Administration Marred by Fumbles That Complicate Second Term
By Declan Kaasler
On March 13, 2016, a cold and blustery evening in the Bronx, 40,000 soccer fans were gathered in Yankee Stadium to spectate New York City Football Club’s home opening match. Suddenly, a well-known guest was invited onto the pitch to carry out the ceremonial coin toss. It was none other than Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Almost immediately after being announced on the loudspeakers, de Blasio was met with a chorus of booing and jeering. To see that many people showing such strong disapproval is shocking and this reflects the attitude of the city’s populace at large.
It has been a rough three years for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was elected at the conclusion of the Bloomberg era.
The history of de Blasio’s predecessor was marked with controversy over a third term, as well as unpopular “nanny laws” imposed upon the city.
During the election cycle of 2013, de Blasio marketed himself as the “anti-Bloomberg.” Unfortunately for him, the series of blunders that followed were just as unpopular with New Yorkers.
Since being inaugurated on January 1, 2014, de Blasio has managed to earn the general odium of 88% of all NYPD officers, according to a poll conducted by the New York Post. This sentiment stems from de Blasio’s consistent undermining of law enforcement.
He has backed a lawsuit labeling the city’s cops as racist, as well as promoted his friendship with the outspoken cop critic Rev. Al Sharpton on a televised address. In protest to what they saw as de Blasio’s mistreatment, a large group of officers turned their backs on him as he spoke at an NYPD funeral in early January 2015.
New York City may be a lively urban center but for many decades the tradition of Central Park’s horse-drawn carriages have provided employment for many New Yorkers and have brought in additional revenue from tourists seeking rides.
On day one of his administration, de Blasio pledged to ban this local industry, citing that it cruelly exploited horses.
This sparked outrage among many New Yorkers, especially those whom were employed by it. Horse handlers objected to the mayor’s claims that they mistreated their animals.
After a plan to replace to the horses with vintage electric cars fell through, the entire ban followed when it was presented to the City Council. In February 2016, the final death knell came for de Blasio’s scheme.
“It’s a great day for the horse and carriages,” Ian McKeever, a carriage driver and spokesman for the industry said in February. “I’m from Dublin, so I’m having a pint.”
More recently, homelessness has been a rising issue in this city.
This problem was supposed to be wiped out by de Blasio but it is only getting worse in 2016. Over the past several months, the number of homeless New Yorkers using hotels as shelters has jumped by 50%. Changes to the way hotels would house homeless New Yorkers came about as a result of a tragic incident in February of 2016.
A woman and two of her children were fatally stabbed by the woman’s boyfriend in the Ramada Inn, less than a mile away from the College (and The Banner’s office.) Despite best efforts, de Blasio is unable to stem the tide of this increasing burden. The hotel housing facilities are unable to cope with this increasing amount of people.
“It’s not cost-efficient, it’s not safe and it’s not fair to the people who are homeless,” said City Council member Elizabeth Crowley. “We have to move families out of hotels and shelters into permanent housing.”
This year, de Blasio has been spending significant amounts of time out of the city, promoting Hillary Clinton’s candidacy in Iowa by knocking on doors.
While de Blasio gets involved with the presidential race in 2016, he will soon have to think about re-election in 2017’s mayoral race. Christine Quinn has expressed interest in running again, along with numerous other mayoral hopefuls from other parties.
A defining trait of the 2017 election will revolve around de Blasio’s credibility and the impression he’s made on the city as its leader. According to a recent NBC poll, only 35% of New Yorkers approve of the job de Blasio has done these past four years.
What we have had since 2013 is a mayor who has divided the city, alienated those who serve it and protect its laws and feuded needlessly with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo over petty policy issues.
Next year promises to yield an interesting election, even in comparison to 2016.