva York, and the Wall Street Journal.

NYC Votes is the non-partisan voter engagement campaign of the New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB) and its Voter Assistance Advisory Committee (VAAC). In addition to promoting voter registration, participation, and civic engagement in New York City through its many programs and partnerships, NYC Votes sponsors the city's official Debate Program and produces the citywide Voter Guide.