Tuesday, April 15, 2014

100 Days Down, 1,000 More To Go

"How am I doing, Steve?"
So 100 days has passed, New Yorkers. And for the most part, we have survived Mayor Bill de Blasio’s progressive tyranny.

 A split verdict of 45% approval and 31% disapproval exists as de Blasio delivered his 100-days speech touting his major accomplishments to date. The mayor’s lack of experience in managing this complex city has been evident 100 days into this term. New Yorkers are adjusting to a new mayor along with a changing direction of policy positions.

 His speech was nothing new. The same platitudes from his previous speeches, leaving us wondering what's next in the coming 1000 days.

His hour-long speech at Cooper Union had a central focus speech repetitive to his 2013 campaign that led to his victory for mayor of progressive city. De Blasio stated his Administration is a product of “movement politics”, repeating the phrase “progressive city” as advancement to how he visions the city to be. It however contained no new proposals or policy plans, and the unnecessary war on charter schools. Feeling accomplished for his work in securing $300 million for funding for his vision of universal pre-k, a vision that has accumulated the mayor time and focus on other issues.  However, he failed to mention that only half his vision was accomplished with the other half- trying to gain tax increase for funding- failed.

In what will come next, de Blasio stated new proposals with very little details on how to carrying out these plans. On improving education, de Blasio stated a reduction of class sizes while eliminating trailers that is plaguing public schools. In regards to affordable housing, a task he has failed while as councilmember and public advocate, de Blasio vows to build 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next 10 years. The mayor also promised to take on the challenge of rebuilding every home destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, with his ‘Built it Back’ team of an “updated strategy with diagnostic and recommendation to improve Sandy recovery”.

There was nothing different in his speech; it felt like a repeat of his campaign speeches, trying to recapture the “magic energy” that helped him win in a “landslide”. On city services and key aspects of proposals, de Blasio made little-to-no mention of what will occur with city services and key aspects of the proposal, something that will define what a real mayor’s job is. 
 With the budget looming for 2015 and many ongoing labor contracts unsettled, de Blasio's  biggest challenge will be if he can negotiate without any uprising now that he is "management".  New contracts are going to cost billions if union leaders seeking to "cash in" on their support on Election Day are granted their wishes of pay increase and retroactive pay. This will not be like Albany with his Universal Pre-k vision of promising one option but settling for another option of his vision. This consumed most of the mayor’s time, leaving other issues such as agency appointees and other important issues on the side. The real test of the mayor is yet to come.

Thank you Mayor for starting off your speech with respect to fallen NYPD officer Dennis Guerra who passed away on April 9, 2014 while responding to a burning building caused by a bored 16 years old idiot.

Let's recap to the last 100 days of de Blasio’s mayoralty:  

Speaker's Race: An important election that voters don’t get to vote on, backroom deals are made between city council members now involve the new Mayor spending a lot of time meddling in council business. With de Blasio backing Mark-Viverito, he became the real winner with the council members not willing to stand up to the new Mayor.

Paid Sick Leave Expansion: One of the first legislative bill that changes on last year mandated bill, de Blasio will sign that will require city companies with five employees instead of fifteen to give paid time off beginning April 1, 2014. A blow to small businesses already reeling from increased health care costs, a fragile economy and the higher costs of doing business in the Big Apple. Another dilemma is the small time given to comply with the new law along with employees to be given time to take care of sick family members. Its really a huge blow to small businesses already reeling from increased health care costs, a fragile economy and the higher costs of doing business in the Big Apple.

Vision Zero: de Blasio's plan to prevent traffic fatalities combines many agencies into a collaboration to eliminate deadly crashes involving pedestrians. The mayor goal is to reduce fatalities to zero, even though the start of 2014 there has been already been eleven. This plan is great to combat pedestrian deaths and make it safe with asking Albany for speed camera and make more 20 mph zones - all while his motorcades is seen speeding through neighborhoods, and he himself jaywalks while talking to reporters.

Stop and Frisk Settlement: Stop and Frisk policy led to de Blasio winning the Democratic primary. Something that is no longer really in existence as a major issue, the usage of stop and frisk has dropped drastically. The agreement settlement was solved where a court will appoint a monitor to oversee the reform of the policy and a reform process in which the community members and the NYPD will have to come together to built on a "peaceful relationship".


Snow Days: It’s a “beautiful day out there” a happy School Chancellor Carmen Farina exclaimed when school was left opened, a decision call made by de Blasio after ten inches of snow bombarded the city. This failure led to Today weatherman Al Roker to predict a one term mayor when only 45% of students only showed up to school similar to another turn out in January. With a snowstorm hitting New York every few days, , this made a fatal scar on de Blasio management as mayor. Defending his position on keeping school open based on free breakfast and lunch for the kids, an excuse for poor lack of judgment of irresponsible decision to keep school open when the safety and teachers who went to school was put at risk.

