DeBlame is on De Blasio
By Craig Papajohn-Shaw
Volume 1 Issue 3
December 16, 2020
Image provided by AP News, background image by Craig Papajohn-Shaw
Taking office in 2014, self-proclaimed progressive Bill de Blasio (D) entered the mayorship of New York City with the hope of further building on the success of his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg (I). De Blasio, now 59, has completely let the city run rampant. His family values and unprecedented progressive agenda at that time, were all he required to be elected as, debatably, the most powerful mayor in the United States. De Blasio’s directionless agenda is clear in the sanitation as well as the homeless problem in the city. While some may want to believe that his progressive agenda of universal Pre-K, extended paid sick leave, and overseeing the 15-dollar minimum wage hike was a step in the right direction, his insincere, arrogant, behaviors and decisions should not be present in a leader.
De Blasio’s low approval ratings, hovering around the 40 percent range, can be attributed to the severity of the homelessness problem as well the sanitation of the city. In 2018, a report released by BusyBee, which combines data from the Environmental Protection Agency, displayed infographics that indicates New York City leads other cities in its “dirtiest index” of 427.9. While this is horrendous in itself, it should be noted that the mayor has also done the bare minimum to fix the rising homeless problem. With over 40,000 New Yorkers living on the street, one would think the mayor would put many of his efforts into mending this issue. This is not to mention there is an all-time high of 20,210 single adults sleeping in shelters. It was back in December of 2019 when De Blasio made a promise saying, “We will help every last person experiencing long-term homelessness off our streets and we will do more than we ever thought possible to bring them home.” He said he would do this by implementing a six-point plan that would marshal critical resources. Since then, the homelessness rate has risen, and while this spike can be partially attributed to the pandemic, the mayor has not solidified further plans or proposed new legislation to help the homeless.
Altogether, the response to COVID-19 was mediocre from the mayor. To start off, on March 16 he would attend his Brooklyn gym, even though he can exercise at a local gym in Manhattan instead of traveling over 15 miles each way. It is worth recalling that on this day closures around the nation, including New York City, were beginning to be implemented, with Governor Cuomo expected to close gyms and movie theaters that day. A spokesperson for the mayor stated on the 16th, “The mayor wanted to visit a place that keeps him grounded one last time.” The selfishness of his personal schedule displayed his limited priority for the global pandemic. Furthermore, de Blasio’s attention-seeking attempt at a run for President, where his highest poll ratings in the primaries hit barely one percent, was a distraction from the issues citizens in his own city were facing.
Some of de Blasio’s most infamous public embarrassments include the multiple occasions during which he clashes with politicians in his own party such as Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (NY-14), Representative Max Rose (NY-11), and especially with New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo (D). The strained relationship between him and the governor is prolonged and counterproductive. Throughout the pandemic, there were debacles between himself and the governor, such as when De Blasio announced on April 11th that the New York City public school system would continue distance learning for the remainder of the year. Cuomo quickly opposed this statement, stating, “You can’t make a decision just within New York City without coordinating that decision with the whole metropolitan region, because it all works together.” This is just one instance of many during his six-year tenure in office that the mayor has had issues with the governor. His unwillingness to compromise and follow the chain of command demonstrates his incompetence as a leader, or what many view as petty politics between two politicians that negatively affects so many New Yorkers.
With only a year left in office, the race for his seat is in contention with approximately 17 people pledging to run. With COVID cases in New York City once again on the rise, the mayor needs to work cooperatively with politicians, especially those in his own party, in order to help his citizens get through this crisis rather than focusing on his cherished political publicity stunts and power plays with Governor Cuomo.