Posted: September 30th, 2015 | Filed under: Things That Make You Go "Oy"
After a summer of local headaches, from squabbles over taxicabs to toplessness in Times Square, Mayor Bill de Blasio is returning to a realm that he relishes: the national political stage.
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City Hall officials say that with a presidential election looming, Mr. de Blasio cares deeply about focusing the political dialogue on policies that he believes can help combat inequality, like eliminating tax loopholes for the income of some investment managers.
While the mayor has received criticism for his time spent outside New York, much of his national travel, aides say, is ultimately rooted in aiding the city. On trips to Washington, for instance, Mr. de Blasio often meets with federal law enforcement officials, visits the White House, and has rallied to increase infrastructure funding for New York.
“While cities can lead, we certainly can’t make change alone,” Amy Spitalnick, a spokeswoman for the mayor, said.
And that’s not all — with the powerful de Blasio at your disposal, you have a platform to actually go beyond managing modest “on-the-ground” problems like street cleaning and crime:
Posted: September 14th, 2015 | Filed under: Things That Make You Go "Oy"
Yet in some respects, Cities United stands as a vivid example of the hurdles Mr. de Blasio is encountering as a city leader with aspirations on a grand scale, melding local policy with national politics, and wielding City Hall and its staff to mobilize support for broad liberal goals. The December memo heralding the group’s start was bluntly political in its aspirations, declaring that “bold ideas win elections” and promising mayors a platform to go beyond “managing on-the-ground problems like street cleaning and crime.”
The collaboration between cities and advocacy groups, however, has not always gone smoothly, according to a review of hundreds of pages of public records, obtained through Freedom of Information requests in nine major cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and San Francisco.
In January, New York officials clashed sharply with an outside counsel over the group’s first major project: an amicus brief that Cities United filed in support of Mr. Obama, in federal court in Texas. At the recommendation of the National Immigration Law Center, the coalition retained a Los Angeles firm, Andrade Gonzalez, to prepare the document.
Sean Andrade, a founder of the firm, said he suggested that Cities United list mayors from Texas as the major litigants in the case. Officials in New York disagreed, preferring to name New York City and Los Angeles as the chief litigants.
To Mr. Andrade’s dismay, New York officials also demanded that his firm’s name be removed from the brief.
[. . .]
The spat, however, raised lingering doubts: In an email shortly afterward, Mr. Noorani, president of the National Immigration Forum, asked a top Los Angeles city official for her assessment of a Cities United proposal, “given the incredible amount of drama they kicked up on the amicus.”
“Not worth it!” replied Linda Lopez, the chief of immigrant affairs for Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, a Democrat.
Posted: August 20th, 2015 | Filed under: Things That Make You Go "Oy"
The plazas, which replaced portions of Broadway and Seventh Avenue, are popular with tourists, theatergoers and Midtown office workers.
But conditions in Times Square have recently come under scrutiny, with some New Yorkers complaining about the proliferation of street performers — including, most notably, topless women wearing body paint — who are said to be accosting pedestrians for tips for posing for photographs.
Mr. de Blasio has been keen to demonstrate that he is addressing the concerns, and on Thursday he announced a task force to consider ideas on how to better prevent activities that the city deems illegal or harmful to the area’s quality of life.
But the mayor, at a news conference in Queens, surprised many urban planners when he said he would give “a fresh look” to whether the pedestrian plazas should remain.
“That’s a very big endeavor, and like every other option comes with pros and cons,” Mr. de Blasio said of removing the plazas. “So we’re going to look at what those pros and cons would be. You could argue that those plazas have had some very positive impacts. You could also argue they come with a lot of problems.”
Though what he really excels at is churlishness:
Posted: August 19th, 2015 | Filed under: Things That Make You Go "Oy"
Mayor Bill de Blasio made a promise as a candidate to animal-rights activists that he would end the Central Park horse-carriage industry on the first day of his administration.
Nearly 600 days into his tenure, the horses are still clopping. And the mayor has a new message for activists: Talk to somebody else.
“What I would say to every advocate is, you already have my vote; go get the votes in the City Council,” Mr. de Blasio said in a radio interview on Wednesday, when the host, WNYC’s Brian Lehrer, asked about the holdup. “Solidify the support in the City Council so we can make this change.”
“That’s where people should put their energy,” Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, added.
Posted: August 17th, 2015 | Filed under: Things That Make You Go "Oy"
“Fundamental achievements with a very big reach.”
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“We have a government that is very effective, and people all over the city know we are trying to do things for everyday New Yorkers. It is self-evident.”
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“I’m an object lesson in why people shouldn’t listen to mainstream polling that much. I wouldn’t be sitting here in this role.”
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“[My team] can always communicate things better.”
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“I think there’s a huge dichotomy between what’s happening in the mainstream media and what people are feeling and understanding.”
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“[Michael R. Bloomberg] was covered in a very particular fashion. I think the media had a kind of kid-glove sensibility toward him. I think that’s well-established.”
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“A miscommunication. She went ahead of the team. We corrected it right away. If you want to write about it, God bless you, but I wouldn’t overrate it.”
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“There’s no question in my mind we’re doing the most important work, we’re staying with our vision. I have no doubt that when you add it up, millions of people are being touched by it.”
[. . .]
“Good government is good politics. And I believe it.”