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Bloomberg's "conflict of schedules" excuses him from debate

One mayoral hopeful — the city’s current mayor — will be conspicuously absent from a candidates’ debate tonight due to a scheduling conflict.

That leaves him conveniently free to avoid questions about “aggressive policing in city schools,” which is one of the topics slated to be discussed at tonight’s debate, according to a press release put out by the New York Civil Liberties Union, the event’s co-host.

Instead, Bloomberg will be attending the National Night Out Against Crime, according to campaign spokeswoman Silvia Alvarez. Rather than trading talking points with his opponents, the mayor will spent all evening traveling to different precincts throughout the five boroughs to speak about crime and drug use prevention. Bloomberg has been an outspoken advocate for tighter gun control laws and is a member of the national coalition Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

“It’s a conflict of schedules for the mayor,” Alvarez said.

An NYCLU press release states: “Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s campaign has not responded to repeated invitations from the civil rights community via mail, email and phone.”

Candidates Comptroller Bill Thompson, City Councilman Tony Avella, the Rev. Billy Talen, and Roland Rogers will be there.

Update: The NYCLU has decided to postpone the event. “We are postponing tonight’s Mayoral Candidates Civil Rights Forum due to the unavailability of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Comptroller Bill Thompson. We are working to reschedule for a time that the candidates for mayor will be able to attend the forum.”

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