Bill de Blasio Quibbles With Mayor Bloomberg’s Big Detroit Speech

Bill de Blasio. (Photo: Getty)

Bill de Blasio. (Photo: Getty)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s depiction of New York City’s economy was a tad too rosy, Bill de Blasio said, even as the mayor was predicting a gloomy future unless his replacement follows his lead.

Shortly after Mr. Bloomberg delivered a speech this morning warning that New York City was at risk of facing the same economic fate as Detroit, Mr. de Blasio, the city’s public advocate and a leading mayoral candidate, released a statement praising the mayor for diversifying the city’s economy while also bashing him for letting income inequality soar.

“For all the progress in nurturing new industries, too many New Yorkers are still being left out and left behind,” Mr. de Blasio said. “New York under Mayor Bloomberg has become a Tale of Two Cities where very few graduates of our public schools and community colleges have benefited from New York’s tech boom, while the fastest growing industries creating new jobs in this city continue to pay poverty-level wages. Addressing this gaping inequality is the great challenge for our next Mayor.”

He later acknowledged that the rising disparity, which he continually refers to as “the Tale of Two Cities,” was not caused by Mr. Bloomberg or his opponent, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, but said they were nonetheless to blame for allowing it to fester.

“Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn didn’t create the Tale of Two Cities that New York has become, but their failure to take the bold steps necessary to reverse the trend threatens the very foundation of what New York City has always been and can be once again: a city of opportunity for everyone that leaves no one behind,” he said.

Mr. de Blasio and the mayor’s office have had a bit of a rocky relationship as of late, with Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson yesterday expressing concern with Mr. de Blasio’s understanding of the city’s economy in the New York Times and mocking him in the Wall Street Journal.

Read Mr. de Blasio’s full statement below:

“Mayor Bloomberg deserves credit for many of the administration’s efforts to diversify the city’s economy from its over-reliance on Wall Street.  Especially since the financial crisis in 2008, the administration has pursued smart strategies to nurture the growth of new jobs and industries in tech, biosciences, film and television, design, advanced manufacturing and tourism.  Those efforts, coupled with expansions of our colleges and universities and the launch of the Cornell-Technion partnership, have helped New York continue to be a magnet for talent from across the country and the world.

Those efforts can and must continue in a new administration.

We also must negotiate responsible contracts with our city’s hardworking public employees – including smartly addressing the rise in the cost of health care and retirement security for New York’s workers.  This is essential if we are to make the investments we need in early childhood education, after school programs and all of the services – from green-spaces to public libraries – that make New York a vibrant and livable city for every New Yorker.

But the Mayor has failed to acknowledge the single greatest threat to New York’s economic future: deep inequality that has left 46% of New Yorkers at or near the poverty line, and too many others struggling to get by.  Allowing income inequality to grow unabated is irreversibly destructive to the middle class, and our greatest threat is losing our middle class all together.

For all the progress in nurturing new industries, too many New Yorkers are still being left out and left behind.  New York under Mayor Bloomberg has become a Tale of Two Cities where very few graduates of our public schools and community colleges have benefited from New York’s tech boom, while the fastest growing industries creating new jobs in this city continue to pay poverty-level wages. Addressing this gaping inequality is the great challenge for our next Mayor.We must raise the floor on low wage work through a real living wage law, expanded paid sick leave, and a bold expansion of affordable housing. We must redirect wasteful one-shot economic development subsidies into rebuilding CUNY and supporting neighborhood economic development, and make a historic investment in New York City families by making high quality early education and after school programs available to all of our kids.

Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn didn’t create the Tale of Two Cities that New York has become, but their failure to take the bold steps necessary to reverse the trend threatens the very foundation of what New York City has always been and can be once again: a city of opportunity for everyone that leaves no one behind.”