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Candidate Conversations: Curtis Sliwa

Editor's note: A gesture made by Curtis Sliwa during the conversation which some may find offensive has been blurred. 

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Early voting continues in New York City's mayoral election, with election day less than a week away.

CBS2's Marcia Kramer and Maurice DuBois sat down with Republican candidate Curtis Sliwa on Wednesday, as part of our "Candidate Conversations" series.

You can see their full conversation in the video below:

On Tuesday, we sat down with Democrat candidate Eric Adams. You can see their full conversation here.

Here's just some of what Kramer, DuBois and Sliwa discussed.

MAURICE DuBOIS: Eric Adams carries a gun. He's a former cop. Gun violence is top of mind in our city with the gun violence we've been seeing. Would you consider issuing concealed carry permits for self defense for those who qualify? A lot of our viewers have written in about this saying, you know, carry permits have been given to the elites leaving regular folks to fend for themselves. Is that a good idea or a bad idea?

CURTIS SLIWA: It should be, if Eric Adams is going to continue to carry a gun, if he's lucky enough to become mayor. I choose not to carry a gun and I'm a victim of violent crime. Shot five times on the orders of the Gottis to the Gambinos, hollow point bullets. I was offered a carry permit by the NYPD, I said no. You want to to go into the inner city, where most of these gang shootings occur by young males, and you're strapped, and then you're here to tell them they shouldn't be? They know the hypocrisy there. You should not be carrying weapons, especially if you're mayor, you should not be strapped with a nine millimeter. I don't know what this obsession that Eric Adams, my opponent, has with carrying guns.

DuBOIS: So, just to be clear, you're saying law abiding citizens should be able to carry weapons.

SLIWA: As long as they can meet the rigorous standards that you need in New York City, and know how to use the weapon, and obviously practice with the weapon, and go into psychiatric review on a regular basis. Okay.

MARCIA KRAMER: Once Rikers Island is closed, what should the city do with the land? How about turning it into a vast farm, where you raise produce for people who are hungry in the city? But you could also employ the homeless or other people, provide jobs? And you could even have, you know, bunk houses where people could live. What about that as a novel way to use the property?

SLIWA: Now Marcia, we're not going to be growing marijuana there now that it's a legal, recreational.

KRAMER: I did not say marijuana. You said marijuana. That's exactly where your mind went - your mind went to marijuana. I said grow food.

SLIWA: I don't have a problem with that. But I can tell you, Eric Adams supporters, the developers and realtors, they're lusting for that space to build, to develop, because that's prime property.

KRAMER: So what you're saying is you're not gonna build those community jails?

SLIWA: Where are you gonna get the money, Marcia?  There is no money. And by the way, Eric Adams would put a community jail in your neighborhood. Nobody wants these community jails. And by the way, the reality is there's no money for it. We're going to be on the brink of fiscally dissolving because of the damage that de Blasio has done by overspending. All that stimulus money, with a $100 billion budget? Have you seen the recent tax rolls? Less property tax coming in, less income tax coming in. There's no more money coming from Washington.

KRAMER: So you're not going to go to Florida like Eric Adams and get those people to come back?

SLIWA: Oh, please. He should knock himself out. What is this, like he won the Super Bowl, 'Hey, I'm off to Disney World?' January 2, he says he's going to Florida, then from Florida, he's going to the DR and PR, where they have SOMOS every year, where the lobbyists hang out, and wine you, dine you and pocket line you. I say, Eric, you gonna be mayor, you stay right here.

KRAMER: Wait a minute, how can you whine about the fact that the tax rolls are down, and sales tax is down, that the real estate tax is down and say you're not going to do anything about it? At least he says I'm going to go ask them to come back? You think it's just a stunt?

SLIWA: Nobody's coming back, Marcia. They made this decision. It probably was a very difficult decision.

SLIWA: I want more people vaccinated. But I realize some can't, because of medical or religious reasons, and others don't trust the government. Gee, I wonder why they don't trust the government, Democrats or Republicans? They're constantly involved in what I call "political tricknology." That's why I trust people, I don't trust politicians. And if I get elected mayor, don't trust me either. Trust Marcia Kramer, yourself and other members of the fourth estate, that keep our feet and our hands to the fire.

KRAMER: I'm curious about one thing, how are you supporting yourself during this campaign? I know you probably had to give up your radio gig. You probably had to give up your TV gigs. How are you supporting yourself and your 17 cats?

SLIWA: Yes. Well, interesting. Isn't that amazing, that if you're in elected office, like Eric Adams is, or like Scott Stringer was, you continue to get paid even though you know they're not doing their job.

KRAMER: So how are you supporting yourself?

SLIWA: I got - I had to leave. The moment I announced, all my competitors say "Unfair, FCC." So I've had to pool together resources, family members, friends. I mean, I'm hanging by a thread.

KRAMER: So you're a charity case? Are you a charity case for your family?

SLIWA: I wouldn't say a charity case. Obviously, that's money that I can account for.

KRAMER: How do you feed the cats if you have no money?

SLIWA: Oh, my wife is amazing, the way she's able to bifurcate the cans and give them their treat.

DuBOIS: So you said you're not on anybody's payroll right now? Nobody's funding you?

SLIWA: Nobody's funding me.

KRAMER: So how do you pay your rent? How do you pay your electric bill? How do you buy a phone?

SLIWA: My wife is an attorney. Nancy has had a very, very productive career in law, first as a criminal defense attorney -

KRAMER: She's running for office, too. She still has a has a practice while she's running?

SLIWA: Oh, absolutely. Gotta make that moolah-shmoolah, right? You know the landlord, they come, and we haven't declared that we are part of the moratorium, which we could have. Now, we're paying the rent. We're paying the bills, and I'm paying, Eric Adams, my child support. What a disgrazio, what a shanda, that in the middle of the debate, he says then I'm stealing money that should have gone to child support.

KRAMER: So school violence has really gotten out of hand and since school went back to in person learning, I wonder whether you think it's a good idea that Mayor de Blasio announced with great fanfare, and now seems to be pulling back on, to move school safety out of the NYPD and put it under the control of the Department of Education. Good idea, bad idea? What would a Mayor Sliwa would do?

SLIWA: Well, A#1, if you listen to Greg Floyd who's a great guy. He was the head of the union for the school safety officers, they need an additional 500 school safety -

KRAMER: 1,500.

SLIWA: I stand corrected. Plus, you got guys like to Jumaane Williams, they don't want any security officers supervised by the NYPD,

KRAMER: Should they be moved from the police department to the Department of Education, which is a key plank of the defund the police movement?

SLIWA: How did that work. when the Board of Education used to supervise the school safety officers? It was horrible. And they want to pull out the metal detectors? Are they pulling out the metal detectors from Madison Square Garden, Citi Field, LaGuardia, JFK?

KRAMER: Speaking of metal detectors, there are 88 metal detectors in schools, there are 520 high schools. Should you increase metal detectors in schools around the city? We have 30 seconds.

SLIWA: Absolutely. They just recovered six guns in two days. How heroic, the increased safety officers.

DuBOIS: Increase it to what, what number?

KRAMER: All 520?

SLIWA: That's right. Perfect example, just like LaGuardia, doesn't everybody have to go through a metal detector? It should be good for the elite and should be good for the indigent and poor. Let's level the playing field. Everybody goes through a metal detector.

Again, this is just part of the conversation – see it all in the video above.

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