St. Patrick’s Day Boycott: de Blasio announced that he will not march in the biggest St. Patrick’s parade of the city due to organizers barring gay and lesbians groups from marching. Repeating David Dinkins in 1993 from skipping the parade, de Blasio before mayor has never marched in this parade before. However the mayor has planned to participate in other events for St. Patrick’s Day throughout the city. Liberal activists ask the mayor to ban public workers such as NYPD and FDNY from marching in the parade, something the mayor dismissed as an idea stating it’s the workers right to participate. Gays are allowed to march as long as they celebrate the Irish heritage and culture in which many other non-Irish do on this day. Gay who wants to march should abide by the rules and not to march under their banner. Other organizer of the parade such as pro-life Catholics and NRA Catholics are allowed to march but not with their own banners. For the mayor to start a fight and ban to march in the St. Patrick’s parade is not about gay agenda and is a low blow to the Irish community and unnecessary pettiness.

Calls Top Cop to Release Friend: When Brooklyn pastor and de Blasio supporter Bishop Orlando Findlayter was arrested for open warrants after a traffic stop, he dodged a night in jail after newly minted Mayor de Blasio drop a line to the NYPD. While former Mayor Rudy Giuliani said it “really wasn’t much a big deal” and “he didn’t do anything wrong”. Now as mayor, he faced scrutiny of favoritism especially with a pastor who supported him win the democratic primary. Even though it was announced that the Deputy Inspector of the 67th precinct released the pastor, a phone call from an important person such as a mayor carries a lot of weight. But as mayor expect your every move being watch and criticized. This incident is nothing major and every politician with pull does such a “favor” in more ways than one.

Lateness: de Blasio has become known for showing up 30-45 minutes late to any event. Even to his first State of the City address in February, de Blasio showed up 30 minutes late.  Announcements, press major policy decisions. - EDT has come to be known as "Eastern DeBlasio Time".  A former staffer stated that de Blasio doesn’t care if he is late -  but the question now becomes, whose time is more valuable, his or New Yorkers?

War on Charter Schools: The de Blasio administration attack on charter school was bound to happen especially during his campaign where he attacked Success Academy founder Eva Moskowitz stating he would charge rent. Preventing children the opportunity for a great education and success, the mayor should re-read Brown vs. Board of Education and not deny low-income minority families the choice for quality education that every child deserves. Check out my other blog post for more on this.

Universal Pre-K: One of the biggest focused de Blasio has frequently used throughout his campaign that helped him win the mayor race. His speeches includes numerous mentions of bring Universal pre-k vision as his priority educational reform. The senate in Albany announced a house budget resolution that includes funding for universal pre-k without taxing high earners New Yorkers.  Governor Cuomo stated he wouldn’t raise any taxes and would find the money to fund de Blasio vision. An agreement of $300 million out of $340 million to develop this program for free, a $40 million short in which de Blasio states he will tax the wealthy to raise what is exactly needed. This led to disagreements between the mayor and the governor who are both democrats. With Cuomo handing de Blasio a check to fund the program, de Blasio insists that taxing the wealth is the only reliable way for security funding. However de Blasio folded when realizing it will not pass in the senate or even the governor to have a tax hike on any New workers. Governor Cuomo prevented de Blasio from enacted his whole vision goals for education but nonetheless the program is being brought to New York City and de Blasio will take the credit for making this happen, but we all know that it wasn’t brought on the terms de Blasio wanted and it really was governor Cuomo who made this happen realistically.

The. Administration. Slowly. Comes. To. Ge. Ther.  Over 100 days into the job, de Blasio has only named 60 of the 90 commissioners and agency chiefs that will oversee the city municipal workforce. Stating many of former Mayor Bloomberg's appointees- the same Mayor he and his people vilified at his inauguration - are “doing a fine job” only naming top officials of agencies he felt were needed to be replace. He argues the slow pace based on bring the best of the best for the job with making sure their focus is similar to the mayor. But some see it as part of the lazy, slow mentality of de Blasio.  With a transition from public advocate running a $2 million budget with only 40 employees, to being a mayor with a city of $70 billion operations and a workforce of less than half a million, this slow pace shows the mayor approach to governance that his focus on ideology over delivering service of daily government functions. Politicized jobs due to his progressive ideology will backfire and we might see many fired within the next two years like Ed Koch did when firing seven of his deputy mayor within two years.

So there it is. 100 days of de Blasio.  A little over 1000 more to go!  God Help Us 

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