The ruling political elite in Gotham City would not like things to remain as they are today, come 2017. For them, there is something that must change and they've all aching to send the city's most liberal mayor in over 50 years packing. For sometime now, I've been keeping my ears close to the ground to pick up on and monitor the whisper campaigns against Mayor Bill DeBlasio as he continues to "take charge of the city" and run things his own way. I have to say that as a proud Progressive Leftie of the Marxist kind, the good mayor oftentimes gives me quite a few really bad cluster headaches.
But of late he's settled down and is getting the job done much to the chagrin of his political detractors, especially those Democrats on the political Right and the Republican conservative machine that would rather things go back to the 1950 days of "bobby socks and stockings." But that does not mean that all is easy sailing for a mayor that I personally admire and know to be a good and decent man deep down. The thing is that New York City was ruled for about 20 years by some pretty God-awful people ranging from the ultra-conservative, race bating, Rudy Giuliani, to the short-tempered, dictatorial, and autocratic billionaire Michael Bloomberg.
It's as if we've become so used to their brand of brash, selfish, anti-people politics that says that "white was right and if you've Black get the hell to the back, " that we cannot stomach the sharp departure which DeBlasio represents. Hurricane Giuliani, the darling of the NYPD and other punitive elements in New York City, went on a campaign of alienating the most racially diverse city in the nation. His Administration did not reflect the ethnic and racial composition of the city and he looked with contempt and disdain at Black and Latino leaders as if they had just crawled out from under a large stone.
Mike Bloomberg decided to make New York City a "nanny state" and to feud with any and all groups that disagreed with him. While he was not as extreme in his actions and policies as Giuliani he did very little to head the city's racial pain in the light of the devastation wrought by the Giuliani Years. More concerned with is image and resume, Bloomberg muffed the Hurricane Sandy response and demonstrated just how incompetent and inept his administration really was so much so that the New York Times published a story highly critical of Mayor Bloomberg's recovery efforts.
"By the time Mr. Bloomberg left office at the end of last year , the program had paid $8.3 million to one of the nation's most expensive business consulting firms. Another consulting firm was poised to collect several hundred thousand dollars to run contests seeking ideas that might help businesses in future storms. Nearly $300 million had been awarded to the mayor's coveted long-term disaster planning effort. But the rebuilding of people's homes was completely stalled, a situation that remained largely unchanged through the spring, several months into Mr. de Blasio's tenure." [ Hurricane Sandy Recovery Program in New York City Was Mired by Its Design /Broken Pledges and Bottlenecks Hurt Mayor Bloomberg's Build It Back Effort/www.nytimes.com]
Bill DeBlasio was a breadth of fresh air and won an election with he backing of a broad cross-section of the city's voters. He also had the support of organized labor and the Working Families Party (WFP). That grand coalition propelled the former Public Advocate to victory as he positioned himself as the candidate of the "common people," showcasing a modern, racially mixed family. New York loved it and decided to give the Brooklynite a shot.
Admittedly, Mayor DeBlasio's first year in office was a rocky one. I believe that he was pulled every which way as he tired to "pay the people he owed." His spats with the New York Police Department (NYPD) and the vitriol hurled in his direction by police unions formerly molly-coddled by BOTH Giuliani and Bloomberg, when he stood up their perceived wrongdoing, did not earn him many spurs. I suppose the vast majority of the NYPD's rank and file will not vote for him.
Then a local media culture historically petted and pampered by successive mayors decided to give him a hard time over access and the fact that he was focused too much on "doing the people's work" and not on a spoiled, thin-skinned media corps. He paid for that with the kind of nasty, scurrilous reporting that only a peevish and childish press corps could manage. Through it all the mayor took his blows and pressed on. His careful endorsement of his old boss, Hillary Clinton, for president of the United States again gave the media a new manufactured story as if somehow Mayor DeBlasio was a mindless zombie who just "played trump and followed suit." And when the fandango about the NYPD bribery scandal broke ALL of the mainstream media was just drooling on themselves to try and tag DeBlasio with it. That too failed to stick.
Finally, there is the still ongoing low-level political war between DeBlasio and New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo. This war revealed some very important things. First, it exposed Cuomo's absolute spitefulness and juvenile behavior as evidenced by his handling of the Ebola issue and other political power-plays where he tried to upstage and deliberately outflank the mayor on his own turf solely to embarrass him. Cuomo's infantile reaction to the mayor's request for control of the city's public school system was laughable as was his behavior over the Pre-K and housing programs championed by the mayor. Cuomo just had to show everybody who was "the boss."
After DeBlasio called him out for his petty spite and really stupid shenanigans there were attempts to patch things up but they will never be buddies. The reason? Cuomo is an arrogant control freak and DeBlasio, for all his gentleman's qualities, will have nothing of it. He's not going to be a "yes man" to a governor who always wants to have his way and anyone who opposes him will "draw his fire and ire."
So now we're nearly at the end of 2016 and going into an election year. While Gotham's political elites are hoping to find a suitable and qualified candidate to run against DeBlasio, aided and abetted behind the scenes by Governor Cuomo, the lift may be a very, very tall one indeed. I'm no a betting man, but my money is on DeBlasio for a second term. Cuomo et al can jack up Bronx Borough President Reuben Diaz or Brooklyn Congressman Hakeem Jeffries all they want but DeBlasio will have a good record to run on for his first term. Plus, Diaz does not have the name recognition in the other boroughs that the mayor has nor can he bank on the counties political clubs to back him against DeBlasio -- even Bronx.
But here are the reasons why I believe that New Yorkers will re-elect Bill DeBlasio. Let's start with some of his accomplishments.
He settled long outstanding labor contracts covering approximately 300,000 public-sector union members.
His municipal ID card program is hugely successful and popular among a majority of New Yorkers -- not only the undocumented and immigrant communities. The program has issued 850,000 ID cards and given thousands of immigrants their first real form of NYC identification.
Paid sick leave -- knocked out of the political ballpark. Especially popular among working women -- a key constituency.
Free universal pre-K for more than 100,000 kids -- many living in at-risk and low-income neighborhoods ACROSS ALL FIVE BOROUGHS.