The days after the mayor releases his preliminary budget are usually filled with protests by advocates stomping their feet, decrying cuts to favored programs on the steps of City Hall.
But today, the labor groups, workers, and council members rallying outside City Hall were there to hail Mayor Bill de Blasio’s call during his State of the City speech for an increase in the minimum wage.
The city’s new public advocate, Tish James, who had vowed to be a thorn in the side of fellow officials, is already making good on her promise.
At a press conference early this morning demanding more education funding from the state, Ms. James went after Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the $2 billion tax cut plan he unveiled ahead of his State of the State speech last week, separating her from other city lawmakers, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, who have largely refused to criticize the plan.
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.
Al Sharpton, who clashed endlessly with the Giuliani administration, doesn’t sound thrilled with Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s decision to re-appoint Mr. Giuliani’s police commissioner as the city’s top cop.
In a statement released this morning just as news of Bill Bratton’s appointment was trickling out, Mr. Sharpton, who has had a warm relationship with Mr. de Blasio, offered a mixed assessment of Mr. Bratton’s record, which includes stints as chief of both the Boston and Los Angeles police departments.
Public Advocate-elect Letitia James said this month’s elections represented a
“dramatic left turn” for the city–and vowed to hold her predecessor in the advocate’s office, Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, accountable in his new role.
After Daniel Squadron cast his vote in the public advocate’s runoff this morning, the state senator predicted a “surge” of fellow New Yorkers would do the same, resulting in victory later tonight.
“We’re feeling great!” Mr. Squadron told Politicker as he walked out of his Cobble Hill polling site with his wife, Liz, and their two-year-old son, Theodore.
In today’s runoff election for public advocate, The New York Observer reiterates our endorsement of State Senator Daniel Squadron, who has been a voice for small business development, more-reliable public transportation and more parks, especially on the East River waterfront.
Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito is calling for a time-out in the public advocate’s race, which has grown increasingly hostile ahead of next Tuesaday’s Democratic primary runoff.
Ms. Mark-Viverito, a supporter of Brooklyn Councilwoman Letitia James, recorded a video criticizing Ms. James’s rival, State Senator Daniel Squadron, for waging new “heights of personal and petty attacks” against her candidacy.
There have been three public advocates in the short history of the office: Mark Green, Betsy Gotbaum and Bill de Blasio. All three used the office’s powers to scratch out a presence in city government, enabling two of them, Mr. Green and Mr. de Blasio, to become serious contenders for the city’s top job. Mr. Green didn’t quite get there; Mr. de Blasio still might.
So the public advocate is an important position, even if it has few responsibilities and a paltry budget of slightly more than $2 million per year. We think State Senator Daniel Squadron is the best-qualified Democrat seeking nomination for the office.
It’s not in his policy book, and you might not have guessed it based on his auto-bound outer borough voter base and stance on bike lanes, but Anthony Weiner wants to ease up on New York City’s requirements that developers build parking in new buildings.
In video captured by Streetsblog’s Ben Fried, he mentioned reducing minimum parking requirements twice at the Tour de Queens, where he tried to convince bike advocates that his comment to Michael Bloomberg that he’d have a ribbon-cutting to celebrate ”tearing out your fucking bike lanes” was just a joke. (Unsuccessfully, it seems—as it turns out, the all-powerful bike lobby demands more than just tax credits.)