Mayor Bill de Blasio shot down reports that the Democratic National Committee was wary of holding the party’s 2016 convention in Brooklyn due to the mayor’s fraught relationship with police unions.
The mayor has aggressively been promoting the Barclays Center in his home borough as the perfect home for the Democratic National Convention, which will be held either in Brooklyn, Philadelphia or Columbus. But the Daily News reported late last year that some party officials were worried about the mayor’s relationship with police unions—which has been tense for months but grew particularly strained after two officers were murdered December 22 and police turned their backs to the mayor at their funerals.
“That’s not been a concern in the discussions we’ve had with the DNC, for obvious reasons—because the NYPD is legendary for what it’s able to do in terms of protecting big events,” Mr. de Blasio told reporters today at an unrelated Brooklyn press conference.
Pressed on whether the officials were concerned not about the department’s abilities, but about its relationship with him—and the potential for another job action like the apparent slowdown earlier the year—Mr. de Blasio said the DNC was looking beyond those issues.
“They are looking at the big picture: this is the finest police force in the country, that can handle any and all events—that’s what matters to them,” Mr. de Blasio said. “They don’t take some momentary differences as a reason to make a decision about something that’s gonna be a huge endeavor with lasting ramifications. They’re taking the long view here.”
One police union, the Sergeants Benevolent Association, has openly opposed the DNC bid, with its president Edward Mullins insisting the mayor’s policies will make the city too unsafe to hold the event.
But Mr. de Blasio, who noted recent conversations with the city’s police unions have been “very constructive,” said the committee understands periodic flare-ups between unions and management.
“The decision-makers in Washington obviously understand that history and they understand that different leaders have differences with unions, and that doesn’t affect the day-to-day work of the department.”
The mayor also took issue with the Daily News, chiding a reporter from the paper when she pressed him on the topic and knocking the paper’s prior coverage of the issue.
“I know your paper seems to believe that the DNC might not be a good thing for New York City, but the vast majority of New Yorkers believe it is a good thing,” Mr. de Blasio said, before the reported noted that wasn’t what she was asking.
The mayor continued: “I’m just speaking to the point there’s been a little bit of a tone in your coverage. So if you want to talk about facts, the fact is we’ve had a lot of conversations with the DNC over months and months and months. These are sophisticated people. They know from time to time there will be differences between labor and management.”