De Blasio’s Choices

Call it a tale of two mayors.

There is Bill de Blasio, the government professional. That Bill de Blasio has brought seasoned, well-respected advisers to City Hall, including one of his latest appointments, Polly Trottenberg, the city’s new commissioner of transportation. She joins an impressive team that includes leaders like Anthony Shorris, Stan Brezenoff and Bill Bratton. And the mayor deserves special praise for keeping Kyle Kimball on as president of the city’s New York City Economic Development Corporation, a nod toward keeping momentum behind some of the best ideas of the Bloomberg administration. These selections speak well of the new mayor’s eye for talent and his desire to get things done.

And then there’s Bill de Blasio, the calculating politico who watched in silence at his own inauguration while a series of speakers slandered his predecessor. Yes, it would have been difficult for Mr. de Blasio to refute publicly Harry Belafonte’s odious remarks about incarceration rates under Mike Bloomberg or to chastise Public Advocate Letitia James for her ghastly demagoguery (complete with homeless child as political prop) following her swearing-in.

But still, a day later, when reporters asked the mayor about the smug falsehoods and cheap theatrics, he did not see fit to put even a little distance between his new administration and the utter lack of graciousness from his colleagues. And then just yesterday, Mr. de Blasio said he wants to raise taxes on that hated bugaboo, “the rich,” even if the state pays for pre-K, because of “fairness.”

Which mayor will preside over the city during the next four years? Will it be the pragmatic professional or the radical-chic ideologue? 

At the moment, it appears that it might be the latter. And that’s not a good thing.

According to a survey released this week, New York is no longer the first choice for global real estate investors. Members of the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate have decided that London is a better bang for the buck or euro or yuan. 

Mr. de Blasio’s soak-the-rich rhetoric has caught the attention of job creators within and outside the city’s borders. And they are acting accordingly, as this page and others predicted they would.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has shown no great enthusiasm for an election-year tax hike. In fact, he’s of the view that taxes ought to be cut, not raised.

That’s a sensible, pragmatic view. Perhaps the governor can appeal to the other Bill de Blasio, the shrewd Bill de Blasio. That Bill de Blasio might respond better to the governor’s argument. 

If not, the tale of two mayors seems destined to end badly.