The 5 Most Unconventional Proposals from Anthony Weiner's Mayoral Platform

Elahe Izadi
National Journal

Former Rep. Anthony Weiner is officially running for mayor, and he's got some ideas -- 64 of them to be exact.

Released last month, "Keys to the City: 64 Ideas to Keep New York City the Capital of the Middle Class" was plugged by Weiner in his official video announcing his campaign.

It resembles a similar policy booklet released in 2009 when he was flirting with the idea of a mayoral run -- some of the passages are exactly the same. Other proposals are out of date. But there are some new ideas in there -- and certainly some that will get noticed. Here are the five that stand out:

Replace textbooks with Kindles.

View photos

Remember those relics on the right? (AP Photo/Bruce Schreiner)

Weiner is a fan of e-readers and wants to give a Kindle to each New York City student. It's notable that he's singled out Kindles as the e-reader of choice -- not a Nook man, eh?

"Kids today walk around weighed down by backpacks full of outdated books that cost taxpayers nearly $100 million per year and will rise with new standards. EBooks would cost less, give teachers access to millions of titles, and are never out of date."

Question time! Turn the New York City Council chamber into a mini-British Parliament.

Weiner thinks that the British have the right idea when it comes to Question Time, and he wants to bring the spectacle to New York City:

"Reengaging the public in civic affairs means looking for new ways to spark interest in the debate of the day. Molded on the British House of Commons custom of having the Prime Minister field questions from legislators, a similar challenge for the Mayor may be enlightening and would give rank-and-file City Council members an unfiltered way to bring issues to the executive branch."

Question Time can be pure YouTube gold, as the tradition sometimes draws outlandish questions and responses-- just imagine what a New York City-version would sound like. Take a look at this parody from Saturday Night Live for a sampling.

Tag sex offenders with GPS devices.

As part of Weiner's safety and crime prevention platform, he wants to use GPS technology to keep tabs on convicted sex offenders:

"All too often sex offenders ignore the law and live and loiter around schools and their victims. Now that GPS technology is less expensive and less intrusive, all the movement-limited sex offenders and abusers should be required to keep a GPS tag on their person that alerts the local precinct if they go into restricted areas or near protected people."

Give tax breaks to employers to promote biking to work.

View photos

John Shannon searches bike racks for a space to lock his bike near the L train subway at Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg section of the Brooklyn borough of New York, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2007. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthew)

It wasn't that long ago that Weiner told Mayor Michael Bloomberg, "When I become mayor, you know what I'm going to spend my first year doing? I'm going to have a bunch of ribbon-cuttings tearing out your [expletive] bike lanes." (That was 2010, and he later said he was joking and that he "generally supports bike lanes.")

Now he likes it when people commute to work on their bikes, and he wants to promote the practice by having the city give tax incentives to employees who use a bike to get to work.

No national single-payer healthcare system? No problem.

As a congressman, Weiner was one of the most vocal advocates of a single-payer healthcare system. But he eventually gave up on the issue, fearing it would derail Obama's health care reform efforts.

Well, if Weiner couldn't get his way in Congress, he'll at least try to get his way in the Big Apple by starting a single-payer system:

"So the proposition is this: we ask the federal and state governments to continue to fund our Medicaid beneficiaries at the level they are today and give us the flexibility to set up a system that we know works, we know patients like, and we know is less costly-- a single payer program like Medicare for all the uninsured and underinsured in our city."