Public Advocate Bill de Blasio doesn’t only oppose Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Taxi and Limousine Commission David Yassky’s choice of Nissan for the “Taxi of Tomorrow,” but he also thinks Mr. Bloomberg’s efforts to expand the fleet and allow outer borough street hails were illegal to begin with. And, at a press conference today, he announced he’s filed an amicus with a lawsuit against the new taxi initiatives.
“The actions of the mayor and of Chair Yassky have undermined the city’s relationship with Albany and have set a very negative precedence for the future of that relationship,” Mr. de Blasio explained. “If we let this legislation by the mayor stand, what it means is that we’re making that dependency on Albany even worse. This lawsuit simply says we have to stop the implementation of the legislation in Albany because this process failed to include the City Council.”
The legislation in question was passed in the State Legislature because Mr. Bloomberg and other advocates felt the yellow taxi industry was too entrenched in city politics for any effective reform measures to come through the City Council’s chambers. Mr. de Blasio, however, was more than skeptical of that line of thought.
“If you start saying that, where do you draw the line?” he asked us when we brought up the argument at today’s event. “That you’re going to end-run the City Council — end-run the process — anytime any mayor says that there’s an entrenched interested involved?”
“It’s not surprising that Mayor Bloomberg did an end-run around the Democratic process,” Mr. de Blasio said to close his arguments with a dig at Mr. Bloomberg. “He did it with term limits, he’s done it in many other instances. What he did here was when he knew that some City Council Members would raise objections, he just left the City Council out altogether and set a horrible precedent in the process.”
Mr. de Blasio is not the only citywide official to go after Mr. Bloomberg on taxi policy either. Comptroller John Liu has vowed to block the new taxi contract if disability access is not increased as well. Whether any of these efforts will be effective remains to be seen.