New Yorkers may have elected him on his campaign promise to reduce widening income inequality, but Bill de Blasio still knows what can really bury a mayor’s approval rating in the winter months: too much snow.
At his final press conference today–just hours before he takes office–Mr. de Blasio said he identified with the woes of outer-borough residents struggling with unplowed streets and promised “aggressive action” if a big snowstorm hits this week.
“If we see a situation worsening we’re going to take very aggressive action. So it’s very much on our screens,” Mr. de Blasio vowed when asked about a brewing storm set to wallop the city Thursday, after announcing a new set of administrative hires this afternoon.
Of course, outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s own brand took a hit after the infamous 2010 blizzard that crippled the city shortly after Christmas, and Mr. de Blasio recalled his personal experience at the time.
“A few years ago, I remember that my own block didn’t get cleared for three days. And I remember people around me having the same experience in Brooklyn and in other neighborhoods it was even worse. So something like a snowstorm, I take very personally. I can see it; I can feel it; I can touch it. It’s not an abstraction to me. We’re going to be ready,” he said, later stressing his outer-boroughs credentials, even if he’s moving to Gracie Mansion.
“I am an outer-borough homeowner. I will remain an outer-borough homeowner, even if I will temporarily relocate to a more spacious and practical location … And so that mindset, when the snow falls or anything else happens, I’m thinking what people on 11th Street in Brooklyn are going through, ’cause that’s my home.”
Mr. de Blasio also confirmed that three of Mr. Bloomberg’s emergency-response commissioners, including Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty, who heads the city’s plow operations, will be staying on the job for at least the start of his administration, as Politicker reported earlier today. Yesterday, Mr. de Blasio refused to discuss his plans for the departments.
“Just on a larger point, I spoke to Commissioner Doherty; I asked him to stay on transitionally for the next few months and he graciously agreed. Same situation exists at the fire department with Commissioner Cassano and OEM with Commissioner Bruno. These are three individuals–they’re fine people in their agencies and they’re people I’ve worked with very closely for years. I know them very well,” he continued.
“So I’m comfortable in their transitional leadership,” he said. “I know that they’ll be on the job 24-7. I’ll be in constant touch with them.”