There’s a familiar story of a man who has nothing, wins the lotto, and lives the same lavish lifestyle that he once criticized rich people for. Then, in just a few short years, he’s back in poverty, with only memories of good times.
Bill de Blasio won the lottery: a weak Republican opponent in an overwhelmingly liberal city that hadn't elected a Democrat mayor in two decades. There was fatigue over the Bloomberg and Giuliani years. Most New Yorkers couldn’t fathom a time when Times Square was littered with prostitutes, the Lower East Side with AIDS-infected heroin addicts, and Brooklyn with race riots.
De Blasio’s moderate Democrat opponents were seen as being too close to Bloomberg, and his more liberal opponents were mired in scandal: John Liu for his shady fundraising and Anthony Weiner for (insert your own joke here).
And so the people’s mayor was elected to right the injustices cast by evil Republicans over the last 20 years. Income inequality, police brutality, and Justin Bieber’s career would all be things of the past.
It appears, however, that his words were in vain.
Within weeks of his inauguration, de Blaiso gave a get-out-of-jail-free-card to his friend Bishop Orlando Findlayter. He was a member of de Blasio’s transition team who was stopped and arrested by police for two open warrants. One phone call from the mayor and Findlayter was spared a night in prison.
Several weeks ago, leaving a photo-op in Queens, the mayor’s driver recklessly sped through side streets and blew past stop signs, even as de Blasio was pressing to lower the city speed limit to 25 mph.
On March 2, it was reported by the New York Post that the mayor hadn’t registered his $1.1 million rental property in Brooklyn, three months after that same paper first pointed it out.
When asked by the press about these incidents, the mayor was evasive. He doesn’t believe that if you live by the sword, you die by the sword. It’s not easy being the people’s mayor, suffering the fate of the voiceless 99 percent.
Cronyism aside, de Blasio has not shown he’s prepared to tackle the job of New York City’s most powerful leader.
As of February 28, de Blasio still has to appoint heads of more than a dozen city offices and agencies — Buildings, Cultural Affairs, Consumer Affairs, Corrections, Parks, and Finance, just to name a few.
The mayor also hasn’t been able to deal with the old-as-time issue of snow. This is New York, not Atlanta where a dusting can prompt dozens of car accidents. New Yorkers are used to snow; nonetheless this year brought a lot of severe weather. States of emergency were declared at least three times. The mayor placed warnings to stay off the roads, except if you attended or taught at public schools.
Despite hazardous conditions, the public schools remained open, to the ire of parents, teachers, and students. New York’s own Al Roker tweeted, “I knew this am @NYCMayorsOffice @NYCSchools would close schools. Talk about a bad prediction. Long range DiBlasio forecast: 1 term."
Roker is not known for his politics, and although he apologized for saying one term, he didn’t apologize for the criticism. It’s what many New Yorkers were thinking.
School Chancellor Carmen Farina stated that schools had to remain open because many New York City students depended on public schools for a hot lunch. Farina said that many schools experienced more than 60 percent attendance.
It does not surprise this writer that many parents look at public schools as a babysitting program for their children. That’s a reality of the day and age we live in. The troubling aspect is that the school chancellor looked at this with a sense of pride. In blistering conditions, when only three-fifths of the student body could attend school, the city babysitting agency must stay open to feed the hungry.
What do these children do on the weekends? Or over the summer? Or on the newly declared city holidays for Islamic holy days?
Governor Cuomo also slapped down the mayor in his push to tax the rich in order to mandate universal pre-K. This was just another setback for de Blasio’s political agenda.
Since de Blasio has become New York City’s mayor, the rich are planning to flee, homicide is on the rise, and the chancellor of our public schools has made it clear that the number one priority is to chaperone children.
This is fate of the soon-to-be-former safest big city in America, where hipsters and the Walt Disney Company were once safe to frolic.