If Mayor Putz had thrown in a “just kidding” line, his Tuesday press conference would have made more sense. Instead, he again looked like a mayor who doesn’t give a damn.
“Except for that incident, overwhelmingly we had a peaceful weekend in central Brooklyn,” de Blasio told reporters.
“That incident” was the shooting of a 6-year-old boy and his mother. And the “peaceful weekend” included the shootings of 26 other people around the five boroughs.
If this is peace, what would war look like?
Called on his disconnect, de Blasio fired back by saying he was only talking about central Brooklyn. So now he’s just the mayor of central Brooklyn?
It is hard to imagine that New York will survive the nearly 16 months remaining in de Blasio’s reign of error, and even harder to believe he wants to do the work the job requires. Lazy by nature, he has coasted since he was re-elected in 2017 for his second and final term, and his performance during the pandemic reveals he’s already quit on the city.
Serious plans for reopening schools were nonexistent for too long and he made little effort and next-to-no progress in getting the union on board. The city’s unemployment rate remains at nearly 20 percent and some 646,000 private sector jobs vanished, yet there is no evidence de Blasio cares about getting people back to work.
The city is hemorrhaging red ink but his only stabs at the gigantic and growing deficit are to try to raise taxes and borrow.
All these circumstances constitute emergencies, but Public Enemy No. 1 is the surge of violent crime. Yet even there, de Blasio shows no urgency, with his nonchalance about the 6-year-old boy, Maxwell Cesc-Dinho, who suffered a shattered femur, chillingly heartless. If seeing children shot doesn’t lead you to declare war on the gunslingers, then you have no business being mayor.
With murder up 33 percent this year through August, a decent mayor already would have them on the run.
That’s not the mayor we have. For de Blasio, the dead and wounded are just statistics that must be spun. And the spin — the claim of a peaceful weekend — is so ridiculous that even he has to know it.
Meanwhile, the race to succeed him got something of an official start Tuesday when Comptroller Scott Stringer announced his candidacy. While the announcement was not a surprise, it is noteworthy that Stringer was blunt in criticizing his fellow Democrat.
He did it by throwing the mayor’s calling card back at him, saying de Blasio had “failed to address the tale of two cities,” adding, “He made it worse, not better.”
That was the highlight of Stringer’s pitch, the lowlight being his promise to do more of the same, only better. He, too, talked of more and deeper subsidies for more and more people, of raising taxes, ending “police violence” and railed against developers and “profiteers.”
So we’ll all live in one-story huts and nobody will be safe or make a profit. Against that rant, Stringer’s promise to be a better manager sounds as if he plans to manage the city’s decline more efficiently than de Blasio.
Stringer used the far left’s code words to prove his bona fides, including the claim that schools are “segregated.” If he believes that, he ought to keep Richard Carranza on as chancellor because he’ll never find anyone more committed to replacing the ABC’s with race, race, race than Carranza.
The teachers union has been Stringer’s prime benefactor, so he’s not likely to attempt any changes without giving the union veto power. In fact, the backing of the union was key to Stringer’s defeating Eva Moskowitz in the borough-president primary in 2005.
Moskowitz, who moved on to do something far more important — creating the dynamic Success network of charter schools — would almost certainly see a continuation of de Blasio’s anti-charter jihad under a Mayor Stringer. Which means more kids would be shut out of charters, all because the union cowed another mayor.
Stringer’s promise to bring professional-level management is welcome, but would be more credible if he had been a hawk on spending — or anything else.
Instead, he’s been a go-along, get-along party regular, serving 13 years in Albany as an assemblyman from Manhattan’s West Side, eight years as borough president and now seven as comptroller. His legacy is what?
He invoked Fiorella La Guardia and Ed Koch as mayors he admired, but if Stringer has the leadership ability they had, he’s kept it hidden.
He is the first to announce among a group of elected officials expected to make a run for City Hall. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Council Speaker Corey Johnson are likely to join, along with Shaun Donovan, former housing commissioner under Michael Bloomberg and President Obama’s Housing and Urban Development secretary.
Several outsiders are also gearing up, and three women who worked for de Blasio are looking to become New York’s first female mayor. They are Loree Sutton, who retired as the Army’s highest-ranking psychiatrist and the city’s commissioner of veterans’ services, Maya Wiley, the former chair of the Civilian Complaint Review Board, and Kathryn Garcia, who announced her resignation as Sanitation Commissioner Tuesday. She leaves with a blast at de Blasio for reducing the sanitation budget and headcount.
All or nearly all those mentioned are running as Democrats, making for a crowded primary. If Stringer is any indication, the contest will feature a sprint to the far left, with the winner being the candidate who promises the most free stuff and espouses the most radical gibberish.
The result will be more of the same and do nothing to reverse the exodus of those now fleeing Gotham. Solving the enormous problems will require either a Democrat who can break ranks with his party and still win the primary, or a Republican who promises to govern in the mold of Rudy Giuliani and Mike Bloomberg.
Until such a candidate appears, the mayoral race might as well be taking place on the Titanic.
Sharon Rutman has a theory about why The New York Times downplays Israel’s expanding relationship with Arab states. She writes: “The Times hates Benjamin Netanyahu more than Donald Trump. It sees him as an evil warmonger, so it can’t imagine how he can make peace.”
Mail fail a given
Reader Martin Carus has played with the numbers and logistics involved in universal mail-in voting and says it can’t be done. He writes: “A ballot must be validated and contains votes on possibly many other offices. If 150 million people vote that way, and it takes 10 minutes per vote, that means 25 million hours of counting.”
“Ergo, the need for 40,000 counters, at six hours per shift, plus observers, meaning as many as 100,000 participants.
“At that rate, the count would not be completed until about February 15, 2021, or two months after the Electoral College is supposed to meet and after the President’s term expires. Talk about a constitutional crisis!”
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