Browsing Tag

Bill de Blasio


At 2014 Inauguration, Brooklyn Rises Within NYC Political Circles

January 2, 2014

By Michael Randazzo

With their respective swearing-in ceremonies on New Year’s Day at City Hall, two Brooklyn politicos ascended to the peak of New York City government: Mayor Bill de Blasio, who hails from Park Slope, and Public Advocate Letitia James, who lives in Clinton Hill, a community she represented on the City Council for the last 10 years.

The “Brooklyn in the House” sentiment was displayed early and often throughout the day’s festivities. A large contingent from the borough made the commute to City Hall Park to join the assembled throngs grooving to the sounds of Alicia Keys/Jay Z’s “Empire State of Mind,” while the Mayor-elect and his family disembarked at the MTA’s Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall station, unmistakably suggesting that the new mayor is both a son of Brooklyn and a man of the people, riding the subway like millions of other New Yorkers.

The inauguration capped a stunning reversal of fortune for Mr. de Blasio, who, as little as four months ago, was given long odds on capturing the Democratic mayoral nomination. With an introduction by former President Bill Clinton, who stated that he shared Mr. de Blasio’s desire for a city that offered all its residents “shared prosperity, shared opportunities,” New York City’s 109th mayor—and first from Brooklyn since Abraham Beame—lauded the city’s rich progressive history that informs his thinking.

Promising that “The spark that ignites our unwavering resolve to do everything possible to ensure that every girl and boy, no matter what language they speak, what subway line they ride, what neighborhood they call home—that every child has the chance to succeed,” de Blasio laid out an agenda that was both ambitious and a dramatic departure from the policies of his outgoing predecessor, Mayor Bloomberg.

Mayor de Blasio was measured in his inaugural speech, but he firmly outlined the themes that have elevated the former New York City Councilmember and Public Advocate to the highest ranks of progressive politicians.

In declaring that a de Blasio administration won’t wait to attack the inequalities present in what Harry Belafonte in his opening remarks termed a “Dickensian justice system,” the new mayor promised to expand paid sick leave, find funding for universal pre-school education for children as well as after-school programs for middle school students, and reform controversial stop-and-frisk policies that fall disproportionally on African-American males.

Quoting iconic Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia, the “Little Flower” beloved by Progressives, Mr. de Blasio countered the conservative ideology of trickle-down economics epitomized by the notion of the “rugged individualist” making his own success: “I, too,” said La Guardia, “admire the ‘rugged individual,’ but no ‘rugged individual’ can survive in the midst of collective starvation.”

Mr. de Blasio also cited Jacob Riis, Al Smith, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whose Bible he swore the oath of office on, Roosevelt’s wife Eleanor, and others as “New Yorkers who challenged the status quo, who blazed a trail of progressive reform and political action, who took on the elite, who stood up to say that social and economic justice will start here and will start now.”

In closing, the man who is mayor of America’s largest city and is now clearly identified as progressivism’s standard-bearer promised that “… no matter what your story is—this is your city. Our strength is derived from you. Working together, we will make this One City. And that mission—our march toward a fairer, more just, more progressive place, our march to keep the promise of New York alive for the next generation. It begins today.”

In her inaugural speech, Ms. James, the first woman of color to hold city-wide office, was emphatic regarding her Brooklyn roots. She was prominently accompanied by Dasani, the petite heroine of the recent New York Times series about one family’s profound challenges in the NYC homeless shelter system. Dasani—who gained national prominence as a result of Andrea Elliott’s reporting—held the Bible that Ms. James was sworn in on by the Reverend Anthony Trufant of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Clinton Hill.

In her remarks, Ms. James was scathing in her assessment of the previous administration’s priorities, advocating “government that cares more about a child going hungry than a new stadium or a new tax credit for a luxury development ”—a clear repudiation both of the multiple sports stadiums (three) that were constructed during the Bloomberg years and the deplorable state of affairs in the NYC shelter system that resulted in Dasani and her six siblings and parents living in squalor at the Auburn Family Residence, a dilapidated shelter in Fort Greene.

Stating “This is the spirit of our city … New Yorkers get up each day and fight and when they’re knocked down they get up again and fight some more,” Ms. James added that “This is the tenacity it will take for our government to strike a blow against inequality and injustice and make our city work for working people again.”

The city’s new Public Advocate brought the house down with a brash Brooklyn warning of the consequences of New Yorkers not working together to create a more progressive and equitable vision for their city. “Of course, if working people aren’t getting their fair share, if our government isn’t securing the reforms New Yorkers were promised, you better believe that Dasani and I will stand up—that all of us will stand up—and call out anyone and anything that stands in the way of progress.”

Certainly that’s a message that resonates with all inhabitants of New York City, including those native to the home to its most powerful politicians.

