Op-Ed: De Blasio Is AWOL


By Michel Faulkner


When New York City voters  elected Bill de Blasio, many believed they were electing the man who was the City’s Public Advocate – a loud voice for the people.  They believed they were electing someone in de Blasio who would protect the people, like when he stood against a Hospital closing in Brooklyn and got arrested in the process.  They believed they were electing a man who would help lift the burdens of an unaffordable housing market and an abysmal job environment, especially in the minority communities. These are just a few of the things that he promised to do.


Well, two years into his administration, that man has disappeared.  He’s been replaced by someone who is tone deaf to the needs and wishes of New Yorkers.  He’s been replaced by someone who demonstrates incompetence even with his most cherished policy goals.  He’s been replaced by a man doing behind-closed-doors deals for developers and lobbyists that are against the best interests of the people.  DeBlasio has forgotten why he got elected to the job.


Although promising to develop “affordable” housing, deBlasio has dragged his feet on the subject while allowing thousands and thousands of seven-figure apartments to be developed everywhere – even openly pushing similar developments in working-class and poor neighborhoods.  In one case, he’s allowed a building that even has a special entrance for the few “affordable” tenants who were lucky enough to get an apartment (thousands and thousands entered into a “lottery” to get the few affordable units created around hundreds of market-rate units).  Even when deBlasio has offered plans for “affordable” housing projects, he has been rejected by local communities and Governor Cuomo, who mocked his plans to use Sunnyside Yards to develop residences (deBlasio seemed to not understand that any development in Queen’s Sunnyside Yards would need State’s approval, which, apparently, he didn’t have).


Worse yet, he is proving to be more corrupt than any administration in recent memory.  


In recent months, deBlasio has allowed deals that require city approval to take place that have put tens of millions of dollars into the pockets of well-heeled lobbyists and hedge funds.   The Mayor backed away from a proposal to end the Horse Carriage business (a promise to the people he made during the campaign) that ultimately ended up giving perks to people he is connected to politically in exchange for “saving” the industry.


The Mayor has been taking big donations from people and groups that have an interest in getting policy changes through City Hall through a political slush fund.  The recently closed “Campaign for One New York,” as it was called, was a “non-profit” taking six figure checks from unions and lobbyists (and their clients) to promote deBlasio’s re-election.  Such donations and political spending is a clear violation of the intent of the City’s campaign finance system, which limits such contributions to a few hundred dollars a year, at the most – some of these donations would be completely banned due to the nature of the business dealings that could be influenced.


With all deBlasio’s rhetoric to his “progressive” base about “transparency”, he’s acted like nothing less than a corrupt politician hiding his private schedule and failing to report high profile meetings with connected political powerbrokers.   


With all the grandiose promises about creating affordable housing and jobs for the African-American community of NYC, who clearly jettisoned him into office in 2013, he’s delivered nothing in both areas – instead focusing on tangential issues of little concern to the people who elected him, such as the new 25 mile-per-hour speed limit, which has done nothing but bring in a million dollars in new fines from working-class New Yorkers.


Lastly, the people of NYC voted for Bill de Blasio to fix the problem that was “Two New Yorks.”  He promised to close the divide between the “haves” and the “have-nots” – phrases deBlasio uttered loudly and often.  What have the people gotten on this matter?  The direct opposite.  DeBlasio has courted the “haves” by approving their deals and taking their checks.

Bill de Blasio came into office with 75% of the vote in 2013 – certainly a landslide of sorts.  As he stands now with an approval rating below 50%, the people of NYC appear ready to find someone else to run our City.   New York voters have lost faith in Mayor de Blasio as the “public’s advocate” he said he was on the campaign trail and he has proven unable to deliver for the people.  It’s time for change.


Michel Faulkner is a Harlem pastor and Republican candidate for Mayor in 2017. 

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