Will the public advocate’s office get its money back?
Absent that big mandate, the mayor began a hasty reconciliation tour yesterday, and he started–according to The Times–with a “highly visible” cup of coffee with incoming Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. (The Times ran a shot of the two of them sitting on the other side of a cafe’s large glass window, while the mayor’s two bodyguards stand conspicuously out front.)
The mayor’s slim margin couldn’t come at a better time for Mr. de Blasio, who’s facing a 40 percent budget cut to the public advocate’s office–proposed by the mayor–unless he can mend fences and cajole some more cash out of the upcoming budget negotiations. If Mr. de Blasio can’t bolster his budget from the proposed $1.7 million (down from $2.8 million), he’s looking at a staff of about 25 people, or 20 less bodies than former public advocate Mark Green had when he left office in 2001. (More on that here, from this week’s Observer.)
It’s only a cup of coffee, of course, but with the humbled mayor suddenly reaching out–and doing it so quickly and publicly–one has to wonder if he might be feeling more generous toward the public advocate. It would be a rather telling turn for Mayor Bloomberg, who just last month called the office “a total waste of everyone’s money.”