With former Mayor David Dinkins looking on, and Dasani, the pint-sized heroine of The New York Times‘ “Invisible Child” series, holding the bible, Letitia James is sworn in as NYC Public Advocate by Reverend Anthony Trufant of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Clinton Hill. Credit: William Alatriste

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

From the Web


Mayoral Candidates’ Forum Monday Evening, May 6

April 22, 2013

On Monday evening, May 6, the Brooklyn Heights Association, the Park Slope Civic Council, and several other neighborhood civic groups, are co-sponsoring a Mayoral Candidates’ Forum to be held at Congregation Beth Elohim, 274 Garfield Place (at Eighth Avenue), from 7:00 to 9:00. All interested voters are invited, and no RSVP is necessary. You may submit questions for the candidates to Google Moderator. All mayoral candidates announced to date–Sal Albanese, Adolfo Carrion, John Catsimatidis, Bill de Blasio, Joe Lhota, John Liu, George McDonald, Christine Quinn, and Bill Thompson–have been invited.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

From the Web

Brooklyn Heights

Macy’s Finally Sees The Light? ‘Considers’ Fireworks Return To East River

July 23, 2012

Apparently, Macy’s has finally realized that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. For much of the past year, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Brooklyn Heights state Sen. Daniel Squadron have been rallying for the annual 4th of July fireworks extravaganza to return to the East River, including public rallies, petitions and a non-stop tirade of phone calls.

Since 2009, Macy’s has hosted its annual holiday blowout from the Hudson River. The original move there four years ago was said to acknowledge the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s journey up the river. But the fireworks have remained there since, despite an onslaught of protests that aiming them toward New Jersey spites the spirit of the event, stealing views from residents of Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan’s East Side, where they had been for 32 years previous.

Now, the New York Daily News reports that Macy’s is “considering a return” to the East River: “Bending to outer-borough pressure, Macy’s execs and top people in its fireworks operations have agreed to meet with pols to discuss” bringing the show home. A source told the Daily News, “Macy’s has expressed willingness to move to the East River. Macy’s has been receptive to sitting down and discussing solutions. We’re optimistic that soon there will be good news.”

The sit-down will be local elected officials first face-to-face discussion about the fireworks with Macy’s execs. De Blasio stressed, “The fireworks belong in the East River. Outer-borough New Yorkers deserve to be part of the city’s Fourth of July celebration too.” Squadron added that their return to the East River “would allow millions of New Yorkers to join the celebration and provide communities and businesses with the economic spark they need.”

City Councilman Steve Levin, who represents Brooklyn Heights and has also been a persistent advocate for the fireworks’ return home, said, “They couldn’t come back soon enough, and we will welcome them with open arms. I’m from New Jersey. I’ve got nothing but love for New Jersey, but the fact of the matter is there is nothing quite as spectacular as Fourth of July fireworks over New York Harbor.”

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz is also invited to the imminent sit-down, where pols will present a petition that now has 3,100 signatures urging that the show return to its original locale.

All the same, Macy’s has not determined where the 2013 4th of July setting will be. Spokesman Orlando Veras repeated what he’s been saying for the past three years: “Macy’s fireworks will take place in and around all accessible New York City waterways and will not be a permanent fixture at any one location.”

(Photo: New York Daily News)

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

From the Web

Brooklyn Heights, Events

Pols Pitch Petition To Bring Macy’s July 4th Fireworks Home To Brooklyn

June 28, 2012

They’re not giving up. At the beginning of April, State Senator Daniel Squadron and City Council Member Steve Levin led a rally to return the annual Macy’s 4th of July fireworks to the East River. Since 2009, the historic annual display has been based along the Hudson, stealing views from residents of Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan’s East Side, instead aiming them toward New Jersey.

Now Squadron, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and BP Marty Markowitz have launched an online petition “urging Macy’s not to leave Brooklyn and Queens in the dark. Bring the fireworks back to the East River so everyone can enjoy the show.”

At a press conference Thursday, the pols declared that they are again trying to convince Macy’s to bring the fireworks home, where they were based for 32 years before moving four years ago. As BHB previously reported, Macy’s has maintained that the move was temporary to celebrate Henry Hudson’s voyage up the river. But this “temporary” is beginning to smell a lot more like “long term.”

Meanwhile, poor Hoboken, N.J., put a warning on its community webbie warning of potential gridlock as “tens of thousands” are expected to flood the locale. Apparently, the community doesn’t have the moxie of Brooklyn, eh?

NYC Mayor Bloomberg, meanwhile, was unusually demure when asked about the location of fireworks: “It’s up to Macy’s. They’re paying for it. You know, I’d love to see it move back and forth… but in the end, it’s their call.”

If you’re in favor of bringing one of the greatest free shows of the summer back to Brooklyn please sign that petition here.

(Photo: Squadron & de Blasio/Gothamist)

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

From the Web