Thursday, November 07, 2013

DeBlasio wins in New York City......a new era?

by Claude Chaney  

   Bill DeBlasio becomes the first elected Democrat to be mayor of New York City in twenty years. There should be no reason the people of New York City, a predominately Democratic city should have to endure 20 years of a Republican administration, the last of which was illegal when Mr. Bloomberg coerced the City Council to give him a third term completely disregarding term limits laws. The mayor probably holds the record for being the mayor who spent the most time on vacation away from New York City.  The Giuliani and Giuliani Light (Bloomberg) administrations were very popular with New York City landlords. The city experienced a construction boom that had no equal. Millions were spent hiring expensive consultants to do jobs that could have easily been done by qualified New York City residents. The construction boom only benefited the rich. We saw an explosion of luxury high rise apartment buildings while affordable housing became increasingly harder to find.
     The two previous administrations were extremely harsh, in fact downright racist towards minority communities with the implementation of "Stop and Frisk" where policemen were instructed to intentionally stop black and Hispanic youth looking for drugs and assumed criminal activity. Minority youth seemed to be intentionally directed toward the penal system. Over 90% of the time the minority youth stopped and frisked were found to be completely innocent of doing anything illegal. Most who were guilty of some infraction had relatively small amounts of marijuana.  Every time Mr. Giuliani lost a lawsuit the City of New York had to pay for it(and the fines were usually very high), during both the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations there were numerous complaints of minority directed police brutality. Outgoing Brooklyn (Democrat changed Republican) Charles Hynes was notorious for always deciding in favor of the accused
indicted police officer. I supported Mr. Bloomberg's efforts to bring about meaningful gun control and his efforts to curtail consumption of sugary soft drinks, but on the whole his administration was
narrowly focused on the interests of the wealthy and did practically nothing to improve the standard of living of the average New Yorker.
      I was amazed that during his second administration Mr. Bloomberg had the support of a majority of the African-American community. I remember endorsements by celebrities such as the model Iman and New York Mets baseball player Mo Vaughn. Many black people who supported Bloomberg suffered the humiliation of having their children become victims of "Stop and Frisk". This was a sobering experience. This mayor believed he could do whatever he wanted, including appointing the chancellor of Education (Ms. Black), a person who had neither qualifications nor experience in education. Bill DeBlasio's lopsided victory indicated the disgust that many New Yorkers had with the Bloomberg administration. The media led us to believe that City Council leader and Bloomberg ally
Christine Quinn was the overwhelming favorite to win, but Quinn was an ardent supporter of Bloomberg having a third term. The voters, especially minority voters remembered that and it cost her in the mayoral election. In the previous election between Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Thompson the media told us that Mr. Bloomberg had an overwhelming lead and that if you voted for Mr. Thompson you would be wasting you time as well as your vote. Mr. Bloomberg did eventually win but only by 4%.
    Now it is very unlikely that Ray Kelly will keep his job as Police Commissioner. Mr. Kelly, like Mr. Bloomberg was a strong advocate of "Stop and Frisk". Even though the high court has ruled "Stop and Frisk" is legal. The new mayor Bill DeBlasio vigorously campaigned against it, making it highly unlikely that Kelly will return.
   Mr. DeBlasio has promised to be the mayor of "all" residents of New York City. It will be hard for him to keep his promises because the media will not be an ally and even within the Democratic party there are forces who will be resistant to any type of progressive change. In time we will see, but for now I congratulate Mr. DeBlasio for his unexpected triumph and I wish him well.

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